Greyscale Study

For a strong composition, you want the values to be in quite different amounts, not similar.
Try this rule to start: two-thirds, one-third, and a little bit.

Marion Boddy-Evans

This is a quick way to see if a painting will pull it off, without having to spend time on a painting that lacks contrast or composition or something else…

In a sketchbook, I created a thumbnail about 2″ x 2″. I quickly sketched the shapes (not the textures) and then created a low, mid and high-value tone painting, with only one colour. In this instance, I used Payne’s Grey as it is capable of very dark values and very light values. It is also quite staining. I painted over the entire area with the lightest of values, reserving the whites, and then painted over with the mid and darker values. I can now see where some darks should be darker and where lights are necessary. The second door on the left-hand side should have a darker value but everything else seems about right. So next step is to draw it on full-size watercolour paper and then paint it.

By the way, I am totally loving my retirement! When I wake up in the mornings, I still cannot believe it! After having worked all of my life on one job and another for over 50 years, mostly full-time, some part-time, some jobs that I totally hated and some that I loved, to now have the luxury of time, I am grateful!!! And the best job that I ever had was teaching for 27 years in the public sector and the best employer was Cégep John Abbott College for 21 years!

Greyscale Values

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook #25
Colour: W&N Payne’s Grey
Ink: Noodler’s Lexington Grey
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship, Clear, EF Nib, Japan (8$) bought at http://www.JetPens.com

Remembrance “Poppy” Day :: Jour du souvenir

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.

— Hermann Hesse

For this day I give you two versions of a poppy field. Just to remember the braves of our country and to hold them in our thoughts. My husband prefers the first one on the left, and I think that I prefer the one on the right. Which one do you like? Just curious… Y a-t-il y a une peinture que vous préférez entre les deux? Si oui, laquelle?

Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states, and many countries around the world, since the end of the First World War to honour armed forces members who have died in the line of duty. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918.

Paper: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook #25
Colours Left: DS Q. Gold, DS Raw Sienna, W&N Cerulean Blue, DS Prussian Blue
Colours Right: DS Q. Gold, DS Raw Sienna, W&N Cobalt Blue, DS Prussian Blue
Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon Pen
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Ink Black

:: I worried…. by Mary Oliver ::

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the river
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

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:: Little XMas Tree ::

“If creativity is a habit, then the best creativity is the result of good work habits.
They are the nuts and bolts of dreaming.”
(Twyla Tharp)

Today is the full moon and it promises to be a beautiful night as the skies are clear out here on Rigaud Mountain. We put up our Christmas decorations today and this is one of our little trees that is standing on a small table.

I drew this in my favourite “drawing” paper which are Moleskine Sketchbooks… the paper is just fabulous for drawing, especially with my favourite fountain pen of all times, the Platinum 3776 EF. The paper has some type of glaze on top of it which makes drawing on it as if I was drawing with butter… hum… so cool -) However as it is fabulous for drawing, it is not as fabulous for painting! When you put watercolour paints on it, the paint stays “on” the paper instead of being absorbed… and sometimes you just have to scrub it in, which gives it a grungy look, which I sometimes like. An artist in Scotland, Will Freeborn, specializes in painting in Moleskines.

Paper: Moleskine Skethchbook
Fountain Pen: Platinum 3776 EF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

:: Quills ::

One smile can start a friendship,
one word can end a fight.
One look can save a relationship,
one person can change your life.

I am starting to prep for my oncoming semester by doing some quick basic pen strokes with my newly filled up Platinum Carbon Fountain Pen, which I love by the way and has to be the best buy there is as it is quick inexpensive (approximately $20 Cdn). This is the first sketchbook that I used when I started drawing and I still love it as this is the older version of glazed paper that they used to sell… now with the newer version of Moleskine Sketchbooks the paper is quite thinner and is not as good quality as before as it has lost the glaze that makes writing and drawing such a pleasure as the ink glides on the paper… alas!

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook Large
Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon Pen
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Watercolours: Ultramarine & Burnt Sienna

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Happy New Year :: Bonne année

Happy New Year :: Health, love, wisdom & a long life.

Here in Rigaud the winter light is crisp and we are under a foot deep of white snow and even the birds seem to be rejoicing. At least 12 goldfinches are perched on one feeder and the constant to and fro of the chickadees and nuthatches makes looking out the window a marvel of fluttering wings. I love this.

I will not be talking about resolutions for the new year but a bit about continuing to do what I do well in life and stop doing what I am not very good at… This past semester was a difficult semester for me and I had to fight against low energy levels and lethargy and I am becoming more mindful of the energy required to create on a regular basis. If I am to create on a regular basis, I need to keep my energy levels high and not get caught up in the drudgery of deadlines and meetings at school, which become futile in the long run for me in these senior years.

Je ne parlerai pas de résolutions personnelles pour la nouvelle année mais plutôt de continuer à faire les choses que je fais bien dans la vie et d’arrêter de faire les choses que je suis moins bonne — ou au moins essayer de m’améliorer. Je voudrais atteindre une régularité artistique. Je deviens de plus en plus consciente de l’énergie nécessaire pour créer de l’art sur une base régulière, et ceci veut dire que je dois garder mes niveaux d’énergie élevés et ne pas me laisser prendre dans la turbulence de réunions dramatiques et de la corvée des échéanciers à l’école, qui deviennent à mon âge, futiles.

Paper: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Colours: Q. Gold, Burnt Sienna & Indanthrone Blue
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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Happy New Year 2016 :: Bonne Année 2016

 

Moleskine Sketchbook :: Carnet Moleskine

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in. 
— Leonard Cohen

I felt like drawing tonight so I decided to use my Moleskine Sketchbook that has a wonderful smooth surface that permits the fountain pen to glide… and when you put watercolour on this paper, the paint pearls instead of gliding blissfully. This makes the drawing look very grungy, which is nice… sometimes. There is an artist named Wil Freeborn that often paints using the Moleskine Sketchbooks.

J’avais le goût de dessiner ce soir et j’ai sorti mon livret à croquis de Moleskine qui est un papier superbe pour les dessins car l’encre glisse et le papier est d’un douceur! Par contre, il donne un effet assez contraire avec les aquarelles car la peinture, au lieu de glisser, semble perler et ceci peut donner des résultats heureux… des fois. Il y a un artiste Wil Freeborn qui peint souvent dans ce style de livret avec de beaux résultats.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″ x 8″
Colours: Burnt Umber & French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Reference photograph

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Tree for my students :: Cet arbre pour mes élèves

You see, to me, the art of music is listening to it, not playing it. The real art of it is hearing it.
— Keith Richards

Tomorrow with  my first year students we are going outside to draw trees so I have drawn/ painted this tree for them tonight. The quote by Keith Richards really rings true to me as I see painting in that way… the real art of painting is learning to seeing!!! I used for this painting the Moleskine Sketchbook that my students will be using and as this paper has a glaze on it, you actually have to scrub the watercolours into the paper, which gives a very grungy look. There is a scottish artist that often paints in this sketchbook. His name is Wil Freeborn and here is his website — LINK –.

Demain mes élèves et moi vont dessiner les arbres majestueux du Cégep John Abbott. La citation de Keith Richards résonne en moi car je vois la peinture un peu de la même manière… Le vrai art de la peinture est apprendre à voir!!! Il y a un artiste écossais et le nom est Wil Freeborn qui peint souvent dans ces carnets d’aquarelle. LIEN.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5.5″ x 8.5″
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Colours: French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna & Raw Sienna
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada.

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Draw what is there :: Dessiner ce qui est là

… one day on the road to Norwood, I noticed a bit of ivy round a thorn stem, which seemed, even to my critical judgment, not ill ‘composed’; and proceeded to make a light and shade pencil study of it in my grey paper pocketbook, carefully, as if it had been a bit of sculpture, liking it more and more as I drew. When it was done, I saw that I had virtually lost all my time since I was twelve years old, because no one had ever told me to draw what was really there!
— John Ruskin, Artist & Observer

So the apple today was there on the table for me to draw… with a graphite pencil. I am trying to figure out how to draw in pencil and as I was perusing Ruskin’s book, and looking closely at his drawings, I can see that his lines are often parallel with some distance between them. So this is my pencil practice. I also tried applying what he says in his quote “to really draw what is there”.

Aujourd’hui cette pomme était sur la table de cuisine, et c’est elle que j’ai dessinée, au crayon graphite. En regardant les dessins à la mine de John Ruskin, j’ai remarqué que ses dessins au crayon sont souvent faits avec des lignes distancées et parallèles. Donc voici ma pratique au crayon. J’ai essayé d’appliquer ce que Ruskin dit: de vraiment dessiner ce qui est là”.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 8″x5″
Pencil: Graphite 6B and HB
Location: Rigaud, Québec

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Sleeping Beauties :: Les beautés somnolentes

In the province of Québec, hockey is a passion. Every saturday night, when hockey season is ongoing, especially when the Montreal Canadians are playing, my husband and Pyper (our dog) get settled down to watch the game… and within a few minutes, I would say 10 at the most, they become sleeping beauties! And I must add that it is not only hockey that has this magical effect on them — football seems to work perfectly also. So this is my “time” to draw these two beauties while they are unaware of my intentions as drawing “live” people is very intimidating for me. Pyper sometimes seems to have a 7th sense to fidget the minute that I zoom in on him — humph!

Au Québec, le hockey est une institution et une passion. À tous les samedis soirs, quand les Canadiens jouent, mon chum et Pyper (notre chien) s’asseoient ensemble pour l’écouter… et je vous jure, en-dedans de 10 minutes, les deux sont partis au nirvana. Ils dorment! Cependant la minute que la voix des commentateurs s’élèvent, les yeux s’entre-ouvrent pour voir ce qui se passe — pourrait-on dire qu’ils somnolent? Et mieux encore la magie se fait aller aussi avec le football!!! Moi ça me permet de les dessiner à ma guise, au fil des semaines…

Moleskine Sketchbook 5″ x8″
Fountain Pen: Twisbi Classic EF
Ink: Noodlers’ #41 Brown

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