Location Sketching vs Photographs :: Peindre sur les lieux vs photos

At the workshop this weekend, I had the time to draw in this scene, but did not have the time to paint it. So I waited until tonight, took out a picture that I had taken, and painted Place Jacques-Cartier in Old Montreal from a photograph. What is strange is that the scene looks surreal, almost Daliesque. I do not know why, but it might be because I painted from a photograph instead of sketching on location.

Let me explain… when I started watercolours in May 2012, I painted once in awhile from photographs as painting outside was daunting for me and not always possible… then a few months later, Raynald Murphy, a well-known watercolour artist in Montreal and long-time teacher, started commenting on my paintings and told me that if I painted on location as opposed to painting from photographs, my particular creative style would appear much much faster and that my paintings would evolve very quickly. I heard what he told me and took heed — I stopped painting from photographs — and what a change! When I was painting from photographs I tended to become technically obsessed and would put in details after details and I could not stop… and I would end up ruining the painting as I had totally overworked and over-analyzed it. When you are painting on location, the sun moves, the wind stirs things up, people are walking, cars are moving and things just happen… so you stop being obsessed by the technicality of the scene and your paintings become fresher and lively… they have more vitality. If some of you are painting from photographs and have not tried painting on location yet, you should really give it a try, as it is really worth it. I have not even mentioned the fact that photographs are 2D… they are lacking the third dimension and do not have the depth that is necessary. If you are looking at photographs from a computer screen, then the result is even worse… the photograph is totally flat. Anyway, try it out and let me know what happens. In the Urban Sketchers Manifesto one of the requirements is not to paint from photographs… very wise advice from painters who have experience -).

Pendant l’atelier de cette fin de semaine, j’ai eu le temps de dessiner la Place Jacques-Cartier, et non de la peindre. Donc ce soir j’ai regardé une photo que j’avais prise et je l’ai peinte… et le résultat est surréel, bien proche Daliesque. 

Voici ma théorie. Quand j’ai commencé à faire des aquarelles en mai 2012, des fois je prenais des photos d’endroits et je peignais de ces photos car il n’était pas toujours possible pour moi de faire bien des kilomètres pour aller peindre de mon automobile. Quelques mois plous tard, Raynald Murphy, un aquarelliste et professeur bien connu de Montréal, a commenter sur mes peintures en me disant que si je peignais sur le vif, ou sur les lieux au lieu de peindre de photographies, mon style créatif ou ma voix créative ressortirait beaucoup plus rapidement que si je peignais de photos. Je l’ai écouté et bien proche immédiatement j’ai vu un changement et une progression soudaine… merci Raynald! Quand nous peignons sur les lieux, le soleil change de place, le vent se lève et fait bouger les choses, les personnes passent, les autos crient du criard, etc. et on devient moins obsédé par la perfection et nos dessins deviennent plus frais et vivants. Si vous peignez en ce moment de photos, essayez de peindre sur le vif pour voir la différence et donnez-moi des nouvelles sur votre progression. J’aimerais savoir -)

Colours: Schminke Cerulean Blue, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ochre
Paper: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook #9

20130806_PlaceJacquesCartier

Bonsecour Market :: Marché Bonsecour

For the Urban Sketchers workshop today we first drew in Place Jacques-Cartier and then moved on in front of the Marché Bonsecour. This building was built in 1860, was used as the main public market in those years, then housed City Hall, then the parliament of United Canada, and nowadays acts as a multi-purpose facility, with exhibition rooms, houses outside cafés, boutiques and restaurants. As you can see I did not have the time to scan my painting properly and just photographed it, thus the edges. I really struggled with my colours today… as I did not have the colours in my eyes. It is a strange thing to say, but some days you automatically know which colours to use, is almost instinctual. However, I have to say that my drawing went well… so I am happy with it! Pour l’atelier d’aujourd’hui, nous sommes allés à la Place Jacques-Cartier, et ensuite face au Marché Bonsecour en après-midi. Ce marché date de 1860 et fait partie du patrimoine québécois et canadien.  Aujourd’hui je n’avais pas la couleur dans mes yeux… c’est peut-être drôle à dire, mais quand je l’ai, je sais instinctivement quelles couleurs que je dois mettre, où, comment et pourquoi. Aujourd’hui mon dessin a bien été, mais les couleurs… ouf! C’est pas grave, car je suis quand même contente du résultat. Colours: Yellow Ochre, French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna Paper: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook 20130803_MarchéBonsecour

Balm for the soul :: Baume pour l’âme

Four Urban Sketchers of Montreal gathered together today to paint in Place D’Armes in Old Montreal. Place D’Armes is the second oldest public site in Montreal and dates back from 1693. In front of us was the Notre. Dame Basilica gothic revival style architecture (1672), Saint. Sulpice Seminary (1657) which is the oldest edifice in Montreal, the Bank of Montreal’s head office  (1817) which is the oldest bank in Canada, New York Life Insurance building (1887) and finally the art deco Aldred building (1931) which resembles the NYC Empire State building which was completed in the same year. Even though I painted parts of some of these buildings and roofs, it architecture surrounding us was quite impressive and beautiful.

I have not painted nor drawn for more than a week and I felt quite rusty… and painting today did its amazing work and quieted and soothed my mind while creating a balm for the soul… which has been in a whirlwind of thoughts and of letting go’s. Last Sunday, my beloved 88 year old scottish father Dorland died, letting his head fall on my Mom’s shoulder during Mass at the Notre. Dame de Lourdes Sanctuary in Rigaud.
___________

Quatre sketchers urbains de Montréal se sont rencontrés aujourd’hui pour peindre à la Place D’Armes dans le Vieux-Montréal. Cet endroit est magnifique en histoire. En-avant de nous il y avait la Basilique Notre-Dame (1672), le Séminaire Saint-Sulpice qui est le plus vieux bâtiment de Montréal (1657), le siège social de la Banque de Montréal (1817), l’édifice art déco Aldred (1931) qui est très similaire au Empire State Building à NYC et qui date de la même année, et bien d’autres.

Je n’avais pas peint depuis plus d’une semaine et j’étais bien rouillée, et le fait de peindre m’a donnée ses effets bénéfiques… entre autre de calmer mes esprits et d’agir comme un baume sur l’âme. J’en avais bien besoin car mon père bien-aimé est mort dimanche passé au Sanctuaire de Notre-Dame de Lourdes à Rigaud, pendant la messe. Sa tête est tout simplement tombée sur l’épaule de ma mère… il avait 88 ans.

Paper: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Colours: Mayan Blue, Raw Sienna, Aureolin Yellow, Q. Burnt Orange

20130728_PlaceDArmes_OldMtl