Summer

I am often helplessly confronted by the picture… filled with suspense.
What I have drawn suddenly seems to have developed its own dynamic – one that is not always necessarily kind to me.
It is a genuine struggle and challenge.
Simone Bingemer

When you live in the province of Québec, Canada, you wait 9 months to get to this point in time. Summer! We actually only have about 2 months of real summer weather, July and August and sometimes September is quite beautiful and balmy too. With the pandemic ebbing away, the weather has been on my mind as I seem to need fresh air. We have been cooped up for so long…

So here is another cloud painting in gouache, and I found this one to be difficult to do. I actually did a second one after, and it is good for the trash can. Hah-hah! That happens too.

I have also put a photo of my outside painting studio… so nice. As it is screened in, there are no mosquitoes! Yeahhh!

Cumulonimbus Clouds
Cumulonimbus clouds

Paper: Strathmore Toned Tan Paper, 12″ x 9″
Gouache: Winsor & Newton Zinc White, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine & Phthalo Green.

Outside painting setup at my house

:: First Frost ::

The lake has started to thicken,
specks of ice.
The mountains are starting to whiten,
snowflakes have fallen.
The birds are gathering at the feeders,
my dog is sleeping. 
— by Jane Hannah

This week we had our first frost and it came as a surprise! Yesterday we had our fundraiser Square Foot Exhibition for the Old Brewery Mission and it was definitely a success. Twenty artists displayed their works and it was quite amazing to see all of the different styles and mediums. I am really enjoying the Fluid 100 paper, as it is 100% cotton and this makes a tremendous difference with watercolours. It takes all of the paint that you throw at it, and then does what it wants to do.

This painting is for sale, and ready to go.

Paper: Fluid 100 12″ x 12″
Colours: Q. Gold, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, P. Crimson & Indanthrone
Location: Hudson, Québec, Canada

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:: Église St-Enfant-Jésus du Mile End ::

“There is no such thing as an amateur artist as different from a professional artist,”
wrote Paul Cezanne,
“There is only good art and bad art.”

The Montreal Urban Sketchers were out sketching out today and the weather was beautiful, even though a tad cold with the wind. Surprisingly it was colder in Montreal than in Rigaud… as we live in the forest, there is rarely any wind. When I first decided to draw this majestic building, I did not know how intricate that it would be… and I kept thinking, “why did I choose to draw this building?” However, in the end I was quite happy to have completed it! I might have time tomorrow to paint it… I hope so -)

Paper: Field Watercolor journal 7″ x 10″
Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey
Location: Église St-Enfant-Jésus du Mile End

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Boy oh Boy

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” 
― Pablo Picasso

Boy oh Boy was finishing this painting difficult… I painted it three times, without much success. This got me thinking… why is it that this painting’s mystery could not be solved? Well, I do have a few answers. First, the building was backlit and hardly had any shadows, so the lighting was not very good (first important lesson). Second, I started a new sketchbook and the paper is fine (even though I am not used to it) and the paper dimensions are throwing me off. It is 5.5″ x 8.5″ and I rarely paint in this ratio. Anyway, this painting is either too wide in landscape mode and too thin portrait mode. Excuses, excuses, I know!

Sapristi que j’ai eu de la misère à finir cette peinture. Je l’ai repeinte trois fois, et je suis toujours insatisfaite. Ceci m’a fait penser… pourquoi est-ce que j’ai eu tant de misère? Bien j’ai une couple de réponses. Premièrement, cet édifice faisait dos au soleil, donc tout à l’ombre qui est la première règle à éviter. Deuxièmement, je viens de commencer un nouveau cahier à croquis (le papier est bien) mais les dimensions me rendent mal à l’aise. La dimension est trop étroite mode portrait et trop large sur la largeur. Je sais, excuses, excuses!

Paper: Stillman & Birn Beta
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Rose Madder, Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Maison Smith, Parc of Mount Royal, Montreal, Québec, Canada

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Shadows :: Ombres

As the snow is melting everywhere, there are many remnants in my backyard… we still have at least 2 feet of snow on the Mountain of Rigaud and I am grappling with the idea that I want spring to arrive, fast! and wishing that these beautiful shadows that are cast on the snow could last. The quandary of the artist… these shadows I will miss… so I am painting them… and painting them… and painting them.

Shadows change hues as the temperatures change. In the deep of winter with frigid temperatures the shadows are a blue metallic — when the sun starts coming out, and the temperatures go up a bit, the shadows turn to a deep blue-violet and now, as spring is almost around the corner, the shadows have turned to a grey-lavender.

Comme la neige fond vite, il y a toujours des restes sur mon terrain… au moins 2 pieds de neige sur la montagne de Rigaud. Je suis super contente que le printemps arrive à grands pas, au plus vite possible, et le fait que mes ombres qui sont si belles sur la neige vont disparaître. Le dilemme de l’artiste… ces ombres vont me manquer, donc je les peins, et je les peins, et je les peins…

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Q. Gold, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Gray
Location: My backyard in Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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Intertwined :: Entrecroisés

These two trees seem to have lived for a very long time, side by side, looking over the beautiful Lake St. Francis (now thawing) and perhaps having at one moment in time, only the wind, birds and a few human beings passing by them. Now there is a booming sailboat club right next to them, an asphalt road and many passersby. Times change but these type of friendships last. The snow is receding at a very good rate and we can start seeing water appearing on the still frozen lakes — finally!

Ces deux arbres semblent avoir vécu depuis bien longtemps, un à côté de l’autre, regardant le très beau lac St-François (qui est toujours gelé). Dans leur passé, ils étaient tout probablement accompagnés du vent, de la pluie, du soleil et quelques humains qui passaient. De nos jours, ils côtoient le club de voile de Valleyfield, avec une route en asphalte passant devant et beaucoup de personnes en balade. Les temps changent mais les amitiés, des fois, restent. Finalement la neige descend, oohhhh que lentement et sûrement, et l’eau commence à apparaître sur les lacs toujours glacés.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna & Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Parc Marcil in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Québec, Canada

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Air of spring :: Air printanier

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” 
― Albert Camus

This morning when I woke up there was a mini snowstorm going on and as the day wore on, the temperatures went up… a bit. It felt balmy at 3ºC and it was raining by 10:00 am — a sure sign that spring is in the air. This painting was done this week for a commission that I had… one painting is on its way to Colorado  as a reminder of a dream that once was while this one is staying here…

Quand je me suis réveillée ce matin, il y avait une mini-tempête de neige… ensuite elle s’est calmée, et il a commencé à pleuvoir vers 10h00, un signe certain que le printemps s’en vient. Ooooh! Que j’ai hâte. Cette peinture a été complétée cette semaine pour une commission… l’autre est sur son chemin pour le Colorado rejoindre quelqu’un avec un rêve qui a été…

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 8″ x 8″
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna & French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Bulletproof Lexington Grey

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:: Sketch Swap ::

— Swapped and residing in Gerona, Spain —

“The seasonal urge is strong in poets. Milton wrote chiefly in winter. Keats looked for spring to wake him up (as it did in the miraculous months of April and May, 1819). Burns chose autumn. Longfellow liked the month of September. Shelley flourished in the hot months. Some poets, like Wordsworth, have gone outdoors to work. Others, like Auden, keep to the curtained room. Schiller needed the smell of rotten apples about him to make a poem. Tennyson and Walter de la Mare had to smoke. Auden drinks lots of tea, Spender coffee; Hart Crane drank alcohol. Pope, Byron, and William Morris were creative late at night. And so it goes.” 
― Helen Bevington

I participated in a Sketch Swap organized by the Urban Sketchers group. I was paired up with someone from Gerona, Spain and I received his painting today in the mail. It was such a great feeling to receive it — he actually sent me a video, and a nice historical explanation of his city.

So the following painting is the one that I sent him. The architecture of the house is a typical “vernacular” or cottage type house with two slopes. Neoclassical style, around 1825, 1-1/2 stories, with symetrical opening. The floors are usually very close to the earth (no basement) with a bas-côté named “tambour” in French.  When settlers arrived in Canada, there were alot of trees… so all of our architecture is wood-based, especially houses that lie in the countryside. This house was painted on location in Coteau-Landing, Québec, Canada and is on a very quiet side road where not many cars or humans, go to. It is very typical of our older houses.

J’ai participé à un Sketch Swap avec les Urban Sketchers où nous étions mis en binôme… moi je devais peindre pour une personne à Gérone, Espagne et vice versa. J’ai reçu sa peinture aujourd’hui et c’était assez trippant. Pour ma part, je lui ai fait parvenir la peinture ci-bas, qui représente une maison rurale avec une architecture assez typique du Québec. Architecture vernaculaire ou style néoclassique, environ 1825, 1-1/2 étage sans sous-sol avec un bas côté nommé “tambour”.

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 12″ x 9″
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Shades of grey :: Nuances de gris

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.”
― W.B. Yeats

I decided to do a study in grey combinations today. Instead of using the triad colours that I usually use, I decided to use only one red color with multiple blues… to create different shades of grey. Each building has a different blue colour but always the same Indian Red. This farms is in Coteau-Landing, Québec.

J’ai décidé de faire une étude de gris aujourd’hui. Au lieu d’utiliser le triade de couleurs que j’utilise habituellement, j’ai décidé d’utiliser qu’un rouge “Indian Red” et multiples couleurs de bleu pour créer différentes nuances de gris. Chaque bâtiment a un bleu différent combiné au “Indian Red”. Cette ferme est située à Coteau-Landing.

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Indian Red, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Manganese Blue, French Ultramarine & Payne’s Grey
Poem: by W. B. Yeats for my Mother in memory of my father…
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New Year’s Eve :: Veille du Jour de l’an

Tonight for the New Year, or Saint Sylvester, there will be many festivities, family reunions and friends feasting together…  I will be one of those. I am lucky to have a few good friends, a wonderful family and a loving husband. This was painted in the St. James Church park. Here is my toast to you.

I wish you health, love, wisdom and a long life!

Ce soir pour le Nouvel an, ou la Saint-Sylvestre, autour de la planète il va y avoir beaucoup de festivités entre amis et familles. J’y serai! Voici mes salutations à vous -)

Je vous souhaite santé, amour, sagesse et une très longue vie!

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson and Cobalt Blue
Pen: TWISBI Classic EF
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey
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