:: Death of a lady’s man ::

Take the word butterfly. To use this word it is not necessary to make the voice weigh less than an ounce or equip it with small dusty wings. It is not necessary to invent a sunny day or a field of daffodils. It is not necessary to be in love, or to be in love with butterflies. The word butterfly is not a real butterfly. There is the word and there is the butterfly. If you confuse these two items people have the right to laugh at you. Do not make so much of the word. Are you trying to suggest that you love butterflies more perfectly than anyone else, or really understand their nature? The word butterfly is merely data. It is not an opportunity for you to hover, soar, befriend flowers, symbolize beauty and frailty, or in any way impersonate a butterfly. Do not act out words. Never act out words.
— Death of a Lady’s Man by Leonard Cohen

Today I am in a Rectify Soundtrack, seasons 1, 2, 3 & 4 type of mood on Spotify. I love love love Johnny Cash and the soundtrack is eclectic and moody. I have often painted this scene which is situated in St-Clet and it is called Sinagri Sec on rue Du Moulin. I seem to like grungy scenes, backyards are so much more interesting than front yards… and the artist in me wishes that I could have access to all backyards near me… funny how people maintain the front and not the back, huh, just sayin’…

These three paintbrushes are my favourite ones, and not the most expensive ones I might add. The one on the right is from Rosemary & Co Sable blend SER 401 which comes from Manchester, England from last year’s trip to England. The second one was a gift from a friend that travelled to the Picasso Museum in Malaga and has not left my side since. The third one on the bottom left is a daVinci Casaneo #489 mop which can soak up an incredible amount of water, so this one was very good for the sky wash in the background.

I have painted this scene a few times and you can see it here.

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook #22 8″x8″
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, DS Raw Sienna, DS Cerulean Chromium, MG Mineral Violet & WN Burnt Sienna
Location: Sinagri Sec on rue Du Moulin in St-Clet, Québec, Canada


:: John Coltrane Frame of Mind ::

Damn the rules,
it’s the feeling that counts.
— John Coltrane

I started listening to Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue album and then switched to John Coltrane — and that was my aha moment. This was the music that truly represented my frame of mind today… languid, relaxed and in a reading kind of mode. I sat next to the big windows in the living room, feeling the sun soak into my body as I was reading one of Rutherford’s historical novels “Londonium”. This is a big book, spanning over 2000 years of history, where you have to keep up with the names, places, kings and slings.

This is when I started to paint from a photograph that I had taken last week in St-Clet. I did not have the colours in my eye, so to say. Which blue would I use? Cobalt, Cerulean, French Ultramarine? Sooo I decided to put all of them, and almost met with a disaster! When I scanned in my painting, then my paint was not totally dry and a streak appeared. Oh well, one of these days where I am just probably a tad too relaxed -))) Painting from a photograph is never as spontaneous as painting in “plein air” as it is more intellectual than physical. The comfort of it is so nice though…

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook
Watercolours: Mainly Cerulean Chromium, Burnt Sienna, Cobalt Blue and some Gamboge, Mineral Violet & Pyrrol Crimson


:: Beautiful silent skies ::

Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. (Hans Jean Arp)

When I want to see huge, beautiful skies there is one place to go in my region and it is just between Rigaud and St. Clet. The skies are always luminous, grand and silent as they stretch west towards the sunset surrounding St. Polycarpe and St. Telesphore! I must have painted this sky many times up to now and here it is an older post. There is always a sense of awe that chokes me a bit in front of these immense skies… an inner peace.

I have been cooped up in the house for the past four days as the flu has hit us… the sniffles, coughing, sneezing and nose blowing type of sessions where you just want to lie down and sleep, and when it is time to sleep, you are wide awake! Have you ever had this? In a sense my husband and I were well timed as it started one day apart from each other, so I did not feel guilty binging on Netflix.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Journal 8″x5″
Colours: Burnt Sienna, Q. Rose, Raw Umber & French Ultramarine
Location: Route 201 between Rigaud and St-Clet, Quebec, Canada.


Memoirs of Hadrian

Do the best one can. Do it over again. Then still improve, even if ever so slightly, those retouches. “It is myself that I re-make,” said the poet Yeats in speaking of his revisions.
— Memoirs of Hadrian, Marguerite Yourcenar.

I am presently reading Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar. A testamentary letter from the emperor Hadrian to his successor, the youthful Marcus Aurelius and it is  beautifully written…  its accurate historical moments, its psychological depth all work to make it a beautifully written novel. Well worth reading.

Driving back from visiting my mother yesterday, I stopped on Route 201 in St. Clet to paint this landscape. Lo and behold, as I had just finished my painting and was getting ready to put my car into gear, a police car pulls behind me and turns on his flashing lights. Heaven to Betsy! I thought… why do they want to give me a ticket? Then I wait in the car as I know that we should… I wait… I wait… then I turn around to look at the police car and no sign from them. Hum. What to do? Argh. I decided to put on my flasher, and just leave. They followed me until they had to turn to go someplace else. I think that they were trying to keep me safe as there were many cars passing on that road? So I continued on my little merry way, just happy not to get a ticket!!! Phew!

Hier en revenant de visiter ma mère j’ai décidé de peindre ce paysage au bord de la route 201 et tout comme je venais de finir, la police s’arrête derrière moi et met ses girophares clignotants. Eh bien! Je vais me faire donner un ticket? Argh! J’attends… et j’attends pour qu’ils débarquent de leur automobile et me donner le fameux ticket… et rien. Que faire? Je me revire de bord pour les regarder et je ne vois personne dans l’auto car il pleut. Tiens! Je pars, tout de go! Je mets mon signal et je pars. L’automobile de police me suit, éteint ses gyrophares et tourne pour se rendre à sa destination… et moi je continue sur mon petit poutte poutte de chemin. Fiou! Pas de ticket! Je crois qu’ils ont fait ça pour me permettre de décoller sécuritairement sur cette voie assez passante. Merci la police -)

Paper: Hand•Book Travelogue
Colours: Raw Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship “Flexi Grip” EF
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey


Study in Blue, part II :: Étude de bleus, partie II

I wanted to rectify my explanations that I gave on my last post on how I use and choose paint colours. As some of you seem to have understood, I do not paint the entire surface with a blue wash…

Just before starting to paint, I think about the three colours that I will use and that will best represent the scene that I have in front of me. I always start by choosing which blue that I will use to mix my colours with. Will I choose Cerulean Blue? or Cobalt Blue? or French Ultramarine? or Prussian Blue? Each blue gives very different atmospheres… In my humble opinion, Cerulean Blue gives a very soft atmosphere while French Ultramarine Blue gives drama, and Prussian Blue gives a very lively and summery atmosphere and Cobalt Blue is perfect for summer and winter (well, to me anyway). The reason that I start thinking about the colour blue is that once I have made my decision, then this will also direct my choice for the two other primary colours… red and yellow or something else. I hope that this clarifies things. For my next paintings, I will be rotating and moving through all of the blues that I have and that will give you a better idea of my explanation.

J’aimerais rectifier l’explication de mon blogue antérieur car il y a une couple de personnes qui ont compris que j’avais utilisé un lavis de bleu sur ma peinture au complet… et ce n’est pas le cas.

Quand je regarde une scène pour peindre, je pense premièrement aux trois couleurs que je vais mélanger pour représenter l’atmosphère de la scène. La première couleur à laquelle je réfléchis est le bleu… est-ce que je vais utiliser le blue céruléen? ou le bleu cobalt? ou même le bleu ultramarin? ou le bleu de Prusse? car chaque bleu va donner un thème différent à ma peinture. Je trouve, à mon humble avis, que le bleu céruléen est très aérien et léger et doux tandis que le bleu ultramarin est dramatique, et le bleu cobalt est parfait pour l’été et l’hiver tandis que le bleu de Prusse donne une gaieté estivale qui est incroyable! Ceci n’est pas une science mais des impressions que j’ai à force de mélanger et de peindre… Une fois que j’ai choisi le bleu que je veux, ensuite vient le choix plus facile du jaune et du rouge ou un autre… j’espère que ceci a éclairé un peu mon explication précédente… Mes prochaines peintures vont réfléter mon explication ici car je vais changer de bleu et faire le tour de tous les bleus que j’ai -)

Paper: Larolan Sketchbook #10 – 5″ x 8″
Pen: Pilon FlexiGrip EF
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey
Colours: Cobalt Blue, Burnt Sienna and Aureolin Yellow


Colours & my eyes :: Les yeux & couleurs

This past week was very intense at school and I spent most of my weekend preping and correcting students’ work. So I had very little time to even think about painting or sketching. So today I rushed out at 3:00 pm to try and sketch… and disaster was in the making. I have noticed that if I do not paint every 3 days, my eyes cannot see the colours anymore… my hand/eye coordination is still good, but the colours have disappeared from my eyes.

So here are feeble attempts at a beautiful landscape… I did not have the colours in my eyes! So the first landscape was done with Cerulean Blue, Yellow Ochre and Alizarin Crimson while the bottom attempt was with Cobalt Blue, New Gambodge and Alizarin Crimson. Both have muddy greens and I should have thought about Jeanne Dobie’s lessons -)



Joni Mitchell

“Oh I am a lonely painter
I live in a box of paints
I’m frightened by the devil
And I’m drawn to those ones that ain’t afraid

Joni Mitchell’s lyrics A Case of You have been with me since my mid-teens… I always wondered what it would feel like to live in a box of paints… and now I know. I think that what she meant by those words was the fact that when I am painting, I forget everything but the act of painting… which is quite rare in my case. Rarely when I do anything that I forget time and space… except when gardening, playing music and painting. A psychologist by the name of Michael Csikszentmihalyi studied this phenomenon and named it the Flow, an optimal experience.

Les paroles de Joni Mitchell m’ont toujours touchées, ça depuis l’adolescence. Quand elle dit qu’elle vit dans une boîte de peintures, je crois comprendre ce qu’elle veut dire. Quand je peins, je vis totalement dans le moment, sans savoir l’heure et l’espace que j’occupe… je suis empreinte dans le sujet. Quand je joue de la musique, peindre, jardiner c’est dans ces moments que cet état survient… Michael Csikszentmihalyi a étudié ce phénomène pendant toute sa vie. 

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Colours: S. Cerulean Blue, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Yellow
Fountain Pen: Pilot FlexiGrip EF
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey


Farm on Route 201 :: Ferme sur route 201

Coming back from my mothers today I decided to sketch this farm… the colour of the sky was fantastic and quite rare — just like in California — with no clouds. The air and views were crisp as the humidity levels are not too high.

En revenant de chez ma mère j’ai passé cette ferme sur la route 201 à St-Clet. La couleur du ciel était magnifique aujourd’hui — sans aucun nuage — comme en Californie… qui est quand même rare ici au Québec. Les vues et l’air étaient très clairs car le taux d’humidité était relativement bas.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Colours: S. Cerulean Blue, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson and Q. Burnt Orange

Route 201, the Beginning or the End? :: La route 201, le début ou la fin?

Life reveals itself in the way that you look at it… This is the “end” of Route 201 if you are facing Hudson and looking northwards from Rigaud, and this is the point of view that I drew today. However, if you turn 180˚ facing south, then it is the “beginning” of that same route, which will bring you from Rigaud to St. Lazare, Ste. Marthe, St. Clet, Coteau-du-Lac, Valleyfield, St. Stanislas-de-Kostka, Ormstown, St. Antoine Abbé and to finally finish in Franklin, near the American border. Its total length is approximately 70 kilometers. I painted today on a loose sheet of paper and even though it was difficult at first to get the feel the paper, I really enjoyed Fabriano Artistico paper.

La vie se révèle de différentes façons, dont la façon de l’interpréter. Voici la “fin” de la Route 201 en regardant vers le nord, de Rigaud vers Hudson. C’est ce point de vue que j’ai peint aujourd’hui… Si on se retourne de 180°, nous allons voir le début de la Route 201, qui va nous mener de Rigaud à St-Lazare, Ste-Marthe, St-Clet, Coteau-du-Lac, Valleyfield, St-Stanislas-de-Kostka, Ormstown, St-Antoine Abbé pour finir son trajet à Franklin, tout près de la frontière américaine. Elle nous mènera vers le sud pour 70 kilomètres de long.

Paper: Fabriano Artistico, cold pressed, 140 lbs
Watercolours: Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith & Schminke
Colours: New Gambodge, Cerulean Blue, Burnt Umber, Rose Madder Genuine, Serpentine Green and Cobalt Blue
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey
Pen: Pilot Flexigrip


Chemin Ste-Marie in St-Clet

A beautiful Quebec oldstyle farm on chemin St. Marie in St. Clet (founded in 1850, population 1738). After yesterday’s painting slump, I knew that today would be better as I knew exactly where I was driving to and that I would start by drawing in ink first and then paint (if I do not draw in ink first, I often get into trouble with my paintings). I have been able to let go of the pencil steps and go directly to drawing in ink, which is much more efficient and also more creative as you have to be “in the moment” or else you muff up. I stopped on the secondary road that brings us to St. Polycarpe and painted there, with the sun heating up the car as the chilly air has finally left us. I used Cobalt Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna and Aureolin Yellow.

Une ancienne ferme typique du paysage québécois sur le chemin Ste-Marie à St-Clet (date de fondation 1850 et population est de 1 738), chemin menant à St-Polycarpe. Les citadins de St-Clet s’appellent Clétois, Clétoise. Au lieu de commencer ma peinture avec un crayon, ensuite définir avec de l’encre et finalement finir avec la peinture, je suis allée directement avec l’encre… et ce processus m’a forcée à être dans le moment et réfléchir rapidement. Pour cette peinture j’ai utilisé Cobalt BlueAlizarin CrimsonBurnt UmberBurnt Sienna et Aureolin Yellow.

Paper: Larolan Watercolour Sketchbook
Watercolours: Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith
Colors: Cobalt blue, Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Umber, Burnst Sienna and Alizarin Crimson
Pen: Pilot Flexi Grip Fountain Pen EF
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey