No promises, back & front, forwards & backwards

When Joni Mitchell was nine, she contracted polio. After recovery, she taught herself how to walk again. In 2015, after her brain aneurysm, Mitchell again taught herself to walk. As a tween, she had taught herself to play the guitar from a Pete Seeger songbook. With her left hand weakened, she devised daring alternate tunings, which led to innovative voicings, and intuitive approaches to harmony and song structure.
The Painter’s Key

This time I will not promise that I am back in business and that I will be painting a number of paintings…. I’ve learnt that lesson far too often. But what I will say is that I am hopeful, that with the turn of the seasons, I get back to drawing or painting for my heart’s desire.

Yesterday I found one of the photographs that I took in Turkey a long time ago, about 7 years ago I guess, that had always fascinated me and I thought that it would be fun to draw. Well, then, once I had drawn it, I thought it would be fun to add colours to this and practice with rusty eyes with new colours. So here it is. It developed into the front and back of a person… search me how come, but hey! I was having fun. Don’t know if you noticed, but the one on the left has a door as it is a police station in Turkey… can you imagine working in such amazing architecture?

Sketchbook: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Colours: Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine, Burnt Umber
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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…

Old House :: Vieille maison

This is a very old house in Rigaud. I went with my dog today to paint and I opened up the hatchback and I sat there… Pyper went and fuddled in the grass, sniffing and looking at every grass blade that grew there. Well! Again it seems as though we were the sensation of this small village as it seems as though every car of the neighbourhood drove by very very slowly looking at what I was doing… even the people in the house opened their door to peer out and look at me, wondering what the heck that I was doing -) Very funny!

Voici une très vieille maison de Rigaud. Aujourd’hui je suis partie avec mon chien Pyper et j’ai ouvert le hatchback pour m’asseoir là. Pyper est descendu et pendant qu’il sentait chaque brin d’herbe, il semble que toute la municipalité de Rigaud est venue voir ce que je faisais… beaucoup d’autos ont passé très très lentement, en essayant de voir… même les gens de la maison ont sorti de leur maison pour voir ce que je pouvais bien faire là! Très drôle -) 

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Colours: Prussian Blue, Q. Deep Gold, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Yellow
Fountain Pen: Pilot FlexiGrip EF
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey


Vignette of a Room with a View :: Vignette d’un point de vue

As I get older, I seem to long for a room with a view… or many rooms with a view, from very high up, overlooking mountains and lakes, where you can look at the horizon and peruse. So here is one view, from one of the roofs at John Abbott College where huge cranes are setup, doing whatever they do best. This is a vignette as the four corners are not painted in and there is a cruciform shape… or the presence of horizontal and vertical lines that lead to a focal point.

Voici une vignette d’un des toits à John Abbott… il y a tellement de construction à John Abbott depuis des années, que la vue d’une grue est rendue normale… pourtant! Une vignette est une peinture ou une photographie qui a une absence d’objets ou de couleurs aux quatre coins et que les objets verticaux et horizontaux se rejoignent pour créer une forme cruciforme… donnant un point focal. 

Paper: Larolan 5.5″ x 8.5″
Watercolors: Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith
Ink: Lexington Grey

Fall Colours Affecting Drivers

I have been itching to go out and paint the wonderful fall colours that are turning to bright reds, yellows and oranges in southwestern Québec. So here is the street where I live. Do you remember that two posts back I mentioned that I seemed to be invisible in the car? Well maybe that it is not I, but the car that is invisible? Two cars passed next to mine leaving about one inch of leeway… geez! I had squeezed my car close enough to the ditch that it could have been dangerous, but drivers passed as if my car was not there… they kept on driving on their merry way. The colours must be going to their heads ;-)

Les couleurs de l’automne sont arrivées et elles sont tellement belles. Ce matin, je suis partie en auto et j’ai arrêté deux minutes plus tard… au coin de ma rue. J’étais arrivée à destination. J’ai collé mon auto très très près du fossé pour ne pas embarrasser le peu d’automobilistes qui passent… eh bien, en un clin d’oeil, deux autos queue-leuleu ont passé tellement près de mon auto que je pensais qu’ils étaient pour arracher les poignées… yikes! Soit que mon auto est invisible ou bien les couleurs ont vraiment de l’effet sur les automobilistes — qu’est-ce que vous en pensez?

Water Tower at John Abbott

The water tower at John Abbott was dismantled in June 2011 after 106 years of service as it was built in 1905. Maintaining this tower and its 44-foot tall steel water storage tank would generate high costs so it was decided to bring it down.

I love these structures, so this is why I decided to paint it. Painting from pictures is very different from painting “live” or on location. Pictures have a one-dimensional feel to them… they are lacking the 3D effect that our eyes take in when looking, touching and hearing. Also, when we are painting on location, all kinds of things happen… birds pass and chirp, raindrops fall and take away all of the watercolour paints, wind picks up and can make your sketchbook fly away, your fingers get cold, or hot, the watercolours take hours to dry in the cold… but there is something in the immediate surroundings that keep your senses on edge that no picture — even though perfect — can transmit.

Voici la vieille tour d’eau, qui n’est plus pour raisons pécuniaires et sécuritaires, au Cégep John Abbott. J’aime tellement ces structures, signes d’un autre temps. Peindre d’une photo, comme celle-ci, et peindre dehors est extrêmement différent. Les photos sont unidimensionnelles… tandis que la réalité, vue par nos yeux et nos sens, est plus que 3D… on pourrait dire 3D à la 3. Quand on peint dehors, tous nos sens sont éveillés. On entend les oiseaux pipitter, le vent se lever ou tomber, le cri d’une sirène, le soleil qui bouge, les doigts gèlent, les nuages arrivent et enlèvent nos ombres, et en plus de problèmes réels comme des bourrasques de vent qui emportent nos papiers, les pinceaux qui tombent par terre, les papiers qui s’envolent… même si il semble avoir beaucoup de désavantages à peindre dehors, rien n’y équivaut. C’est tellement plus sensible et excitant et vrai!