“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” — (Frank Lloyd Wright)
Even though this dog is unknown to me, he has spunk! Like many small dogs that I know, they are fierce little creatures when taunted and show courage and determination. I like his badass attitude when painting, but I really do not enjoy when they constantly bark at you. LOL -) My own big Golden Retriever is nothing like this. He is soft, gentle, intelligent, never barks (or hardly) and is very affectionate. He is also getting very old, on our daily walks he lags behind and is walking very very slowly. I fear that not much time is left for our big guy.
The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity. — Alberto Giacometti.
Here in Rigaud, Québec, Canada it snowed for the very first time yesterday and I woke up to a fairyland of white, fluffy, beautiful snow. The opposite of this painting from sunny Mexico! This is a typical Mexican scene, with the old cars, antennas, brightly coloured buildings and beautiful tiled roofs. It pays off to do the greyscale value thumbnails and the hue values also beforehand, even though today I did not respect my triad and went all out with many colours. The facade of the building is in Raw Sienna, but if I had to do it over, I would use Yellow Ochre which is an opaque colour with a bit of Q. Gold… it would make it livelier… but hey! I think that it is lively enough. Hope that you enjoy it. The sky is in a diluted Prussian Blue and it could have been a bit darker… but so much for that. It is finished, yeah!
Paper: Fabriano Artistico CP 140 lbs, 8″ x 8″ Colours: Mostly Hansa Light, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon Ink: De Atrramentis Document Black Ink.
There are many steps in painting. Long gone, for me anyway, are the days where the teacher would tell us, let yourself go, drop the paint on the page and see what happens. This method is clearly not for me. However, I do have two methods that I will share with you today.
Paintings that I do, just for the pure pleasure of painting them, are my most common method. I pick a photograph that I like that I have already photographed at some point in time, and I usually paint these in a sketchbook, directly, without any preliminary sketches or thumbnails. And because I do not create these important preliminary thumbnails, they often fall short!! To note, the photographs need to have a significant meaning for me, as in reflecting previous travels or closer to home when I am feeling at sync in my own environment… if the photograph does not have a specific meaning for me, it usually always falls flat.
In the second method, which is usually because I am painting for someone else in mind, like today, I again choose an image from my vast collection of photographs and then I draw carefully first in pencil. Once the drawing has been done, I then have two other steps that I usually do for a serious painting and for my own satisfaction. I create a greyscale “monotone” thumbnail to test out values, to see how they add up. For this version, I used an intense colour that is quite staining but does a good job with values as it is a very intense colour in its pure form. This step also helps me in determining what is important in the painting, and what is less important. If you look at my previous drawing, you will notice that I have a lot of details, and this step might help me afterwards if I decide to paint it a second time, with less detail…
What should always be done is first and foremost, value thumbnails and then hue thumbnails and only then the drawing, which I am regretting not having done at the moment. Sigh…
I then also try out different colours or hues seen below. For these two thumbnails, 2″ x 2″ approximately, on the left-hand side I used Cobalt blue and Raw Sienna as the main two colours. On the right-hand side, I used Prussian Blue and Yellow Ochre. Is there one that you prefer?
As you can see I drew first and then did my greyscale values and hues after having drawn… if I had done my greyscale thumbnails and values first, my drawing would definitely be less laboured and with less detail. Artists are usually tenacious and very hard-working and only stop once they are satisfied, well for me anyway, but looking at my artist friends, they are all like this.
Hope that you enjoyed this longer detailed post. Have a nice snow day -)
I am crazy about two colours: carmine and cobalt. Cobalt is a divine colour and there is nothing so beautiful for creating atmosphere. Carmine is as warm and lively as wine… the same with emerald green. — Vincent van Gogh
This wonky Friday portrait is just what I needed… a bit of craziness during pandemic times. I am having so much fun with these portraits, and I was long overdue. Today I used a Zebra Brush Pen from Pilot that I bought at JetPens. Everything is written in Japanese on the pen, so I can’t really read what is written. It gives a thicker line that I usually use and gives it a caricature-like quality which goes well with the model that I chose.
Paper: Pentalic Aqua Journal 8″ x 5″ Watercolours: Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Q. Gold, Alizarin Crimson & Ultramarine Pen: Zebra Brush Pen Fine LINK
Who loves trees best? I, said the spring, Their leaves so beautiful to them I bring. Who loves the trees best? I, summer said, I give them blossoms, white, yellow, red. Who loves the trees best? I, said the fall, I give luscious fruits, bright tints to all! Who loves the trees best? I love them best, harsh winter answered, I give them rest. — The Pearl Story Book” by Ada. M Skinner
For two days now I have been painting under Shari‘s wonderful guidance a stillwater view of a lake.
I struggle with every painting that I do and I guess that this is part of the fun and the excitement of it all? If it were easy, would I keep at it? Would it keep me challenged enough to find it interesting? I don’t think so. I must say that I will always question my competence, as this is part of my temperament. The key to learning and improving is to keep on doing it, without taking long breaks as I am doing… with the Covid-19 situation, my life has changed a bit and underneath my apparent calmness, there is a struggle and anxiety that is there. Today and tomorrow it will be there too. So because I have not painted in a while, I felt rusty and of course I redid the same scene three times… not once, twice but three times! And talk to any artist, and they know what I am talking about.
So if you can, I would be really interested in knowing which one of these three paintings that you love best? And could you let me know? As I am very curious -) Top one is A, middle is B and lower one is C.
Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts. — Charles Dickens.
I wish you health, love, wisdom & a long life!
Learning from the Masters such as Winslow Homer is illuminating! I discovered that I could mix the colour Burnt Umber, which is a brown, into the sky which I would never have done otherwise. I also learnt that all of his colours are muted, except for the woman’s hat, the sky, the sea and the date tree. I really enjoyed painting this. In a way it is much easier to imitate than to actually paint on one’s own as all of the figuring out has already been done for you. This one is for you Gaétan!
Paper: Stillman & Birn, gamma series, 6″ x 9″
Colours: New Gamboge, Raw Sienna, Pyrrol Crimson, Raw Umber, Cobalt Blue & Ultramarine
Original painting: Winslow Homer 1836-1910 “Along the road in the Bahamas
I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,
that it kisses them so gently?
And then it covers them up snug,
you know, with a white quilt;
and perhaps it says
‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’ — Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871).
The winter solstice, also known as midwinter, is an important day for us in the northern hemisphere as this is the day that has the longest night and the shortest day of the year… so this means that tomorrow the days are starting to grow longer… already! Ancient cultures viewed this day as a day of death and rebirth. This fills my heart up with joy as the promise of spring is coming, even if it will not appear before mid-April. And to add to this day, there will be a full Cold Moon.
Here is another beautiful poem by the great Ursula K. Le Guin
HOW IT SEEMS TO ME In the vast abyss before time, self is not, and soul commingles with mist, and rock, and light. In time, soul brings the misty self to be. Then slow time hardens self to stone while ever lightening the soul, till soul can loose its hold of self and both are free and can return to vastness and dissolve in light, the long light after time.
— Ursula K. Le Guin
“I’d rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; Because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star. I’d rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; For a might-have-been has never been, but a has was once an are.” (Milton Berle)
If I had one place to hang out on weekends in Montreal, surely this would be one of the places. You have it all! The waterfront, bike trails, old beautiful buildings, entertainment, great restaurants, tons of activities, exhibitions of all kind, a marina and I pass. And these beautiful vintage old silo buildings which are part of Montreal’s history!
What has roots that nobody sees is taller than trees, up up it goes and yet never grows? — J.R. Tolkien in Bilbo the Hobbit
I really juggled with the idea of participating in the #OneWeekOneHundredPeople Challenge by Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steele. Some of the reasons why I am reticent is that first I have tons of correcting to do and I wonder how I will find the time to draw 100 people. Also, drawing people is intimidating for me, and I lack practice so I thought what better way than to practice this skill? I did have to muster up my courage though.
So after having thought about it for awhile, I decided that for my first day I would find a photograph on the net of people sitting in a café where there would already be 20 people there. So one painting, 20 people, instead of several small paintings… yeah! A kind of a warm-up exercise.
A few months ago I had folded a huge 30″x22″ Bockingford 140 lbs sheet the way that Cathy Johnson teaches it on YouTube. If you would like to see how she does this, it is quite simple in reality and gratifying too! You can view it here. So this is the sketchbook that I am using today to fill with my 100 people -)))
So this is a warmup exercise as tomorrow I will be in Montreal and I might not find the time… so this means that on Wednesday I’ll do 40! On Wednesday I am planning on going in the afternoon in the mall at Fairview Pointe-Claire. So if some of you would like to join me, I will be there, sketching away.
Paper: Bockingford 30″x22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Cobalt Blue, B. Sienna, Mineral Violet
They shut the road through the woods Seventy years ago. Weather and rain have undone it again, And now you would never know There was once a road through the woods Before they planted the trees. It is underneath the coppice and heath, And the thin anemones. Only the keeper sees That, where the ring-dove broods, And the badgers roll at ease, There was once a road through the woods.Yet, if you enter the woods Of a summer evening late, When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools Where the otter whistles his mate, (They fear not men in the woods, Because they see so few.) You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet, And the swish of a skirt in the dew, Steadily cantering through The misty solitudes, As though they perfectly knew The old lost road through the woods. But there is no road through the woods.
— Rudyard Kipling
Winter has finally arrived and I greet it with a mixture of trepidation and awe as I actually enjoy all of our four seasons here in Québec. This weekend will be a busy one as I have student projects to correct, I am thrilled to be part of the Square Foot Art Exhibition on Saturday from 11:00 to 4:00 pm and I do hope to see some of you there. This is one of the paintings that will be on exhibit. Hope that you enjoy it.
As some of you already know, I love trees. I painted this majestic white pine two weekends ago while autumn was still in bloom right here in Rigaud. Does this poem bring you back to childhood?