:: 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



:: Ottawa and its’ lovely trees ::

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
     Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
     And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
— Housman

Had a fabulous time in Shari Blaukopf’s “Painting trees” workshop today in Ottawa. It was a short workshop, 3.5 hours and perfect! My husband walked the whole time through the beautiful streets of Ottawa and bought some food at the Byward Market and I painted the city’s beautiful trees. Wow! Shari mentioned, quite a few times, that when you paint trees you have to leave them alone after awhile and not fuddle too much with details… I tried my best not to, and hardly did I swear -))) We went straight to paints, without any ink or pencil lines… cool.

We also received beautiful presents from #Winsor&Newton too. Watercolour tube paints, a paint palette and some info. Very nice indeed.

Paper: Handbook Field Watercolour Journal
Colours: New Gamboge, B. Sienna & French Ultramarine
Location: Plaza Bridge, Ottawa, Ontario

Roman Baths

My second day with Jane Blundell and her 5-day bootcamp and I have to say that it is quite wonderful… she is a natural teacher, knowledgeable,very nice and has a good rhythm. Not too many demos, always interesting information and we learn a ton! And it is pertinent information, not common or generic knowledge, which I appreciate -) Being a teacher myself, I am aware that teachers tend to be very fussy students –)

Guy and I went to the Roman Baths after the workshop today and we were impressed. It is funny.. when I was in Istanbul and Ephesus two years ago and we were visiting the ruins, these ruins belonged to the Greeks. Today I had the same feeling, to the Romans that arrived in 46 AD! However, as I am presently reading Rutherford’s Londinium book on the history of this city, I know that these ruins belong here and not elsewhere… reading is important for understanding our world.

Paper: Stillman & Birns
Colours: Naples Yellow, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine & Pyrrol Crimson Location: Pulteney Bridge, Bath, UK.

The Maski :: Le Maski

“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.”
William Shakespeare, The Tempest

For those of you who know the St. Zotique region, here is the view from the resto-bar Le Maski on the main road. Those mountains are in Vermont on the other side of Lac St-François which is a beautiful lake… a lake where I grew up and when I see it makes me reminisce of those days gone by. I have many reasons to celebrate today… it was our last day of teaching, I spent the whole day correcting the final term projects, and I took the time to paint… which fills my heart. So all in all it was a good day. When I started painting I wanted to make angry skies as the electricity stopped three times today because of high gusts of wind and there was thunder rumbling and this was painted just before the tempest.

Pour ceux entre vous qui connaissent le lac St-François vous allez probablement reconnaître Le Maski, un resto-bar populaire dans la région. Les montagnes en face sont situées au Vermont, de l’autre côté de ce beau lac qui me rappelle tellement mon enfance au bord de ce chef d’oeuvre. J’ai beaucoup de raisons de célébrer aujourd’hui car la dernière journée de cours est arrivé et c’était aujoud’hui. Donc je suis dans le mode de corrections et j’ai quand même pris le temps de peindre pour commémorer cet heureux événement. Quand j’ai commencé à peindre je voulais faire un ciel chargé car il y avait du tonnerre et de forts vents et ce matin c’était le calme avant la tempête. 

Paper: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue, Mayan Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Le Maska, St-Zotique, Québec, Canada


The art of living :: L’art de vivre

“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”
Alan W. Watts

One of my long ago students posted a video “Using space to find oneself” of Alan Watts today and I listened to it while I was painting these poinsettias. Once I had painted the flowers, I took my fountain pen to go over the lines…. which is unusual in itself as I habitually draw first and paint afterwards… as I decided to try it the other way around today. It makes the lines really pop and almost seem caricatural.

Un de mes élèves que j’ai enseigné il y a bien longtemps a posté un vidéo de Alan Watts intitulé “Using space to find oneself” et je l’ai écouté pendant que je peignais ces poinsettias. Habituellement je dessine avec ma plume fontaine avant de peindre mais aujourd’hui j’ai décidé de faire le contraire… dessiner les lignes après d’avoir peint. Ça donne un effet caricatural.

Paper: Pentalic Sketchbook
Colours: Rose Madder Genuine, New Gambodge, French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada


Pine King :: Le roi des pins

The master is the piece of paper, the watercolour you are working on at the moment, listen to it; watercolor is the boss.
— Josef Zbukvik (further quotes by Josef are found at the bottom of this post)

This is my third version of the same majestic tree. Speaking with other artists, they have told me that they often need to paint the same subject three or four times in order to get it right. Well… after three times, I would say that the “lone pine” has turned into the “Pine King” or should I say “KingPine”? As you will notice, all three trees have different personalities and that is due to artistic license, where the artist is accorded leeway (take out or add) in his/her interpretation of what is observed. This is what is tremendously liberating when painting a subject as opposed to taking a picture of it.

Voici ma troisième version du majestueux pin. En parlant avec d’autres artistes, ils me disent qu’ils doivent refaire la même peinture jusqu’à trois fois pour être satisfait. Eh bien, après trois fois, je dois dire que je suis satisfaite et que mon “pin solitaire” est devenu le “roi des pins”. 

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: St. Georges Road, Rigaud, Québec, Canada




















1. Painting precise locations is irrelevant; simply capture the character
2. Connecting shapes is most important, after that come tonal values. Color is last
3.  Analyze your subject; see the foreground, background, balance, shapes and tones
4.  The master is the piece of paper, the watercolour you are working on at the moment, listen to it; Watercolor is the boss
5. People are seldom still or rigid; they are off-balance in movement and animated.
6. Tone is the king; color is a mere assistant.
7. Watercolor will paint itself; if you let it.
8. Look at the subject; reduce it to a visual language.
9. Look at the values; where is the white, where is the light? How does it relate to the dark background?
10. Indicate, don’t state
11. Let the energy of the original line remain; don’t kill it with paint.
— Josef Zbukvik

Solitary pine :: Pin solitaire

Anything can be painted! The secret is not the subject, but how you perceive the shapes, values and colours. 
— Making Color Sing by Jeanne Dobie

When I woke up this morning I was not satisfied with yesterday’s painting… so I decided to paint it again, this more with more care and less giddiness (I think that I was giddy with happiness as my teaching semester is finished — now I am in correction mode). Yesterday I had used New Gambodge and it muddied my greens. So the first thing that I thought about was the quality of my greens as yesterday’s were too muddy. I opted for Aureolin Yellow (AY) and French Ultramarine (FU) where the darker blue can hold up the very light yellow colour in AY. I tried personalizing my greens today and I am happier with the result.

Quand je me suis réveillée ce matin, je n’étais pas satisfaite de ma peinture que j’ai peinte hier. En plus, j’ai utilisé la couleur New Gambodge qui rend la couleur boueuse. Donc je me suis décidée de la refaire, cette fois avec plus d’attention (étant donné que hier était ma dernière journée d’enseignement, je pense que j’étais assez désinvolte). La première chose que j’ai planifiée était la couleur des verts… et j’ai opté pour un mélange de French ultramarine et Aureolin Yellow car la densité du bleu compense pour la légèreté de ce jaune. Je suis contente du résultat.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey


Mother :: Maman

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
— John Ruskin

Guy and I went to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa today to visit John Ruskin’s Artist & Observer Exhibit, which ended today. It was wonderful! His art is awesome, and I fell in love with his art. He uses alot of lines, and he is a master with graphite… it was very inspiring. When we came out of the gallery, I decided to paint this giant bronze spider that is called Maman for Mothers’ Day. This giant bronze was created by the Franco-American artist Louise Bourgeois as a tribute to her mother. Happy Mothers’ Day!

Nous sommes allés au Musée national du Canada à Ottawa aujourd’hui pour voir l’exposition de John Ruskin “Artiste et observateur“. C’était incroyable — quelle belle exposition — et aujourd’hui était la dernière journée qu’on pouvait la voir. Il travaille beaucoup avec la ligne, les traits en encre et au graphite. Très très beau. En sortant du musée, pendant que Guy prenait un bain de soleil, j’ai décidé de peindre la sculpture en bronze d’une araignée géante nommée Maman… le jour de la Fête des Mères -) 

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber, Serpentine Genuine
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: Carbon Black Ink
Location: National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario


Old shed is gone… :: Vieille grange n’est plus…

Even though it was a rainy and foggy day today, I knew where I was heading when I jumped into my car with my painting materials. I was going to paint the old shed with the Calvaire mountain in the background. When I got there, I just saw a lump of earth and my heart sank… my beautiful old shed had been demolished. So here is the view, without that shed. I had already painted that shed last year, so here is the post.  While I was happily painting, a police car drove up and a very young cop came up to my window. He told me that I could not paint there as I did not have my hazard lights on, and that is was a zone of 70 km/h… therefore not allowed. So he told me to drive up a bit and park in the lane for tractors going into the field… I obliged, wondering where in my countryside I could find a lower speed limit… not much chance of that.

Même si aujourd’hui était une journée pluvieuse et brumeuse, je savais où je m’en allais quand j’ai sauté dans mon automobile avec ma sacoche et mes peintures… je m’en allais peindre la petite shed avec la vue incroyable du Mont Calvaire. Mais quand je suis arrivée, ma petite shed était disparue… elle avait été démolie! Donc voici la vue et vous pouvez voir ma petite shed comme je l’ai peint l’année passée ici. Pendant que j’étais en train de peindre, je vois une police s’arrêtée en arrière de mon auto et se diriger vers ma fenêtre. Elle m’a expliquée que je n’avais pas le droit de stationner sans mettre mes hasards car j’étais dans une zone de 70 km/h… elle m’a aussi indiquée de me diriger un peu plus loin où il y avait un passage pour les tracteurs pour se rendre dans les champs. Je me suis dirigée vers cet endroit en me demandant si dans mon patelin des zones de 70km/h existaient réellement… et je ne crois pas -(

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Serpentine, Cobalt Blue, Vivianite
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Chemin Harwood in Vaudreuil-Dorion facing Mont Calvaire


Numbered Memories :: Mémoires chiffrés

Créer, c’est vivre deux fois
— Albert Camus

Today is a memorable day for my husband and I. Thirty-two years of going out together, 30 years of living together and 16 years of marriage. Ten years of living in Rigaud, 323 painting posts, with an army of black flies waiting for us, just outside our door… life is good!

Aujourd’hui est une journée mémorable pour mon conjoint et moi. Il y a trente-deux ans nous avons commencé à sortir ensemble, 30 ans de vie commune et 16 ans de mariage. Dix ans de vie sur la belle montagne de Rigaud, 323 peintures publiés sur mon blogue et une armée de mouches noires qui nous attendent à notre porte… la vie est belle!

Paper: Travelogue Handbook Sketchbook
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Mayan Blue and Burnt Umbar
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Besner Clock on Victoria Street in Valleyfield



Sunny flowers for a rainy day :: Fleurs jaunes pour une journée pluvieuse

L’expérience est une lanterne que l’on porte sur le dos et qui n’éclaire que le chemin parcouru – Confucius

I would say that my greatest challenge in painting is deciding on “what” to paint. When I enjoy what I am seeing, my paintings usually turn out well… and when I paint something that I enjoy less, it shows. So tonight, I was prowling the house to find something to paint and none of my husband’s tools called out to me (I wonder why?), none of the objects in the living room, dining room or kitchen appealed to me. I even asked my dog to come with me and show me what he thought that I could paint… and he couldn’t find anything either. Soooo when I turned around and saw these beautiful yellow flowers, they waved at me — and I waved back — I had found my subject -) Tomorrow the Montreal Urban Sketchers are meeting in Griffintown, so if you feel like joining us, you are of course most welcome.

Je pourrais dire que mon plus grand défi en peinture est de choisir mon sujet. Je dois beaucoup aimer le sujet, et quand ceci arrive, mes peintures s’avèrent satisfaisantes. Mais quand le sujet est choisi trop vite, les résultats laissent à désirer. Donc ce soir j’ai marché de long en large dans la maison pour trouver un sujet. Les outils de mon mari m’intéressaient pas (je me demande bien pourquoi?), le salon, la salle à dîner, la cuisine, rien. J’ai même demandé à mon chien de venir faire une tournée dans la maison pour qu’il puisse m’aider, et lui non plus a rien trouvé. Et soudainement, je me suis revirée et les fleurs jaunes m’ont dit: “Peints-nous, peints-nous!”… et j’avais trouvé mon sujet -) Si jamais vous aimeriez vous joindre aux Sketchers urbains de Montréal demain matin, nous nous rencontrons dans Griffintown, et vous êtes les bienvenues.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Serpentine Genuine, tad of Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: My house in Rigaud



Service is love :: Le service est l’amour

In my experience, you will truly serve only what you love, because, as the prophet says, service is love made visible.
If you love friends, you will serve your friends.
If you love community, you will serve your community.
If you love money, you will serve your money.
And if you love only yourself, you will serve only yourself. And you will have only yourself.
So no more winning. Instead, try to love others and serve others, and hopefully find those who love and serve you in return.
— Stephen Colbert addressed the 2011 graduating class of Northwestern University. (credit: suntimes.com)

One of the blogs that I follow is “All about work” and this week a memorable citation was posted… so I am sharing it with you. Stephen Colbert will be replacing David Letterman on the Tonight Show!

My intense period of correcting and prepping for my classes is now over as I have marked everything that I needed to mark, and students know where they are going… so I now have two days in front of me to paint–so I embrace it with all of the love that I have for this activity, even though I am quite rusty from not having painted in awhile…

La citation ci-haut vient de Stephen Colbert qui va remplacer David Letterman dans le Tonight Show l’année prochaine.

Ma période intense de corrections et de préparation pour mes cours se termine et j’ai un peu plus de temps pour peindre… et je vais en profiter au maximum. Peindre me rend tellement heureuse et me donne un sentiment d’accomplissement incroyable… comme aucune autre activité. Je ne sais pas pourquoi…

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: New Gambodge, Mayan Violet, Serpentine Genuine, Indigo
Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada


Colour swatches :: Pastilles de couleurs

This exercise might seem and look futile for many, but it is not. As during the work week I doodle and draw more than I paint, the colours seem to leave my eyes. By doing this exercise, it helps me enormously as it keeps the colour combinations alive in my eyes and brain. Then I looked at these swatches and chose the ones that resonated with me for different reasons… some because of their beautiful lively greens, others for their wondrous purples and others for their greys.

Cet exercice pour certains peut paraître futile — mais oh! que non. Au contraire, il est nécessaire pour toutes personnes qui peint ou dessine avec des couleurs. C’est une très bonne façon de regarder les combinaisons de couleurs et regarder celles qui sont lumineuses, neutres ou simplement sublimes.

Paper: Larolan Sketchbook, Portugal
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: My house in Rigaud, Québec, Canada


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


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


Snow is melting fast :: Le neige fond vite

The temperatures have soared this past week and we had a high of 14C and the snow is melting fast. So I hurried out today for my last snow scene painting of the season as by this weekend, the fields will be filled with water. I used a paper that I used to love one year ago, and today it seemed strange and awkward for me… it was not working for me as it used to. I wonder why our relationship with watercolour papers change over time? I have heard this from other sketchers too. If you have any insights concerning this, or would like to share some of your thoughts with me, I would love to hear about it.

Les températures ont monté très vite cette dernière semaine et la neige fond vite. Je me suis dépêchée aujourd’hui pour peindre ma dernière peinture de neige pour cette saison car les champs vont bientôt être inondés d’eau. J’ai utilisé un papier aquarelle que j’adorais il y a un an, et aujourd’hui je n’étais pas à l’aise avec… la peinture ne coulait pas… les lignes étaient ternes. Je sais que je ne suis pas la seule qui réalise qu’un papier ne fonctionne plus, peut-être pour un certain lapse de temps? Si vous avez des idées pourquoi, ou si ça vous ait arrivé, faites-le moi savoir? 

Sketchbook: Larolan #10
Colours: Raw Sienna, Cobalt Blue, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Corner of Ste-Marthe and Très St-Rédempteur, Québec, Canada


Cup of tea :: Tasse de thé

Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.”
― Kakuzō Okakura, The Book of Tea

I had a gruelling day of corrections to do… it all started at 8:30 am and by 3:00 pm I was exhausted. I ignored the pains that my body was emitting and dashed off to visit my godmother who is in the hospital and then head off to visit my mother at the same time who unfortunately, was not there as she was visiting a friend in need. Painting a teacup seems simple if you realize that it has three ovals within it… once you get that, then it is simpler… A whiz at painting teacups is Liz Steel as she paints them almost on a daily basis… you can check out her blog here. So I am offering you a cup of tea today and I hope that you can savour its essence -)

J’ai commencé à corriger ce matin à 8h30 et à 15h00 j’étais totalement brûlée et épuisée. Ignorant les signes que mon corps me donnaient, je me suis précipitée pour aller voir ma marraîne qui est à l’hôpital et ensuite me rendre chez ma mère qui n’était pas là… j’ai su plus tard qu’elle visitait une amie en besoin. Donc aujourd’hui je vous offre une tasse de thé et j’espère que vous allez la savourer. Une fois qu’on comprend qu’une tasse a trois ovals, la tâche est moins difficile. Si vous aimeriez voir une whiz des tasses de thé, allez voir le site de Liz Steel, une australienne ici.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: Q. Deep Gold, Q. Violet, Serpentine Genuine, Vivianite
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship (Flexigrip) EF
Ink: Noodlers “Bulletproof” Lexington Grey


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


Shadows :: Ombres

“Art actually happens somewhere in the space between clarity and ambiguity, concept and intuition, thought and feeling.” 
― Bert Dodson, Keys to Drawing

I have been pondering on the quality of shadows and how to paint them and one of my Belgian WordPress friends came to the rescue. She did a bit of research and found that to have an acceptable colour for the shadows, in principle we mix three colours: the darkest shadow tone of the object with its complementary and some blue. I tried it today and she is right! Yeah! I am very happy as I have been struggling with my shadow colours. Merci Christine! This apartment building stands on the rue Champlain in front of Jamunik in Valleyfield and it was a beautiful spring day today — finally starting to get warmer.

Ça fait des lunes que j’ai de la misère à trouver la bonne couleur pour mes ombres et une de mes amies WordPress de la Belgique est venue à mon secours. Pour obtenir une couleur correcte de l’ombre on mélange en principe 3 couleurs : la tonalité la plus sombre de l’objet, sa complémentaire et du bleu. Et ça l’a fonctionné Christine — merci -) Ce bloc appartements est situé sur la rue Champlain, just en face de la Librairie Jamunik à Valleyfield. C’était une superbe journée de printemps aujourd’hui — finalement le temps se réchauffe -)

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Q. Gold, Q. Deep Gold, Alizarin Crimson & Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey


Corner of Du Marché Street :: Coin rue Du Marché

When I was very very young, my mother had told me that I could not go further than this corner… I remember full well one day of setting foot on the “other” side of that corner — the forbidden one!

Je me rappelle, étant très très jeune, que ma mère m’avait dit que je ne pouvais pas dépasser ce coin! Le coin de la rue Du Marché et du Chemin Larocque… je me rappelle très bien de la journée que j’ai déposé le pied sur le territoire “interdit”.

Paper: Travelogue Handbook Sketchbook
Colours: Alizarin Yellow, Q. Deep Gold, French Ultramarine & Alizarin Crimson
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey


Take 1, 2 & 3 :: Prise 1, 2 & 3

My mother gave fancy teacups to my little sister, who in turn has handed them over to me — so this is my chance to paint these dainty teacups. They look easy to paint, but I struggled. I struggled with my shadows — I always do — so after being unsatisfied with my first attempt, I ended up doing three. Let me know which one that you prefer? And is there anyone out there that has a recipe for shadows? I know that they should be a complementary colour, but phew! Not enough water or too much water on top of that. All in all I am happy with my teacups as when I paint, I am happy -)

Ma mère a donné de belles tasses à thé à ma soeur, qui à son tour me les a données. Donc voici ma chance de peindre ces beaux objets qui ont de l’air si facile à peindre… mais vraiment pas! Donc insatisfaite de ma première tasse de thé, j’en ai repaint deux autres, pour faire un trio. Dites-moi celle que vous préférez le plus? Et quelqu’un d’entre vous avez-vous une recette pour les ombrages? Moi ce que je fais est plutôt de prendre la couleur complémentaire, mais si vous avez une autre solution, j’aimerais bien la savoir. J’ai finalement eu le temps de peindre ce soir, et quand je peins, je suis heureuse )

Paper: Travelogue Handbook Sketchbook
Colours: Q. Gold, Q. Deep Gold, Q. Rose, Q. Violet and Schminke Cerulean Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

20140304_teacup 20140304_teacup2 20140304_teacup3

In Love with… :: En amour avec…

I have been waiting for today’s weather for quite awhile now… sunny and crisp, with beautiful long shadows and fresh snow. This has to be my favourite spot to paint in the Rigaud area as it has everything that I need and is easy to park my car-studio. Good light, a majestic mountain, strong winds, farm silos and a road… just missing the few coyotes passing along the road as last night there was a choir of them singing around my house.

I have fallen in love… with Saunders Waterford CP paper -) It is splendid! It can take tons of water, “beads” very well, is forgiving when you want to “pickup” some of the excess paint, “blooms” beautifully when you need it to and agrees to being “pulled”. It is expensive paper but well worth it.

Ça fait un bout de temps que j’attendais une journée comme aujourd’hui. Ensoleillée et froide, je me suis précipitée dans mon  automobile-studio pour peindre mon endroit préféré dans la région de Rigaud. Cet endroit a tout ce dont j’ai besoin… une belle montagne, une rue, des silos, des champs… il ne manquait que les coyotes, qui hier soir se sont regroupés autour de ma maison pour chanter en choeur -)))

Paper: Saunders Waterford 140 lbs. CP 8″ x8″
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson & Cobalt Blue
Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey



Commission: an order for something, especially a work of art, to be produced specially. I wanted to explain the steps that I go through when I receive a commission from a client. For this example I am working from a reference photograph. I also wanted to mention that I never post a client’s final painting as that painting does not belong to me anymore… it is theirs -)))

1. Composition Sketch: the first step that I take is to figure out the composition… I think and sketch about the various elements for the painting and where to place them… will I add a tree there or keep the houses in the background? Usually I create three of these.
2. Tonal Value Sketch: I then pick the best composition, and figure out the main highlights and tonal values of the sketch and pick one colour (usually Payne’s grey) and apply three values to a rough sketch. The one colour is applied at difference intensity levels (75%, 40% and 15%). This is the sketch that I am showing you today. I must add that I will do the compositional sketch right after this, as I have not yet figured out if I will leave the houses as they are in the photograph or put trees instead…
3. Small sketch in colour: In a sketchbook, in a much smaller size than the real size, I then “try out” a rough coloured version of the painting and see where that brings me. I might have to do two of these. This is where I choose my triads.
4. Real size sketch in pencil: Once that I am satisfied with my small sketch, I move on to a very high quality paper and draw everything at the client’s required size with a #7B pencil (quite soft lead so that it does not scratch the watercolour paper as this may create gutters and lines in the watercolour).
5. Real size sketch in ink: Then I go over the pencil lines with ink (if necessary or required).
6. Final version of the painting. Voilà! In the hopes that it is to my liking, as I am “the” most difficult person to please -)

Pour ce blogue je voulais expliquer les étapes que je fais quand je reçois une commande d’un client. Pour cet exemple, je travaille d’une photographie de référence que la cliente m’a envoyée.

1. Croquis de composition: la première chose que je dessine sont des “thumbnails” ou des tout petits croquis de composition. Est-ce que je vais garder les maisons à l’arrière ou est-ce que je vais les enlever et mettre des arbres au lieu? Est-ce que je vais mettre l’horizon au centre ou plus haut ou plus bas?
2. Valeurs de tons: Ensuite je fais une étude de valeurs de tons. J’utilise pour ceci qu’une couleur avec trois intensités différentes (à peu près 15%, 40% et 75) pour démontrer les tons clairs, sombres et moyens.
3. Sketchbook: Je fais un croquis dans un “sketchbook” en couleurs et c’est là que je choisis mon triade de couleurs… des fois je peux en faire 2 ou 3 de ces croquis.
4. Grandeur réelle: papier aquarelle d’une très grande qualité (Saunders Waterford 140 lbs CP) et je la coupe à la grandeure désirée, dans ce cas, 11″x14″, et je dessine au crayon #7B (un crayon gras pour ne pas abimer le papier).
5. Encre: Après je retrace avec une plume fontaine remplie d’encre (si nécessaire ou désiré).
6. Peinture finale: peindre la peinture finale en espérant qu’elle soit à mon goût car je suis la personne la plus “critique” de mes peintures. Des fois je dois refaire 2 fois…

Paper: Larolan Sketchbook #10 – 5″ x 8″
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Pen: Twisbi Classic EF
Colour: W&N Payne’s Grey


Four Barns :: Quatre granges

I asked my Mom the other day which of my paintings that she preferred and she told me Memoirs of Hadrian. As I had painted it in a small sketchbook, I had to paint it again… and again… and again, as I could not tear off one of my pages in the sketchbook. Now suffice to say that this is the final version. It is funny how drawing on location is so different from painting from a photograph… alive compared to uni-dimensional. I painted this on Saunders Waterford HP (Hot Pressed) paper and it is a very smooth paper, compared to all of the bumps that we encounter with CP (Cold Pressed).

J’ai demandé à ma mère quelle peinture qu’elle préférait de toutes les peintures que j’ai faites… et elle a indiqué Memoirs of Hadrian. Étant donné que je ne voulais pas défaire mon cahier à croquis en enlevant une page, j’ai décidé de lui repeindre les quatre granges… encore… encore… et encore. C’est vraiment drôle comment différent l’acte de peindre en plein-air et peindre d’une photo. Peindre en plein-air est vivant… d’une photo, quasiment mort… unidimensionnel. J’ai peint cette photo sur du papier Saunders Waterford HP qui est sublime! 

Paper: Saunders Waterford 140 lbs HP 12″ x 9″
Pen: Sailor EF Fountain Pen
Ink: Black Carbon Ink

Celtic Goddess :: Déesse celtique

A painting for a children’s story… or someone a tad older. I had the chance to be present when a live model and a few props accompanying her created a very gothic/celtic atmosphere — even halloweenesque? What I really enjoy about this class is that Marc Taro Holmes is really pushing us into unknown territory (at least for me) and is very honest in his critiques.

Une peinture pour un livre d’enfants… ou un peu plus vieux. J’ai eu la chance d’être présente lors de cette séance de modèle vivant et son étayage donnant une atmosphère assez gothique/celtique… même halloweenesque? Ce que j’aime le plus de la classe de Marc Taro Holmes est qu’il nous pousse dans un territoire inconnu (au moins pour moi) et qu’il est très honnête dans ses critiques. 

Paper: Arches paper 140 lb CP
Colours: Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine and Raw Sienna.