La Casa

Painting completed my life.
— Frida Kahlo

Using a triad of colours, you can get a myriad of colours just by mixing them… from greys to browns to greens to purples. The sky was painted with Prussian Blue, in its pure form and the side of the sidewalk was painted with Burnt Sienna. Everything else is a mix of the three basic colours. Amazing how you can get so many colours out of only three. The red, Pyrrol Scarlet, was added for the rent sign. I chose one cool colour and two warm colours for this painting, but I could have chosen all warm or all cold for different results.

Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna & Prussian Blue
Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon

Remembrance “Poppy” Day :: Jour du souvenir

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.

— Hermann Hesse

For this day I give you two versions of a poppy field. Just to remember the braves of our country and to hold them in our thoughts. My husband prefers the first one on the left, and I think that I prefer the one on the right. Which one do you like? Just curious… Y a-t-il y a une peinture que vous préférez entre les deux? Si oui, laquelle?

Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states, and many countries around the world, since the end of the First World War to honour armed forces members who have died in the line of duty. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918.

Paper: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook #25
Colours Left: DS Q. Gold, DS Raw Sienna, W&N Cerulean Blue, DS Prussian Blue
Colours Right: DS Q. Gold, DS Raw Sienna, W&N Cobalt Blue, DS Prussian Blue
Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon Pen
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Ink Black

Gradients & Saturation Levels

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
— Pablo Picasso

So today is another fun exercise. Playing with saturation levels results in beautiful gradients. The idea here is to start with your paper tilted to at least 30 degrees so that the “bead” of water can run downwards. Secondly, prepare your colour so that you have enough to cover the paper and by saturating it to the correct level (meaning that the watercolour should not be wishy-washy but swirl when putting your brush in it). Pressing firmly on the mop, the first horizontal stroke is with clear water, make sure that you have a bead before continuing. Next stroke with a higher saturation level, until, in the end, you reach 100% saturation (meaning no water). I used a brush Mop #4 for this exercise. After the first stroke of water, do not add any more water to the mix. Midway you will dip directly into your colours to get the saturation level higher.

My favourite is the mix of Ultramarine with Burnt Sienna and I don’t know if you can see it, but at the bottom of the gradient, the texture almost looks like wood or wool. So interesting. My second favourite is the middle one. So which one do you think would be best for a stormy sky? Which one would be best for an early morning sunrise? Let me know what you think…

Now the trick to all of this is being able to apply this technique in an actual painting. Hah! Peut-être qu’il y en a entre vous qui comprennent ce que je veux dire…

Paper: Etchr Sketchbook, size A4, 11.4 x 8.3 in [29 x 21 cm]
Colours Left: DS Ultramarine Blue + W&N Burnt Sienna
Colours Centre: DS Ultramarine Blue + W&N Burnt Umber
Colour Right: DS Cobalt Blue + W&N Burnt Umber
Brush mop: da Vinci, casaneo #4

:: Moe’s Rusty Day ::

Permit the brain to separate from the hand.
Soften your vision, focus beyond and before.
Allow yourself to be “entranced” by your work.
Feel a “process” rather than an outcome, and…
Live in the life of the brush, chisel, roller.

— Painter’s Keys

September 1st already and I am really not ready for autumn! After many months of not painting nor drawing, the deadline was today. So to get out of this artistic break as we might softly say, I decided to choose my most difficult challenge. Faces!!! I was never good at these, and I would like to be better, and with practice I know that I will, and that goes for everyone.

There are many flaws in this drawing, but especially in the painting values. They are all either too vibrant or too soft… it is a question of getting back into watercolours also, to test the value of the wash and know when I put down my brush it has the correct value. The proportions of the face are too long or not wide enough. The hues are not diverse enough, but hey! This is how we learn. To analyze what is wrong, and to rectify for the next painting. And persevere and move forward.

I have been following for years the “Queen” of drawing faces, and she is found here. You will see that she is quite amazing… makes it look so bloody easy -)))

Moe’s Haircut

Paper: Pentalic Aqua Journal 8″ x 5″
Watercolours
Fountain Pen: Pilot Namiki SEF
Ink: DeAtramentis Black Document Ink

Who loves water & trees… I do!

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

Well, I have finally retired and now I will have more time to paint, draw, play music, read… and just relax.. anyway that is the plan for the moment. So I am slowly prepping back up and will be back soon on this blog to make it come alive again. Been too long. This pandemic has been too long. Here is a painting that I did in 2020… and I still love it!

Watercolours: Hansa Light, Q. Gold, Burnt Sienna, Q. Rose, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Indanthrone (C)
Paper: Fabriano 12″x9″ CP
Reference photograph

:: 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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:: 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

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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

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