:: 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″
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



:: 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