:: Stressful Times ::

What one has most to work and struggle for in painting is to do the work with a great amount of labour and sweat in such a way that it may afterward appear, however much it was laboured upon, to have been done almost quickly and almost without any labour, and very easily, although it was not.
— Michelangelo

The public sector in the province of Québec which includes teachers, nurses and public employees are sitting at the negotiation tables and what I can see from afar is that there is no negotiations going on… the government has decided to go on austerity measures, even though they are giving themselves pay hikes of 55% per year. Argh! Anyway, while we were striking last week, I practiced some of my people drawing skills.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Location: John Abbott College, Québec, Canada


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:: Hirschfeld the line King ::

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.
— Phyllis Diller

If you type in Google images the name “Hirschfeld” you will find an artist that is a line king! Beautiful flowing lines, some in amazement, some in comedy, some tragic… oooh! What lines that he could draw. So here is my small line drawing of a thinking man.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Twisbi Classic EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada


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:: Doing nothing ::

“It takes a lot of time to be a genius.
You have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.”

— Gertrude Stein

Well today I arrived earlier at work and decided to draw this out sitting in my car. If someone had been watching me, they could have wondered what I was doing for such a time… as I am pretty sure that I appear to be doing nothing.
I work on a beautiful campus, and there are many little hidden gems just waiting for me to discover them. Here is one of the roads on part of the McGill Campus leading up to an intersection of sorts that leads to my part of the campus. There was a very soft light today juxtaposed to the harsh angles of the buildings that called out to me. The leaves are falling now and not many remain…

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Twisbi Classic EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: John Abbott College, Québec, Canada


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:: Models ::

Photos transcribe life
while paintings translate life.
— Edgar A. Whitney

Students make the most amazing models as they seem to be unaware of their surroundings. My favourite sketch today was of the two girls sitting at a table, with the one on the left sitting straight and the student on the right just looking soooo tired… A very typical scene at Cegeps.

Paper: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Twisbi Classic EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Cégep John Abbott College, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec, Canada


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Finally :: Finalement

Humans who spend time in the wilderness, alone, without man-made mechanical noise around them, often discover that their brain begins to recover its ability to discern things.
— Robert Anderson

Finally I was able to paint my beautiful home mountain. As some of you know, I went out to paint it last Sunday and a squall of winter weather charged in and took all of the beautiful autumn colours and transformed them to soft pastels. What you did not know is that I went back today and painted it again, in its full glory… humph! Maybe that I was a tad overly enthusiastic with my colours, but here it is.

Paper: Arches 140 lbs CP
Colours: QGold, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine
Location: Rigaud Mountain, Québec, Canada


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Singing Maple :: Érable charmeur

A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree without in some sort becoming a tree; or draw a child by studying the outlines of its form merely… but by watching for a time his motions and plays, the painter enters into his nature and can then draw him at every attitude. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Today is an important day in Canada as it is the federal election day. I live in a wonderful old town (1783) named Rigaud that has a population of 7566 and its mountain covers 47 square kilometers. Last weekend it was the Festival of Colours celebrating autumn’s colours and 50,000 people came to view the vistas provided by the peak on Mount Rigaud. From there you can see the Ottawa River, the Lake of Two Mountains, Lake St. Louis, Lake St. Francis, the Laurentians, Laval, Oka, Montreal, the south shore to Beauharnois and west to St. Anicet. And there is this singing maple that stands tall and proud, looking over its constituents.

Aujourd’hui est un jour important au Canada car c’est le jour des élections fédérales. Je vis dans une vieille ville (1783) nommée Rigaud qui a une population de 7566 et sa montagne couvre 47 kilomètres carrés. Le week-end dernier, c’était le Festival des couleurs et 50,000 personnes sont venues voir les vues du sommet du mont Rigaud. Du haut point, vous pouvez apercevoir la rivière des Outaouais, le Lac des Deux Montagnes, le Lac St-Louis, le Lac St-François, les Laurentides, Montréal, Oka, Laval, la Rive-Sud à Beauharnois et à l’ouest Saint-Anicet. Et il ya cette érable chantant qui se tient droit et fier, regardant par-dessus ses vistas.

Paper: Arches
Colours: Q. Gold, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine
Location: Rigaud Mountain, Québec, Canada


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Foggy Mountain :: Montagne brumeuse

Flow is being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.
— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

I decided to dedicate my whole day to painting as I have sorely missed it these past few weeks. When I arrived at this place, the sun was shining, the autumn colours were beautiful and as I settled into drawing mode, I had a flow moment — time kind of vanished — and when I looked up again, the mountain had disappeared behind a dense curtain of fog, there were pellets of snow dropping with a loud swoosh on my car window and the beautiful autumn scene was replaced by a nostalgic and eerily soft landscape, where forms were but a shadow of themselves. How could such a change happen in such a short time? Well, this changed my whole painting and I think that I should have used some white paint to dilute some of the intense colours. This is the first time that I ever tried painting a foggy landscape. It was also the first time that I have used Arches watercolour paper and it took awhile to adjust to it, and I loved it. It took well to alot of water and did not bloom easily or warp. Very nice!

J’ai décidé de consacrer toute ma journée à la peinture car ces beaux moments entre un paysage et moi m’ont réellement manquées ces derniers jours. En arrivant sur place, le soleil brillait, les couleurs d’automne étaient belles et je me suis installée en mode dessin et je suis rentrée dans un moment de flow. Quand je me suis levée les yeux, la montagne était disparue derrière un rideau de brouillard intense, des pastilles de neige tombaient sur le pare-brise et la belle scène d’automne était soudainement remplacée par un paysage nostalgique et étrangement doux, où les formes avaient disparues derrière leur ombre. Je crois que j’aurais pu utiliser de l’aquarelle blanche pour diluer les fortes couleurs, mais je n’y ai pas pensé. Ceci était la première fois que j’essayais de peindre une scène brumeuse, et je suis contente.

Colours: Hansa Medium, Raw Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine
Paper: Arches 9″x6.5″
Location: Rigaud Mountain, Québec, Canada


Here is an actual photograph of the scene so that you can see what I was seeing.


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Fall time :: Temps d’automne

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”
R. Buckminster Fuller

Fall is a busy time for me as school is in full gear with new courses to teach, family birthdays & visits, a profoundly enjoyable friend meetup for supper last night, the fall season is imploring me to paint it and of course various sketching events. Today was no exception as it was the Montreal Urban Sketching day at the Atwater Market which I missed, the Hudson Artists Plein-Air painting event which I managed to squeeze in late afternoon and of course my goddaughther Marissa’s 17th birthday celebration. So here are two value sketches that I managed to quickly draw while we were under the tent answering questions and inviting people to sketch with us. Twas a packed and wonderful day!

L’automne est un temps très occupé pour moi car l’école est en pleine effervescence avec de nouveaux cours à enseigner, anniversaires de famille & visites, une soirée entourée d’amis pour un souper qui a été fort agréable, la saison d’automne m’implore de la peindre, et bien sûr divers événements en peinture. Aujourd’hui ne fait pas exception car c’était la journée où les Montreal Urban Sketching se rencontraient au Marché Atwater que j’ai dû manquer, l’événement en plein-air des Artistes Hudson Artists que j’ai réussi à joindre en fin de journée et bien sûr le 17e anniversaire de ma filleule Marissa. Voici deux esquisses de valeur que j’ai réussies à dessiner rapidement alors que nous étions sous la tente à répondre aux questions et inviter les gens à esquisser avec nous. Une journée bien remplie!

Paper: Pentalic Sketchbook
Location: Community Centre in Hudson, Québec, Canada


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:: Vertically Minded ::

Life will break you. No one can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel.  It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could. 
— Louise Erdrick

Vertical formats are always fun to draw and sometimes the subject lends itself well to it. If you have long tree limbs, or a very long house or a sailboat that goes up and up are all enhanced by this format…. and sometimes just a big of leaves dangling from the top are ok too. This was painted with two of my friends the other day and I totally forgot to post it, so here it is.

Paper: Pentalic Sketchbook
Location: Pointe-Claire Yacht Club


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:: Rectify ::

Practice any art: music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
— Kurt Vonnegut

I am a subscriber to Danny Gregory’s blog posts and today he really touched me as he was experiencing with the sad state of his art form as he had been too busy with other “stuff” and I really related to what he was saying. If you want to read his post, here is the link. So he motivated me to take up the pen and just start drawing again even though we canned 100 lbs of tomatoes today and are quite pooped out… and happy with a job well done -) I sketched these faces as my husband and I are binge watching a Netflix TV series named Rectify… worth watching!



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:: Hudson Yacht Club ::

— It’s a lang road that’s no goat a turnin.’ —(goat = got)
Translation: Don’t lose heart in dark times, things can’t keep going in the same direction forever. Thinking of my Dad today and of my Scottish heritage, a small saying pronounced in Scottish for this post. —

The only place where you are comfortable today in southern Quebec is near the water… so I drove down to my village’s closest neighbour, the town of Hudson, to have a view and worship its fine breezes on the wharf next to the Hudson Yacht Club, which is a gem of a place. There is a small free parking space, a nice wharf with big cement pillars, a few trees to provide shade and fantastic views. You may have noticed that my sailboats have lines going through them… well, when you are plein-air sketching, things that were not there, suddenly appear and that is part of the fun.  I thought that today looked like a Cobalt kind of day, so I used lots of it.

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 140 lbs
Colours: Hansa Medium, Raw Sienna, Burt Sienna, Cobalt Blue & Violet.
Location: Hudson Yacht Club on Wharf Road20150906_hudsonYacktClub

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:: Metamorphoses: in Rodin’s Studio ::

“It’s very simple, my drawings are the key to my work.”
–François Auguste René Rodin (1840-1917)

Went to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see Rodin’s Metamorphoses Exhibit and it was inspiring, in a 3D kind of way. It was actually daunting to see minuscule sculptures and enormous ones… they actually took my breath away. The exhibition is divided into many facets, such as the Creation Laboratory, The Cups, Scale of the Infinite, Marbles & Practitioners, Didactic Room, Models, Bronzes & Founders, Druet/Bourdelle and Hannah & Arcand and yes for Quebecers, it is “the” Denys Arcand film director, screen writer & producer extraordinaire! I drew in pencil Marianne Russell’s Wearing a helmet, or Indian Bacchus which Rodin created in 1888.

While I was drawing Marianne, a little girl of about 6 years old was looking over my shoulder and asking me questions, for the whole time that I was sketching this. I wondered where her parents were as she seemed alone for at least half an hour. Anyway, she looked very closely at what I was drawing and then remarked: “Are you copying what you are seeing?” and I answered: “I am trying to copy, to the best of my ability”. She seemed to be toying with the idea that “copying” was ok I guess -))) While all of this was happening, Suzanne Marinier, a fellow Montreal Urban Sketcher suddenly appeared at my side and sat next to me and we spoke for a few minutes. As I was nearing the end of viewing the exhibit, I noted another Montreal Urban Sketcher, France, and I saluted her… and we spoke for a while! It was nice to encounter other sketchers -)))


Je suis allée au Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal pour voir Métamorphoses, l’exposition de Rodin. C’était intimidant de voir de minuscules sculptures justaposées à  d’énorme/gigantesques sculptures… à couper le souffle en réalité. L’exposition est divisée en plusieurs facettes comme le Laboratoire Création, Les Coupes, Échelle de l’infini, Marbres et praticiens, Chambre didactique, Modèles, Bronzes, Druet/Bourdelle et Hannah & Arcand et pour les Québécois, Arcand c’est bien “le” réalisateur Denys Arcand, écrivain, scénariste et producteur à l’écran extraordinaire! J’ai dessiné au crayon Marianne Russell que Rodin a créé en 1888.

Alors que je dessinais Marianne, une petite fille d’environ 6 ans regardait par dessus mon épaule et me posait des questions. Je me demandais où ses parents étaient comme elle semblait seule pendant tout ce temps… argh! Quoi qu’il en soit, elle a regardé de très près ce que je dessinais et a ensuite remarqué: «Est-ce que vous copiez ce que vous voyez?” et je répondis: «Oui je copie, mais je préfère dire que j’observe, au meilleur de mes capacités.” Elle semblait être perplexe à l’idée que «la copie» était ok je suppose -))) Suzanne Marinier, une compagne des Montréal Urban Sketchers est soudainement apparue à côté de moi et nous avons jasé une couple de minutes. Ensuite, comme j’approchais la fin de l’exposition, j’ai rencontré une autreMontréal Urban Sketchers, France, et nous avons piqué une jasette! Très agréable de rencontrer tant de gens qui ont les mêmes affinités -))) Ensuite j’ai vu une ancienne copine de Valleyfield — yeah!

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Location: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts


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:: Sailboats ::

When Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding
in favour of the war effort,
he simply replied:
“Then what are we fighting for?”

I painted today with my two friends, Linda and Chi Mai at the Pointe-Claire Yacht Club on beautiful Lake St-Louis. It was a pleasant afternoon to paint, the big clouds were beautiful and the company very pleasant. And this day is memorable also as it would have been my Dad’s 90th birthday — I still miss you dear father!

Tomorrow the Urban Sketchers of Montreal are meeting at Pointe-à-Callière in Montreal at 10:00 for the 18th Century New France Market. I hope to make it in the afternoon if my school preparation goes well in the wee morning hours as the semester is starting this coming Monday — let the prepping, correcting and teaching begin -)

J’ai peint aujourd’hui avec deux amies, Linda et Chi Mai au Club nautique de Pointe-Claire sur le lac St-Louis. C’était extrêmement agréable de peindre avec elles, accompagnées de très beaux nuages et une belle journée. Cette journée est aussi mémorable car Dorland “Dee” aurait eu 90 ans aujourd’hui! Tu me manques encore Dad -)

Demain les Urban Sketchers of Montreal se rencontrent à la Pointe-à-Callières à 10h00 pour la journée Le marché Public dans l’ambiance du 18e siècle. J’espère de pouvoir y être en après-midi si ma préparation pour mes cours va bien. Le début de la session commence ce lundi — la préparation, corrections et enseignement commencent -)

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP
Colours: Raw Sienna, New Gambodge, Burnt Sienna, Perylene Maroon, French Ultramarine
Location: Pointe-Claire Yacht Club


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Expectations galore :: Attentes illimitées

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
Marilyn Monroe

Sometimes you decide to draw or paint in a way that later on you wonder what you were thinking… and this is one instance. The painting is fine, however the vertical lines in the background seem to show that there is a fence… and fences do not exist around here -) I was in a creative moment as I am trying to “stop” visualizing beforehand what the finished painting should look like . I think that when we have images that form in our brains of what the painting should look like in the end, we are settting ourselves up for disappointment… as it never turns out the way that we had imagined. Most of the times, it is better than what we had imagined, but because it is different, we beat ourselves up as we have not met our expectations.

Parfois, en décidant de dessiner ou de peindre d’une façon qui, plus tard, vous étonne… la peinture peut-être très bien, mais les lignes verticales dans l’arrière-plan semblent montrer qu’il existe une clôture. Pour mes moments créatifs j’essaie de m’empêcher de visualiser à l’avance ce que la peinture devrait ressembler à la fin. Je pense que lorsque nous avons des images qui se forment dans nos cerveaux, la déception est souvent au rendez-vous…. 

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk Pen
Ink: Carbon Black
Location: Rigaud, Quebec, Canada

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:: Nature ::

It is no longer sufficient to describe the world of nature. The point is to defend it. (Edward Abbey)

I decided to draw perched on my gallery facing the brook and the forest today. When you do sit down and really look at nature, it absolves you. It releases and relieves you… the hummingbirds were coming to drink, batting their wings to a drumroll, my dog was resting at my feet, the chickadees were chirping and the sweet sweet sound of goldfinches were calling all around me. Twas a nice finale to this cool Tuesday. It is hard to believe that people still do not believe in global warming… it seems as though people think that to take care of the environment means elsewhere… but it is here and right away that needs protection.

J’ai décidé de dessiner du haut de ma galerie, faisant face au ruisseau et à la forêt aujourd’hui. Quand on s’asseoit et qu’on regarde réellement la nature, elle nous absout. Elle nous libère et nous soulage … les colibris sont venus boire en battant leurs ailes comme un roulement de tambour, mon chien se reposait à mes pieds, les mésanges pépiaient et le son tellement doux des chardonnerets tournait tout autour de moi. Une belle finale pour ce mardi frais. C’est toujours incroyable de penser qu’il y a des personnes qui ne croient pas au réchauffement de la planète… il semble qu’ils pensent que c’est ailleurs… mais c’est ici et tout de suite qui a besoin de protection.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk Pen
Ink: Carbon Black
Location: Rigaud, Quebec, Canada


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