Category Archives: Sketches, etc

Quick sketches done mostly on a daily basis of home, cities visited and holidays.

July 2017

Plein Air, Greenwood House, Hudson, Quebec, 2017

“When clouds appear like towers the earth is refreshed with showers”. Throughout Quebec this summer we know this saying; we have daily downpours, showers and thunderstorms but regardless we find dry time to sketch outdoors.

Linda Drewry continues her Tuesday plein air outing  This past Tuesday we sketched at Greenwood House, Hudson, Quebec. Most of us have tried several times to paint this house and we always manage to miss or misplace a dormer, forget about aligning roofs, doors and chimneys.  A quote from their website helps explain this source of our problem with the origin and the house’s many roles and additions. Perhaps, we have a partial excuse for our faulty work.

Jean-Baptiste Sabourin first settled the Greenwood property in 1732. The original Sabourin homestead still stands and forms part of the house. The property remained in Sabourin hands until 1820. At that time, John Mark Crank Delesderniers purchased it. He intended it to be both a residence for his son, Peter Francis Christian, and a general store and trading post. In the 1840’s, it served as the first post office in the area. Greenwood was extended eastward on two occasions, in the 1820’s and again after 1860″.

Now the property and house belongs to the public when the last owner Phoebe Nobbs Hyde left it in her will to the Canadian Heritage of Quebec. For opening hours and events visit their website.

Below are my sketches from the south side of the house.

House and gardens, late morning, watercolour, 2017

 

House and garden in afternoon after four gardeners gave a weed and trim, watercolour, 2017

Charlevoix, Qc, 2017

The region of Charlevoix is a destination for outdoor painters. Canadian landscape painters, Charles Gagnon (1881-1942), James Wilson Morrice (1865- 1924), A.Y. Jackson(1882-1974), Bruno Côte (1940-2010) to name only a few, have painted here.

For us this year, no snow storm, freezing rain or bone chilling winds to hinder us. The morning is warm and sunny, we stop to visit at “Le Forgeron ” which is located half way up the hillside overlooking the village of  Saint-Irénée. We are welcomed with an offer of coffee, parking for the day and a panoramic view of the village and St. Lawrence River. Kindness of this sort is greatly appreciated.

St.Irénée, watercolour, 2017

By the afternoon the weather is holding with sun and a clear vista. I decided to drive to the village of Saint-Joseph-de-Rive and then sketched the row of houses on the northside of the railway tracks.

Houses on the north side of the tracks, watercolour, 2017

However, the following day rain and fog are threatening but hold off for the morning. Just enough sketching time in the village of Baie Saint Paul.

Ice Jam in the Bay, watercolour, 2017

Western Skyline, Baie Saint Paul, watercolour

On our final day we travelled north to Saint-Hilarion and Le Pied-des-Mont. We settled on the hill looking down on Ferme Caprivoix. We see the snow showers in the distance moving slowly in our direction, so time to paint.

Ferme Caprivoix, watercolour, 2017

My friend and wholesale supplier of Caran d’arch water brushes presented me with a new tool for sketching. This water brush pen has a 15ml fibre brush and a 20ml reservoir. It is a practical tool with the reservoir providing enough water from the pump to pool on the paper before adding pigments or alternatively squeezing the tip and then dipping in pigment to draw fine lines. Another good addition for minimal equipment when you need to travel light.

Village House, Les Eboulements, watercolour, 2017

If you visit the area ” a must see “is Les Jardins de Quatre-Vents, Malbaie ( tickets sold out for summer 2017). A documentary, The Gardener, 2016  by Sebastien Chabot is available for viewing this summer throughout Quebec and Canada.  A wonderful film about a world class garden, right in our back yard.

http://lepetitseptieme.ca/tag/quatre-vents/

Pont de Lune, Les Jardins de Quartre-Vents, Malbaie, Qc  credit for scene from the documentary, The Gardener, 2016

You can follow  Sebastien Chabot on Facebook for up to date information on the film.

Sculpt in Charlevoix , August 27, 2017  from noon, Domaine Forget, Saint Irénée, Sculpture Garden, Free, families welcome.

Show up and try this art form.

Day Trip, Mx

A  day trip to Tequila takes about 3 hours from our village. After about three quarter of a hour on the road we stopped in Compostela for breakfast at Camaheur Cafe II on Juraez.  It was plentiful and inexpensive – a good reference for next time. Before heading off, we visited the town plaza and quickly realized this needs another visit on another day. A sixteen century cathedral, the statue of Apostle Santiago, equestrian statue, a water fountain for the birds, bandstand plus a lovely manicured park to sit around and enjoy.

We arrived at Tequila and head to the modern distillery where the blue agave plant is roasted, fermented and distilled and bottled. Originally the Aztec fermented the agave plant to make the beverage octli with the alcoholic content of our beer. The town plaza has a stone church built in the 18th century, two beautiful large angel guarding the entrance and comfortable shady benches for us. Here again we needed time to explore and appreciate the architecture, statues, and surrounding stores but time is not endless this day.

 

Another day, we visit Compostela which is about 44 kilos from our village. We take the local Pacifico bus to Compostela, it is an inexpensive and reliable mode of transportation in Mexico. This bus stops outside of “Centro” a 10 minutes walk or taxi brings you to the town plaza. We enjoy the walk looking into several leather shops filled with sandal, western saddles, riding chaps and other equestrian needs.

As a tourist, we went for breakfast at Camaheur Cafe II not the main one on the square but on Juraez with a beautiful view of Sierra Madre in the distance as we walked the one block.

The town plaza is the jewel of this town.

 

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Circus, Jockey, 1898, Harvard Museum/Fogg Museum

As happens,  when I was looking for more information on the equestrian statue in Compostela, I find this wonderful drawing by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and this leads to Harvard Museum/ Fogg Museum,  Drawing: The invention of a Modern MediumPlease, take a look at the site if you have an interest in this medium and maybe visit the exhibition on until May 07, 2017.

Here a few of my sketches from February 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entrepreneurs, Mexican style

It is a pleasure to see individuals setting up and doing business here. Not much equipment is needed to set up the store front. It can be an old fishing boat moored on the beach; an existing wall with a few hangers, some rope and you have a clothing boutique; a space on the beach gives a food stall, plus add a large umbrella, smoking briquettes, a few stools and the groceries.

Clothing Boutique, Guayabitos, watercolour, 2017

Promenade, Guayabitos, watercolour, 2017

Snack Bar, LaPeñita, watercolour, 2017

Food Stall, Guayabitos, watercolour, 2017

Waiting, Guayabitos, watercolour, 2017

Eateries and other fine things

Food is the link amongst all of us. Beach food, street food, quick food and gourmet food are thriving in this small Mexican village.

Cheuy is on the beach pushing his wheelbarrow filled with local clams and oysters. We continue to buy from him at 50 pesos a baker’s dozen. We are told “do not eat food from beach vendors” but we do.

There is a congregation of food vendors on the beach where you can buy shrimp and fish brochettes served with rice and beans. Tasty and a generous portion makes it a great lunch. The price varies but starts at 50 pesos .

The best coffee is on the main throughway, Cafe La Ola. Barista Arturo serves cafe au lait, cappuccino or expresso and if steamed milk is one of the ingredients you get the art of the day. Closed on Thursday. Prices start at 40 pesos.

Cafe La Ola, Guayabitos

In the past week, we had the opportunity to visit Tepic, Nayarit. A gourmet supper was enjoyed at Emiliano, Zapata 91 Ote. Centro. It lived up to expectation and it ranks very well against the best. We enjoyed an appetizer of octupus and shrimp followed with a main course of clams and white fish in a bouillabaisse sauce accompanied with a basket of homemade bread. The ambiance of our evening was enhanced with live music by a local pianist and the art work of Manolo Roca offer to draw our portrait.

Earlier in the day we had a few minutes to enjoy the Plaza de Armas in Centro Tepic. There is a lovely water fountain surrounded by spouting frogs framed by the silhouette of the Tepic Cathedral, Our Lady of the Assumption. The neo-gothic façade is an important architectural feature of the city. I returned to La Peñita and was happy to find on the median strip a simple water fountain with 4 identical frogs. It is not as grandiose but when a local coconut vendor offered me a comfortable chair, I took up the challenge to sketch these frogs.

Frog Fountain, La Peñita, watercolour, 2017

 

Homage to all Mothers, Guaybitos, watercolour, 2017

 

Goddess of the Sea, Guayabitos Beach, watercolour, 2017

 

Passage to Ocean, quiet time for musicians, watercolour, 2017

 

 

Year of the Fire Rooster 2017

 

This January 28, 2017 the Lunar calendar celebrates the year of the Fire Rooster – focused, motivated and “cocky” . If your sign is a rooster – enjoy yourself it is not happening again until 2029.

There is an abundance of free roaming poultry here in this village. It should be an easy assignment to sketch a few but they are quick on their feet. I thought maybe wait till twilight but the Mexican proverb is “be prudent when walking or standing under roosting poultry, if the hen lets loose and soils you are in for bad luck but if the rooster lets loose and soils great luck is coming your way”.

Here is my interpretation completed in watercolour on Arches paper taken from Japanese artist O’Jay.

Fire Rooster, inspiration from Japan, O’Jay ,watercolour, 2017

The Rooster is an intergrated part of Mexican culture. Mass of the Rooster “misa del Gallo”  is part of Christmas Eve activities. The rooster is positioned on the roof of the stable in the nativity scene. There are a many version why the rooster is part of the Catholic sermon.

I continue to enjoy looking at street art and murals. Mexican multi disciplinary artist Isauro Huizar is one of those gifted artists able to balance architecture, design and art. His fantasy animal of half rooster and horse adorns the public wall of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. This hybrid creature is depicted on ancient Greek pottery and referred to as Hippalectryon. The pottery vessels depicts the horse head first and the hind quarters is a rooster including plumage, cone and talons, contrary to Huizar’s version.

Isauro Huizar, Fantasy animal, street http://ihc.mx/STREET-ART-2009

Cock-Horse, Greek Pottery, 540-530 BCE, Altes Museum, Berlin

Happy New Year 2017

Places to eat and sketch 2017

I return to my small Mexican village to avoid our harsh cold winter. Now, I can walk to my favourite places to sketch.

First stop is Ricos Tacos where the lady owner loves to decorate her establishment- a true visual artist. She loves greenery, orchids, recycled tires, flashing lights. On the menu are huaraches, pellizcadas, quesadillas.

Ricos Tacos, watercolor, Guayabitos,

Then to the town plaza where it is business as usual; Monday is market day until late afternoon, on a daily basis vendors pass through with all your beach needs and more. I see the flan man selling his ” wife’s recipe ” at 20 pesos and buy a wedge. This year workers are building by hand a permanent platform for the musical and dance fiesta starting later this month. It is an enjoyable space to watch the social landscape and listen to mass at the adjacent church.

Shovel and Wheelbarrow, watercolour, 2017

The early morning fish market is still happening up and down the beach. They start at sunrise and are closed at 10:am.

Beach Fish Market, watercolour, 2017

We are squeezed between the Pacific ocean and the Sierra Madre. As I walk along the beach I look towards the mountains and the passage way is waiting to be painted.

Passage way, watercolour, 2017

 

 

Merry Christmas 2016

Winter is here with days of cold winds and snow squalls. This being said, the train was a good option for a trip to Toronto to see Mystical Landscapes; Monet, van Gogh and More at the Ontario Art Gallery. Toronto is just as cold as Montreal but we decided the 20 minute walk from the train station was just what we needed. As we approached the gallery we enjoy the sweeping glass facade by Canadian born architect Frank Gehry and a huge outdoor sculpture by British Henry Moore. The gallery has over 900 sculptures and works of Henry Moore.

 

OAG, Toronto, photo by Mary Anne Sullivan

Mystical Landscapes has a wide selection of paintings by artists from 15 countries covering the period from 1880 to 1930. The eye catching names of Monet and van Gogh are the show stoppers.

There is a wide interpretation of mystical and spiritual landscapes in the exhibit. For example, Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele Landscape with Ravens, 1911 is dark and raw. Juxtaposition is the French painter Maurice Denis, La solitude de Christ, 1918. Here, the bright warm colour choice for the landscape reinforces the sole figure’s passive position and offers safety to mankind outside the sanctuary of the church. At this time, Europe was experiencing the first war from 1914-1918. Maurice Denis was a Symbolist and theoretican of the Nabis movement. In the same space we look at Post Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin, Vision of the Sermon -Jacob wrestling with the Angels, 1888. The choice of colours and complex religious story made it Gauguin’s first masterpiece. Bought in 1925 for 1,150 pounds by the National Gallery of Scotland it is now one of their finest purchases – Gauguin had offered to give it to the Church of Pont-Aven but “naturally they don’t want it”. The rooms are filled with paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, Piet Mondrian, Edward Munich, James McNeil Whistler, Paul Gaugin and many other lesser known artists.

The Canadian painters; Tom Thomson ( 1877-1917). Lawren Harris (1885-1970), Federick Varley ( 1881-1969) and Emily Carr ( 1871-1945) are well represented and it will be nice to hear the comments from Paris when this show opens on March 13 at the Musee d’Orsay, Paris.

As Christmas nears we celebrated the life of Cleo on our farm. She was a dog of unknown breed found at the SPCA over sixteen years ago.

 

Kleo. pencil sketch of dog

 

Merry Christmas and thanks for your support throughout  2016, Linda

Stewart Hall, Rental and Sales Gallery, 2017

The 2017 jury for the Art Rental at Stewart Hall Gallery have completed their selection. The vernissage is this Sunday October 30, 2016 at 2 o’clock. I am happy to have my oil painting Kamouraska as part of the collection. It was painted while the tide was out, to show off the lush green vegetation that grows under the salt water. Food forager know all about the marine greens in Kamouraska: beach peas, goat’s beard, sea parsley, sea spinach and sea asparagus.

tide out marshland vegetation

Kamouraska, 30 x 30 inches, oil on canvas, 2014

An added bonus this year was the detail from my painting Tidal Flats Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive on the 2017 Invitation.

 

detail, Linda Denis, Tidal Flats Saint-Joseph-de- La-Rive, 2015

detail, Linda Denis, Tidal Flats Saint-Joseph-de- La-Rive, 2015

 

Please visit the Stewart Hall Art Gallery: Hours, Monday through Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free admission-accessible by elevator

176, chemin du Bord-du-Lac/Lakeshore, Pointe-Claire, Québec H95 4J7  www.pointe-claire.ca

 

 

 

Summer Days, 2016

This past week we visited the exhibition of Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun ( French, 1755-1842) at the National Gallery of Canada which will end this September 11. She is a prominent 18th century painter with more than 600 portraits, 200 landscapes and this is her first retrospective. The Ottawa NGC gallery exhibition stated, “her talent, her extraordinary capacity for work and her social skills” were her outstanding qualities and we see this before our eyes as we walk through each room. Vigée Le Brun painted about thirty portraits of Marie Antoinette but with the start of  the French Revolution ( 1789-99) she fled quickly from France. Her talent and gifted skills continued to give her a portait career in Italy, Austria, Russia and England. She returned to Paris when her name was struck from the list of enemy émigrés.

Portrait of Marie Antoinette with Rose, oil, 1783

Portrait of Marie Antoinette with the Rose, oil, permanent collection Palace of Versaille, 1783

 

I received a gift of Caran d’Ache, Fancolor 15 from a friend and wholesale distributor of these products. The thin metal container is 11 cm by 28cm by 2.5 cm, is ultra light with a full range of pan water-soluble pigment: 14 in total plus a tube of white gouache, a nice mixing area and a small quality brush. I used it, as I do my regular watercolour pigments on a quarter sheet of Fabriano, cold press, traditional white, gsm 300. For myself, the small light size with a few larger brushes and water container make it an ideal plein air kit.

Plein Air, Coteau du Lac, Caran d'Arch, FANCOLOUR 15

Plein Air, Coteau du Lac, Caran d’Ache, FANCOLOR 15

image

Blockhouse, Coteau du lac, Caran d’Ache FANCOLOR 15, 2016

image

Mill, Coteau du Lac, Caran d’ache FANCOLOR 15, 2016

Here are some sketches completed during the summer at Linda Drewry’s favourite Tuesday plein air sketching group.

image

Pointe du Moulin, Ile Perrot, East/south view, 2016

image

Ste Anne de Bellevue Locks, northside, 2016

image

Ile des Moulins, water spray on pond,  Terrebone, 2016