Category Archives: Uncategorized

December 2014/ Peter Rabbit

It is always difficult for me to start a post but this week my artist friend Chi Mai helped me out. She has challenged us to send her a Christmas postcard by regular mail. This week her french cousin sends her this gem.George from France post card

I fell in love with this sentimental landscape. Rabbits, throughout history have touched our heart and as subject matter in the art world have a dollar value. Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) known for her Peter Rabbit tales also illustrated and marketed christmas cards. The Arrival, sold at London Sotheby’s for £121.250 and The Departure for £289,000 ( july 18, 2006). The christmas card was invented by Sir Henry Cole in 1843 when he had too many cards to write by hand. He would love the e-card available to us now.

Beatrix Potter, The Arrival, christmas card painted about 1892

Beatrix Potter, The Arrival, christmas card painted about 1892

Beatrix Potter, The Departure, christmas card painted about 1892

Beatrix Potter, The Departure, christmas card painted about 1892

The most famous rabbit or hare is by Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). Animals at the time Dürer painted the hare were not generally considered to be appropriate subjects for serious art. By the 20th century in Europe, George Stubbs equestrian painter changed the attitude and animals took their rightful place in galleries and auctions. If you want to e-card the image of The Young Hare to a friend go here and fill out the form.

Young-Hare-, watercolour and gouache ,1502, 251x226mm

To all my followers, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2015.  Many thanks to all who took the time to add comments. I appreciated these comments and it made me happy not to think I was writing to a blank space.

Thanks, love your drawings of Peter Rabbit

Stewart Hall Art Rental & Sales collection

Each year since 1967 Stewart Hall Rental in Pointe-Claire,Qc  offers artists a chance to submit their works to be juried into their annual rental and sales. This year the collection is open to view from October 25- November 23, 2014. Vernissage is Sunday October 26 from 2pm until 5pm. Stewart Hall is located at 176 chemin du Bord-du-Lac, Pointe Claire, Qc, H9S 4J7. Monday through Sunday 1pm to 5pm and Wednesday 1pm to 9pm. All welcome, free admission. I have been fortunate to be part of this collection for several years. In the past my landscapes have been chosen but this year my water fountain buddha. Please visit and enjoy the variety of works.

Buddha, acrylic, 30x30

Buddha, acrylic, 30×30

Paris

Santiago_Rusiñol_-_Boats_on_the_Seine_-_Google_Art_Project

Santigo Rusiñol, Boats on the Seine, oil, 1894

After the Zbukvic workshop, I have Saturday and Sunday mornings free before I leave for Montréal. Chi Mai has offered to show me a part of Paris I have not seen in previous trips. We start by buying the best croissant in Paris at  Les Gateaux et du Pain. The plan for the day is to walk from Gare Montparnasse to La Seine. La touche Française continues, it is the weekend of the  Journées Européenes du Patrimoine  en Île-de-France with free entrance to cultural events and museums.

ink sketch in Venezia Sketchbook

First, we stop for a quick sketch in the square Saint-Germain-des- Prés. We sit on a bench in front of Bernard Palissy statue; I sketch in ink with my Lamy pen. Palissy was famous for his unique ceramic pottery. In 1563 he received the title of King’s Inventor of Rustic Ceramics and following this award Catherine de Medici commanded him to decorate one of her palace in 1567.

 

Within 20 minutes we are off, making a brief stop to view the Wallace Fountain on Saint-Germain-des-Prés. This is one of many public water fountains designed by Charles Auguste Lebourg and financed by the Englishman Richard Wallace. A recognized world symbol of Paris. Most of the fountains still provide potable water from March 15-November 15.

Place de Furstenberg Paris

Place Furstenberg photo by Chi Mai

 

Place de Furstenberg ParisA quick turn here and there, we arrive at Place de Furstenberg to hear voices rehearsing for a free concert under the trees. Another sketch in pencil in my Venezia sketchbook. Just to our left the studio home and now museum of Eugène Delacroix awaits us with no line up. The last residence of Delacroix from 1857 until his death in 1863.There is a quiet serene garden adjoining the home, a great place to sketch but not today.

Niki de Saint Phalle photo by Chi Mai

Niki de Saint Phalle photo by Chi Mai

Onward, I catch a glimpse of a sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle ( 1930-2002) in a gallery window. A French-American model, sculptor, painter, filmmaker and perfumer. I recalled the images of earth mother referred to as “nanas” with big bodies and small head. I remember the quote a mother figure is both a creator and destroyer which was shared by her contemporary Louise Bourgeois. Her love of making these sculptures would cause fatal emphysema from toxic polyester fumes in 2002.

 

 

We see the  Beaux-art de Paris l’ecole nationale supérieure 14, rue Bonaparte is open to the public. No line up here and in we walk to architecture, sculptures, library, paintings, busts and anything related to the beauty of art. Time for a rest before the rainstorm hits. We sit next to the Seine and sketch. Big dark clouds are threatening thunder and rain. Time to be quick and take the metro.

Sunday morning, free lectures at the La Coupole at 11am by Thomas Dufresne, art historian and member of  the historical society of the 14 arrondissement where the brasserie is located since 1927. The art decor interior is exceptional and little has changed since it’s beginnings. The patrons during these years are household names like Jean-Paul Sarte, Simone de Beauvoir, Hemingway, Picasso, Coco Chanel and many more with their black and white photos adorning the walls.

Campaign to save the kiosques in Paris

Campaign to save the kiosques in Paris

Monsieur Z. at Maison Blanche, Fr

quick sketch by Joseph Zbukvic 2014

 

Words of wisdom from M. Z.

Does a duck swim?  When do you put the onions in the soup?  So easy a child could do it!  

 We came for a watercolour workshop with Joseph Zbukvic but received a lesson in how to live. La touche Française Quoi!  We begin with an introductory supper at Maison Blanche, starters are mousseux, appetizers and then progress to a sit down dinner. You serve yourself to a buffet of  terroir ; cultivated or wild edibles, duck and pork from the region of Périgord. To accompany the food, Sandi the owner and cook has placed local wine bottles along the table: your choice rosé, white or red. Maison Blanche is a small manor of eight rooms with a detached studio located a few steps away. The studio is situated in an large stone building well equipped for watercolour workshop, large long tables, overhead mirrors and a refreshment table of Medaglia D’Oro instant coffee, bottled water, boxed biscuits and Lindt chocolate, swiss or surfin ( the french word for “superior quality”).

We sleep at Madame Viviane Chauveau  in the village of St Barthélémy de Bussière about 9 kilometres away. Breakfast is included: all local organic ingredients, Nontron cutlery, Limoges porcelain served in the main Périgourdine family home. For other occasions, a gentle walk up the hill and within five minutes you arrive at Auberge Du Presbytère. For supper the menu du jour is a excellent buy at 11.50 € extra for a glass of wine 2 € plus bottled water 4 €. Viviane is a wonderful congenial host. She speaks English and is glad to help out with small items you may not have packed. Vivianne knows the area of Périgord Vert.  Where to find the best foie gras, what day the local markets are open or what historical landmarks need to be visited.

We have travelled here for Joseph Zbukvic watercolour workshop. It is a multi language group most have French as their mother tongue. Mona is the hired official translator. Another added bonus, we increase our French vocabulary: La goutte becomes Mister Goutte or referred to in watercolour terms as the bead. Many thanks to Mona for enriching our classes with humour, encouragement and impeccable French.

Joseph is there to teach us the rudiments of watercolour but a lot of what he says applies to other painting mediums. There is information specific to his approach on DVD, youtube and some have managed to download his book. Here is a good description of his  watercolour technique presented to us at Maison Blanche.

Are you an auditory, visual or a tactile learner? Joseph uses them all.  For myself it reminded me of driving a stick shift, hopefully it would be an Audi A4. You need to synchronize clutch, gears, sight and listening to have a smooth ride. The same thing in watercolour, if your timing is off ” you are cooked”. You need to pay attention to the instructions, listen well, observe well, have the right equipment. You may kangaroo hop a lot at the beginning but practise makes perfect.

Off topic but almost on topic, the crazy way Robin Williams imitated Quebec mannerism. It made me laugh and think there is a thousand ways to paint clouds.

MONSIEUR Z À LA MAISON BLANCHE. Fr

Quelques remarques du sage M. Z.

Un canard peut-il nager? Quand met-on des oignons dans la soupe? Si facile qu’un enfant peut le faire.

Nous avons participé à un atelier d’aquarelle avec Joseph Zbukvic, mais avons reçu en plus une leçon de comment vivre. La touche Française Quoi ! Nous avons débuté avec un diner de bienvenue à la Maison Blanche; débutant avec mousseux et hors d’œuvres et par la suite, un diner en bonne et due forme : Buffet du terroir; légumes cultivés ou sauvages; canard et porc de la région du Périgord. Pour accompagner le tout, Sandi, propriétaire-chef, a offert des vins de la région, rosé, blanc ou rouge. Maison Blanche est un petit manoir de huit chambres avec un studio à côté, les pierres locales en granit,  très bien équipé pour notre atelier; longue table large, miroir au plafond et du Medaglia D’Oro, café instantané, de l’eau en bouteille, biscuits et chocolats Lindt suisse ou surfin.

Nous résidons chez madame Viviane Chauveau, dans le village de St Barthélémy de Bussière, environ neuf kilomètres de la Maison Blanche. Le petit déjeuner inclut tous les produits locaux, la coutellerie Nontron, la porcelaine Limoges, le tout servi dans la chambre familiale Périgourdine. Alternativement, une marche de cinq minutes nous amène à l’Auberge Du Presbytère. Pour le diner, le menu du jour est une excellente affaire à 11.5 € avec 2 € de plus pour un verre de vin ou encore 4 € pour de l’eau en bouteille. Viviane est une hôtesse hors pair. Elle parle anglais et est toujours prête à nous aider. Elle connait la région du Périgord Vert et nous indique où nous pouvons trouver le meilleur foie gras; le jour où les marchés locaux sont ouverts ou encore les lieux historiques à visiter.

Le groupe participant à l’atelier de Joseph Zbukvic est composé en grande partie de gens qui maitrisent le français. Par ailleurs, M. Z s’est assuré de la présence de Mona, une traductrice officielle. En bonus, nous avons amélioré notre vocabulaire français. La goutte devient M. Goutte ou en termes d’aquarelle, la perle. Remerciements à Mona de nous avoir aidé et encouragé avec son humour et son français impeccable.

Joseph nous enseigne les bases de l’aquarelle, mais plusieurs de ses techniques s’appliquent aux autres médiums utilisés par les artistes peintres. Vous pouvez retrouver les enseignements de M. Z. sur DVD, Youtube et même en téléchargeant son livre. Vous pouvez vous référer à watercolour technique, tel qu’il nous l’a présenté à la Maison Blanche. Que vous ayez une approche visuelle, auditive ou tactile, Joseph les utilisent tous. En ce qui me concerne, je fais un parallèle avec conduire une voiture manuelle en espérant qu’il s’agit d’une Audi A4. Il faut synchroniser les révolutions et les changements de vitesse pour obtenir une randonnée sans heurt. Il s’agit de la même approche en aquarelle : si vous manquez de « timing, vous êtes faits ». Il est nécessaire de bien comprendre les directives, écouter et observer et surtout avoir l’équipement nécessaire. Il est possible que vous fassiez quelques bonds de kangourou au début, mais avec la pratique, la perfection est possible.

Dans un autre ordre d’idée, mais quand même sur le point, il vaut la peine d’écouter Robin Williams imiter les maniérismes des québécois. Non seulement cela m’a-t-il fait sourire, mais cela m’a aussi fait penser qu’il y a mille façons de peindre les nuages

Autumn 2014

Mustard Fields, oil, 48x24

Mustard Fields, oil, 48×24

Before the cold snowy winter began last year, Chi Mai was searching for a suitable person to go to France with her. There were a few criteria: be able to drive a manual car, be able to thrive and to survive a watercolour workshop and above all be pleasant and agreeable.

So with little thought, I am off to France to pass 5 days with 18 participants at a Joseph Zbukvic workshop. My next post will be on this adventure. The word is out that one of the participants is a New York tattoo artist and watercolorist. If you follow my posts take at look at the Virgin Mary ; here the tattoo artist Wim Dalvoye work is on the back of Tim Steiner. Oddly, neither Wim or Tim  own the masterpiece.

The Hudson & Region Studio is the weekend of September 27-28 between 10 am until 4:30pm.Twelve artist have opened their studio to the public. Linda is one of these participants and I hope to see some interested people at my door on September 27. If you want more information please contact me here.

Here are some images of paintings from 2000-2014 in acrylic or oil on canvas.

acrylic, 30x30, 2013

Lion’s Head, acrylic, 30×30

Cherub, acrylic, 30x30

Cherub, acrylic, 30×30

Buddha, acrylic, 30x30

Buddha, acrylic, 30×30