Tag Archives: Watercolour

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

Public Spaces

When you sketch in public spaces you need to be aware of the present and let go of the doing. If an old lady is waving her shotgun from her porch or a young man is throwing pebbles, you maybe the target and maybe not. Time to move on and find another spot.

These happenings and others made me think about my senses- sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Usually, I am just interested in sight. Now I pay attention to; unfamiliar smells or noises, biting insects and inquisitive people… ” people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening”.

Sebastian Stoskopff (1597-1657), French Baroque, painted this still life of a young girl with symbols of the senses. In this era there was as many things to be aware of indoors as outdoors.

Sebastian Stoskopff, Five Senses of life, oil, 1633

Sebastian Stoskopff, Summer of Five Senses , canvas on oil, musée de l’Oeuvre de Notre Dame, Strasbourg, 1633

In this small Mexican village I continue to sketch and watercolour in “seguridad”.

Passage way to Pacific, Guayabitos, watercolour

Passage way to Pacific, Guayabitos, watercolour, 2016

Passage way to the beach, Guayabitos, watercolour, 2016

Passage way to Beach, Guayabitos, watercolour, 2016

Wall mural of Mexican symbols, watercolour, 2026

Wall Mural, watercolour, Guayabitos, 2016





Past and Present

By now if you follow my post you know one of my favourite artists is Frida Kahlo and we cannot mention Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) without Diego Rivera (1886-1957). Twice married they led a turmultous personal life but each a spectacular professional life.

Rivera was known for his involvement and participation with the Mexican Mural Movement beginning in the 1920’s. He painted big fresco murals in Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Chapingo, San Francisco, Detroit and New York City.


Diego Rivera, Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Almeda, central part, Museo Mural Diego River, Mexico City, fresco ,51x15ft, 1947-1948

The tradition of mural painting continues today, see video Aztec meets Urban. The choice of canvas is street buildings, lamp posts, benches; the tools of the trade stencils, freehand drawing, stickers, stencils, spray paint. Now, it is a supported and encouraged art form. Graffiti Festivals are sponsored throughout the world.


Street Art, Aztec meets Urban, 2015

Although not in my sphere of activity, I appreciate the vitality and talent of these artists.

I continue my sketching on paper and watercolour pigment along the beaches in La Peñita and Guayabitos.

View from Las Brisas, La Peñita, watercolour,2016

View from Las Brisas, La Peñita, watercolour, 2016

Meeting at Fishmonger, La Peñita,watercolour, 2016

Meeting at Fishmonger, La Peñita, watercolour, 2016

Brochetas, Guayabitos, watercolour, 2016

Brochetas, Guayabitos, watercolour, 2016


The Mexican way

My morning starts with latte art, a cappuccino made by barista Arturo at café La Ola in Guayabitos located on the main street near the Mini Super “Popin”. The café is closed Thursday.


Arturo, barista, Coffee and steamed Milk, 2016

Later in the morning more Mexican art. I open my email and receive a letter from my favourite and best source of art news. This girl does not disappoint and here is the proof –  Washed up:Trashed Landscape by Mexican artist Alejandro Duran.

February 2nd is a festive holiday, Dia de la Candelaria and I decided to sketch in the plaza next to The Church of Perpetual Help.

The Church of Perpetual Help, Guayabitos

The Church of Perpetual Help, Guayabitos, watercolour, 2016


Shrimp on a stick

Shrimp on a Stix, watercolour, Guayabitos, 2016

Most locals and tourist celebrated on the weekend with a three day holiday. This meant lots of vendors on the beach. The food vendors are my favourite to sketch as they are stationary with their beach kitchen. I am grateful to these workers as they do not mind me staring and sometimes measuring them up. They come over and laugh as they try to find their family in my sketch.




Dia de la Candelaria, Feb. 02

In Mexico, Febuary 2nd is a festive holiday. It is a mixture of past pre-Hispanic and present Catholic beliefs. One of twelve festive holidays, it falls forty days after Christmas. The action for this celebration starts on January 6th, King’s Day. A sweet bread, Rosca de Reyes is filled with small figurines of baby Jesus. If you bite into one of these figurines, you must share in the preparation of tamales and atole for Dia da la Candelaria. In Pre-Hispanic tradition, villagers brought corn to the church to receive the blessing for the corn seed planted and the hope of a plentiful harvest. Here in this village, Guayabitos, we attend mass and picnic on the beach. Others are more attentive putting a figurine of baby Jesus in a special niche after taking him to mass. If you chose to keep the baby Jesus at your house be prepared for visitors and to share your food. This commitment is for a year.

Pagans celebrate this day as a midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox. We celebrate it as Groundhog day. This morning the groundhog cast his shadows: three out of five times seeing its shadow. So we will have 6 more weeks of winter in Canada. Anything new there?

Back to sketching in my Venezia by Fabrino.

Passage via Jacqueline Hotel

Passage via Jacqueline Hotel

Water fountain, town square

Water fountain, town square

Waiting for a ale

Waiting for a sale



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.


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

Finale of Marc’s w.c. classes

Jackson Pollock,  you can’t learn technique and then try to be a painter. Techniques are a result.

Some of us in class have decided to adapt a copy of a master for our final project. Marc has tried to direct and inform; it is not through lack of  his efforts we fail.  Hopefully, we will get a shot of  neuroplasticity.

Marc has posted a copy of Sargent at citizensketcher.wordpress.com . It is nice when a teacher takes the time to do some of his assignments and comment on the journey.

Infanta Margarita of Velasquez is my inspiration.

In reference to infanta Maria Theresa, Velasquez

The difficulties were many but as in all projects, worth their salt; you have to own up and accept your limitations. I tried to solve some of my problems through google. I looked at many interpretations of the infanta and liked  the clarity of  Salvador Dali  the-infanta-margarita-of-velazquez-appearing-in-the-silhouette-of-horsemen-in-the-courtyard-of .  János Duschanek duschanek-janos-1947-cim-nelkul_836733 , watercolour showed a resolution  of simplicity  and colour that spoke to me. It was helpful to see his placement of figures and his use of pink, green and blue.

I tried my hand with Back from the Market by Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin (1739) | Beauty of Baroque ~ a weekly indulgence of art from an amazing era in class time.  Perhaps the method of tea, milk and honey is starting to become a reality for me.

Trying to copy Chardin