It’s a gift that the snow has come early this year because I don’t have to search for what the white shapes will be in my sketches. The weatherman promised some breaks of sun today (those radar maps never seems to be accurate!) and I was hoping for shadows in the snow but the sky was overcast, making for a very flat scene. Despite that I was happy to be out in my car sketching the day. I have painted this street in Ste. Anne de Bellevue many times. I’m always attracted to the little sliver of river at the end of the road and, although I didn’t capture it convincingly, an oh so tiny reflection of the houses on the other side.
I usually paint little still lifes in my kitchen where there are multiple sources of light — light from the window, lights in the ceiling, lights over the counter — and this results in all kinds of weird overlapping cast shadows, some diffuse and some quite defined. I started this sketch in the morning with only natural light hitting the tops of the fruit, but I had to leave for work before I was done. When I finished it later in the day the daylight was gone and the overhead lights cast much more defined shadows on the cutting board. There’s really only one solution to this problem: quit my day job and get my sketches finished in one sitting.
It’s hard to find colour in the winter landscape. On a cloudy day there’s warm greys and cool greys and sometimes a pinkish tinge in the sky over the lake. You have to sit and stare for a good long time to pick up the subtleties.
It was a good day to try out some new brushes that just arrived. I bought a set of Scroggy’s Loose Goose brushes and it turns out that they are exactly what I was hoping for to create foliage and branches. The floppy squirrel hair does all kinds of unexpected things. It seems to have a mind of its own and that keeps me from making branches that are a little too tidy and predictable.
I loved drawing my student Fadia. We have a lot in common, I think. We both like the same tv shows and share a love of cinema. That rapport made it really easy to draw her. She volunteered to sit, knowing that I always bring my drawing supplies to school on Thursday. And she was a great model too. Thanks Fadia.
There were two exciting events in the Montreal area last night. The first was a mysterious, very loud boom and flash of blue light around 8 p.m. The second was our first snowfall of the season. Turns out the boom was most likely a meteorite and since I couldn’t draw that, my sketch today is my rusty wheelbarrow under the oak tree. The tree that always sheds its leaves AFTER the snow falls.
The grey November landscape hasn’t inspired me much but there’s snow on the way tonight. In the meantime, a bunch of bananas allowed me to work a bit in my very small Moleskine sketchbook, something I haven’t picked up a while. With this I tried to keep the washes clean and loose, and not touch the surface of the paper too many times in one place.
These old oil containers are a bit like vintage signs and they reminded me of something a teacher once told me: when painting signage on a building, it’s better to paint only parts of the letters and let the viewer fill in the rest.