Front yard

I often think of my teacher Ed Whitney, who I have mentioned many times before in these posts. His words came to mind today when I was painting the red door. He always taught us to put a little bit of a strong colour somewhere else in the painting, for balance. Luckily there was some red foliage at the front of the house and a bit behind the chimney.

Front Yard

Urban Sketching in Portland, Oregon

I am thrilled to announce that Marc Taro Holmes and I will be teaching a watercolour workshop in Portland, Oregon in August. The workshop will focus on capturing the environment around you in watercolor sketches. We’ll emphasize working quickly and making well designed compositions that tell a story and we’ll be doing lots of demonstrations in different locations. I’ve never been to Portland so I’m really looking forward to it — and to meeting all the west coast sketchers. Here’s the link with more details on the Urban Sketchers site.

On my way downtown to sketch I noticed no fewer than five cranes hovering above Griffintown. This little house was sandwiched between two bigger buildings but I bet it won’t be long before this whole residential row will be gone and condos built in their place.


Griffintown train bridge

When I don’t have a lot of time to sketch I end up going to the same place in Pointe Claire — down by the lake near the church. I think I have circled the same block a hundred times looking for things to paint. I haven’t counted how many posts were done on that block but there are most certainly a few dozen. On the weekend when I have a bit more time (and there’s no traffic!) I can head downtown for some new sketch material. This was painted in the south part of Griffintown, looking up towards downtown.

Griffintown Train Bridge

Heritage house

There are so many little historical houses in Pointe Claire Village but you need to be travelling slowly to see them. The Maison Gédéon-Legault, built around 1911, has a plaque on the side wall that you might only notice if you were walking by. It was fitting that the house next to it still had their Christmas lights up, considering that it snowed on and off today.

This was painted with a limited palette of cerulean blue, a bit of cadmium red, and lots of raw sienna and new gamboge for the yellow stucco.

Heritage House


This may possibly be the most beautiful week of the year — as far as trees go. The buds are really just starting to open, bursting with colours that range from pale greenish-yellow to dark red. In a fortnight the trees will leaf out to an even dark green but for this short period there is a citrine canopy in every direction.


The other side of the hill

I went to Lachine to sketch again and as I was driving along Lakeshore Road I spotted another great uphill view. It was only after I had been drawing for several minutes that I realized that some of the landmarks looked quite familiar. I was on the same street as my sketch of a few days ago but on the opposite side of the hill!

The Other Side

Storm moving

I tried to sit outside to sketch today but it didn’t work out. I was pretty optimistic as I left my house because the storm system that has been hovering over Montreal for the past few days seemed to be moving out. The sun came out and blue sky appeared in places so I packed my travel stool with the hopes of sitting outside. The sky was very dramatic by the lake — and very turbulent —but I forged ahead, setting up my chair, taking out my paints and sketching this little panorama. But by the time I started adding colour massive black clouds moved in, big drops of rain started hitting my sheet and I had to scurry back to the car, defeated.