Lunch music

Here’s another view of the students in a lounge at my school at lunchtime. Looking around the room I realize almost everyone is on some sort of device. That makes them pretty good drawing subjects because usually they sit still for a long time, giving me the chance to capture their gestures. And being a teacher, I am virtually invisible to them. They look around occasionally to see if any friends have shown up but a teacher in their midst outside of classroom time is of little or no interest to them. Perfect!


The girl with pink hair

I was drawing students  on my lunchtime break today and I decided to paint this with no pen or pencil lines to start. Straight to paint!! Working this way requires that you look at only the big shapes and that you pare them down to the essentials. And it helps if you can lose some edges. For example, have a look at the way I treated her left arm and hands. One white shape with no lines in between. This is the first page of my 11th watercolour sketchbook, a book that will be used exclusively for working this way. No pencil. No pen. Just painted shapes. I’ll keep you posted.



Any drawing practice is time well spent, even if you only have a few minutes. Taking the time to look at an object in space, or the shadow it casts on a surface or how its planes catch the light are all valuable ways of training the eye. Even if you realize later that part of the power cord leads to nowhere, you have at least learned to look a little better next time.


Chocolatier Marlain

Maybe I was thinking of Valentine’s Day when I headed towards this little chocolate shop in Pointe Claire village, although now that I look at the final painting I think it might have been Hallowe’en instead. I painted this same building last year when there was just a sprinkling of snow on the ground. It was hard to find contrast in the overcast light today: white house, light sky, snow on the ground and no shadows, so when I added the tree I think it gave it a little drama.

Painted from my car on Fabriano Artistico cold pressed paper, 140 lb, 9″ x 12″.


If a tree falls in the forest…

…can someone sketch it? In winter?

Apparently you can if you are wearing mittens, a hat, a warm coat and a double layer of socks. Since the colours today are primarily duotone, I used a black and two blue water-soluble pencils and a Pentel brush pen for this, adding the water to the shadows once I returned home.


February’s wheelbarrow

I missed an opportunity for some good car painting today. Only realized after I had done this from my kitchen window that I was missing a spectacular winter day with great long shadows on fresh snow. There’s always tomorrow…



Rose madder. Winsor violet. Permanent magenta. Not the colours that I usually use but how else can you paint orchids? Phalaenopsis