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.


Boom or rust?

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.


A bunch

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.


Three in one

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.


A frame within a frame

I love working within a small frame on a bigger sheet. It allows me to see the composition much more effectively than if I cover the whole page with the drawing. And if I had another hour today I probably would have done a few more of these clementine compositions just to see how many variations on a theme I could come up with. It’s an interesting exercise when you have a few minutes.



Scarf pillow

Today’s post is inspired by the blog Sketchbook Warrior. Jason Pearlman draws quite often on the Washington metro, often capturing the interesting faces of DC that he sees on his way back and forth to work. I love his simple line drawings and his observations about people, especially the tidbits of conversation that he overhears.

Unfortunately I don’t ride the metro as often as I’d like to. I’d certainly get a lot more drawing done and spend a lot less on gas. But I did get to do a little drawing today after another museum visit with my students. I love this guy who sat across from me having a long nap inside his scarf.


Taking it on the road

In part two of beta testing my Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook, I took it on the road to try it out in my car studio. Once again it passed the test. I can pile on pigment and load up the washes, and the thick paper stays flat. I even tried some wet-in-wet on the distant trees. And the true test for watercolour: I can easily lift out areas that were too dark like in some of the far fence posts. So far so good with this book.


Beta testing

Last week I experimented with a bunch of small samples of Stillman & Birn sketchbook papers. My favourite was the Beta series so this week I am trying out a full sketchbook of 7″ x 10″ sheets. I haven’t changed my opinion. In fact, I love the paper even more now that I have a larger sheet to work on. It takes the washes beautifully and it’s a pleasure to paint on such thick white paper (180 lb). The surface is cold pressed but it’s not overly textured nor too smooth. Just right.



Lots of wind last night — so intense that it shook the house, rattled the windows and woke me from sleep. Despite all that, the leaves are still on my oak tree. Most of them, anyway. When I opened the front door to pick up the newspaper these two were on the threshold. I love the tiny perfection of the small one.


Stargazer, again

I was really hoping to have time today to turn my lilies into a painting but I only had time to do another sketch, this time with pen and wash in a bigger sketchbook. It’s always fun to get out my rarely used tube of Permanent Magenta and splash it around a bit. And add a bit of colour to an otherwise very grey November day in Montreal.