Two trees at the farm

The temperature outside is moving up towards zero. A definite improvement over the last few months, and a reason to get out into the car to paint. At Macdonald Farm in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, the farm buildings made a nice backdrop to the trees. I wasn’t really sure how I would deal with the very solid vertical shapes of the silos — almost the same value as the sky, yet slightly warmer in tone. After some thought, I decided to keep them light and let the trees do their dance in the foreground.

I was again experimenting with Canson Moulin du Roy cold pressed paper. For all the reasons I loved it for painting the figure earlier this week (softness and absorbency), it was so wrong (for me) out in the field. I couldn’t get texture where I wanted it (trees, branches, silos) and the big washes (sky, buildings) dried way to quickly for me to go back into them with more colour. It’s almost like working on hot press paper. It’s still beautiful stock, just not quite right for landscape where you want the paper to help you build up some of the texture that’s found in nature.

TwoTreesatFarm


27 Comments on “Two trees at the farm”

  1. TonyU says:

    There was me thinking how beautiful it looked. Then I read the bit about how much better it could have been on the right paper! Hard to see how that could be …. although I guess only you know what the day was like and what you were trying to achieve. I love it just the way it is.

    • Thanks for that Tony. I am not unhappy with the result. It’s just that because I paint often, I am expecting certain things to happen when paint touches paper. I know how much water is on my brush (which in this case was a lot) but it was a bit like painting on a paper towel that sucked up all the wash. So the result is just a bit stiffer than what I was expecting. More like an illustration than a painting. I like to be surprised by the washes, for them to do unexpected things but you can’t do that on this paper.

  2. Janice Kelly says:

    What rocks for me in this sketch is the sky. It’s wonderful. Ominous and looming contrasted with the sunny quality of the buildings.
    Cool.

  3. Ross says:

    It is probably the architect in me coming out, but I really like the elevational (not a word, again) treatment of the buildings.

    • I always have to look up these architectural terms, although I think you did mention this once before. I will remember it for next time. Thanks Ross.

      • Ross says:

        Sorry. In future I will try using smaller words in my comments.
        Now… what about this difference between “painting” and “illustration”? Would you like to try to define the difference (using small words)?

  4. Karen Kubovchick says:

    please put me on your mailing list for summer workshops. >

  5. karen Kubovchick says:

    Please email me info on the Montreal trip

  6. george smith says:

    Artists are often their own harshest critic. It;s lovely to absorb and study – a sketch done with masterful skill. The real point of it, for me, is the dogged determination you have to continue moving forward, regardless of obstacles. You inspire with every pen and brushstroke. Stay warm – I know because It’s unpleasantly cold where I am.

    • Thanks so much George. Yes, we are always our own harshest critics, but if we were satisfied with everything we did then we would have nothing to strive for, right? I hope it warms up wherever you are.

  7. I love everything about this piece. I know it’s more illustrative than you wanted, maybe that’s why I like it so much. I so appreciate your postings, pushes me to do new things all the time. Stay warm mon ami, spring is coming. John

    • Merci mon ami. Yes, as I mentioned to Tony in the comments, I like when the paint does unexpected things. If it just sits there then I might as well work with markers. But that’s just me and you are still allowed to like the illustrative stuff even if I find it too stiff.

  8. TonyU says:

    Seems I’m not the only one who enjoys your ‘illustrations’ as much as your ‘paintings’. No intention of starting a dialogue about the differences. I just know what I like when I see it, regardless of which it is technically or theoretically etc. And I can totally relate to the paper thing … I can still remember my shock the first time I tried hot pressed paper (for an illustration as it happens).

    • Tony, I always want the paintings to be looser than they are, hence my frustration with the paper. I think you and John are on the same page, and that’s fine with me too.

  9. Sharon Smith says:

    Ah The healing power of nature!!

  10. TonyU says:

    Hi Shari. I’ve long enjoy your skirmishes with Ross from the sidelines. But having set this particular hare running I hope neither of you will mind me joining in this time. As I’m sure you and Ross already know, the internet is full of views / ideas on the differences between illustration and painting / art. My distillations of personal favourites are that illustration is descriptive whereas art is interpretative; and illustration tells the viewer all they need to know whereas art requires some imagination on their part. Like I said first time round, if I like it, I like it … regardless of which it is. (Sorry for any long words Ross but if a Brit can understand them hopefully an Aussie can too.) Best, Tony

    • Ross says:

      Hi Tony… I thought I may as well thrown in my thoughts as it appears that Shari has gone on vacation.
      I haven’t looked up any of the discussions on the internet but I did like your descriptive/interpretative definition. I am thinking that the difference is in the reason or intent for producing the illustration/painting. Illustration (at least in my business) is there for communication… trying to communicate ideas or information to someone else. Painting (ie art) is there for expression… the artist is expressing their own ideas, impressions or visions… but not necessarily with the intention of communicating this to the viewer.

      • I’m just back from a short holiday in Bali and I’m really glad to see that you guys are taking care of things in my absence. You seem to have sorted things out nicely and maybe I don’t need to respond except to say that I agree with both of you about the difference between painting and illustration. From my own examples, I can say that I much prefer the type of result I was able to attain with “Sixth Avenue in Snow” https://shariblaukopf.com/2015/01/12/sixth-avenue-in-snow/
        or “Bar & Rest” https://shariblaukopf.com/2015/01/06/bar-rest/
        both of which were looser and left more room for interpretation.

      • TonyU says:

        Hi Ross… I like your differentiation too … there’s also the point that illustration generally earns money more often than art does … then again not many illustrations sell for £$ millions.

  11. TonyU says:

    I know it’s been cold in Montreal but Bali so soon after Costa Rica! Your book must be selling better than you’ve been letting on. Maybe next time you could reimburse Ross and I for keeping things going while you’re away.

    • Yes, that book is selling really well. So well in fact that I will be able to pay two commenters next time I go away. In the past, it’s only been Ross that was remunerated for comments but I can double my commenter allowance this year. Would you like to apply for the job Tony?

      • Ross says:

        A few words of advice Tony… don’t spend the money before you receive it; don’t make big lifestyle changes based on this offer; and get the remuneration amount quantified in writing.
        She is a tough boss… I even had to buy my own copy of her book!

      • I’m glad I sold at least one copy because that allowed me to get to Bali.

      • Ross says:

        Just imagine what you could do if somebody else bought a book as well! You could probably travel all the way to Australia [hint].

  12. Tony says:

    Shari’s being a little bit economical with the truth Ross. I bought her book too. Will be interesting to see if she wastes it on another pleasure trip to Bali or puts it towards a life changing trip to Oz? And thanks for your earlier advice about fees …wise words indeed.


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