Playing Around

I am doing some technical exercises right now. It’s quite basic, but it’s one way to get into the swing of things, without over thinking. Let’s call it rediscovering acrylic on canvas.

I’ve painted with acrylics before, but it’s been a while, and the available products on the market have expanded a lot. More importantly, I am looking to expand my style, but feel a little daunted. So getting acquainted with the materials again is a good way to get the ideas flowing.

It’s a bit like getting back to the violin after playing the piano for a while. I have to practice my scales. And as in music or dance, it’s a good thing to go back to basics once in a while, for practice and for inspiration. It always yields something.

On loose pieces of canvas, I am trying out different kinds of marks, with a brush or some newly available painting instrument, doing color tests of superpositions in opacity and transparency, fluidity and thickness, while testing different painting mediums. Developing a familiarity with my tools will facilitate spontaneity later on.

 

Meanwhile, I am thinking about compositions with thumbnail size sketches, a habit I developed early on during my illustrator days. It allows me to visualize quickly an idea without going into details.

So here I am, progressing slowly in a complex world.

 

 

 

Louise Jalbert, ” Technical tests in acrylic on canvas”, 2018, 30 x 36 inches and felt marker drawings in sketchbook, 8.5 x 11 inches.

Counterpoint

A thread that runs contrary to the other threads, interlacing the fabric together.
A voice that sings differently while amplifying the other voices.
An intention that underlies the flow of a new year to live.

Read author and Bouddhist teacher Jack Kornfield’s article on intentions

What underground current will carry my thoughts and actions this year?
I choose to create beauty and harmony.
Every day, in and out of the studio. It can be as simple as a smile.

That’s the thread. Now, I’ll go weaving.

Louise Jalbert, “Counterpoint”, Acrylic and collage on paper, 2002, 22 x 30 inches.

When Snow Falls

…we can’t help but stop and look, even if for a few seconds. The dance of snowflakes coming down silently and so softly is something of a miracle every time. For a moment, our attention is complete, suspended in time and awe.

May your Hollidays be filled with such moments of peace and joy, wherever you are. And may your time be slow so as to be with yourself and those you love.

Thank you for being on this page. Your curiosity and generous comments inspire me to bring you better content, every week.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hollidays!

I look forward to writing again on January 2nd.

Louise Jalbert, “Falling Snow”, Gouache on Paper, 2018, 9 x 12 inches

A Tapestry of Bark Paintings

During my 2017 solo show Le nez dans l’herbe, I put together a group of bark paintings on a wall.

I had been doing bark paintings, along with grass, foliage and water studies in the course of this series (Le nez dans l’herbe could translate as smelling the grass), and with each of those, I was fascinated by the endless variety of rhythm and color they inspired me.

The subtle and muted colors of bark take a significance when painted on a larger scale. Since the purpose of this series was to bring the visitor in contact with the sensorial aspect of nature, I thought putting up a wall of 22 x 30 inches bark watercolors would make a surrounding effect.

 

 

 

This is how it looked in my studio as I was preparing this ensemble.

 

 

 

 

 

I was pleased with the result (as you can see)
because this body of work brought me a step further in my ongoing research for expressing the sensorial aspect of nature.

 

 

Louise Jalbert, “Bark Tapestry”, 2017, Watercolor on paper, 5.6 x 10.2 feet

The Bareness of Bark

Once in a while, I like to get back to a feeling of bareness, of looking at what is essential, setting aside all the superfluous and complex and agitated in my life. Winter is a good time to do this, as nature itself is devoid of adornment.

For some reason, the bark of trees gives me the impression of bareness. Perhaps because I notice it more when the leaves have gone, or could it it be the restrained palette of browns and grays?

Yet, upon looking carefully at a single patch of bark, I see a whole world: intricate in patterns, complex in textures, with a great variety of nuances. Muted, certainly. But also rugged, strong, protective, and so discreetly appealing.

And so the humble bark conveys an invitation to see more in less.

Louise Jalbert, “Large Bark no 7”, Watercolor on Paper, 2017, 22 x 30 inches

A New Commission

A young couple of Montreal architects are asking me to do a painting for their downtown apartment bedroom. Based on their appreciation of my latest series, “Le nez dans l’herbe”, they would like a painting that evokes the impression of being in the foliage.

Since the painting is to be hung above their bed, my first idea was to do a horizontal format as in the sketch above, but that might change as I progress in defining what works best for this space.

I really appreciate their trust, even more so as they know I am presently creating a new body of work. This means I am not on top of things right now, and cannot foresee the finished result yet. But that’s how I create : I start with an idea, and/or a vision, and proceed with experimenting, testing, failing, adjusting until I reach a form that expresses the essence of my vision. I must allow time for trial and error which often yields an unexpected but good result.

Whether we are aware of this or not, each of us is continually in the process of creation : it could be a thought, a meal, a work project, a relationship, a career. In every moment of our lives, we can choose what and how we create. I am doing this commission now. What are you creating?

Louise Jalbert, “Jamais la fin d’été”, 2018, Gouache on paper, 14 x 34 inches

October in November

October is one intense month of color studies.

I never make it. That is, I never manage to paint all that I see, as each day offers such an abundance of inspiration. But every year, my efforts yield a new harvest.

In nature as in life, everything is constantly changing; we know that, though it is not always apparent. In spring, the color of some foliage appears with a tart yellow green that evolves to a deep rusty green in the fall. This is so progressive that we hardly notice it. Not so in October, where every day is a new festival of tantalizing color combinations, unmistakably changing.

As I am currently working in a bigger format of 22 x 30 inches, each sketch will take more time than would a smaller size. So I had to proceed quite rapidly from one to the other, chasing the fleeting light and color combinations before they disappeared.

And now, while everything is still fresh in my memory, I am completing them. Doing so, I am striving ahead into new territory, though this too, is not yet noticeable.

Louise Jalbert, “The Cherry Tree in October”, 2018, Gouache on paper, 30 x 22 inches.

Parle-moi d’amour

could me translated as “tell me about love”, but the expression really means sweet talk me into love. In the classic romantic song “Parlez-moi d’amour“, the lyrics tell how words of love can soften the bitterness of life.

Every year in Montréal, an important fundraising event called “Parle-moi d’amour” takes place in Montréal, curated by Les Impatients, a nonprofit organization that offers free creative workshops to people with mental health issues.

In this exhibition and auction, the artwork created in the workshops is hung along those of professional artists, and all profit generated is dedicated to supporting this mission. I will be participating in the 2019 edition, with the above watercolor, “Orange in August”.

I invite you to come and talk about love to some of us in great need of it. This is a wonderful opportunity to buy a work of art while contributing to a worthy cause.

When: February 13th to the 27th
Where: Atrium of the Wilder building, Espace danse,
1435 Bleury Street, H3A 2H7
Opening night: Friday, February 15, 2019
Louise Jalbert, “Orange en août”, 2017, Watercolor on paper, 11 x 15 inches, framed
Photo Guy L’Heureux