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

October

I am in a bit of a rush now. We are nearing the end of October, and here in Québec, nature displays it’s usual feast of colors that is as ephemeral as it is splendid.

In these few short weeks, I try to gather as many impressions and sketches as I can before this wonderful richness of color turns into a more sober palette.

Just as squirrels are hastily searching and putting away food before the long winter, so must I proceed at a higher speed. This makes for a looser rendering, and less attention to details. Even if there are parts of this sketch that I could push further, I like the dynamism and imprecision that comes with a faster gesture.

In my aim to express what lies beyond the visible, an unrestrained hand is something worth exploring. And with these large, quick sketches, I am progressively defining a new phase in my work, one step at a time.

Louise Jalbert, “Lilac Tree in October”, 2018, Gouache on paper, 28 x 22 inches

Outside

is one of my favorite words. “Go and play outside, children”, my mother would say, and it was free time, winter as well as summer.

Oh! The snow forts we built and the fun we had on swings! Maybe that is why I so love to paint from nature, because I feel so alive outside. As soon as weather permits, I love to take my gear outside and work there.

For practical reasons, I use techniques like watercolor and drawing, because they are easy to carry and organize. What matters to me is to feel and capture life as much as possible, let myself be infused by light, colors, sounds, smells which all contribute to inspire me.

This is why I’ll be happily out of the studio as much as possible for the summer. Acrylics will wait for a rainy day and will benefit from the harvest.

 

Painting by a lake, Lanaudière, Québec, summer 2016

Rhythm and Color

Rhythm, pattern, movement, color and space are all components of my work in painting. This week, I have focused exclusively on rhythm and color.

Focusing on theses two variables allows me to define how I want to use them.
Playing with them in different sizes, techniques and gestures helps me see which are closest to my vision.

Since I want to take my work further, in a bigger size and bolder manner, I did some tests on loose canvas.
I used one or two colors, big brushes, with spontaneous and broad gestures: the results are surprisingly fresh and lively, each with their own own pattern.

There is a valuable lesson in simplicity here. But I want to add contrast and bit more complexity.

Where do I go from here? The next step will be in that direction, bringing more colors and rhythms together.

Where will it lead? I have an idea, but being open to what comes is part of the adventure.

 Louise Jalbert, Various painting tests, 2018,
Rhythm of blues, oil and acrylic on canvas, 34 x 37 inches
Verticals and horizontal movements, oil on canvas, 25 x 30 inches
Yellow Foliage, acrylic on canvas, 22 x 28 inches
Blue April Sky, acrylic on canvas paper, 16 x 20 inches

Birds and Drawing

A few weeks ago, I noticed two birds, a male and a female Northern Cardinal, singing in a bush that stands in front of my window.
A welcome sign of spring!

As a nice coincidence, the same day I received an email from my friend Dagmar Frinta, with her recent drawings and observations of birds.
I love Dagmar’s drawings, and thought these were too beautiful not to share.
http://www.dfrinta.com

An artist’s sketchbook is an intimate place of experiment and essays: having the chance to leaf through one is a privilege and a joy : that of being in touch with the inner most process of the artist and the day to day efforts or musings.
I am very grateful for Dagmar’s openness to share hers.

As often in a sketchbook, these drawings were done for the pleasure of drawing, as a way of getting in touch with herself and her art: something I relate to easily.

          

Dagmar’s fine draftmanship is obvious as she revels in depicting the birds’s various features and colors.

Her drawings have a tenderness that reflect her sensitivity to those vibrant and often enchanting creatures. They serve no other purpose but to see and understand, which makes them all the more endearing and above all, alive.

 
Dagmar Frinta, “European Starling”, “Woodpeckers”, “White-breasted Nuthatch”, “American Crow”, 2018, Colored pencils in notebook, 6 x 4 inches
Photos: Dagmar Frinta

Amending the Soil

I have been doing my inventory. It is a tedious exercise, but I have learned to appreciate it. Going through the process brings a vantage point from which to review the work done during the previous year, in this case three years, and that invariably triggers a reflexion.

As I look at each piece, I come across the ideas they explored and I can evaluate if I want to take them farther or develop something else from their potential. That creates a fertile ground from which to prepare my next year of work.

Then I clean the studio to make way for fresh mental and physical space. But before I put everything away, I keep a few chosen pieces. Some are accomplished, some are unresolved, begging to be taken care of. I put them on a wall, along with images of other artists, inspiring objects or photos that remind me of a composition, a group of colors, an impression. Together, they foster a silent but rich conversation.

I love having such a composition in front of me: it is a world of imagination and possibilities, a rich soil where my eyes can wander to renew their vision.
It is my feeding ground that I carefully amend.

 

Photo 1 : Louise Jalbert, “Red on Yellow Foliage”, 2016-2017, watercolor on paper, 7 x 11 and 15 x 22 inches, and various sketches, reproductions from the art of Pierre Bonnard, Marc Chagall, Mark Rothko, David Hockney, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, and W.M.Turner.
Photo 2: Louise Jalbert, Watercolors from “Le nez dans l’herbe” series.

Drawing

“Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see – to see correctly –
and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye”.

Kimon Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw

Louise Jalbert, “Study of the garden, October”, 2014, Felt markers on paper, 4.5 x 6 inches