Friday, December 7, 2007

Archives I

- I have a love-hate relationship with most of my drawings.
Who doesn't.
- I have a superlative love-hate relationship with my old drawings. So what about that!

I'll tell you what: they are important. For one, they could be the closest I ever get to writing an autobiography (without even writing)! And, unlike romanticized memoirs penned in hindsight, my drawings will have the distinct advantage of remaining stone cold facts. Because they will have been drawn in the past, they will forever display my past shortcomings.
So what's not to be happy about?

What's happy is that everything becomes precious with time!

Unfortunately the drawings I'm about to archive don't go THAT far back. As if to annoy me, they sit only just far enough to inspire simultaneous embarrassment and longing. But then again if they didn't, they probably wouldn't be worth a damn.

This first collection is a record of a Toronto-Montreal train ride I took in September 2005. I began drawing accidentally and I did not rest for the entire duration of the trip (not even in the restroom). I painted it all from memory later that night.

To make this extra special, I'm throwing in a couple of photos of the Old Gare Bonaventure - today Gare Centrale de Montréal (and hoping that the blog police won't throw me out for thieving).
From Bilan du Siècle:

Here's the station in 1975. Notice that a few skyscrapers are still missing, notably today's tallest, "1000 de la Gauchetière" (at the far right in the last painting above).

And here's the original station in 1900, before a fire destroyed it in 1916.


George Cwirko-Godycki said...

i really like these drawings

Cal said...

These drawings look amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

these remind me of water colour story sketches I saw in Japan.

J said...

These are really beautiful Dani! Senstive and rich with feeling.

Dani said...

Thanks everyone!

Calvin, glad you made it through animation school safe and sound!

Emma said...

These make me think of the kind of thing where you'd be sitting on a train snapping photos out the window... only these are PAINTINGS. It would be amazing to see you do a little travel-book.

the doodlers said...

We know this train trip. You've captured it so well!

I especially like the feeling of passage from day to night and the activity and sense of waiting to arrive.

Hurrah for the stainless steel bathroom sink and the shot of your own drawing with knees, and the many hilly landscapes that flash by.

Dani said...

Thanks Emma. I tried to do the same while traveling on the Italian Eurostar but it was impossible to draw then; it felt like I was missing out on the experience.

That's why I prefer visiting a new place for a longer period, and allow myself to adjust to it, loosen up and only then focus on its qualities.

Arna, John, thank you! I realize that these are more fun to look at if one is familiar with the TO/MTL trip - which makes me happy to share them with you!

It worked out perfectly that I hit the darker Fabriano pages at twilight, adding a little extra to the evening effect.

I must admit that it was slightly embarrassing to bring my book in the bathroom, but I'm glad I did!

Unknown said...

waw waw waw

so gently drawings/paintings

do you have a watercolourbrush where water runs out of?


Dani said...

Wouter - Thank you.

I find waterbrushes impossible to control: on top of being thick and uncomfortable, the water-squeezing is hard to manage.
That being said, I recognize that a more skilled hand than mine, could have easily coloured these quick train drawings with a waterbrush, but I wouldn't attempt using one for proper painting.

I tend to just find a regular brush I like and stick to it. Right now that happens to be a small, round point, sable/synthetic mix, which I use for gouache and watercolour.
I like that by holding it lower and lighter than a waterbrush, the bristles will respond exactly to the amount of pressure I apply.

Unknown said...

thanks a lot for the answer
all the best