THE CITY OF ... FAINT LIGHTS
Québec city is a very beautiful city like no other I have seen. Its architecture is European, but with lots of north american advantages. For one thing, the "upper old town" is a atop a cliff overlooking the Saint-Laurent river where it is quite wide, so you have an unobstructed view. Also, North Americans, aware of the shallowness of their local roots, tend to "over-tend"/attend to their historic buildings (let me put it this way: my dingy hometown in Tunisia, a provincial town of 50,000 with no distinct features, was founded in the thirteenth century, i.e. 300 - 400 years before Quebec City). Add to that the North American people difference: friendly, unpretentious, and service-oriented. Finally, Quebec City has a special place in my North American heart: it was the first city I discovered, breathed and lived on my first trip to North America, then a 21-year old student in Paris.
This is based on a night picture on terrasse Dufferin. The streets were wet. Thus, you had light reflections on wet wooden planks, which is what compelled me to paint it. Plus, I love the coziness of the little light halos around faint night lights, which is a recurrent theme with old patrimonial buildings. This is white "gouache" on a black background.
Rue Saint-Jean is a cobblestone pedestrian street in old, upper old town Quebec City, with lots of restaurants, which had open terrasses even though we were in late October (temperature near freezing at night). A number of "firsts" for me, "artistically"/painting-wise, including wet cobblestones, lighting contrasts on walls, light and shade for trees from lamposts, etc. It is supposed to have some faint colours, but the scanner optimized it as black and white
Well, it is on every tourist guide. It is beautiful by day, but better looking at night. I got fascinated by the "science" and "art" of lighting patrimonial buildings, and had the hardest time trying to reproduce those effects ... on a black background, because I had to have the pitch dark sky! because watercolour is transparent, of course, it wouldn't work on black background. So I worked with "gouache", but then it gets difficult to have "bright" colours with gouache, and even less on a black background. So part of it was laying several coats of white gouache first, and then watercolours on top with light touches (otherwise, it mixes with the white gouache and loses its luster) once the gouache has dried. This is the result.