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animals

September 26: Three chickens.

It is very very hot and humid. Everybody is moving around like limp fish. The horses are in permanent rest under the apple tree, the cats don’t lift an eyebrow when I walk past the them and even the chickens lay motionless in the shade of the hibiscus bush. I was busy, or trying to be. I took down washing, hung the next basket full, every time walking past the chickens. When they didn’t move when by the third pass, I thought they might just keep that pose for another 30 minutes. Et voilà, indeed they did, or almost. This was fun.

..Three chickens..

oil on board, 30x30cm

three chickens 25-09-2013 17-06-57 2964x2979

.à demain..

Ronelle


Birds and chickens sketches.

With this very first post of 2013, I wish you all a very good new year..may it be all you wish it to be!

I have gotten myself back to the easel and sketchbook..a great achievement here in January. For myself, I hope that 2013 will be a better year than the previous, especially on the art front. But of course, that only depends on one person..me.

Of all the sketches I did today, the following ones are the most successful. The three chickens kept still long enough with their backsides to me, so I could practice my observation skills which got lost during the past year.

..three chickens in a row..

done in watercolor on Aquarelle block, HP, 18x26cm

poulets aquarelles

It is a different story with the birds. The mésanges(tits) are way too quick for me and I could only succeed in blobs of colour which looked more like flying saucers and even that would be an insult to the Martians. So I took closeups and put my own sketch together. According to my own rule, it is then not by definition a sketch, but more of a drawing, using sketching techniques. That is a mouthful! By my definition a sketch is only a sketch when done right in front of the live subject, “sur le motif”, we call it in French. when using the help of otter media..magazines, photos, it becomes drawing. The observation and rendering become totally different. By saying I used “some sketching technique”, I suggest that I used about 4 different photos, composed 2 birds on my paper, referred to the photo’s for colour and lastly added some branches and seeds from direct observation from the tree. So, finally, the whole sketch is my own composition with my branches and seed block being a true sketch with birds drawn onto it…

..Feeding two mésanges..

done in watercolor in Hahnemuhle watercolour sketchbook, 15.3x25cm.

mésanges aquarelle


Sketching two geese in action.

My two geese Aglaé et Sidonie, provide me with hours of fun and pleasure..watching them is better than owning a home cinema! I sketched them this weekend, the first time since I got them earlier this year. I thought it was going to be easy..sketching them. I know them by heart, seeing them every day and watching them, feeding the, following them,  being followed by them. When I close my eyes, I can so clearly see them  and I can so easily tell them apart. But sitting with the pen in my hand, brought forward all kinds of problems. Even when after changing to a pencil, I couldn’t escape the problems.

..Two adorable geese, Aglaé et Sidonie..

(watercolour and pen in Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook, 19x20cm)

I jumped in and tried to capture them while they floated in their fountain(actually MY fountain they took over!). That’s when I realized how little I understood of  their morphology! I had trouble sketching their wings and the build of their lower bodies, the length of their necks in relation to their bodies, their typical thoraxes…they are so different from ducks and mine looked like some mongrels of geesed ducks.. so much for thinking I know my geese! So it was back to doing some real studying.

..Two geese in (my) fountain..

(watercolour and pen in Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook, 26x18cm)

From a distance, it was fairly easy  getting hold of just the shapes and suggesting their actions. They are ideal for studying, because they move slowly(and funny) and rhythmic, with an elegance that originate in their long necks and sideways glances.

..two geese from a distance..

(watercolour and pen in Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook, 26x18cm)

Their backsides are quite interesting with their wings crossing one over the other and lying on top of a cute, quirky fantail.

..Two geese’s cute swaying backsides..

(watercolour and pen in Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook, 19x20cm)

They have such beautiful character, aren’t mean at all. It seems they love company, so they love lying by my feet or anywhere close by our activities, and they love being by the horses. Only with the chickens do they have a love/hate relationship.

..Two geese watching me as intensely as I did them..

(watercolour and pen in Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook, 19x20cm)

The top sketches are the best of all those I did the weekend, trying to understand these two ladies. When I close my eyes now, I actually see them much better! so doing all of this work was really wroth it. Capturing animals is not only about the perfect technique, but also about their character, which to me is more important than the perfect rendition of their morphology. I a feel quite chuffed with the expression in Aglaé in the above sketch..the typical tilt of her head and watchful sideways glance she throws me. Man, I just adore these mesdemoiselles!

à bientôt

Ronelle


Horse sketches

Our post card exchange has now come to an end, sadly, but maybe we have something new in the pipeline.

I sent Desiree horse sketches ..she and her family had horses at an earlier stage. Our two Comtois horses were my models  and the sketch on the envelope I did from one of those sketches.

Gubi(envelope)

gouache and pen on envelope

Gaitchi and Gubi

done with pitt artist pens in sketchbook


Sketches of cute sheep.

A sheep and lamb or two from our neighbors camp. If all goes well and I can convince my husband with my sweet puppy eyes, I might just have my own cute lambs this spring!

…Sheep and lambs 1…

pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler  Rowney sketchbook CP, 254x178cm

…Sheep and lambs 2..

pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler  Rowney sketchbook CP, 254x178cm


Garden sketches from February

February was a busy month and I didsn’t get around to doing much art. I did succeed on doing a garden sketch and a drawing of Tartelette ad Omelette,  on a reasonably nice February afternoon.

I feel happy with the drawing, which was first done as a sketch and then developed further into a drawing. The cloches were done afterwards, rather lazily and not much effort or desire went into this sketch.

…Tartelette et Omelette…

…sanguine and charcoal drawing on paper, 24×20 cm…

..Two garden cloches…

…charcoal sketch on paper, 24x20cm…


Koi studies and painting in oil.

I finally completed one koi painting in oil. But before that, I did some more studies in different mediums. I didn’t really enjoy these koi studies as I should have. I felt a bit like ” eating strawberries in the mid winter” and so I feel out of season with the koi paintings and it influenced the “taste”. But I’m happy that I stuck to it and completed at least one painting. I definitely plan to go to the koi farm in summer, where I can seat myself for a day and really get to work on some series.

..koi, oil on linen, 61x37cm

In  step 1, using terpentineI put down thin washes of burnt sienna for the fish shapes and a thin wash of paynes gray and french ultramarine for the background/water.

.…step 1…


In step 2 I added some colour to the fish, cadmium red and yellow to the fish in the foreground and prussian blue to the back fish, to form the shadows. I started using liquin as a medium to have the oi dry quicker, but still have  an oil shine.

…step 2…

In step 3 I darkened the water with a mixture of paynes gray and french ultramarine and softened the shadow marks I made on the yellow fish. this was my first mistake, because I made mud. I left it to dry completely, so I could rework it…the oil was still thin enough to redo without removing the paint.

…step 3…

the last stages was all about adding colour and depth to the fish bodies and depth to the water , while using the same colours I’ve used in the previous steps, with the addition of ochre, raw umber and white.

…koi completed…

When doing the studies for this koi project, I worked mostly from photographs, using about 20 different photos, building my own scenes. I really found it difficult to render the koi in an interesting way. I feel I can do better, which is why I will patiently wait for the koi season to open and I can go and study them in real life.

I also felt that they ask for something a little more abstract or expressive than mere realistic rendering. In the following studies I tried to present them on the page in a little more interesting way. I found it quite exciting and I think I can even push the envelope even further in the expressive domain, which makes me more excited about the series of koi than I was when I started out.

In the meantime, I have a lobster and crab and mussels and oysters and several other shellfish in my freezer, waiting to be sketched and painted and studied. Maybe a new series of sea creatures? So hang around if you’re interested in seeing what will surface – it will be a surprise for me too.

…koi study in charcoal on paper, 22x15cm…


…koi study in graphite on paper, 22x15cm…

…koi study in oil pastel on paper, 22x15cm…

Also posted on Watermarks.

..à bientôt…

Ronelle


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