Welcome! Hope you see some artwork that pleases you, if not now, maybe next time…


A rough sketch of some painting tools.

I dug this sketch out of the bin. It ended there along with many others I’m lately not happy with. I feel in an awful slump and nothing seems to work..everything is either too “pretty”, or too perfect or it is just plain bad art. I struggle to find that exciting stroke, or that exciting subject, or even the right medium. I work on small tiny papers and do small tiny challenges. I am in need of freedom and uninhibited expression. I know what I want and what I don’t want..or do I?

I wonder if art can go through menopause…in which case, that is where I would say my art is right now. Going through menopause. I hope it passes soon.

the first one is just pencil contour lines and then of course I didn’t like it and thought colour and pen would make it look better…

painting tools-001…just to realize it doesn’t look better, nor worse.

watercolor, pencil and pen on watercolor block, HP, 18x26cm

painting tools 2-001So. The solution is probably just to carry on and maybe consider not throwing out the awful ones. They should stay with us strive for better, or different, ot both.

à bientôt


Two..or maybe three eggs in watercolor.

Eggs. Easy to draw. Difficult to paint. but satisfying, because one can play around a lot with painting eggs..or the suggestion of eggs. Sometimes it works.  Sometimes not.

..three eggs 1..

in watercolour and pen on Fabriano watercolour block, HP, 23×30,5cm

..three eggs 2..

in watercolour and pen onArches watercolour block,CP, 18x26cm

..three eggs 3..

in watercolour and pen on Fabriano watercolour block, HP, 23×30,5cm

Colors and foliage of November 3.

I found some beautiful grays…some more bluish, others more yellowish and greenish and some just simply…gray.


watercolor and J Herbin inks on Hahnemuhle paper CP 15,5x25cm

Doing the above sketch  was very quick and dare I say easy, without sounding obnoxious? I’ll tell and you can decide…

  1. With a goose quill and nib and “gris nuage” ink from J Herbin, I drew the outline of the twig/branch with contour lines.
  2. I added a wet was over the areas that I wanted to highlight as the greyish moss, in the process flooding some the water soluble ink lines.
  3. I dabbed in some light dabs of indigo, prussian blue, paynes gray, ochre and raw umber on the wet areas. To finish off the background, I dropped some paint , using the same colours,  from a loaded brush to loosely suggest random patches of moss.
  4. Lastly I finished off with some dark paynes gray(little water, lots of pigment, to give very dark values, suggesting the small dark corners between the moss.

..J Herbin inks and goose quill…

Drawing faces in contour.

I am itching to move outdoors and go paint, sketch, draw. Why? Simple. Because I feel inspired. I can only be on the couch in front of the fireplace for so long and then I tire of having it good. I need some difficulty, like going out and sticking it out in the cold, feeling my fingers go numb, but persevering in finishing a painting or sketch. When surroundings and circumstances are too easy, life becomes difficult too. Luxuries and comfort numbs us – we don’t feel the pulse of life and we don’t hear opportunities knock on our doors.

So. No, not any cold outdoor sketches yet, only some faces done in the comfort of a heated indoor living room! contour drawing is one of my favourite styles of drawing…there are artists out there doing amazing work in contour drawing. I cheated a bit on mine…I lifted my hand now and then and added some more lines, which I probably shouldn’t…the charm of a contour drawing is actually the scarcity in line work. I’m looking forward to so some life drawings in contour.

…drawing faces in contour..

..pen on Canson drawing paper, 13.5 x21 cm..

Sketching chickens and cows

W are living a whole saga of chickens, running for a few months now, but that is a story for some other day. For now, here are Tartelette and Omelette, the latest addition to the chicken chronicles. They are two Bantam de Pèkin, porcelain chickens, and SOOO cute! Now being fully adapted and taken ino the Van Wyk household, they reign alongside the cats. In our home, the humans take second spot in the limelight. Here they are just lazing in the barn by my feet. It was raining outside. They don’t like to get wet. And the barn is comfortable.

Th cows roaming the hills have a beauty all of their own. With their velvety brown eyes and long lashes, they love attention and eagerly respond to “vient, vient!” hoping for a delicacy, which is quite often the case…a branch of poplars held out to them, or soft green grass.

The bottom sketch is done on a different day, in a different sketchbook where the paper has more texture. Some of the cows look rather like dogs…or bulls…or even rabbits? Let’s just say I’m out of practice(sic)…

All sketches done with rotring pen and watercolor in CP watercolour sketchbooks(400g/m²), 26x18cm and 25×15.3cm.

until next time..!



A recent conversation:

“…I live in the shadows. Or so it feels. A few years back I was blooming in the sun. So it felt. Now I’m living my life in the shadows. Of my computer. Emails. SMS. MSN. Facebook. Twitter. Blogs. Websites. I am now recognized through the style of my writing and not by my voice. Sadness is felt  by the stucture of my phrases and not seen in my tears. Happiness is seen in my exclamation marks and not heard in my laugh. The truth is guessed by my vocabulary and not heard in the seriousness of my voice.  I have become deletable. I am speaking less and writing more. I am hearing less and wondering more. My voice is growing softer and the shadows wider…”

Sketch in moleskine with rotring pen and watercolour.

…deep talk...


Contour lines

When one’s mood is a bit off centre, contouring may help. It doesn’t help the mood, but it helps the drawing.

Stalking the cats with a pilot pen, just doing lines, not trying to achieve likeness, keeping the pen on the paper and the eyes on the subject. It helps a lot to loosen up.

Pilot pen, waterbrush in sketchbook.

…contouring the unwilling…



Bill on a bicycle

I’m doing a portrait exchange with Bill. He’s been waiting very patiently for me. Thank you Bill! See how great he did my portraits here!! Not fair that he does so well and I am struggling!

As I say, I’ve been struggling. I started off today with just a contour drawing, which got filled up a bit more than just a simple contour. Then I did another one and another…and then jumped on my bicycle and went for a ride.

contour drawing, rotring pen on paper, 29,5×42 cm

I have new bike, a very cute one. Based on the old “Hollandais city” style. Up until now I’ve used an old bicycle which had me running just as I thought I was pedalling well away. Or I was on Liandri’s mountain bike, with my behind way up in the air and my head almost down between my knees. I sort of feel at this age, I would prefer my “derriere” closer to earth and my face “lifted”. So now I look very elegant, with my back straight and my hair in the wind.

…wizard of oz…

rotring pen and watercolour in Artistico sketchbook, CP, 18x26cm(7″x10″)

When I came back, my head felt clear enough to give Bill another go.  Put in some shadows this time. It doesn’t really look like him. And before I attempt a painting, I have to get the drawing right first. He has very intense eyes and I make him glare from the page. So, I have more work to do. More cycling to do.

inkdrawing, rotring pen on paper, 29.7x42cm(11.7×16.5″)

Let your hands do the talking

Sometimes a gesture says more than a thousand words… 

Sketches done in dip pen and ink(colour island coffee), with a wash, in moleskine.


Cat sketches

I cancelled my art class with Casey this afternoon. Having so little sleep these last few day finally caught up with me and I slept…for a whole 3 hours. On Casey’s recommendation, I took a hot bath and fell into bed with a cat on each side. She wanted me to do some yoga first…I pretended the line broke up: “hallo hallooo..” Thank you for being patient Casey.

I woke up, to find myself feeling out of touch with reality and no energy. The best I could come up for the rest of what’s left of the afternoon, is some sketches of the cats and their foodcorner.

I used micropen 05, sprayed some water and scraped a black watercolour pencil onto rough sandpaper, holding it over the wet areas, which gives the splotched effect. On the dry parts, you can blow the scraped pencil  off easily. I didn’t want watery shadows, so I put down some ink and with a wet finger I blotted into the ink to shape the shadows. I first used some cottonwool and toweling paper, but it took off too much of the ink.




Stuck sketches.

It is a dark and rainy day here in France. We are “stuck” in front of the fireplace, with books and music, some red wine….and ink.

The piano…..unipen # 5, splattering with ink-pot lid, moleskine


Cloches, a crystal and a branch…………unipen, brush-pen, splattering with brushpen, moleskine.


Pens and nibs….uni-pen, brush-pen, speedball pen and nibs, splattering with nib(C1), moleskine


Fun with ink

I am really enjoying the ink sketches. I feel liberated in just picking up a pen and just letting it rip without thinking about perspective or depth or realism or truth or good or bad or right or wrong! On the contrary, I feel inspired and creative, and this is a wonderful exercise for me, just letting my hand and the pen flow. My sketches are very wonky(not attractive wonky), real wonky, but for now I’m ecstatic about them. As it turns out, Laurawas also bitten  by the “ink-bug”, so keep an eye open for her upcoming ink-posts, which sound full of promise.

Today(1st of December) is our first day of “celebrating” the festive season here at home. It is the “official” decorating day, switching on the fairy lights, start burning our special Christmas candle, listening to Christmas music and ending the day with a special dinner by candlelight. I did some pen sketches of some candle holders, mostly holding tea lights. We light candles every evening, starting from 17:00.

These were done in my moleskine, which is full of watercolour splotches, so I thought I should just worsen it with a few shakes of my ink-pot lid, and now I like it. It is a bit overdone, because I first tried with the brush-pen, which made too fine a spray for my liking.



In this week’s figure drawing class, I decided beforehand I was going to WORK!! I wanted to use many different mediums, which was a bit ambitious. In the one and two-minute drawings I tried changing mediums in-between poses, causing me to fall behind and stress etc. But I did succeed getting a few ink ones down. It was a great class, I enjoyed it and however chaotic and unorganized my methods were, I enjoyed working in different mediums. I will continue doing it in future. I did some drawings in graphite sticks, charcoal, pen, sanguine, conté, pit artist pen, brush-pen, pencil and I finished with a pen and WC.

Two one minute sketches and the last is two minutes, all of them in Staedtler pigment liner # 5 on sketchpad.dsc_0004.jpg




I can only sleep 4 hours a night and if I’m lucky, I’ll reach 6. Thus being awake at 4:30 this morning, I wrapped myself in a blanket and sat in front of the computer(where I have a comfy swivel leather chair) and felt like doing just some ink sketches.  I like the line and especially contourwork of José who prefers more and more to put just ink on paper. And I’ve always admired Suzanne, who is a magician with pen and line. See also nice ink work from Genine (who gets beautiful detail in her inkwork), Gabi (who is using some washes lately, but his inkwork stands so well on its own!), Joan (who does great cross hatching), Nina(see her post ” 30 minutes by a zeba crossing…I can’t link to it) Anita (who can just do about anything!) and Casey (who has always loved penwork and adds just that slightest watercolor wash),  Bambi (who has the steadiest hand with ink I have ever seen!), Anna (who does such delicate linework),  from time to time Claudia does great sketches from the garden outside her office in ink, you’ll have to browse her blog) Dave’s ink sketches(beautiful!), Deb‘s interesting line work, France‘s stunning drawings, Judi‘s ink lines filled with spirit and not forgetting the amazing work of Russell Stutler. There are so many many inksketchers out there from whom I draw inspiration when it comes to inkwork…

All these sketches were directly done in ink in moleskine.  I just chose different things that I could see from my swivel chair.


Ink and moleskine(cross hatching)


Ink and moleskine(contour)


Ink, graphite and stump, (because it was lying around on the desk) in moleskine


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