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
I am preparing for some oil painting. But first; more loosening up with watercolor.
..Three pears in watercolor..
pencil, pen and watercolor on Arches watercolour block, CP, 18x26cm
..a coffee in Toulouse yesterday while waiting for my daughter to go fit her wedding dress. – 4 May.
pen and watercolor in Daler and Rowney sketchbook, 25,4×17,8cm
Doing this sketching every day in May is meant to get me back on track. I’ve lost some concentration, my ability to observe and interpret instantaneously. the last few months I’ve been distracted by so many things and art got put onto the back burner. My sketches in May is not supposed to be beautiful work, but a program of work and exercises. Flowers are always a good way to sharpen the saw and by looking at my wonky, askew marigolds…I need a lot of that!
..wonky marigolds – 5 May..
I had some lunch at a small restaurant close by and sketched my lunch of a vegetable soup, coffee and the surrounding salt and pepper set.
…vegetable soup and bread…
pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler rowney sketchbook
The coffee sketch was my first and when I tell you that I had a very upsetting experience just before I arrived at the restaurant, you’ll understand why the lines are so dark and the whole sketch is sombre and almost violent. I’m always amazed by the strong influence emotion has on art.
The salt and pepper set was the last sketch and you can see that my emotion has settled a bit by that time. It did my a world of good to do these drawings…therapeutic.
pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler rowney sketchbook
…coffee and water with cpeculoos biscuit…
pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler rowney sketchbook
I have moved on from autumn colours to still lifes, done in the atelier. Working in thin washes, laying wet washes over dry ones. not my usual way of working, but I am quite chuffed and will do a series of these watercolors.
I need to bring in a bit darker values and I want to have more informal compositions. I think my inspiration comes here from Cézanne, whose watercolours I love. There is currently an exhibit of Cézanne in the Musee de Luxembourg in Paris until 26 February 2012, for those who want to jump in their private jets for a visit…and a lunch afterwards, maybe at the Mini palais restaurant?
…Still life with quince…
watercolor and pencil on Fabriano artistico CP, 30,5×45,5cm
I’m posting a close up to show the layering of thin washes.
Until the next post where I’ll be back with another still life…hopefully a better one with darker values, more expressive compositions…and one where my patience has reigned!
Working solely with painting knives and oil paint…no medium. I quite enjoyed this…very messy and I look as messy as the painting, but I really had fun in doing this little painting! I’m getting there…
…a bunch of red onions…
oil on cotton, 20x20cm(7.9×7.9″)
Now that I have the gallery, I have to do more studio painting, since I can’t lock up every day and go painting plein air. I’m having a hard time though, adapting to studio work “in public”. I’ve always preferred working privately in my atelier at home. Now I’m very self conscious and I worry about every stroke when there are eyes on me. I get distracted easily by what is going on outside and by people wandering in and out. I initially thought it wouldn’t bother me too much, but it does. Maybe down the road it will change.
…Two and half pomegranates…
oil on board, 40x40cm (15.7×15.7)
I’ve fallen into the habit of starting something in the atelier/gallery and then get completely distracted, leave it, bring it home and finish it here at night. Like this painting. And it results in not being me. I find the light very different, the atmosphere is different and even my mood is different. Working on the same still life in two different places just doesn’t sit right with me.
This is a very careful little painting, with no interest. If I look at it, I see a painting done by someone who was afraid to PAINT! Which was exactly the case. There is still this fear and uncertainty that has crept into my oil painting, as I’ve mentioned before.
I was never very fascinated by still life before and I still don’t get very excited about it. But there is a certain kind of meditation that creeps into doing a still life. I experienced it here in the barn at night, when I’m alone and painting on the still life…I sort of like the quietude that a still life conveys. Being someone who doesn’t have a “calm” personalty, I discovered that doing a still life is quite therapeutic for me. I think that is what will make a still life work for me…reaching that moment when I can feel my painting’s quietness, but without having it look and feel static. I will post some more still lifes later.
Yes, I’m off to Provence this coming weekend for a crazy painting time with 3 friends for one of three weeks in total.
...africantapestry is off to provence…
sketch in pen and watercolor
Katherine needs no introduction,; if you don’t know about the role she plays in the virtual art world, then shame on you…go and read about her!! And who doesn’t know Robyn and her biggest fan Dermott(or is he??)…? And about Sarah, well I don’t have to say another word, because a professional painter of her standard doesn’t need any introduction!
So there you are, four nutty women off to Provence to paint….mostly paint…and then also feast on Provencal foods…and wines….drive around….get lost….dance to wild music…chat, chat, and chat….laugh, laugh and laugh(we all four have an overly developed sense 0f humor)…swim….cycle… and eveything else one does in Provence?
We’ll be staying in the Vaucluse home of well known painter of Postcards from Provence, Julian Merrow Smith and his wife Ruth Philips, while they will be in England where Ruth will be playing cello at the Garsington festival.
We even have our own blog, Four go painting in Provence and you’re invited to follow us every step of the way on this trip. and Sarah saw to us having our own logo, which you will see on television and on Oprah…oh no, sorry Oprah isn’t any more…oh, well, we’ll probably just get our own show…
Seriously though, we’re planning on doing a lot of painting…all of us will be doing aquarelle, some gouache, some will do oils(I’m one and I know for sure Sarah is another) and then there will be coloured pencils, charcoal, inks and pens. We will of course leave Provence with cases full of sketches, a lot of plein air paintings and drawings well do in the evenings after the dishes. We will also post regularly on Four go painting in Provence to pin down our daily experiences.
So please drop by and please join us and who knows, our fun might lead to you doing the same in Provence next year. I think we might be in Prague next year…or Sicilia…or Marocco…anyhow, we’ll be somewhere! But for now…move over Cezanne, here come the four mad hatters!
I’ve said this before…if all else fails, paint food. It really works. Whether it is the sensuality of food, or the colours or the health aspect or hunger or satisfaction or all of it together…painting food is a delight. It has been so for ages as you will see further down below. I had some poivrons cornes de boeuf and some pak choy. Both greens which is good practice in the greens once again.
…Sketches done in moleskine with rotring pen and watercolour….
When Katherine visited in October, she and her sister and niece came over for dinner on their last night in France. (See both her sites at Travels with a sketchbook and Making a mark – where she has some interesting facts in her latest post on Technorati.)
Apart from the bottle of champagne they brought which we décapitée (beheaded) Napolean style, they brought me this beautiful book too – Boire et Manger, which they bought at Chateau Chenonceau. I have read it from front to back and back to front again. I love symbols and mythology and traditions and of course everything that has to do with food and art and this little book has it all.
It is all about the traditions and symbols showing up in old works of art, throughout the ages; how artists chose to paint certain food and scenes, involving food for their symbolism, to depict the traditions and cultures and habits – in short, life during their time.
I want to share some of it with you. Different examples can be seen at Myfrenchkitchen.
…BOIRE ET MANGER…
.. bacchus adolescente:Le caravage(1596-1597)…
…la chanteuse des rues; édouard manet (1862)…
- One of the first portraits of Victorine Meurent, who was one of Manet’s favourite models until 1875.
- The cherry was a symbol of love, becasue of its deep red colour and round voluptiousness that reminded of the curves of the feminine body.
- All the sensuality in this scenes evolves around the woman bringing the sweet cherries to her mouth.
…la céne: Jacopo Bassano ( 1546-1548)…
Lamb – meaning: sacrificial victim.
- The lamb signifies the sacrifice of Christ.
- A fruit, resembling the apple, signifies the original sin.
- Next to Judas lies the knife, symbol of the treason which would follow.
- With his left hand, Jesus Christ himself points to the lamb which is a symbol of his own sacrifice.
…le jambon: édouard manet (1875-1878)…
Meat ; conserved/dried: ham taken from the porc, signifies gluttony sin.
- French dried ham had a strong international culinary meaning for Manet, because of its ancient gallic imports and long French tradions.
- In the 19th century the ham became a commercial product and thus also made its appearance in the city bourgeoise home after being traditionally country fare.
- In the rich Parisien home the ham would be served on nothing less than silver plattters, giving the ham a “worthiness”.
…scéne de cuisine: Frans Snyders (1630-1640)…
Porc and wild boar: sin of the flesh.
- Frans Snyders was a student of Rubens and specialized in refined commissios, usually overladen scenes of buffet tables with exquisite food.
- The head of the boar was very sought after and seen in this “hunting” painting could be evidence of a commission by some articrat.
- The lobster was already at that stage seen as one for the more rare sea foods, giving it an importance on the refined table.
- The little detail of the dog only sniffing the game, hints on aspects of respect.
- The presence of the artichokes is an indication of the choice of the painter to include only exquisite foods.
Painting this “fennel salad” yesterday made me realize how easy it is to lose some skills when they are not constantly excercised. Like our bodies, they become soft and flabby, sluggish and lazy and it takes work and discipline to get them back into shape. Such is the state of my current painting skills.
Painting done in watercolour on Fabriano artistico HP extra white, 30x23cm (11.8″x9″)
…fennel, pear and onions…
Not actively painting or drawing for more of two months had a paralyzing impact on my creativity, self confience and hand-eye coordination. I could clearly feel en see it in this little painting above. My wrist feels stiff and my hand feels disconnected from my brain. Or maybe it is the opposite; my hand being too connected to my brain, restricted by reason and not able to take its free course. I clutch my paintbrush in an iron grip and lock my jaw in frowned concentration. I zoom in on details and am afraid of taking risks. I hesitate on choice of colour and paint hesitantly with the tip instead of the stroking the whole brush.
Trying to do a waterscene painting, resulted in a complete catastrophe. It made me think of my professor years ago, who told me in first year graphichs, I couldn’t draw. So, remembering his “cruel-to-be-kind” teaching, I took some cheap pilot black ink and drawing paper and my chair and took off to the river this morning. It was time to once again, heed the professor’s words of years ago and get back to basics. Here is one of the drawings I did by the river this morning.
If interested, the rest can be read and seen over at Watermarks.
…with sticks and stones…
pilot black ink on drawing paper, with natural materials, found on the ground.
Yesterday I had a crazy craving for pineapple. I bought whichever ones I could find…the sweet small Victoria pineapple from South Africa, the big fat watery one, produced in Costa Rica, coming from Miami???… and lastly the heavy, juicy one from the Ivory coast. Of course I had to paint them. My light pencil drawing was fine and I started putting in washes. Arriving at the spiky leaves, all went horribly wrong. And from there it on it was downhill all the way. Finally I threw the paintbrush out the door, flew out of my atelier, jammed a cup of coffee together, grabbed a canvas and plastered it with modeling paste and a painting knife. Halfway through the oil painting, and eventually simmered down, I turned to my watercolour and thought I might as well finish it by simply pulling out all the stops, I have nothing to lose. So here is the final messy watercolour….. the oil painting is still drying.
Watercolour on Fabriano artistico HP extra white block, 30,5×45,5cm (12″x18″)
Afterwards I even had some time to put a recipe together…and eat it all. Interested in Pineapple carpaccio with saffron syrup and roasted pinenuts?
September/October is time for Foire aux vins in France. Time to refill those empty spaces in the wine cellar. Try out new wines, restock on old favourites. I enjoy a good red wine. But most of all, I enjoy the grapes. My favourites being Muscat(dark) and Chasselas(green). So I’ll have the grapes now and save the wine for later.
…let there be wine…
Sabre à champagne – a tradition dating from the Napolean empire. Coming back from a battle, the cavalry would pay tribute to victory, vigour, virility and of course…women, by opening up bottles of champagne with theatrical flaunt and flare. The cold bottle is held at the bottom and with a swift movement of the sable from bottom to the neck, the “cork is popped” right under the rim. A clean chop, leaving no shattered glass.
(Edit: I just realized how crooked this sword looks with the completely “off” shadow under the blade! Yes, I confess. I held the sword in my hand and thus cheated on “seeing” the shadow on the surface…now that says a lot for competence…and I didn’t have a single sip!)
Some fancy bottle openers are available today. The most efficient and quickest still remains the “couteau de sommelier“, which is the all-in-one every “garcon” (waiter) walks around with in his pocket.
And how about a decanter for aged wines to separate from their deposits, or a carafe for a young wine to “breathe”
…”1 2 3 breathe!, 1 2 3 breathe”…
I did intend to do more sketches showing the fun of the Foire aux vins, but laziness got the better of me. I think I’ll just stick to finishing the grapes I’ve sketched and open a Pomerol with dinner tonight.
Sketches done in pen and watercolour on Fabriano artistico block, 22×29, 5cm.
I have been taking a long break. I’m doing things I have been neglecting for some time, I’m enjoying spring and everything that goes along with it. I have been waiting a long time for summer to show up and now that it is here, I have to make every minute count, for it passes quickly. I’m basking in the fruits of the season. I have had an attack of fatigue and I am paying attention to my health. And I’m playing around on Myfrenchkitchen, which I’ve allowed to slip from me over the last few months. I’m stopping by here at Africantapestry just for a quick breather before I continue on my road of indulgence. And pretty soon I’ll be back here with full gusto.
Enjoy the season!
Watercolour and pen in sketchbook
…mangoes for spring…
How I love painting. And tennis. And I do love my garden, my house. Shopping. What else. Oh yes, and I love eating! Good food, healthy food, bad food, ordinary food, new food, traditional food, adventurous food…all food.
I am sitting here right now, licking a huge Magnum ice cream. A double caramel! Sweet and nerve rackingly rich, deliciously creamy, luscious, sticky, voluptuous and sensual…and far too small. While I am indulging in my ice cream I have a healthy menu for you, a great one for a long, lingering lunch on a hot summers afternoon around a huge table with great friends!
To start off: make a tomato mozzarella salad, using nice small vine tomatoes, some buffalo mozzarella torn into bite size pieces… stuff some in your mouth while you’re at it. Tear some basil leaves and lastly, sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and mill some fresh pepper and then add a sprinkling of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes.To finish off, mix gently with your hands and then lick off those fingers, serve on a pretty plate and enjoy with crusty bread.
For the main meal you dig your beautiful platter out of the back of the cupboard, give it a rinse and then fill it with…crispy green leaves of your choice, mesclun, spinach, rocket and other herbs and don’t forget some crunchy red cabbage sliced finely for great color and crunch….
In the middle you stack some cooked quinoa, first sauteed in coconut oil with some red onions and then cooked until just done.
On top of that, beet cut into chunks, hand fulls of organic grated carrot and around the rim, little bundles of steamed asparagus wrapped in prosciutto or parma ham. And finish off with a little sweetness; a handful of golden raisins and pumpkin seeds and a Calamata olive or two. I like some green peppercorns sprinkled too. Finish off with a vinaigrette of your choice, some more crusty bread, a bottle of good Rose and you’re off to hear all the Oohs and Aahs from your hungry, anticipating guests waiting at the table! And do enter with flare…why else have you gone to so much trouble!
Dessert. No can’t do without dessert. To keep to the theme of health, you take lots and lots of strawberries…do the usual, and cut them roughly into chunks. Using a large fork, you crush them until pulpy but not to a puree. Then you add a large handful of chopped mint, which you ventured into your garden for early morning, with your hat and herbs scissors and gloves…and of course you pulled out some weeds while you were there. OK, the mint..you add this generous handful of mint to your strawberries and follow up with some balsamic vinegar and if you like your strawberries a bit sweeter, add some honey. Just before you put this beautiful dessert in the fridge, take a big spoonful to taste…you should be able to just sigh with pleasure, if not, then start over. Serve it in some beautiful glasses where its beauty can be seen. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, drizzle with some honey, a swirl of syrupy reduced balsamic vinegar, a dash of milled black pepper and of course, a small mint leaf…and please, don’t plant a tree!
So, off I go to fetch another Magnum…enjoy your lunch!
Pen and Watercolor on Arches paper HP 23 x 31cm (9 x 12″)
- Robyn said…
- After reading all of that and looking at you lovely water colours, I’m not hungry any more. What a way to diet! Oh, I think that I have room for another Magnum. Got one to spare?
- Elizabeth said…
- MM…my mouth is watering! Beautiful artwork to compliment a delicious menu.
- Lin said…
- OH MY GOSH!!! WHAT TIME IS DINNER!! AND YOU’VE BEEN A PICKIN’ IN MY GARDEN!! I just planted two dozen basil plants, some grape tomatoes .. and mercy, but buffalo mozzalla is hard to get here in my part of NC … and quinoa!! LOVE it!! Stawberries — it’s pickin’ time at the farm and my strawberry basket is abloom .. oh my, Ronell you’ve made my HUNGRY ..!!!Are you sure we’re not related?????FANTASTIC SKETCHES, MY FRIEND!!!! And description … drool accompanied ….!
- ave said…
- Yummy! Those sketches are lovely.
- Anita said…
- Oh my Ronell…I LOVE EVERYTHING about this posting, the sketches are fantastic and the words alluring…But quinoa?…What’s that then?
You do realise I am now off to raid the cupboards/fridge for a midnight snack…You temptress you!
- Shirley said…
- I’m not sure that I want to eat such healthy food – but I am sure that I love your pen and watercolor sketches! Great style.
- Nancy said…
- Wow, I love the menu (though I’ve never actually seen quinoa); and the accompanying pictures are equally luscious. Please ma’am, I want some more.
- Emma Pod said…
- Looks like a party at your house! All three drawings/paintings are beautiful. Nice work on the glass fruit plate and the spoon and dessert glass. Now, where is that ice cream???
- aPugsLife-laserone said…
- Ok, now you’re just making me hungry!
- caseytoussaint said…
- Mmm – having been at that meal, I can testify that everything tasted at least as good as it looked.
- Robyn Sinclair said…
- Ha, ha. As my mother used to say ‘Do as I say, not as I do!’ Thank your for a delightful lunch. I never thought of putting mint on strawberries but I do like a glug of balsamic. Fantastic food paintings!
- Deb Salter said…
- Great Post! I’m so hungry, it was the effect of your work and your writing! Ps, I love your profile painting, I so identify with that!
- juj said…
- Oh Ronell! It’s not fair to make a girl so hungry so early in the morning! (lol) Your sketches are simply beautiful and what a fun post to read. Thank you.
- Lindsay said…
- I’m so hungry looking at your lucious paintings!! Loved this tour through your meal!!! What passion for art AND food!
- Sandy said…
- Scrumptous – especially the finale!! I can relate Big Time.
Gorgeous painting, I just adore your technique
- Christeen said…
- Firstly, this post was tantalising to the point of cruelty. *winks* Secondly, these paintings are really cool, and made the wonderful meal you described seem even MORE tempting. Therefore, I have to stop commenting on your blog, and go fix a lovely lunch. *smiles*
- Jana Bouc said…
- Fabulous paintings–you’re a master of painting food! …. and writing about it. Your recipes are amazing and even though I never cook for others anymore (horrible stage fright at the idea) you’ve inspired me to want to try it again.
- Africantapestry said…
- thanks for the comments here.
- Carole said…
- Gosh – I’m glad I read this after dinner! What a wonderful cook you are as well as a painter. And these watercolours are just as luscious as the dishes they describe. Wonderful work, Ronell!
- ksklein said…
- You don´t feel like coming over and cooking dinner for me?
This sounds absolutely delicious!!
- phthaloblu said…
- OMG, was like watching acooking show! That line about stuffing some of the mozzarella in your mouth… too wonderful! You’re making me hungry! Awesome job on these paintings!
- platitudinal said…
- It is dinner time here, and I wish I could have whipped something like you described or painted! They all looked so divine!*Ronell, you certainly know how to describe eating ice cream like a Romance writer! Hehe.
- E-J said…
- These really are mouthwatering sketches. You are an expert at food painting!I will keep an eye out for further sprigs of mint from your garden, which crop up in the most delightful places: on top of strawberries, between pillows …
- Fanta said…
- Oh, GOd! What a mouthwatering blog entry! Gorgeaus illustrations of yours to go with it.
Have you ever seen my recipe blog?You should visit one day if you feel like it. It’s mainly about food (a very important pastime of mine): http://uk.360.yahoo.com/danipreda2000.
Between the tissues and Fervex and Strepsils and Tokala and Aiyani, I did manage to find a spot for my watercolour palette. These are two vegetables our house is never without. Actually, that is almost all there is , except for some cheese and a drop of milk in the fridge…I’m alone for the week, so it comes down to cereal for dinner tonight.
Pencil and watercolour on Fabriano artistico HP, 23×30,5cm
Tomorrow will be a year that I’m sketching here on Africantapestry. The past weekend I had interesting conversations with Lin about painting in watercolour, how we all approach it differently, how we learn from each other by observing, trying new things, trying the same things different ways, the frustration of trying again and again until the bin has no room for any more paper. Keep an eye out for her “steps” soon.
I’ve learnt so much from so many people and I have learnt so much from myself too, as weird as that may sound. I’ve learnt that in my mistakes I should look for my biggest lessons. I always enjoy it when someone else shows their steps in doing a painting. So after a year, it was an interesting and learning experience for me to discover my own steps. The first excercise wasn’t a success and in the second one I’ve reached more of my objectives.
I start off with a pencil drawing.
My washes are very watery in the beginning, done with a big brush. The goal here was to follow the yellow in the apple and tie it in with the background, top left.
This next step is where I went completely wrong. I was impatient and put in the second wash of cadmium red on the apples before the first wash of cadmium yellow light was dry enough, so there was a lot of bleeding into the background, whichI didn’t plan at all… Zut!
I decided to continue nonetheless and lay in the darker colours of alizarin crimson and ultramarine. It started looking even worse. I also painted the cast shadows with burnt sienna under the apples, while the paint was still wet – I enjoy having some of the object colour flowing into the cast shadows.
After leaving the apples to dry a bit, I painted the details with some olive green and raw sienna and black.
I didn’t like at all what I’ve done here, so I took a rotring pen and simply followed the apples with some very loose contour lines in this last image, which is also a scan and there is a significant change in the colours. The colours in the photos above are much closer to what is on my paper.
I made a lot of mistakes here that I’ll hopefully learn from, but which I’m sure I’ll make very soon again!
I was impatient, something I always am and somehow I never learn my lesson! I didn’t consider my colours beforehand, I just took a dive into the deep end and ended up with incoherent colours. An accident needs to be left alone, I can’t go back to “fixing” it. Sometimes we damage something more by trying to fix it. This applies to life too.
I started again. Same apples, Another pencil drawing.
Again a light watery wash but this time in yellow ochre.
Laying in some cadmium red, after waiting for the paper to dry to damp. Touching in some red in the background, top left corner, to tie it in with the apples. At the same time also putting in touches of olive green, allowing the colours to do its own thing. And of course, laying in the cast shadow under the apples with a watery ultramarine blue, waiting for some of the red to flow into the cast shadows.
So far I’m happier than with the first excercise. I painted in the darks and shadows by using burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.
I feathered out all the hard edges in the apples, something I don’t often do and I don’t like doing either, but the edges were not flattering on the left apple! I finished by putting in the details and darkening the cast shadows.
I’m happier with the results here, but still there are areas I need to work on. I know at least I enjoy working with a lot of water and pigment. I like mixing my colours on the paper, or rather allowing the colours itself to mix. I also know I prefer working on damp paper. And most importantly, I know I enjoy that first stroke with new pigment the most and don’t like to fiddle back over strokes! I’ve also realized how hard it is to show how you do something when you have never given your “process” any thought before. And I’ve realized that in exactly this fact, thinking about what you’re doing, lies the joy and satisfaction.
I am leaving for SA on Wednesday for about a month. I will try and check in and maybe post some sketches from there, if and when time and sun allows. Until then…à bientot!
My muse had left me and I’m stuck out in the cold. I made an effort with some vegetables I had close by.
Radishes in watercolour on Saunders Waterford HP, 30x23cm.
Tomatoes on the vine, watercolour on Fabriano CP, 18x26cm.
Encouraged by Jana and Robyn, I took up the oil brush again. Not to do paintings, but oil sketches. Went to my cute little art store, solved the world’s problems along with the owner, got a lovely compliment from a french guy buying paper and walked out with more brushes and some oil paper in blocks, which I’ve never used before. They worked out perfectly for the oil sketches! Another alternative would be to prime drawing paper with acrylic paint as an undercoat. I prefer the blocked canvas paper which is sturdy. I really enjoyed getting back to oils… missed the smell and sensuality and drama of oil paint. Now that my tubes have been opened again, I hope to do much more oil work again, sketching as well as painting. I used clementines as subject for both watercolour and oil sketches.
The watercolour was done in molekine, using a .25 rotring(which I love for the brilliance of the ink and its fine point), watercolours and a petit gris brush, no 0.
For this oil sketch, I started by laying a thin wash(oil and turpentine) roughly over an area, let it dry and directly sketched the clementines with brush and oil and a drop of Venetian turpentine as medium.
I had some oil paint left on my palette and attempted a second clementine sketch, changed the composition and lay a contrasting colour background which is once again a thinned wash, using plenty of turpentine with a big brush.
We are eating again. It is tradition here in early January. Galette des rois, literally cake of kings.. It is eaten as the twelth night cake. I got the féve (lucky charm) in my slice, so the crown that accompanies the cake, belongs to me. I am queen. And I have chosen my king. And I have to buy the next cake.Traditionally the youngest member around the table has to direct to whom each slice has to go, but since we were only two (and I’m the youngest), I just simply divided the cake in two(!!). Read more about the tradition of Galette des Rois. Different regions have different cakes. Towards the South it is more a brioche with a sugar topping and towards the north it is puff pastry with an almond paste filling. Now we are REALLY done with eating.
Watercolour and ink in moleskine.
Done in micro pen no 8, WC and gold ink for the gold leaf on the truffle and the “glitter”.
Everybody is so full of cheer and Christmas spirit…it is contagious. So here is a “corner” of our Christmas tree this year, which is a dry tree full of moss, that Hartman went to ”pick up” for me by the Loire river. All the decorations are in shades of grey, white and silver.
Done in micro pen,WC, silver gouache(for the angels hair and glitter) and silver leaf for the decorations.
The first image is a photograph, of which my lighting wasn’t good enough and I didn’t compensate for the colour reflection, therefore the “blue look”, but it shows the silver better than the scan (second image), where the colours are more true and the paper nice and white.
Winter; time for loads of vitamin C. Kiwi’s, clementines, mandarins, oranges, clemenvillas, grapefruit, pomelo’s; each asking for their own way of eating. To practice working with the Schmincke paints some more, I used some oranges, cut in all the different ways I eat them.
When in a hurry, I roll an orange under my foot, cut a hole in the top and suck the juice loudly and slurpingly, until the opening cracks and forces you to tear it open completely and attack the remaining flesh with your teeth. Aftwards you have to lock yourself in the batroom with lengths of floss and a stack of toothpicks. I struggled with this sketch and I can’t even blame it on the paint…pure lack of skill! I can’t get away from having it look like a chamber pot. Done in pencil, pen and Schmincke WC and still using my handmade sketchbook from Marta.
An orange cut into quarters takes me back to my netball years, when a tray of orange quarters were passed around during halftime. I always played goal attack, which allowed me three quarters of the court to run and also shooting goals. Man, I was good!…except for those days when my goal shooting failed… Done in pencil, pen and Yarka WC in my handmade sketchbook.
My mother always peeled the orange with her sharp little knife and with me on her lap, she would cut round slices from the top…one for me, one for her, one for me… We would have a go at about four to six oranges this way. Hartman also peels an orange and when I move closer with some puppy-eyes, he might just hand me some broken off segments. Done in pencil, pen and Yarka WC in my handmade sketchbook.
And lastly, when I’m fancy and making a salad or dessert, I’ll cut them with my big knife – first slice off both top and bottom, then place the orange on one cut side and slice the peel off from top to bottom by following the contour of the orange, turning it after each slice, making sure that you also slice off all the white pith. Take the peeled orange in your left hand and cut out each segment between the “skins”. Messy, but pretty. Done in pencil, pen and W&N WC in my handmade sketchbook.
EDIT: I received this comment from Desiree and want to share it with you:
“I used to roll them and suck out the juice too. When my kids were little I even had a contraption that fit inside the hole and was a straw to make it easier. I have eaten oranges in so many ways but there was this one time. It was after work, I was tired and hungry and all of us piled onto the train that took us home faster, passing all the traffic on the freeway. As I sat just zoning, being lulled into a commuter trance there was a women in the seat across from me, eating an orange. I found it really interesting, her style of eating this orange. It was cut into neat segments with the skin attached. She carefully ate the orange flesh and then proceeded to eat all of the white part next to the skin. She first nibbled at it then dragged it across her bottom teeth until the orange skin was the only thing left. It was so thin, it was almost transparent. She was neat, very careful but determined to not let one bit of that orange go to waste. She made me so hungry for an orange. I always eat the white part now, she made it look too good to pass up. This is also a good lesson on “We don’t really know all the people we influence!”
…So, how do you eat your orange?
Pears on a plate from art afternoon with Casey.
I’d like to redo these…I was so tired and I left early and the whole painting looks tired. It was such a beautiful, simple set up, I wish I did a better job. We were sitting outside and had a new friend in our little group of two, a beautiful French lady, Nicole. She did the pears in oil. She lives right opposite Casey, so maybe she can persuade Nicole to post her pears in oil…?
WC on Fabriano HP 30.5 x 23cm
Everything comes to an end. And with the end comes a new beginning. We all know that. But I don’t have the beginnings on my mind, I’m in a philosophical mood, so I’m preoccupied with endings. And rightly so. A few things happened to me lately that focused me on how time passes on its own terms and brings all things to an end.
I just ate my last peach of this year. It was actually way past the last….and it set my mood for excogitation. This last peach had the taste of ending. It wasn’t even sweet and juicy and it came from Spain. It didn’t explode in my mouth with the exuberance of summer and suntan lotion. It didn’t take me back to my childhood and my mother, making peach jam and peach chutney. Instead, I mentally experienced the gloomy saying goodbyes after a visit, the reluctant packing up after a glorious holiday, the unsettling sadness of a dry christmas tree.
I didn’t have enough peaches this summer. I should’ve enjoyed it to the full when it was in abundance. This last peach made me once again realize the impact of time on our lives. That we only get one shot at living.
This is a clock my mother left me. I don’t like it, it is plain ugly. But I love it. It carries a beautiful message. Almost a warning. It chimes every 30 minutes and at 12 you litterally have to stop talking to give the clock twelve chimes. Before every chime, there is just the tiniest of warning that it is about to erupt in jubilation; a soft click, so soft you have to be close enough to hear it, you have to almost pay attention. That is just how time is. There are warnings everywhere around us that time is not waiting for us, not giving a second chance, not caring how busy or idle we are. The click is there, we have to pay attention, listen to the 12 chimes; use the silence to think.
Today I’m sad because things end. But I’m also thankful for time. Because time is kind in its cruelty, it is consistent, it doesn’t linger, it can’t be bribed. Because 12 chimes force me to keep quiet and listen and think. About today and about tomorrow. And tomorrow, it forces me to be grateful for new beginnings. Tomorrow it will give me quince instead of peaches.
Both sketches in WC and pen in moleskine