Today was a tired day, even though the sky was blue and bright. Can’t explain it. It is just how it is some days.
..Typical houses around here…shops down below and the living is done upstairs, with volets(shutters), not my favorite thing to paint!
..done with rotring art pen in contour quick lines, while waiting for my lunch of duck and salad to show up. Added a light wash over some of the lines, and there you have it. a sketch..
I am a lazy person. There you have it. My biggest secret revealed. If I don’t have deadlines and projects and goals, I fall in a slumber of doing less and less and less until I start enjoying doing less. In summer that can happen very easily with the holidays and lazy summer days, lingering by the pool…. So I decided to do some regular August sketching and get back to those sketches I haven’t done for months, years even. No summer laziness for me then, but pens and inks and aquarelle en all these new sketchbooks I’ve ordered and papers waiting to be turned into sketchbooks.
I use the rotring art pen quite a bit, and the ink allows me to add a little water(not too much) to bleed the lines. See the little sketch of the ink bottle below which was done with a rotring artpen.
I also love drawing with inks and especially J. Herbin and Sennelier inks. They are good inks, easy to find and much cheaper than ordering inks from other countries, just for the sake of having inks.
…See, the pens are waiting!…pen and J .Herbin ink, “Café des isles”
My palettes are organized and ready in waiting, mostly comprised of Sennelier and Winsor & Newton watercolor in tubes and pans. The palettes still need more cleaning, but you will never see perfectly clean around my art table..it confuses me completely and I can’t work…too afraid I’ll make mess!
Color chart of all the colors in my palettes. Sometimes I get confused and start using one color thinking it is another, especially if they are close in hue, so it is good to arrange and make sure the right colors are in their right places.
I use about 40 – 45 colors in the larger palette. .which stays at home. Not that I use all the colors every time of course. My tiny travel kit, which I have been using for years now, take about 16 colors which is just perfect.
Colors for my smaller palette…still deciding between some blues and yellows, but I’ll get there. I feel like change sometimes..
In a later post I will cover my use of color and palettes, the inks I love, the pens, pencils…all very simple. I am by far not so prolific and efficient as the urban sketchers or other daily sketchers out there. But more later in the month…this is just to get me started for the month of August.
So until tomorrow…sleep well!
Since we moved a two years or so ago, I got stuck quite a few times in the winter’s mud and snow and slid into ditches and depended on farmers and their trusting tractors. Given that I hate a telephone and rarely have one on me, it takes forever to get out of my predicaments. So we said goodbye to our trusted old friend last year (Goodbye to an old friend )and mon cheri got me new four wheels. I am since then a happy country woman! I already got out of ditches, I wheelie in the snow with flair, and I make small change of our slippery winter road uphill…all without the help of Mr Farmer and his tractor!
Mon cheri of course thinks it is his four wheels! Oh well, I kindly allow him to think so…after all, he is mon chéri!
I am rather boring when it comes to using new colours. Once i find my niche, I am happy for a long time. Probably not the way to be an artist. But I want to believe that it is me, the artist and not the tools that produces the masterpiece (which I’m still working on!!). And so my palette is always very limited to only a few well used colours.
This past week I cleaned out my palette, boutght a new Sennelier palette box and impulsively added some new colours. I am in love, but totally in love, head over heels! Two new colours on my palette..Sennelier grey and warm grey, both from Sennelier.. Absolutely beautiful and perfect for my new search of more faded colours. They will work great this winter…they have mystery, are cool to push you bit back, but then exposes a warmth which draw you closer. I use them clean and pure to have them shine their own star..I think they deserve it. Well, they definitely deserve a permanent place in my palette.
I worked on a thick pad of Canson mixed media paper, which is only meant for exercises, since it doesn’t allow for very wet work and the paper is rather fragile, even though it is 300g.
My week in Provence ended far too soon and it went by far too quick. I managed to do a few, not nearly as much as I planned, because typically Ronell, I forgot half of my art stuff at home. I left my very important oil canvases, boards and large watercolor pads by the door to pack them last and that’s where they still were while I as in Provence. Finding an art store proved to be harder than imagined and so I ended up borrowing two canvas papers from Katherine…can one borrow a paper/canvas…?
To start off with: all of the following are sketches done around Les Couguieux, where we stayed.
…the blue shutters of les couguieux…
watercolor and pen on watercolor paper
…hameau des couguieux…
pen and wash on watercolor paper
…the terrace at les couguieux…
pen and wash on watercolor paper
…still life with cups and lemon…
pen and wash on watercolor paper
To follow: landscapes in watercolor and gouache
A few sketches of December…a leisurely walk by the Loire, some faces in a bar and a shed in a friends garden.
…a shed in a friend’s garden…
.. sketchbook 15,3×25 cm, watercolor and pen…
…bare tree at the loire…
..sketchbook 15,3×25 cm, watercolor and pen..
…faces in a bar…
..sketchbook 15.3 x25cm, watercolor and rotring pen..
I stuck my nose out in the cold today…just outside the atelier and sketched the Jack Frost plant, whitered from the frost and the dry iris sculptures and a tree and shrub, struggling to hold onto some last colour.
…à la prochaine…
Taking over the Van Wyk bed..with some snacking in between.
…Tokala and Aiyani…
Sketch done in pencil, then pen and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 26x18cm (10,2″x 7,1″)
..until next time..
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..!
In spring the wildflowers are just beautiful. At Coin Perdu, the hills are covered yellow Pissenlits, ( dandelions). On my sketchercise walk, I normally only take a pen or pencil, but since this was a long but leisurely walk, I took my watercolour paints as well. Put on my straw hat, walking boots and wandered into the hills, losing myself in the sun and flora.
All sketches done in my Coin Perdu garden journal with pencil and watercolor.
…buttercup and dock…
…our wine crate table top which greeted my on my return…
…the latest addition to our family…Petronella and Stephanie…
Two sketches from a sketchercise walk by the Loire, where I do my usual thing…sketch with a pencil or pen in watercolor sketchbook and adding a wash at home.
A waterpump in the tiny knotted garden by the Maison de la loire .
The narrow tree lined pathway by the Loire.
And lastly a sketch of my “chicken” in the garden.
All sketches with pen/pencil in watercolor sketchbook
We were for a quick weekend at Coin Perdu, starting some work again. but it was raining and we didn’t get alot done. Went for some nice walks though. On my sketchercise walk I took my pen and sketchbook and roughly sketched some dry weeds from last season. The fileds are covered in flowers, especially the bright yellow marigolds, but since it was overcast, they were all closed.
Here are dry Scottish thistlel, some goutweed and young Plantain.
All sketches in pen/pencil and watercolor wash in Sketchercise book, 18x25cm.
This morning on my walk here in Montlouis, the weather was as bad, if not worse. It is alwasy a few degrees warmer in Correze than it is here. I went for my walk, having a hanglip becasue of the weather. My bones are asking for good spring and summer weather now! I need to be outside now, in nature and in the sun and by the river and bare arms and walking barefoot!
So here are some frustrated sketches from this morning’s walk in un temps de chien(awful , dog weather)!
A daffodil and hyacinth and tulip encountered on my walk, as also an underground water pipe.
A sunny Forsythia in bloom, and a curb and flowerbed near my home.
I’ve started my walking and sketching again. Walking I’ve always done, but now I’ve started taking the sketching stuff along again. I’ve also decided to do it a bit different from now on. The sketches will be very quick. The walking is about exercise firstly after all and stopping too often or for too long breaks my rhythm. On these sketchercise walks I will also only take my sketchercise journal(a lovely watercolour sketchbook, covered in red linen) and a rotring pen or pencil. I don’t want to carry a lot of stuff and I don’t want to fiddle with art supplies. I simply stop and do a sketch while standing, close the book and start walking again. I do a maximum of three sketches and they need to be very quick. Two to three minutes at the very most.
…all sketches done in sketchercise sketchbook, 18x25cm….
The sketches I did this morning were only about two minutes each and only in pencil. I added a wash at home. By making quick notes on the sketch, it helps work the memory for when I want to add a splash of colour at home. It works really great. I achieve a lot…. get good walking in without breaking my rhythm and I get quick “unthinking” , almost blind contour drawing sketches done AND a posting as well! Leaves ample time to get on with the rest of my day and do decent art in the atelier or go out for some good sketching, with decent art supplies.
This is a fallen tree over part of the river which happened with the big storms that passed thr0ugh France about a month ago.
Well, never too late to be back…or something like that…
I went sketching just in time yesterday. It was beautful and sunny with clear skies and warm. to suddenly fall upon today where we have one of the coldest days I have experienced so far this winter..we have the blue skies, but icy icy cold with a wind that slices us relentlessly in juliennes!
After a long time of no sketching, I found myself back in that corner where I fixate on detail and try to put too much on to the paper. So my objective for the next few weeks will be to get back into only capturing the necessary, sketch faster and not worry about doing it right!
It is good to be back…!
So, Yesterday. I stopped across the river Loire at Vouvray, a quaint village with houses set into the cliffs next to the Loire. Parking my car in the sun, flinging open the door, basking in the warmth of the sun, I did these two sketches at the same spot. Just moving my focus on with the road. With the first sketch, Vouvray 1, I used my new bottle of black ink to draw with, not realizing I bought water soluble ink. So when I washed with the watercolour, all the ink just flooded all over. With the second sketch, Vouvray 2, I just fell back on my rotring tikkky graphich pen to draw with and then added my wash of water color.
…vouvray 2 – further down rue du petit coteau..
Both sketches in pen and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15,3 x 25cm.
A while back I bought this lovely handmade book. It has the look of an old book with handmade paper pages. The cover had me immediately think of ink sketches, particularly olf etch-like drawings…statues, architecture…all things I love to sketch. I’ve started doing some statues in it…the paper isn’t very forgiving and not ideal for sketching and it doesn’t take watercolour at all, but maybe it only adds to the “ancient” look that I’m after. In any case this book is not about art, but about a look – I am looking forward to see it one day when it is done, filled with ink drawings, thick and used! by then, it might be REALLY old…
I use only ink and a pen with nibs and afterwards I wash gently with a little ink and water to just add a shadow and a stain here and there. The book is 11.5 x 17cm and I found it at Les milles feuilles in Paris.
…an old touch…
…statue 1-St sulpice…
…statue 3- chateau de vincennes…
…statue 4-chateau de vincennes…
My favourite stopping corner was here at the koi pond. Its tranquility and the elegance of the kois in their ballets seduced me into seating myself on the rock by the edge early every morning, staring at them endlessly, sipping my kona coffee.. the world was still quiet when I softly spoke to them, telling them my schedule for the day. Joking about their pouting lips searching for a delicacy. And then I’d sketch them. Snap them. Photo’s galore. They enjoyed posing and pirouetted spontaneously only for me.
Voila some stops on my walks. Colourful canoes on the lagoon. Elegant flamingoes. Impressive statues. I could probably have stopped more often to sketch, but a big part of the allure of Hawai’i is in the reflecting and quiet time, staring into distance. Quiet and still. Watching waves break. Listening to the wind rustling through the palms. Being entranced by the play of light on the shallow waters by the shore. Waiting along with the surfers for that next big one. Feeling that drop of sweat trickling down your back, telling you it’s time to move on. People who don’t do that, miss out.
In this quiet time in still corners of the island, away from people, in solitude with only the wind and the ocean as company, I have succeeded in solving issues, finding peace in who I am and how I am. It gave me acceptance with roads I will be following from now on. It gave me breathing space and freedom to come to terms with bridges that were burnt. I imagine I gave it all up to the waves and the ocean, while the soft touch of the breezes swept me clean from disappointments and sadness and just maybe the whisper of the palms filled me with optimism and a strong spirit. I look forward to tomorrow.
Because I enjoyed the koi fish so much, and because I have these millions of photos of them(almost), I thought to share them with you, offering them(like with the sunflowers) to those who so desire, to download and paint, paint paint them! Throw the photo’s together and compose a watercolour or pastel, or oil or drawing. Make marks…they are wonderful to paint and play around with. Look at the water as well…lovely shapes and colour. Great movement. Here are some close ups as well as general shots. So. I invite you to enjoy!
…koi fish for painting…
click on image to print larger version
For more photo’s on the trip see Myfrenchkitchen: travel
To be continued…
Safely back home from Hawai’i, with unforgettable memories, tons of photos(for memories, paintings and snazzy shooting!) a heatlhy tan, fit as a fiddle, tired and dizzy with jet lag and hungry for french coffee!
Since Hartman spent his time with convention meetings, I had all the time in the world to selfishly do my own thing. I walked a lot, picked up things on my way and sketched them in our “room with a view”, when alone in the evenings. I carried my camera and sketchpad with me during the day, hiked long stretches up and down the coast and stopped every now and then to indulge in sketching some part of nature or the many art statues and animals around.
…findings along the way…
We were on Kona, the big island, still very quiet and undeveloped in comparison to the others and to me, up until now a world unknown. Taking about 6 hours to travel around the whole island, you travel through rain forests the one minute passing an empty desert the next, cows grazing fields follows shortly after, just to suddenly make way for dry volcano rock and finally ending in sandy beaches and tropical flora.
I found the trip very inspirational and came back home with some ideas for paintings. I’m not sure whether “island painting” is really me, but I am looking forward to the challenge of putting something different on canvas than what I’ve done up to now. Even if it is just for memory sake, because I don’t think I have the courage to go that way again…the long flight and stops are far too challenging for me!
Some sketches…seed pods and flowers picked up from the ground. Parts of a statue captured here and there. Up until the day we left, the coffee table was covered with findings from every day along with pens and watercolour pads and palettes and a note I left to the cleaning lady…to leave it all as it is. She was so cute – she would take the dirty glass I use for my watercolour and replace it with a clean one every day. She would also leave me a little pile of napkins next to my palette. By the last day, the leaves were dry, the flowers wilted, the napkins all used up and I felt quite emotional to throw it all in the bin. To me it was a story which came to its end. I’m always sad when a story ends, even when the end sails happily off into the sunset.
All sketches were done in the aquarelle moleskine with rotring pen and watercolour.
We had the most beautiful view from our room with the sunset straight in front of us over the ocean. The doors to the balcony stayed open all the time we were there. We fell asleep with the sound of crashing waves in our ears and we woke up with the smell of the ocean whifting in through the open doors early morning. I could live a life like this – the tempo slow and almost heavy with laid back pace, stressless, nonchalant, with hips swaying and flowers bouncing in tied back hair.
…from early morning…
See some more photos here at Myfrenchkitchen: Travel.
To be continued…
A post for Sketchercise:
This morning’s walk provided me with greens.I have to admit that I don’t enjoy drawing/painting/rendering leaves. Maybe it is the greens in them I shy away from. I find green a difficult colour to paint in watercolour as well as oil, or any other medium. Beautiful in nautre, difficult to render. Too much green can make me feel quite ill. The wrong greens can look very artificial. Green can easily look flat and lifeless. Like white, green isn’t just ..green. It absorbs and reflects its environment and by looking closer you’ll see browns and reds, yellows and blues…a whole spectrum of colour. And then we get transparent greens and saturated greens, which you can’t paint with only green from a tube or pan. Even oils are difficult and mix differently than watercolour, for one – we have a white which can be added to green in oils, then making it less transparent of course. Which explains why I rarely paint with green, but prefer mixing a green. And I love to mix it directly it on my paper or canvas to have the colours flow into one another, giving dimension and vibrancy and life, even if the green isn’t the “perfect” green. I sometimes add olive green(Schmincke) and the very different olive green(W&N).
Please do tell how you paint greens?!
In these three sketches, I have used more or less the same palette:
Cobalt yellow pale(W&N), cobalt yellow deep(W&N), yellow ochre light(Schmincke), lemon yellow(W&N),french ultramarine(Sennelier), cobalt blue(Sennelier), Prussian blue(Sennelier), Cerulean blue(W&N), Paynes gray(W&N), burnt sienna(W&N), raw umber(Sennelier), olive green(Scmincke).
All sketchesdone with rotring pen and watercolour in watercolour moleskine
A post for Sketchercise.
With a little bit of time on my hands I put on my heavy hiking boots..urgh.. and took off for a walk. All the flowers on shrubs have made room for berries of all colours. Since I am in the process of noting all the fauna and flora in this area, I dragged along my sketching palette, which is boringly still the same as you’ll see in this link, except that my sketchbook might be the small moleskine or the normal one…watercolour of course. I like the paper of the watercolour moleskine.
Tokala and Aiyani tailed along, until they realized to their horror that we were going further than normal. That had them plonk down under the apple tree, all the while complaining about my imbecility. On my promise to give them joghurt back home, they sulkily agreed to wait under the apple tree. I kept my promise.
…prunellier and aubepine…
…bramble, stinging nettle and dock leaves…
All sketches done in rotring pen and watercolour in watercolour moleskine.
Today was a productive Friday, artwise. Early this morning I took off to paint the poppies plein air. Took the car to Midas for serice. While Hartman saw to the oiling and fixing, I had 2 hours on my hand, so I walked to the art store to buy Liquin.
They weren’t open yet, so I continued walking to Biocoop, where I always buy my turps – pressed from orange peel. On my way there, I passed by a farm with some geese and remembered that this WALK could serve as my “Sketchercise” contribution for this Friday.
I usually carry a rotring pen and moleskine in my bag, as well as my compact watercolour palette and brush.
So. Took out the molekine and pen and asked the geese to hold still. They refused and left. Now my sketches look odd.
Sulking, I continued on to the Biocoop, just to find they were not open yet. Everything closes up between noon and 14:00 and sometimes even up until 14:30. The further south you go, the later the reopening in the afternoon…maybe 15:00, but most likely 16:00.
Anyway! I turned on my heels and walked all the way back to the art store, passing the geese again. Being a bit more sensitive in my approach, I managed to squiggle a few lines before they noticed me and swaggled off. I shrugged my houlders and turned to a wild rose/prickly rose.
…a second try…
With my art and bio stuff heavy on my arm and my feet burning from wearing light sandals not fit for walking, I limped off to the nearest bistro for a coffee and water. After a walk up en down of roughly 4 km, I met up with Hartman, plonked in the car, stopped off at the boucherie for a medium rare steak over hot coals for dinner tonight, and kicked off the sandals to let my sorry blisters breathe.
The sun was still invitingly high in the sky. Along with Hartman on our bikes, we set off in search of a plein air painting spot by the Loire for tomorrow morning, since the sun had promised to be present this weekend. I stole a quick sketch of a fisherman with his back to me. He smiled at me, thinking I was sketching the Loire.
…an unsuspecting fisherman…
I found my painting spot for tomorrow, we enjoyed our peach and Coke, I gave Liandri a lift home on my bike, we lit up the fire, opened a red wine and scorched our steak. A perfect day.
With the rain falling non-stop for this whole week, I just couldn’t get to go painting the poppies in the fields like I’ve been burning to do! And now I fear by the time the rains tops, there will be no poppies left! Well, at least we have bistros with some faces to sketch…
Sketches done in rotring pen in moleskine
…faces, instead of poppies…