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sur le motif painting

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


September 24 & 25: Houses in the hills en plein air.

When I drive on the narrow country roads, I love staring at all the country houses…their gardens, their latest activity, the latest changes, their potagers (vegetable gardens).  Life is never quiet and static at a country home. Sometimes the houses are nestled on top of the grass hills, entouré (surrounded) by trees for shade and coolness during hot summers.  Sometimes they are sunken deep in the valleys and their presence is betrayed only by their roofs or a trail of smoke in winter. How I love the country side!

..the house on the hill..

oil on linen, 38×46 cm

The house on the hill 24-09-2013 15-41-04 2791x2296 24-09-2013 15-41-04 2791x2296

 

The opainting below was done earlier today and I spent only about 20-25 minutes on it before I packed up. Today is very humid and hot and the clouds are moving in and pretty soon the thunder will be rolling. I worked almost carelessly, tired and not really wanting to put in the effort. But it is actually starting to grow on me and is not as bad as I initially thought. Maybe I should do more 15 minute plein air paintings.

..three roofs..

oil on linen,

Three roofs. 24-09-2013 15-42-59 3974x2859..à demain..

Ronelle

 


September 22 & 23: Plein air paintings.

Two plein air paintings for these two days. With the wonderful weather we are having this week, it would be shameful not to paint out.

..the old ruin..

oil on linen, 33×46 cm

the old ruin 22-09-2013 16-55-22 3355x2361

With the past rains we had, the fields have exploded into greens and wildflowers, especially wild pink heather. It is not for nothing that fall is called second spring. There are also beautiful patches of lilac crocus all over. Of course, everybody is out hunting for mushrooms and a couple was doing just that while I painted “Pink heather”. The tree next to the little “cabane” is an old oak and home to the ever popular bolet, or cèpe and the hunting couple was all around the tree, all around the cabane, to and fro, while Madame lifted the bottom seam of her dress to carry their treasure. Fortunately I was far enough to avoid seeing the detail.

..Pink heather..

oil on linen, 27×40 cm

pink heather 22-09-2013 17-33-54 3950x2596

..à demain..

Ronelle


September 5: Le vieux poulailler(old hen house)

The chickens have been moved to their new chateau and soon the old chicken coop will be demolished, not without a morsel of sadness, though..

..le vieux poulailler..

oil on linen, 33x46cm

le vieux poulailler 2 04-09-2013 17-47-57 3548x2568

I first painted in the tufts of hay that stuck out all over, which I actually found so cute!  After adding those first strokes of tuft and standing back, it look like I borrowed some stars from Van Goch starry night and added it to my poulailler. No go. So, with patience unknown to me, I scraped off the tufts with the palette knife and touched up again with fresh paint. It is once again an art lesson: not everything we find pretty in reality will necessarily make a good painting.

..tufts of hay..le vieux poulailler 2 04-09-2013 17-11-41 4116x2833

à demain

Ronelle


Two new plein air paintings

So two new plein air paintings are almost dry.

I started off with doing paintings just around the house..familiar ground..juts to get my confidence back. I can’t start off new with concentrating on all the aspects of plein air techniques, as well as handling people watching. The most difficult part of getting back into it, was staying with large shapes and not moving into picky painting. To help me with that, I had a limited palette of 6 colours and only two large flat brushes – a large one for getting down the main shapes and a slightly smaller one towards the end, getting down the impressionistic strokes.

…four à pain..

oil on linen, 24X33cm

Four à pain 27-07-2013 12-13-08 2699x3252

I almost gave up halfway through the first painting(seen below), since I couldn’t recognize any thing on the canvas at that stage, but I knew I would sulk for the rest of the month, so I had no choice but finish it. I am fairly happy and I know the process will just get better from now on… given that I continue painting of course!

..la route..

oil on board, 33X42cm

La route 27-07-2013 12-14-54 2535x3509

I just realized once again…it isn’t the completed painting that gives me the biggest kick, but the process that leads up to the end result. Now that I have some two or four paintings finished, busy drying, my biggest excitement is not seeing them in completion on the easels, but feeling the itch to start a new canvas.


Oil painting – white corner

My first plein air painting in two years..and I chose a rainy and snowy day to do it! Not the best composition ever and with very finicky brushwork (but with a nice stroke here and there!), I succeed in finishing it. And most importantly, I enjoyed it so, so much!!!

So, after all sorts of difficulties, I think this is what they call “breaking the ice”, so now I should start settling back into the process…and the joy plein air painting  gives me.

..White corner..

Oil on gessoed board, 41x33cm

le coin blanc-huile


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


Colors and foliage of November 2

More experimenting with fall colors…which are quickly changing to grays and blacks and umbers. some of these experiments and playing with line and color simply turn out a mess…as can clearly be seen in “ochres and siennas”, but somehow I actually like this mess, since it is much more loose and spontaneous than the others, which are strict and too precise and stiff. the goal of this experimenting is, after all, not to render, but to interpret. In that sense, “ochres and siennas” are my best effort so far, the one I’m the happiest with.

..ochres and siennas..

watercolor and pen in sketchbook, 15,5x25cm

I used the messy sketch above to do a painting 0n larger scale and extra white abriano artistico  paper. I shgould’ve gone for a more yellow tinted paper. Much lighter hand, lighter in color and more diverse in nuances…but still not what I’m after. A lot more work to do. But for this Sunday, it will do. I’m going for  a walk in the woods now to find some grays.

..ochre fall branch..

watercolor on extra white Fabriano artistico paper HP,41,5x30cm

..crimsons..

watercolor and pen in sketchbook, 15,5x25cm


Colors and foliage of November 1

I’ve been neglecting my sketching and I can feel it clearly in my wrist. Stiff and uncomfortable. Unsure. Hesitant.

…colors and foliage of November – yellow greens…

..watercolor and pen in watercolor sketchbook, 15,5x25cm..

I’m back at Coin Perdu for a painting sabbatical. Only me, my art and my soul. I’m staying in the barn, made many changes and it is now more of an atelier than anything else. We surely won’t receive any visitors during winter, so I’m set with my easels and paints around a huge fireplace which burns day and night to provide me with heat. It is actually good to be a little on the cold side. It keeps my brain from being too comfortable and become lazy and my body needs to move and work constantly to keep my metabolism up. It helps with my neglected sketching, because my doodles are starting to turn into sketches. I will bounce back. I always do.

There is no better way to get back into sketching than using what is in abundance around us. Nature. and if it is too cold outside, we can even bring nature inside. Which is what I’ve done with the following three sketches. Going for walks and picking up.

…foliage and colors of November – burgundies…

..watercolor and pen in watercolor sketchbook, 15,5x25cm..

…colors and foliage of November – umbers…

..watercolor and pen in watercolor sketchbook, 15,5x25cm..

This will be my excercise for some time…trying to capture nature in its colors of Autumn and winter..with additions of whatever is moving and living during these months around Coin Perdu.

Until next time…keep warm in the Northern hemisphere and enjoy the summers seasons elsewhere!

Ronelle


Two and a half pomegranates in oil.

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.


More oil and gouache studies

I have been working a bit more in gouache and oil in the fields…doing the few hay balls still lying around in the fields here and there. The following pieces are only exercises done on site in plein air. I’m working hard at just interpreting, not rendering  the reality, but only the essentials.

…close-up 1

Close-up two was done using only fench ultramarine, white an a touch of black. I’m quite happy with this one…

…close-up 2…

I am finding that I enjoy gouache more and more. I like the touch of it on the paper’s surface and it is creamy enough for me and I can work thick with it or thin in washes. I also particularly like its “flat” two dimensional appearance, which looks very “painterly” to me.

…Bales of hay in gouache…

These two  gouaches were done on a large sheet of light grey laminated paper/carton paper (65x50cm..25.6×19.7″)

I did a small oil as well.. I have to regain my confidence in oil as I lost it completely during an experience a few weeks ago. I’m hesitant, I don’t really know what to do and where to go to on the canvas. But maybe it is a good thing too…maybe something new can be born from this. I hope so.

…bales of hay in oil…

oil on linen, 33×24.5cm (13×9.7″)


Two oil paintings and a gouache.

My last post on Painting in Provence. Two oils and one gouache.All three were halfway done in the field and completed afterwards. they were all done at about three in the afternoon on hot days with the cigales singing in my ears, which was typical and I have no complaints about that. But the ants are at their most active at three in the afternoon too! Or so it felt! I got bitten the  second I dare stand still and at some point I started feeling like I was knee deep in the movie “The Mummy”!

..red sandstone cliff…

oil on canvas paper

…afternoon vinyeards and broom…

oil on canvas paper…

…mont ventoux on a cloudy afternoon…

…gouache on paper…

And some images from my four days…for more photos,  see “Provence” under Beauty of la France at Myfrenchkitchen.


Paintings from Provence

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 small road painting.

I decided on a “small road”, done in gouache for myApril postcard to Robyn. Starting with the envelope, I painted in gouche a quick sketch of what I would like to do on the postcard.

…envelope sketch…

I made a first little painting, on site, and found it too heavy and overworked.(Painting 1)

…painting 1…

gouache, ink and pencil on watercolor paper, 19x20cm.

Fortunately, the little road leads up to our house at  Coin Perdu and seeing it was close by, I could easily take my chair and goauche and try another one, which I found better, lighter.(painting 2).

…painting 2…

gouache, ink and pencil on watercolor paper, 19x20cm.

# Also have a look here at Vivien’s road in England, which she also did for a postcard, very different in atmosphere and beautiful!

**And lastly.. I’ve been invited by Anna  to take part in her series of interviews and it will be posted on her blog See. Be. Draw. on 28 April.

Until next time…à bientôt!

Ronelle


January plein air by the Loire

I wish you all a wonderful year with all the low points of last year turned into highlights this year!

Happy 2011


I wanted to start this new year off with a plein air painting, no matter what the weather circumstances were. And I did. I took off this morning with my painting stuff and a new pochade I haven’t used before, to the Loire. The temperature read 2 degrees C. I only had running shoes to wear, because my daughter has my hiking boots in the mountains.

It was very difficult…it took me ages to set up my things, I kept on slipping in the mud, my fingers were numb before I even started painting and I struggled to open the caps and squeeze out the oils. I found the little pochade extremely uncomfortable and clumsy and missed my French easel all the time. I couldn’t open the Liquin bottle and had to run back home to fetch another. I found it comlicated to paint with the muffins and the scarf was choking me and I felt thick and uncomfortable  with my sleeves in the way of the paint, constantly knocking over the mediums. I chose a difficult scene and had an uncomfortable spot in the mud and slighty up a hill. My eyes and nose were constant watery  from the cold and I had to fiddle with tissues all the time, resulting in me arriving home with a face looking like my painting. After 2 hours I couldn’t stand on my numb feet any more and I started doing nonsense on the canvas,  getting so frustrated that I slung my brush way into the distance, in the mud! And then I  decided that I should pack it in.

BUT!! I completed the study. Although I don’t like the painting/study, and although it was an enormous struggle, I am very satisfied that I did it. It is one of my plans for the new year - to get out and paint even if the circumstances are challenging - and I WANTED to start today, on January 1st. Now I only need to get out there often to get used to these difficult winter plein air painting. In the end it is really gratifying and I now know I can do it. I can probably save this study in my atelier if I want to but it serves no purpose. I didn’t get out there today to produce a masterpiece, although I would’ve liked it to be a bit better than it turned out…

..winter loire corner study  1..

..oil on linen, 34x23cm..

**Next time I’ll give my opinion about this easel, because I think it is unfair to give it now after only one time of use. I am too used to my old french easel. This smaller one is a lovely hand made pochade from Ben Haggett.

**I will also say more about my art plans for this year.

Until next time… paint away!

 


Autumn sketches I..hydrangeas in an autumn garden.

I’ve cleaned my garden, prepared it for autumn and the colours are already turning beautiful golds and reds…and old colours, like the hydrangeas.

This afternoon was the first of my art afternoon with MArie-Christine. We do such different work, which is inspiring. I forgot to ask her psrmission to show her piece here today, but she will be continuing next week, and maybe even the week after, so keep an eye open on Thursdays to see how we progress on our pieces.

For today I only did two sketches in pen and watercolor, but from next week on I’ll also do more serious work…I was so fatigued today and didn’t have the energy to do an oil painting..

Sketches of the autumn hydrangeas in the garden just outside my atelier..

both sketches in pen and watercolor in sketchbooks.

…hydrangeas and greens…

…hydrangeas and urn…


Plein air painting – A red roof.

We had terrible winds when I painted this painting. Everything tumbled over every now and then. So I feel quite proud that I’ve completed it.

… red roof…

correze

oil on linen, 46x38cm (18″x15″)


…red roof: close-up…

And here is my preparation stage, the very first washes.

I have so much to learn when it comes to plein air painting. My biggest problem is usually finding the best viewpoint.  Sometimes I impiulsively like a spot, just to realize after a while that the paintings doesn’t have any strong focus point, or the basics are weak(the shapes) or there is no interest, or it is too static. In this case I find that I have no real interest, no excitement, no strong focal point to hold the viewer captive, not enough strong movement to lead the viewer around the painting. So. Off to a next effort!


Oil painting – plein air – a quiet path.

Yesterday I did a plein air(sur le motif) painting…on my birthday. It was great. I’m quite happy with it in the sense that I really didn’t fiddle..I gave a first wash, then a second layer thin paint and then the final layer and lastly added fine details and I’m happy it turned out OK.

And THANK you to everybody who sent me good wishes for my birthday…I loved each one!!

…a quiet path…

oil on canvas, 38x46cm

…preparation for plein air, quiet path…


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