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watercolour painting

Sketching ellipses..bowls and jugs.

One of my demons in art, is the ellipse. I hate drawing ellipses. Maybe hate is a strong word..I really really dislike ellipses. So many objetcs have some sort of ellipse in it. And like with perspective, you can’t be an artist without coming across ellipses.

With a snowy and rainy weekend keeping us inside, I challenged  that ellipse fear and went back to my spiral exercises(see bottom of page).

..Bowls..

pen and watercolor in Arches aquarelle block, HP, 18x26cm

Bowl Ellipses 1

..Jugs..

pen and watercolor in Arches watercolor block, CP, 18x26cm

Bowl Ellipses 2

I  do these great spiral exercises to practice  ellipses from the book “Sketchbook for artists”. S

  1. Start with drawing a circle and loosely let your hand move downwards in a spiral. It it best to not do it slowly, but at a natural, continuous speed, without stopping.
  2. You can enlarge and diminish to your own liking, creating different shapes and volumes.
  3. Practice placing one spiral into another.
  4. Vary the thickness of the lines. Don’t worry if it is all askew in the beginning..your hand will get steadier as you keep on doing these spring-like spirals.

..Spiral exercises four ellipses..

Ellipses 0001

Bibliography: Sketchbook for the artist, Sarah Simblet..


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


Still life with copper pots.

With this second attempt at an aquarelle still life, I didn’t  to set it up the still life. I only painted what was in front of me, which was my copper pots filled with brushes and other art stuff. I moved the objects a little to avoid “kissing” and to bring them a little closer. the apple that rolled to the side, was left as it found its place and I was very chuffed with it!It might be overcrowded for some, but I rather like the idea…in any case  more than a composed and deliberate still life. Maybe it is a mirror of my life…anything BUT composed and deliberate!

… stil life with copper pots…

..in watercolor and graphite on Fabriano paper  CP 30.5×45.5cm…

…and a close up of my strokes and layers. I still feel I overworked it and could’ve let go of the brush much sooner..


Still life with quince.

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.

…close up…

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!


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


More paintings from Provence.

Our first outing was to this lovely spot and we planned on all doing gouache. Except for me – I had a real bad hair day and nothing worked that day…Robyn gave me such encouragement and comfort that day…she’s very special. The gouache you see here, was done here in Correze from the little watercolor I did on the spot. It isn’t quite what would normally make me jump in the air from joy, but seeing that it came from an already hesitant little watercolor, I think I  will now yield and validate it as OK.

…vineyard and cherry orchard…

gouache on paper.

 

…the original watercolor sketch, vineyards and cherry orchard..

…pen and watercolor in sketchbook…

Our first outing all three together and we painted the same spot.  Sarah hadn’t arrived yet, so you can see mine and Robyn’s at the bottom with Katherine’s to the right.(mine in watercolor and the other two in gouache…see them on ‘Four go painting in Provence.‘)

Sarah’s painting of the same spot a few days later is on her post Farm and cherry orchard afternoon.

This was very early…6:30 in the morning. Sunrise. But it actually works more as a sunset painting!

…sunrise, sunset…

watercolor on Fabriano watercolor paper

So I tried again here in my gallery to get a more early morning feel, which wasn’t a success either. But I learned in this process and that is important. I learned a LOT on this very short trip…maybe I will share it later…

...sunrise…

watercolor on Fabriano watercolor paper

And to finish off…a sketch of a terrace in the little village Bédoin, while having a diabolo cassis at the  café opposite.

…a terrace in Bédoin…

pencil and watercolor  in sketchbook

To follow: Oil and gouache studies.


Amaryllis in watercolor

Joyeux Noël 2010!

Watercolor and pencil on Fabriano watercolor paper, 31×23 cm.

 


Crocus painting

I’m still frantically struggling artwise. It may not seem so, but I am.

I’ve spent some ample time sketching and drawing, doing contour work, splashing paint and it still feels as if I’m slopping through mud.  I suppose I am in the low part of the creative cycle and will need patience and perseverance to rise again. Patience doesn’t come easy for me, especially when I have  a new book of artists in hand and see what amazing talent and excitement and original creativity are happening in the art world! Then I “intensely dislike” the slushing here in my mud pool!

…a little colour in mud…

crocuswatercolour

Watercolour on Fabriano artistico paper HP, 30x23cm (11,8″x9″)

A while back Lindsay posted some of her comments which I found a great idea;  sometimes there is such valuable info and support in the comments which we miss out on.  I’m going to follow her lead and post some comments of my previous post. From these comments it is clear how many/all artists relate to these feelings of frustration, understand the creative struggle and recognize their own share of lows with personal experience and bits of advice here and there. These are the things I learn from on my daily creative journey…

…..”the nice thing about things forgotten is that they come back again quickly, and one has the chance to change a thing or two about them”… said Gesah.

…”Sometimes when work shows a little struggle in the birthing it only makes it more pleasurable to see. I learned that from a painting I did that when I looked at it I could only see the struggle. A viewer told me they loved it BECAUSE they could see the struggle which gave it much more drama and excitement than the ordinary pretty picture it might have been without the struggle”…said Jana.

…”sometimes those ‘tough love’ approaches do us the most favours…” said Cathy

…”like anything else you have to warm up first. If I’ve not been on my bike for 2 months, I am shaky and breathless just going down the road – but after a couple of rides, I’m back in the saddle. The same with drawing for me – if I’ve not drawn for a while, I do the most clumsy, embarassing drawings until I get my eye back in again”… said Carole

…”sometimes our brains get in the way of our making”…said Maureen

…”I really learn when an artist shares the process she has gone through. We can all sympathize with those times when the creative juices seem frozen”…said Annie

…”I have a tutor who echoes in my head in the same way :>) when going through a bad patch on the degree and being very nervous of him (he was very acid and didn’t suffer fools gladly) I was was overworking the paint. Each time he walked by he said ‘put it down (the paint) and leave it ALONE’, ’round the class …. back to me …. and he’d say it again and again! It worked”…said Vivien

…As far as I can tell, for a certain type of artist (of which I am one and I think you are, too), it’s always a process of learning, losing the way for a time, relearning, picking up new materials, re- finding old ones, circling back to old themes and concerns, recalibrating, rethinking, refocusing. It’s a lifetime thing. Or so I think. I try to be accepting of the process, as dispiriting as it sometimes seems”…said Laura

…Art doesn’t come out in an even stream, but we go backward and forward and through all kinds of loops and spins”…said Bill Fulton

…I guess those things work like when you have a bad hair day – YOU see it very well in the mirror, but everybody else thinks you just look like you always do”…said Nina.

…”Sometimes what seem to be harsh words sink deeper and do good even if they can feel soul destroying when they are spoken”…said Jeanette

…”I can empathize with what you said. I know when I have not painted or drawn for an extended period of time, there’s a little reluctant anticipation….kind of like the sensation of jumping into cold water…but once in…. it feels good”…said D Prizzi.

…”But painting, like riding a bike, will again come naturally”…said Desirée.

(a recent comment)…”these things definitely do come and go in cycles, don’t they? One of the things that is always hard for me to remember is that the cycle moves more quickly if I still show up and work every day. (There’s a good book about this that I should probably re-read — “The War of Art” by Stephen Pressfield.)”…said Turningturning


Splashy pineapples

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?


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