I try to sketch every time I sit down for a coffee somewhere in a village. Not all my sketches are worth showing. Sometimes my people look like godzillas and my buildings look like mudhuts and sometimes I just sit and mess around with colour, because I simply love color. But, in the end they all serve one purpose. To sharpen the saw.
The sketch below is from different buildings; the top one just being a little pigeonnier that serves as the entrance to a park and the other a door of the church further away.
One of the things I adore about our old Europe, is the church bells. Even here at Coin Perdu I can hear the church bells ring. Sitting in the old town centres sipping a modern Perrier, while hearing the church belles right next to me, sometimes feel completely surreal. Below is the old church in the center of Brive la Gaillarde, la collégiale St MArtin, dating from the XII th century.
Some of this and that in the street of Brive la Gaillade.
I was enjoying a coffee in medieval Bretenoux with its lovely little cobbled squares and covered alleys. The sun was shining hot and I got tempted into a second coffee and drawing the post office just opposite me. Very lazily of course… as all sun lovers will know…the sun is a happy drug!
I added only a touch of colour, which I quite like, since the linework was very spontaneous and quirky..
pen in Daley and Rowney watercolor sketchbook
My august sketching have slipped a little from under me and I lost a few days. The constant rain we’ve been having added to the difficulty of getting out. today’s sketch is just a large simple house with a impressive red tiled roof…I love these red roofs..
..a red roof in Beaulieu..
watercolor and Prera pilot fountain pen in S&B sketchbook
Le Pescher is a quaint little village not far from us…when our daughter got married there in 2012, we all walked to our cars through the little village from the church, past the bassin, filled with enormous fish! My sketching for today was the church where they got married(well, only the tower, since I ran out of paper for the rest!) and a house opposite the pond on the route we walked.
..a house across the large pond, bassin..
I received 2 sketchbooks from Stillman & Birn and did my first watercolor in the Epsilon S&B sketchbook, 150gms. It is really too lightweight for my watercolor, but then it isn’t really meant for watercolor, only for drawing with ink and pen. It is very very smooth with no tooth at all, and I don’t even like it for drawing, for that reason. I like a bit of tooth which grabs a medium, whether it is watercolor or pencil or charcoal or whatever. But it is still early days and I only got started with the book, so there is still time to get used to the paper.
One can see the buckling of the paper, which doesn’t bother me too much, but the watercolor makes hard edges and there is no granulation, something I love in watercolor. It is all very flat and smooth. A sketchbook not fit for watercolor, even though I read comments on internet which convinced me to get it for watercolor sketching.
What is nice about these books is that it folds open without the spiral in the middle, allowing one to paint across two pages if you want to. But if I compare this book to my Daler Rowney, (satin finish, 160gms) that I have been doing the latest sketches in, it totally falls short. I personally prefer the Daler Rowney even with the spiral in the middle.
.. The S&B sketchbook and my brass palette with its 16 colours..
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..
It is only day 2 but boy, I am having so much fun! I feel inspired, enthusiastic creative and just in the zone…how many of you can say that this evening? I hope it will last the entire 31 day of August…and beyond. Of course it won’t, but even just a little bit of it will be good enough.
Starting off with my café, which helps get me in the “zone”, I sketches the géraniums just opposite. It was raining, the tourists took up all the other covered spots in our small village, so I didn’t have much choice of going out. In the end I am happy I stayed, it turned out not too bad, after initially starting off a bit slow…
- I used yellow on the walls with touches of burnt sienna.
- The roofs were done with ivory black and raw umber and blue.
- The shadows on the canopies were done with a light wash of cerulean blue.
- The geraniums done in cadmuim red and the greens in golden green, darkened with phtalo blue.
- In the shade of the canopy in the background, behind the people dining in the foreground, a touch of light black ivory was applied for shadows.
- In the foreground the people and tables just behind the stone wall, closest to me were done in bright burnt umber.
- And lastly some yellow ochre touches here and there when the sun came out…
It is a good idea to test the same colour of different brands, because they do sometimes differ. In the above sample at the bottom left I have compared the raw umber of W&N with that of Sennelier. I prefer the Sennelier raw umber which is cooler than that of the W&N.
From top left anticlockwise to bottom: warm grey, naples yellow, burnt umber, raw umber, burnt sienna, raw sienna, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow, cadmium yellow deep, lemon yellow.
My little pocket brushes are one from Arches…le petit gris nr 6, which broke at some time and I fixed it with tape and now it still works perfectly. The other is a Kolinsky that I have no idea where it is from. all I know is that I have used it for years, so much so that I have lost its cover and now use a piece of plastic that I found which fits over the brush. (See photos down below). So you can see, I am a bit like the mechanic whose car is always in pieces…But look ate those lovely brush points…hold as much or as little water as I want them to!
A new sketchbook from Daler & Rowney which I just discovered and am quite impressed with. The paper is not that heavy, only 160g, but it takes watercolor quite well and I don’t mind a little buckling in a sketchbook. The pocket brushes from top my precious Kolinsky nr 8 with its “unbecoming” plastic cover and the “repaired”petit gris nr 6 below.
..Kolinsky pocket brush 8..
..”taped” petit gris pocket brush 6
I haven’t done urban sketching for quite some time. Since we have arrived here at our farm, Coin Perdu, I have mainly been doing plein air painting in the countryside or food sketches, which go with my foodblog, Myfrenchkitchen. I also mainly work on watercolor blocks, because I use a lot of water and pigment which mix directly on the paper and with a sketchbook, I have to wait quite a while before I can turn the page to do a new sketch. With the watercolor block I just ear off the paper, set it aside to dry and start a new sketch. Later I bind the sketches together. Funny thing is, people are more interested in buying the quick sketches than completed paintings, so in that sense a block works much better ( except for me, because being the total useless business person I am, I just give them away for free, thinking I can’t possibly charge money for a sketch? Well, as long as it brings that person joy, then it is OK. But…somewhere I have to draw the line though…)
So, I will get back to making my own proper sketchbooks with Arches HP paper. I have also ordered a few new sketchbooks.
The sketch below was done this morning (on Arches watercolor block, HP) in the company of friends at the market, which I found quite distracting, not being used to sketching with all that buzz around me anymore. The old buildings in France are wonky by default and below my faulty perspective makes it even worse…but for the most part, I am quite happy with this sketch after such a long dry spell.
..centre ville Beaulieu s/D..
aquarelle on Arches wartercolor block, HP, 18x26cm