In summer we don’t eat apples. We munch on peaches and nectarines. Except the horses. They have their apples throughout the year. An apple is one of the most delicious subjects to draw and paint. For the experts it is a challenge to capture its real beauty and succulent appearance and for the beginner it is easy enough to start off with and be inspired to keep going.
pen and aquarelle on watercolor block
..six apples close-up..
Just for some lazy fun, I splashed some greens for a sucrine salad…using blues and yellows, purple and payes gray for darker shadows. Salad is always difficult to draw and paint, so many lines and squigles…definitely not a favorute subkect of mine. The greens are a great challenge though!
pen and aquarelle on waterclor block
..sucrine salad close-up..
I dug this sketch out of the bin. It ended there along with many others I’m lately not happy with. I feel in an awful slump and nothing seems to work..everything is either too “pretty”, or too perfect or it is just plain bad art. I struggle to find that exciting stroke, or that exciting subject, or even the right medium. I work on small tiny papers and do small tiny challenges. I am in need of freedom and uninhibited expression. I know what I want and what I don’t want..or do I?
I wonder if art can go through menopause…in which case, that is where I would say my art is right now. Going through menopause. I hope it passes soon.
the first one is just pencil contour lines and then of course I didn’t like it and thought colour and pen would make it look better…
watercolor, pencil and pen on watercolor block, HP, 18x26cm
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!
Have a wonderful season!!
à la prochaine!
I’m not a natural in doing abstracts, but I can appreciate abstract art work. And I mean real good abstract art, not bad art which hides under the cover of “abstract art”. What I’ve done here didn’t exactly end up being totally abstract, but I enjoyed the line work and the ink marks. In fact, it is probably still only more of my exercises in line and mark making, and not real abstract efforts..
..J Herbin inks with feather quill on Arches aquarelle paper rough,18x26cm..
…Sennelier inks with feather quill on Arches aquarelle paper rough,18x26cm..
…Black Winsor et Newton Indian inks with feather quill on Arches aquarelle paper rough,18x26cm..
I found some beautiful grays…some more bluish, others more yellowish and greenish and some just simply…gray.
watercolor and J Herbin inks on Hahnemuhle paper CP 15,5x25cm
Doing the above sketch was very quick and dare I say easy, without sounding obnoxious? I’ll tell and you can decide…
- With a goose quill and nib and “gris nuage” ink from J Herbin, I drew the outline of the twig/branch with contour lines.
- I added a wet was over the areas that I wanted to highlight as the greyish moss, in the process flooding some the water soluble ink lines.
- I dabbed in some light dabs of indigo, prussian blue, paynes gray, ochre and raw umber on the wet areas. To finish off the background, I dropped some paint , using the same colours, from a loaded brush to loosely suggest random patches of moss.
- Lastly I finished off with some dark paynes gray(little water, lots of pigment, to give very dark values, suggesting the small dark corners between the moss.
..J Herbin inks and goose quill…
I’ve picked up my pen again. If one stays on a break for too long, you can lose the desire to return. It is like that with everything in life. At some stage you need to apply some discipline to get going again.
For the first time in along while, I have done some sketches while having coffee in a bistro in Tours. My favorite way of doing it, is with contour lines. If I don’t watch it, I’ll do everything in contour fashion. I love it.
Some of the sketches worked, others didn’t. But it is always like that. Not every sketch is a success. I’m happy with the sketch of the three men at the top and I’m happy with the two men to the left in the bottom sketch. Unfortunately the child and man to the right didn’t work out.
I have also received my first postcard from Albrecht in Germany. Please visit A postcard from albrecht in Germany to see the post on his postcard.
There is always something to pick up on a walk and take home to sketch, especially on a rainy day like we had today. I picked up a few twigs and leaves..which are always good to sketch. Leaves in winter have fascinating shapes which make up for their overall monotone brown color.
I also sketched some scampi and prawns, which are normally a translucent, greyish color, but turn red after cooking. Unfortunataly I couldn’t put these to mouth after sketching them..it felt a bit too “cannibalistic” to eat them after studying them so up and close…
..all sketches done in Fabriano artisico water color sketchbook, 18x26cm, with inks and watercolor..
…scampi and prawns..
..bon week-end et à la prochaine fois..
Be at peace with life, stay faithfull to your hopes and keep a smile on your face.
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…
I love inkwork and there are some beautiful inks around not to mention the artists that do beautiful inkwork.
I took my summer shoes to do some excercises with the inks and pens I have. Excercise 1: Summer sandals done in Gris nuage ink from J. Herbin, drawing the lines with a stylo à plume d’oie(quill pen) and afterwards I bled the lines and washed with some powerful blue Eclat de sapphire ink and a small brush. I just can’t help myself. I have to do a wash somewhere with a brush. It is an addiction. I would so love to do only beautiful lines and leave it. Maybe next time.
Excercise 2: A second pair of summer sandals, this time using a speedball pen and Cafe des iles from J. Herbin. Once again just dragged a wet brush over the lines to get a wash, and finished off with some black india ink hatches.
Excercise3: A pair of Sperry’s…and could I explain the difference in size? Maybe I have one big foot and one small foot…? Or could it simply be bad observation? Done in a reed pen and plume pen with Sanguine 270, from Sennelier. And after dragging a wet brush over the lines to bleed the colour, I decided to add some washes of Lie de the of J. Herbin. Finished off with some scribblings with a rotring pen, 2,5 .
Excercise 4: Since I had now used up all my summer shoes, I had only my shoe blocks left. Linework in rotring artist pen and washed with a wet brush to bleed the lines. Then decided to splash in some colour with Sennelier’s Sanguine 270 and Lie de the, J. Herbin.
In the past, I have done a lot of calligraphy work, so I have many speedball pens and nibs that work wonderful for drawing. Added to that, are some reed pens(which I don’t like much), plumes/goose quill pen, which I love to work with, rotring artist pen(Fine), and rotring rapidograph pen, size 2.5.
I enjoy the inks of J. Herbin. They are rich, make for nice washes as well as lines and dry with a nice sheen. I have only recently started working with the J. Herbin inks and they are really beautiful! Wonderful for linework as well as doing bleeding with a wet brush and they are lightfast, can be sealed beautifully…in short, I have nothing bad to say about them! I haven’t yet found a nice dark burgundy red, but Sennelier’s Sanguine 270 is a nice dark red which comes close to what I’m looking for. All the sketches were done in a spiral watercolour pad, 18x26cm (7″x10″) Fabriano Artistico CP. Below you can see part of my “ink workstation”.
Sometimes a gesture says more than a thousand words…
Sketches done in dip pen and ink(colour island coffee), with a wash, in moleskine.
The ironing is always behind.
I have to iron. I have to see sharp folds and straight flat edges on shirts and linen and skirts and yes, T-shirts. Except of course jeans. No straight folds there. That makes them look nerdy. I learnt that from my daughters.
Sketches done with rotring artist pen and water wash in moleskine.
Like with a desperate diet, I start off every Monday with the determination to iron immediately when something comes off the line. Just to see my diligence fade into submission by Wednesday. The result is a growing mountain of washing and a leaking cup of courage. So I let the mountain run its course… after all, it is already there….and wait for the magical day when my cupeth runneth over again.
I’ll probably always have this habit that needs fixing.
Like last year, this single red tulip once again made its appearance in my all white and blue garden. And like last year, I accept it and welcome it. It has become quite a game and I’m amused by the tulip’s proudness and dedication to defeat me. It reminds me of a guy I once knew at university who wouldn’t give up either.
He was madly in love with me, completely, head over heels..and yes, he was sort of cute too, I thought at that stage. I was staying in a hostel for girls on campus, fourth floor out of six, overlooking beautifully tended campus gardens. And he was staying in a hostel for boys, way off, on the other side of the campus. That’s how it was those days. No men allowed in the girls’ hostels and vice versa, which made for very exciting experiences! Except of course, for visiting hours in the lounge downstairs.
Very regularly, he would show up at my hostel, long after visiting hours, on nights when the moon was showing off in the sky and the stars were sparkling impatiently with anticipation. With his guitar and a red rose and his best friend, I would be charmed with unashamedly beautiful love songs from the garden under my window. Their strong, deep melodious voices, trained from years of singing, had every girl hanging out their windows along with me, losing ourselves in the charm and romance of “old world courting” from down below. Beautiful beautiful brown eyes, would always be on the list of songs and their voices would fade away in the distance with Goodnight ladies. My red rose, always stolen from an overflowing garden somewhere, would be left on the windowsill downstairs at the front door, for the hostel had already firmly been locked up for the night.
And so it happened that he got caught one night while stealing my red rose. He unfortunately chose the garden of the Professor of engineering, with whom he was very well acquainted…! He was allowed the rose, but had to work the Professor’s compost heap for two weekends. For a while, it was slow on the rose-serenading-scene and we all missed it..all the ladies, that is. Then one night there he was again, with a stolen red rose and guitar and his best friend. The cute guy I once knew. And who I still know. He is my husband.