Welcome! Hope you see some artwork that pleases you, if not now, maybe next time…

Posts tagged “moleskine

Food sketches and a book on dining and painting

I’ve said this before…if all else fails, paint food. It really works. Whether it is the sensuality of food, or the colours or the health aspect or hunger or satisfaction or all of it together…painting food is a delight. It has been so for ages as you will see further down below. I had some poivrons cornes de boeuf and some pak choy. Both greens which is good practice in the greens once again.

…green peppers…

green peppers

…pak choy…

Pak shoy

…Sketches done in moleskine with rotring pen and watercolour….

When Katherine visited in October, she and her sister and niece came over for dinner on their last night in France. (See both her sites at Travels with a sketchbook and Making a mark – where she has some interesting facts in her latest post on Technorati.)

Apart from the bottle of champagne they brought which we décapitée (beheaded) Napolean style, they brought me this beautiful book too  – Boire et Manger, which they bought at Chateau Chenonceau. I have read it from front to back and back to front again. I love symbols and mythology and traditions and of course everything that has to do with food and art and this little book has it all.

It is all about the traditions and symbols showing up in old works of art, throughout the ages; how artists chose to paint certain food and scenes, involving food  for their symbolism, to depict the traditions and cultures and habits – in short, life during their time.

I want to share some of it with you. Different examples can be seen at Myfrenchkitchen.

…BOIRE ET MANGER…

.. bacchus adolescente:Le caravage(1596-1597)…

boire et manger

…la chanteuse des rues; édouard manet (1862)…

la chanteuseCherries – meaning: Passion of Christ, fruit of paradise

  1. One of the first portraits of Victorine Meurent, who was one of Manet’s favourite models until 1875.
  2. The cherry was a symbol of love, becasue of its deep red colour and round voluptiousness that reminded of the curves of the feminine body.
  3. All the sensuality in this scenes evolves around the woman bringing the sweet cherries to her mouth.

…la céne: Jacopo Bassano ( 1546-1548)…

la céne

Lamb – meaning: sacrificial victim.

  1. The lamb signifies the sacrifice of Christ.
  2. A fruit, resembling the apple, signifies the original sin.
  3. Next to Judas lies the knife, symbol of the treason which would follow.
  4. With his left hand, Jesus Christ himself points to the lamb which is a symbol of his own sacrifice.

…le jambon: édouard manet  (1875-1878)…

le jambon - eduard manet

Meat ; conserved/dried: ham taken from the porc, signifies gluttony sin.

  1. French dried ham had a strong international culinary meaning for Manet, because of its ancient gallic imports and long French tradions.
  2. In the 19th century the ham became a commercial product and thus also made its appearance in the city bourgeoise home after being traditionally country fare.
  3. In the rich Parisien home the ham would be served on nothing less than silver plattters, giving the ham a “worthiness”.

…scéne de cuisine: Frans Snyders (1630-1640)…

scene de cuisine

Porc and wild boar: sin of the flesh.

  1. Frans Snyders was a student of Rubens and specialized in refined commissios, usually overladen scenes of buffet tables with exquisite  food.
  2. The head of the boar was very sought after and seen in this “hunting” painting could be evidence of a commission by  some articrat.
  3. The lobster was already at that stage seen as one for the more rare sea foods, giving it an importance on the refined table.
  4. The little detail of the dog only sniffing the game, hints on aspects of respect.
  5. The presence of the artichokes is an indication of the choice of the painter to include only exquisite foods.

Just some sketches….and a vendange in Vouvray.

Every year I paint these clementines from la Corse. See last year’s sketches at CLementines.

…clementines from Corsica…

clementines in watercolourSketch done in moleskine with pen and watercolour

The next two sketches were done a while ago. I just sketched some things around me – a container in the living room with brushes and pens and stuff and part of a bookshelf. I try very hard to keep the bookshelf, neat, but I am starting to think we will never have neat bookshelves.

..brushes and pens…

brush holder

…disorder…

books on the bookshelf

Sketches done in Moleskine with rotring artist pen and water wash.

On Myfrenckitchen, I have posted some photo’s of a vendange in Vouvray that we did in Octobre. Good freinds have a bio vineyard where the harvesting is still done by hand. On one Saturday during the harvest period in October, all their family and friends get together for a day of grape harvesting. It was hard work, but a fun day, with a delicious lunch,  many laughs and jokes and a messy grape fight towards the end of the day. I only took photos, because I didn’t want to hide from the work behind my sketchbook! you can see some photo’s here at Pears in red wine and a wine harvest.

vendange-grapes


Hawai’i: sketches and chronicles 3.

With these last few sketches I conclude the reportage on my trip to Hawai’i. Since then, back here at thome, so many things had happened that made my life so full with running around – all good and exciting things! Hopefully I can recount on some of it later – I have already told of Katherine’s delightful visit! And I’m trying my best to get into my atelier to do some “island inspired painting”, for which I still only have the ideas tolling about in my head and nothing on paper or canvas yet…  Why does time fly by so quick when we have  a lot to do? Why does time fly by so quick when we get older? Why does time fly by so quick when we are happy? Why does time fly by  so quick when life is good?

…across the lagoon…

hawaii 1

hawaii 3

hawaii 2

hawaii 4

Sketches done in pen and watercolour in moleskine.

Some art work from well known artists from Hawaii:

1. Susan McGovney Hansen: (I can’t find a website of her, but you can try google her)

Susan Mcovney Hansen 1  hula dancer - m Hansen 87

2. Suzy Papanikolas – who “makes Hawaii’s people come alive” by telling astories with color and canvas.. You can read and see more about her artwork on her website – www.papanik.com

Susan Papanikolas 1 Susan Papanikolas 2

3. Calley O’Neill. See more about her at her website – Calley O’Neill

4. Yvonne cheng, who also does batik. See more about her on Cedar street galleries

The three graces - Calley O Neil 1988 Yvonne Cheng - batik

You can see some more art pieces here on Myfrenchkitchen: Travel.


Katherine in Touraine

This past week Katherine was in Touraine with her sister and niece. First stopping off to visit Monet in Rouen and then Paris and then arrived here in Tours, valley of the chateaux…but why am I telling you all when you can go read it on her Travels with a sketchbook and Making a mark.  See links  lower down.

…distracted sketches in Tours…

Tours - street lamp and charis

Tours -hotel de villesketches done with pen and watercolour washes  in aquarelle moleskine

What I can tell you is that it was so great to meet her! Such a fascinating person! With a very real passion for art, for books. A sponge for information. She thrives on researching and gathering information, and sharing it is her way of learning and growing. She confessed that she loves being asked questions, which takes her to digging and researching…so there you go, ask away! She is devoted to sketching which she does with great ease and comfort in remote corners as well as around buzz with lively people and situations. In fact, she thrives on scenes where the challenge to capture people coming and going, results in a scene where the setting is static, but the ambiance is moving and changing. Withing as little as  ten – fifteen minutes she can sketch a restaurant scene with tables and chairs and windows, cake and drinks and a traffic of people arriving and leaving, and they all find a place in her scene, the Katherine way. That becomes her unique view.

She’ll capture the skies in order to define the relief of Mont St Michel.  Or sitting opposite a boring road, where there is nothing but a line of autumn trees with flaming yellows, soft greens and a dark tunnel and it tuns into a gentle  fall scene of serenity. Or how about Chenonceau, where she would seat herself on a corner away from the people traffic, patiently waiting for people, blocking her view,  to take their photo,  and then shows up with a fairy tale chateau, water reflections and all. Or the gesture of two couples on a park bench, worn down from being tourists, perfectly captured to make you almost feel their fatigue!

By telling you this, it may sound that we did a lot of sketching together, but unfortunately we didn’t even do a single one together! Time passed too fast and too stuffed with things to do.  However, I saw her sketchbooks, paged through them again and again and only really saw her art for the first time. The computer screen doesn’t do her sketches justice and seeing her sketch books, was like opening story books! We also did indulge in eating a deliciously light French chocolate mousse cake.   We made up for that little sin by lunching on light salads and last night said goodbye over candles with champagne and boeuf bourguignon! I was fortunate to enjoy her sketching the restaurant scene during lunch, while her sister and niece and I saw to the conversation and entertaining side of the meal.

But before you think I’m completely worthless, I can show two  quick and distracted sketches I did while waiting to meet up with them in Tours. Part of our hotel de ville, typical French streetlamp and a few chaotic brasserie chairs! I can also show you Katherine’s creative hands and part of her sketchbook. To full enjoy this trip of hers, you’ll have to visit her sketchblog Travels with a sketchbook, where a wealth of French sketches will await you, probably as from Monday, when she’ll be back home and start telling and showing. And with all the books she took back home, Making a mark will surely be filled with loads of information, perfumed with a little French panache. Don’t miss out!

And I’m leaving you with a little personal glimpse of her…She has a laugh that can be tickled easily, with eyes that join in, crinkling with delight. She can talk and chat as easily and entertainingly as her writing is. She has an enthusiastic YES! when fascinated by something, she adores her two cats, she can lose herself in travel…and oh yes, she loves a cup of tea!!

…Katherine’s lunch sketch…

Katherine's sketch 10-7-2009 12-39-17 PM

…her book and her tools…

Katherine working 10-7-2009 12-49-52 PM


Hawai’i: sketches and chronicles 2.

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.

hawaii koi fish

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.

…canoes…

hawaii canoes

…flamingo…

hawaii flamingoes

…statue

hawaii statues

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

koi 1 9-21-2009 10-33-09 PMkoi 2 9-21-2009 10-33-35 PM

koi 3 9-21-2009 10-33-44 PMkoi 4 9-21-2009 10-33-46 PM

koi 5 9-21-2009 10-33-47 PMkoi 7 9-21-2009 10-34-03 PM

koi 10 9-21-2009 10-36-35 PMkoi 11 9-21-2009 10-42-12 PM

koi 12 9-21-2009 10-28-26 PMkoi 9 9-21-2009 10-35-00 PM

For more photo’s on the trip see Myfrenchkitchen: travel

To be continued…


Sketching with greens

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?!

…apple branch…

branch with apples

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).

…walnut branch…

branch with walnut

…acorn branch…

branch with acorns

All sketchesdone with  rotring pen and watercolour in watercolour moleskine


Walk and sketch 1

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…

berries 1

…bramble, stinging nettle and dock leaves…

berries 2

All sketches done in rotring pen and watercolour in watercolour moleskine.


Le Boss is in Paris – sketches

le Boss is away!!

le boss is away 1le boss is away!

It has been quite a while that I held a sketch pen and book in my hand, but now that le Boss is in Paris for the week and I am alone at Coin Perdu, I took my chance to go from …

…this…

wheelbarrow

…and this…

cement mixer

…to this…

thistle and rosehipsAll sketches in rotring pen and watercolour in moleskine.


Sketches on a perfect Friday.

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.

…attitude…

geese

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…

geese2

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…

fisherman by Loire

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.


Promenade a Vernou

In April we joined a promenade with friends in Vernou, a quaint little town across the river. It was all about music and poetry and wine. An enthusiastic french crowd showed up – the French love their music and poetry, not to mention their wine;  poems and chorals were orchestrated by our own Mozart on corners of streets, a court jester with his wonky wheelbarrow made fools of life and himself all afternoon, we learnt about bio winemaking in the vineyards, and ended the day with food and wine… how else.

With us leaving for Coin Perdu soon after this promenade, I didn’t have time to post it. Now is as good a time as any.

I’m contributing it to Sketchercise… A Ning group started by Katherine, dedicated to walking/running/cycling, rowing outdoors and sketching!

I can now file this post for futur generations under “A memory of Gramma sketching and walking herself fit…ah, don’t forget the red wine !”

sketches done in moleskine with pen and wash

…le bouffon

vernou-ballade11

…on y va…

vernou-ballade2

…notre propre Mozart…

vernou-ballade3

…dans les vignobles…

vernou-ballade4


Shadows

A recent conversation:

“…I live in the shadows. Or so it feels. A few years back I was blooming in the sun. So it felt. Now I’m living my life in the shadows. Of my computer. Emails. SMS. MSN. Facebook. Twitter. Blogs. Websites. I am now recognized through the style of my writing and not by my voice. Sadness is felt  by the stucture of my phrases and not seen in my tears. Happiness is seen in my exclamation marks and not heard in my laugh. The truth is guessed by my vocabulary and not heard in the seriousness of my voice.  I have become deletable. I am speaking less and writing more. I am hearing less and wondering more. My voice is growing softer and the shadows wider…”

Sketch in moleskine with rotring pen and watercolour.

…deep talk...

tea


Clowns

I sat around a coffee inTours the other day, then still the Old Year, waiting for our youngest who got her hair trimmed. All around me in the brasserie hung these clowns along with clown paintings. They made me giggle. A clown does that. And they make me sad. But these clowns can’t make me sad.  Because they aren’t real. And because it was the last day of the Old Year. I didn’t want to end the year sad and I want this year to be filled with much more laughter. I didn’t laugh enough in the previous one. And so the clowns worked their way into my moleskine.

May we all have a year overflowing with good, old fashioned,  unashamedly wild laughter and may we laugh the hardest at ourselves.

…haaa ha ha ha ha ha!…

clowns1

clowns2

Sketches in moleskine, pen and watercolour.


A bustling Amsterdam

I was in Amsterdam last week, criss-crossed the whole city and tried to do some sketching. I found it extremely difficult to sketch in Amsterdam. I struggled to zoom out the busyness of the city and capture only the essential in a scene. The canals are filled with boathouses and with sightseeing boats, the streets with bicycles and people and cars and trees obscuring the narrow houses. And I sometimes feared for my life as, standing on a spot with a sketchbook in hand, doesn’t mean you’re in a safe spot. I had to jump aside many a time, from the urgent ringing of a bicycle bell, just to hear the clang of the tram behind me, which had me scuffling quickly left, directly in front of some service truck, fleeing to the right, of course on the toes of some nose-ringed stranger and apologizing back onto one of the many black garbage bags on the sidewalk. That would have me slog shakily into the nearest  coffee shop or bookstore.

An interesting city, with a heartbeat of its own. I’ve come to recognize many of the gables of the buildings, as we have them in SA as well. We ate kroket and patatje and drank our blond beers with a lemon slice. I enjoyed koffie verkeerd in the company of Rembrandt and Van Gogh and had my dry cleaning delivered to one of the other many Van Wijks there in Amsterdam. I saw the seductive silhouet of Madame in the window of her “Walletjies” apartment and quickly put my hand over Hartman’s eyes. A busy time. A busy city. I now revel once again in the quiet of my home back here on the banks of the Loire.

So here are some efforts, drawn on site in pen or pencil in my handmade sketchbook and moleskine and finished at the hotel with a wash of watercolour. For some pictures(more interesting and much nicer than the sketches!) you can go to Myfrenchkitchen.

…many bridges, many canals, many boats, many trees, many…

 …and more…

…giant amaryllus…

…bulbs, bulbs and bulbs…

…in the way of the tram…


Posting the whole page.

In my previous post, José made the suggestion that I post the full page and not only detail. So I took him up on his suggestion to show my pages, because there may be others thinking that I post the detail and not the whole sketch. I took the last couple of sketches in my sketchbook. Unfortunately it doesn’t look more interesting and there isn’t actually a bigger picture! I think you could say I “zoom in and choose to sketch detail”. What fascinates me is a broken window shutter, the the moss on a fountain, the intricate woodwork on a wall, a dilapidated door, a doorknob, the corner of a cornice, a shadow on a table, one flower in a bouquet…. so that is what I zoom in to. My sketchbooks are 19×24 cm and I use up all the space when I sketch. I struggle to paint on small format.

When I post, I don’t use any enhancement in terms of contrast or colour correction or whatever, except for the crop tool and then only to “neaten up” the page. It can be seen in image 1 and 2, where in image 2, I only took out the background and excessive white paper. And then of course I only post one page, because I scan most of the time and the whole sketchbook is too big for my scanner. And I also get nice white paper with the scanner.

Maybe it is time I zoom out and see the big picture….perhaps life could be less stressful…philosophically speaking?

…image 1…

…image 2…

…moleskine people sketches…


Sketching moving people

I have started doing small, really quick capturing of people moving. Putting a pen to paper en sketching them on the move, not lifting the pen and only trying to capture the movement of the body, the suggestion of a movement, no details. I also choose people a little further away in distance, not close to me, so that I don’t get trapped in doing the details. Just by looking at the first and last image, you can already see the improvement – in the first, I still wanted to capture details and even if I couldn’t see it, I somehow sketched what I thought should be there, which turend it all into failures. In the last, I’ve more or less started succeeding in only going for suggestion, with some still not at all recognizable, but much better than the first images.

These sort of figures are very useful in paintings – adding some figures into a beach scene or a landscape, or a street scene. It gives movement and some personality and life to a painting. Not always, but I’ve seen street  and beach scenes come to life with just a few “idling figures” around.

It also helps a lot with concentration and focus and “connecting” the hand with the image you’re trying to capture. When looking at fast moving legs, it is hard to decide where to put which line and this is a great practice for that. I fist started looking at what the arms and shoulders do in movement and then move onwards to the hips and legs.The people sitting next to me on the sidewalk(having coffee) were very impressed by this kind of capturing and thought the little figures were trés mignon…very cute.

I so admire Gabi and José with their ability to quickly capture these little action figures in ink and they inspire me to keep working at these. I might just get better at it the more I do it. And besides, it is really fun!

They are done in moleskine with ink, and are really small and quick. Measure about 5-6 cm (1,9″-2,3″) for a little figure)…and look…NO WASHES!


Let your hands do the talking

Sometimes a gesture says more than a thousand words… 

Sketches done in dip pen and ink(colour island coffee), with a wash, in moleskine.

 


Something that needs fixing

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.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 729 other followers