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Posts tagged “Nature

Three feathers in pen and aquarelle.

With this first post on Africantapestry, I wish you all a great year!

Yesterday I gave my art students some feathers to draw. They are beginners in drawing and I was highly impressed by the result. This afternoon I thought I should do a sketch of the same feathers. My geese and chickens aren’t shedding feathers at the moment and I dug into the chicken coop to find some decent ones..well, with some imagination they could come close to decent…But it actually made for an interesting challenge. We always think of a feather being perfect and pretty and soft..these were torn and scruffy and quite dirty and they smelled like chicken..

Voilà!

..Three feathers…

Pen and aquarelle in watercolour sketchbook, HP, 18x26cm

feathers

OK. Now that the ice is broken for 2014..let’s get out and (do) and see art, like my friend Theresa Andreas O’leary at Andreas art studio likes to say!

à bientôt

Ronelle


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 18: An apple a day.

An apple a day keeps the horses at bay…at least here at Coin Perdu. Our three adore their apples and know for sure that September means free apples picked from the apple tree.

..An apple a day..

Pen and watercolor on watercolor block, 23X31cm

an apple a day

With my apple-picking-excursion for this sketch, I once again realized the importance of having a sense of humor. I may have few outstanding qualities, but I have an extraordinary sense of humor and it is the one thing in which I have unshakable faith. It has saved me many a time. It has pulled me up when nothing else or no one else could. I know that however bad things may be today, tomorrow or the day after I will find the humor in it. So I always hang on, sometimes by a very thin thread, until that sense of humor kicks in.  Like this afternoon. In heavy pouring rain, I slipped on the slopes, got almost fried by the electric fence and couldn’t reach the apples, so I had to shake the branches, which brought down a shower of apples and extra rains, most of them finding my head. The horses got highly excited by this downpour of apples and pushed my tiny frame discourteously out of the way with their extra large behinds.  I grabbed my apples and scrambled out of their way, waving my arms and fingers at them, or maybe it was to keep my balance…who knows.

While trying to find the bumps on my head in front of the mirror and instead only finding apple drenched horse saliva, I wished I could be on the beach in the sun somewhere, elegantly sipping something colourful I don’t know the name of.

But here I am, at least with a sketch for this day.

Tomorrow I will laugh about it.

..à demain..

Ronelle


September 17: Corn on the cob.

I have lost a week’s posting of sketches which I’ll catch up on later. For now, I am back on track with today’s sketch of  corn on the cob from the potager, on which the horses feast every day. Up until a few days ago, they were still sweet and juicy and wonderful on the barbeque, but seeing them with dry husks, is a clear sign that summer is moving on.

..corn on the cob..

pen and watercolor on watercolor block, 31x23cmcorn on the cob 17-09-2013 18-28-40 6993x4938

..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


September 3: Une rose trémière(Hollyhocks)

Time for the hollyhocks to bloom. An olde world flower that reminds me of Maman and her friends. They all had hollyhocks in their gardens, growing through the cracks in old pavements, pushing through gravel, leaning against old walls. They still do push up through all the cracks and walls, all over the French countryside, turning their bright pink and soft white blooms to greet the warm September rays.

..une rose trémière..

Pen and watercolor on watercolor paper, HP,  23x30cm

une rose trémière

à demain

Ronelle


September art 2: Sous l’arbre.

Under the tree, the apple tree stand an old wagon that we inherited with the farm. Sometimes it serves as a table when we have many guests, sometimes it serves as a support for cutting wood and sometimes it serves as a ladder for our young faul, Dumêla, so she can reach the higher apples.

..Sous l’arbre..

Oil on linen, 27X40cm

Sous l'arbre 01-09-2013 16-40-59 3502x2300

à demain

Ronelle


September art – 1(the last artichoke)

With all this beauty in September, shouldn’t I be out there..sketching and painting? Of course. And that is the plan.

Today delivered this artichoke. The last one which were left to flower. The others have already gone completely dry, but that reminds me too much of endings, which I don’t want yet, so let’s stick with the flowery one.

..The last artichoke..

Watercolour and pen on watercolor block, HP, 18X26 cm.

artichaut en aquarelle

If I can keep it up..my self discipline I mean, I’ll produce a painting and sketch every day for this September, starting today. Even though it is still summer, there are already trees in the forest which are turning slightly yellow and the all greens with the touches of yellow are quite spectacular. The ferns in the forest are also turning into magnificent yellows, while they are still beautiful strong plants, not wilted or dead. The fields have been cut for hay and are pushing the last stretch of greens,which turn them into patches of greens and beiges, with the cattle still grazing…beautiful views.

à demain(until tomorrow)

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.


Peaches in watercolor

Yay..I’m back to plein air painting after a dry spell of two years…..The oil paintings are busy drying, while outside the thunder is rolling and the rain is showering down, bringing welcome relief to a dry garden. The days are wonderfully hot, hot, hot…I love every sweaty minute! Believe it or not, it is in this sweltering heat that I decided to move out to plein air again with my palette and oils. Summer works for me. In the meantime, some peaches  in watercolor, done with some big round yellow peaches and juicy flat white ones..which are all devoured by now and the cause of some tummy ache…Summer and its fruit does that to me too..

..trois pêches plates.

watercolor and pen on aquarelle block, 18X26cm

trois pêches plates 23-07-2013 19-01-24 6117x4175

..trois pêches jaunes..

watercolor and pen on aquarelle block, 18X26cm

trois pêches jaunes 23-07-2013 19-34-34 6076x4122


Provence trip 2013

I had a very quick, but wonderful trip to Provence with mon chéri a few days ago. He spoiled me with lovely dinners and a lot of patience when I did some sketches. I tried to be as quick as I can with pencil and left the ink lines until the very end so I could change to some neater linework where necessary. In some sketches I went in directly with watercolor and added the pen line work afterwards..maybe you’ll be able to notice that?

all sketches done in watercolor block, HP, 18X26cm.

This sketch took me the longest. It was the first one of our trip and I was still very careful in getting it “right”. And mon chéri was ever so patient. I then decided, I can’t spend all of our very short trip on such long sketching..so then I sped up in the sketching, trying to get down just a little ambiance of the trip.

Provence 1

Provence sketch 3

Provence 2

Provence sketch 1

I am a “corner” person. I love little corners or scenes, or little vignettes. So it is usually a little interesting corner of a larger scene that attracts my eye.

Provence 3

Provence sketch 2

The lavender fields are stunning, stunning, stunning and there is no way I can do justice to them..of course had to attempt a field against a backdrop of this lovely mas. There are so many paintings everywhere to be found in Provence, depicting the lavender fields and the olive groves..sadly, I found them all the same, interpreted in the same manner. It makes me even more reluctant to try and paint it. But of course..like all the other painters, I will paint it!

Provence 4

Provence sketch 4

I am also fascinated by staircases and uneven walls, foliage growing out of nowhere, of which there is an abundance in the south.

Provence 5

Provence sketch 5

A corner of the facade of Le mas de la Mateliére where we stayed.

Provence 6

Provence sketch 6

The rooftops, the streetlamps, the worn walls, the trees blown by the mistral…the charm of La Provence.

Provence 7

Provence sketch 7

I cross posted this post also on our blog, Four go painting in Provence, from 2 years ago, where Katherine and Robyn, Sarah and I went on our painting trip to the Vaucluse in Provence. Maybe you’d like to browse it again to see the paintings of our trip in 2011.

I so wanted to meet up with a friend who took 8 other artist on a painting trip to Provence, but time didn’t allow for it. You can see their adventure here Sketchers in Provence.

It seems I always nobly get to Provence on these ‘quick’ trips. But I have decided this is it. No more “quick” trips when it comes to Provence. My next trip will be nothing shorter than 8 days. I will also plan better in terms of subject matter so as not to be all over the place. Provence is filled with huge painting opportunities and so, my goal is to spend my time making full use of the opportunities.

à bientôt

Ronelle!


Artichokes ands olive trees.

My artichoke plants are reaching enormous dimensions and the artichokes are beautiful. Some land in the kitchen and some stay on the plant to seed into beautiful blue purple flowers.

…artichokes..

watercolor and pen in watercolor le coq watercolor sketchbook, 19x19cm

artisjokke Skets

Three small olive trees in terracotta pots on the table..Hopefully not too long before I’ll have a tiny olive grove…that will be something! But for the time being I’ll indulge in the terracotta pots.

…three olive trees…

watercolor and pen in watercolor le coq watercolor sketchbook, 19x19cm

oliviers sketse

The past two years have been difficult in terms of painting, sketching and it is clear..tight, tight, tight..is the work! I am leaving for a few days in Provence, very quick there and back. The sketchbooks are packed and I hope to squeeze in some sketches. No better place than Provence to stimulate the creativity again.

…à bientôt…

Ronelle!


Nasturtiums in watercolour

The nasturtiums are slow off the mark this year..our summer being cold and very wet and a nasturtium a lover of warmth. But they are getting there and the flowers as always, playful and gay!

..red nasturtium..

watercolor and pen in Le Coq watercolor sketchbook, 19x19cm

Capucine 1

..yellow/apricot nasturtium..

watercolor and dipping pen with “Lie du thé” ink from J. Herbin in Le Coq watercolor sketchbook, 19x19cm

Capucine 2-001

…à bientôt…

Ronelle


A sunshine tulip and white sketches.

The tulips I brought back from Amsterdam last year are all in bloom, except for 3 Allium bulbs that I lost to greedy rabbits. I picked all white bulbs and got  big surprise when a few of the carefully picked white bulbs turned out to be a bright sunny yellow! That is OK. Oh well,  I am not too angry. Seeing that we are still wearing winter clothes and waiting for spring weather, I can only imagine the yellow was chosen by fate to uplift my spirit..some very welcome sunshine in a tulip!

As usual, I wait until the very last to get something done..including sketching the tulips. The yellow ones lost all their petals today, except for one lonely one, hanging on a few petals only for my benefit. While mon chéri saw to diner, I took the opportunity to sketch these tulips, before the fat lady had finally sung. I made it just in time…all the yellow petals are gone..

tulipes- yellow  4424x4451

The white tulips are still flowering happily and elegant in their waving. I am not a huge tulip fan and never had many in my gardens, but I have to admit that they do make for a spectacular show en masse!

tulipes -white 4404x4460

à bientôt

Ronelle


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


Reds in autumn

Voilà all the reds from fall,  the last of my autumn colours.

..the palette for all the autumn reds..

******************************************************************************

..line drawings in pen and aquarelle added last..

18×25.5cm aquarelle arches block, CP

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.. wetting the paper, dripped some aqaurelle pigment, leave to dry and finished with pen line drawing..

23×30.5cm aquarelle Fabriano  block, HP

***********************************************************************************

deraing in pan and dripping drops of colour..

18×25.5cm aquarelle arches block, CP

***********************************************************************************

..drawing in pen and aquarelle wash afterwards..

18×25.5cm aquarelle arches block, CP


Ochre fall leaves

This is my favorite time of sketching.. I love all the ochres and umbers. And on days when the weather is a bit chilly or wet, it is nice to bring in leaves and branches and whatever else I found on walk and fiddle in the studio. I don’t work in my atelier enough and I actually love my atelier! My table is in front of the fireplace, my coffee machine just a further to the left..in fact, the whole barn is my atelier and I am in it for another winter.

..fall leaves..

Both sketches done in pen and aquarelle in Hahnemule watercolor sketchbook, 19X20cm

 


Sweet chestnut sketch

Sketching a chestnut..not easy.

-pen and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15x25cm-

à bientôt

Ronelle


Sketching two geese in action.

My two geese Aglaé et Sidonie, provide me with hours of fun and pleasure..watching them is better than owning a home cinema! I sketched them this weekend, the first time since I got them earlier this year. I thought it was going to be easy..sketching them. I know them by heart, seeing them every day and watching them, feeding the, following them,  being followed by them. When I close my eyes, I can so clearly see them  and I can so easily tell them apart. But sitting with the pen in my hand, brought forward all kinds of problems. Even when after changing to a pencil, I couldn’t escape the problems.

..Two adorable geese, Aglaé et Sidonie..

(watercolour and pen in Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook, 19x20cm)

I jumped in and tried to capture them while they floated in their fountain(actually MY fountain they took over!). That’s when I realized how little I understood of  their morphology! I had trouble sketching their wings and the build of their lower bodies, the length of their necks in relation to their bodies, their typical thoraxes…they are so different from ducks and mine looked like some mongrels of geesed ducks.. so much for thinking I know my geese! So it was back to doing some real studying.

..Two geese in (my) fountain..

(watercolour and pen in Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook, 26x18cm)

From a distance, it was fairly easy  getting hold of just the shapes and suggesting their actions. They are ideal for studying, because they move slowly(and funny) and rhythmic, with an elegance that originate in their long necks and sideways glances.

..two geese from a distance..

(watercolour and pen in Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook, 26x18cm)

Their backsides are quite interesting with their wings crossing one over the other and lying on top of a cute, quirky fantail.

..Two geese’s cute swaying backsides..

(watercolour and pen in Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook, 19x20cm)

They have such beautiful character, aren’t mean at all. It seems they love company, so they love lying by my feet or anywhere close by our activities, and they love being by the horses. Only with the chickens do they have a love/hate relationship.

..Two geese watching me as intensely as I did them..

(watercolour and pen in Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook, 19x20cm)

The top sketches are the best of all those I did the weekend, trying to understand these two ladies. When I close my eyes now, I actually see them much better! so doing all of this work was really wroth it. Capturing animals is not only about the perfect technique, but also about their character, which to me is more important than the perfect rendition of their morphology. I a feel quite chuffed with the expression in Aglaé in the above sketch..the typical tilt of her head and watchful sideways glance she throws me. Man, I just adore these mesdemoiselles!

à bientôt

Ronelle


Geraniums for a postcard

My very late postcard to Bridget consisted of geraniums, done way back when it was still summer.

..Summer geraniums..

-pen and watercolour on watercolour paper-

..summer geraniums in gouache and pen, on handmade paper..


Sketching a coffee in Toulouse and marigolds at Coin Perdu – 4 & 5 May.

..a coffee in Toulouse yesterday while waiting for my daughter to go fit her wedding dress. – 4 May.

pen and watercolor in Daler and Rowney sketchbook, 25,4×17,8cm

Doing this sketching every day in May is meant to get me back on track. I’ve lost some concentration, my ability to observe and interpret instantaneously. the last few months I’ve been distracted by so many things and art got put onto the back burner. My sketches in May is not supposed to be beautiful work, but a program of work and exercises. Flowers are always a good way to sharpen the saw and by looking at my wonky, askew marigolds…I need a lot of that!

..wonky marigolds – 5 May..


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