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My favorite perfumes in aquarelle.

When life trips me, I head to the perfume shelves. To indulge and forget for a while about the hardships of life. And I never leave without a tiny bottle of perfume. That is my biggest sin in life and I will gladly carry my punishment one day, should there be. I use a spritz of perfume every day everywhere…to town and  to the opera, to do the washing to weed the garden, after my shower and before I drop my head on my pillow.

there is a secret to good spritzing. Do you remember the way Malan and Mamy used to dab their eau de cologne behind the ears, on the wrists…well, those were the old days. The French way to do it, is to spray a cloud of perfume in front of you in the air and then walk through it. No harsh , overwhelming, nose itching smells, but rather a gentle caress on the skin, interacting gently with the oils of the skin to bring forth the  subtle underlying notes of the perfume.

..l’eau d’Issey by Issey Miake – light and soft for summer..

perfume 1


..Intense, by Dolce & Ganbbana- for those times I feel passionate and ..intense….

perfume 2


..baiser volé by Cartier – reminds me of Arabian nights…

perfume 3


..Coco by Chanel -my favorite perfume which always make me feel elegant , and brings out my French side!

perfume 4

So, come on ladies, spritz your perfume, time is too short not to!

à bientôt


A rough sketch of some painting tools.

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…

painting tools-001…just to realize it doesn’t look better, nor worse.

watercolor, pencil and pen on watercolor block, HP, 18x26cm

painting tools 2-001So. The solution is probably just to carry on and maybe consider not throwing out the awful ones. They should stay with us strive for better, or different, ot both.

à bientôt


September 20 & 21: Garden urns.

I believe in drawing as a basis for all mediums of art. Whether doing aquarelle or oil painting, statues of abstraction..it all comes down to understanding an object/subject and nothing else than good old drawing  can get one to that point. Not forgetting doing it on large format. Just my personal opinion. I don’t draw enough. There was a time when I was much better at drawing than I am now. Doing life model drawing saw to that. I have to get back to live drawing sessions with a model. Perfect for drawing skills.

..Garden urn..

rotring Tikky graphic pen on drawing paper, 21×29.7cm

garden urn

I actually enjoy doing urns, bowls, jugs…they are a good mixture of simple shapes put together in a complex way…ellipses, round shapes, triangles, rectangles, value shapes, light shapes, depth.. good practice for seeing shapes rather than lines, even though I do like line work.

Charcoal on drawing paper, 29.7×42 cm



medici 20-09-2013 14-36-12 2673x3706

Aargh…so many booboos in these 2 drawings, but it is OK. At least I didn’t ‘feather’ my drawings into correctness, like I see so often and I find it terrible. Rather a sure, continuously wrong line than a hesitantly feathered correct “line”. Once again, only my personal opinion.

à demain


September 19: Lipstick seduction.

I don’t wear make-up, except for the occasional mascara. But lipstick, now that I love, so much so that I have quite a few. Some shiny ones, some with real stay-power(so they say), some reds, corals and some neutrals, some fun ones..


Seduction often begins with taste. There is no kiss like the first kiss with lipstick..” said John Baxter in his book, The most beautiful walk in the world. I can’t really say if this holds true, since I’m on the giving side of the lipstick kiss, but I can admit that I do feel quite a bit seductive when wearing a touch of lipstick. Unfortunately, it only lasts 10 minutes or so before I’ve licked every bit of seduction from my lips and I’m back to Cinderella form. I know women who daub their gloss in the morning and by lunchtime their lips are still a voluptuous  rosy invitation. Selfishly, they don’t reveal their secret.

Optimistically, I carry some lip color in my bag for those retouch moments, which never happen. My bag lipstick is still as new as the day I bought it, probably about 2 years ago. In addition, I even have an antique little purse mirror from my mother, which finally serves no other purpose than sentiment and adding weight to my bag.

In the end, all is OK actually, because 10 minutes a day is still more than nothing.

à demain


September 7: Favorite Oxfords.

I tend to be very boring when it comes to choosing daily outfits. I have only a few favorite outfits in which I feel comfortable, so comfortable that I tend to wear only those. One such a comfy piece of clothing, is this pair of Oxfords, my favorite winter shoes. I wear them with long skirts, with rolled up pants, with jeans, with woolen slacks..they go with everything and they walk everywhere. But don’t make the mistake thinking that I don’t love shoes..oh, I do, I do! It is a bit like art supplies..I want to have it all, thinking I’ll do better art, but in the end, only the basics can do the job. With shoes the same. I want them all, thinking I’ll look prettier, but in the end, only a few succeed in not making me walk around with a tortured expression on my face..back to basics.

..favorite Oxfords..

Watercolor pencil and watercolor on watercolor block, 18x26cm

winter shoes


à demain


September 6: Four wheels

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!

four wheels

à demain


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


A coffee break..

I cooked the whole day today, but I managed to pack in a doodle sketch during my coffee break. Using only contour lines, most of the objects done in one line, I could sketch quick and without restraint. Adding some watercolour splashes afterwards and voilà, a doodle sketch to show for the day!

I accidentally dipped my brush in my coffee (which happens every tile I paint with a coffee or glass or something by my side). This time I decided to keep it and even added some more coffee splashes. Coffee, wine and tea actually make for great mediums to paint with. Add some aquarelle varnish or finish off by sealing your sketch with aquarelle varnish and it will last as long as watercolour.

..A coffee break doodle..

pen and watercolour in l’atelier du papier aquarelle sketchbook

coffee sketch

I am driving up to Paris for the week next week..spending some Valentine time with mon chéri …will show him all my secret corners I love to visit, take him to my favorite Rodin museum and garden, have late afternoon tea at my favorite cafe, stop for our traditional romantic moment on Pont Neuf(he just adores crossing the Seine on Pont Neuf all day long..!!). I hope to come home with some great sketches and photos and …books of course!

I leave you with an old sketch of Paris, done a few years ago…

..Paris-les arbres de Jardin de Luxembourg..

paris-les arbres de jardin de luxembourg

à bientôt




Umbrella, ombrelle, parasol, parapluie, they all say one thing…sketch me!

An umbrella is easy to draw..right? DING! Wrong!

So many things to consider:   Convex, concave, round, shadows, transparency, folds, foreshortening, colour, patterns…

A good challenge!

..two half open umbrellas..

pen and watercolor on Fabriano artistico  watercolor block, HP, 23×30,5cm

Umbrella 2

..wide open umbrella..

pen and watercolor on Fabriano artistico  watercolor block, HP, 23×30,5cm

Umbrella 3

..two closed umbrellas..

pen and watercolor on Fabriano artistico  watercolor block, HP, 23×30,5cm

Umbrella 1

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).


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

Bowl Ellipses 1


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..

Two favorite Sennelier colours

I am rather boring when it comes to using new colours. Once i find my niche, I am happy for a long time. Probably not the way to be an artist.  But I want to believe that it is me, the artist and not the tools that produces the masterpiece (which I’m still working on!!). And so my palette is always very limited to only a few well used colours.

This past week I cleaned out my palette, boutght a new Sennelier palette box and impulsively added some new colours.  I am in love, but totally in love, head over heels! Two new colours on my palette..Sennelier grey and warm grey, both from Sennelier.. Absolutely beautiful and perfect for my new search of more faded colours. They will work great this winter…they have mystery, are cool to push you bit back, but then exposes a warmth which draw you closer. I use them clean and pure to have them shine their own star..I think they deserve it. Well,  they definitely deserve a permanent place in my palette.

I worked on a thick pad of Canson mixed media paper, which is only meant for exercises, since it doesn’t allow for very wet work and the paper is rather fragile, even though it is 300g.

Some lunch sketches.

I had some lunch at a small restaurant close by and sketched my lunch of a vegetable soup, coffee and the surrounding salt and pepper set.

…vegetable soup and bread

pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler rowney sketchbook

The coffee sketch was my first and when I tell you that I had a very upsetting experience just before I arrived at the restaurant, you’ll understand why the lines are so dark and the whole sketch is sombre and almost violent. I’m always amazed by the strong influence emotion has on art.

The salt and pepper set was the last sketch and you can see that my emotion has settled a bit by that time. It did my a world of good to do these drawings…therapeutic.

…vegetable soup…

pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler rowney sketchbook

…coffee and water with cpeculoos biscuit…

pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler rowney sketchbook

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!

A handpainted aquarelle sketch and provencal pots.

When you forget a paintbrush at home, you use what you have available. In this case, it was my hands. And for this occasion it worked fine, although it will definitely not become my preferred way of working. I will in tie or glue my brush to my bag so I’ll never forget it again.

…interior of  “la panettiére” in Toulouse

pen and watercolorin watercolor sketchbook, 18x24cm..

The next  sketch was done in the barn one evening.. and I only noticed the slant during the daytime the next day..the light in the barn at night is just not good enough for any art making, but I quite like the quirky feel to these pots. They are two of my very old terracotta pots from Provence and I adore them! I’ve started doing an oil panting with these pots..a canvas that  has already been standing a few weeks  on the easel…and now I’m subjecting  my name to scandal by admitting it here..

…two provencal pots…

..pen and watercolour on Arches watercolor paper, CP, 18x26cm..

A May postcard.

My postcard to Liz in Australia was a challenge and one I really enjoyed. Liz is an avid tea drinker and she is on a quest to try out all the different flavors on the market. I’m not a tea drinker, but I can handle my coffee quite well. So the logical choice for a post card to Liz was of course…an early morning french coffee and a croissant!

…a French coffee and croissant…

Pen and watercolor on watercolor paper.

…and a hint on the envelope…

Pen and gouache on brown envelope

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 …



…and this…

cement mixer

…to this…

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

To a sparkling 2009!


Two cars

Two cars…Only for the show.
They serve their purpose well in adding a quirky touch to a corner in the house somewhere…on a pile of antique books, under a cloche, on a dinner table, on a stack of DVD’s..I bought the chevy( right?)when we lived in South Carolina, at a stop next to the highway.
The “coccinelle” is a lovely reminder of my own I once dashed around in.
Watercolor and ink on Arches HP paper



Sandy said…

I adore these cars and the amusing still lifes you created, Bravo
May 30, 2007 6:17 PM  
Carole said…
These are both great paintings. I love the quirky things you find to paint, and the colours you choose to use. The little green car is really cute – I’d love one of those!
May 30, 2007 7:18 PM  
brian nelson said…
Great job on the cars! Great paintings.
May 30, 2007 8:26 PM  
Lin said…
FANTASTIC WORK!!! Love the wee things!
May 30, 2007 8:57 PM  
Dave said…
Lovely work! And such interesting subjects.
May 30, 2007 10:14 PM  
platitudinal said…
And the doors open too. Wow!
Great illustrations on the theme, Ronell! And, another glimpse to your life or in this case, your house :)
May 31, 2007 12:06 AM  
Lynn said…
I love both these compositions. They are exquisite!
May 31, 2007 12:07 AM  
Lindsay said…
Very cute cars. Love the shading on them.
May 31, 2007 7:56 AM  
Robyn said…
Lovely whimsical still lifes, Ronell. There seem to be quite a few women painting cars lately. It must be evolution :)
May 31, 2007 10:20 AM  
Tonniece said…
So detailed, I love the the colors, the moveing parts, and the fact that you actually own miniature cars, how cool.
May 31, 2007 1:31 PM  
juj said…
I’ve never noticed how little pen you use to make your wonderful sketches until I looked at the VW Bug large, and I don’t know why it facinates me so much but it’s amazing and makes me love your paintings even more. Great work on both these sketches. LOVE the colors – especially those spots on the cds.
May 31, 2007 2:28 PM  
suzanne said…
Such a smart way to illustrate cars! I love the fact that you like to have quirky touches around your house. Me too!
May 31, 2007 3:22 PM  
Teri C said…
Great cars!!! That top one is a ’56 Chevy I think. They both are so neat and what a great subject!
June 1, 2007 4:05 AM  
Viv King said…
Hi Ronell – your site is SO COOL- it is so accessible and you can see changes all the time – you must be one hard-working chick!! Thanks for the comment on my “portrait” – it is nice to get some recognition at last after so many years of trying – did you ever have anything to do with the SASA while you were in Stellies – I find them to be quite a “cliquey” bunch!! Keep in touch, hey ou skat!

Bon voyage to Casey!

Bon voyage to Casey.! May she have fun in Hong Kong, may they be kept safe and may she come back with great sketches!


Lin said…
May 18, 2007 5:17 PM  
Teri C said…
Wonderful tribute to Casey. What a good friend you are. Great bowl!!
May 18, 2007 7:16 PM  
platitudinal said…
Love the bowl and the chopsticks to illustrate the trip to the Orient.
May 18, 2007 9:13 PM  
bec said…
Oooh Hong Kong… I’ve never been there. It will be interesting to see Casey’s sketches. I like the colors and subject of your painting !
May 19, 2007 3:32 AM  
caseytoussaint said…
Wow – thanks Ronell! I’m not sure I’ll be able to reach this standard, but I’ll do my best.
May 19, 2007 10:17 AM  
Robyn said…
Such a pretty bowl! Reminds me how much I miss Chinese food. I lived in HK for a couple of years so really envy Casey.
May 19, 2007 2:26 PM  
Claudia said…
The sketch looks so real!!Well done!
May 19, 2007 8:13 PM  
mARTa said…
love chinese food! I have a bowl similar to your although I prefer to eat out! Love your wc sketch! I must try hot press paper!
May 20, 2007 4:17 AM  
Brenda Y said…
What a clever idea to paint a chinese bowl and chopsticks!! I LOVE it!!! And oh yes, we will look forward to seeing what Casey brings back.
May 20, 2007 5:50 AM  
Anna said…
Beautiful colors!
May 22, 2007 11:28 PM  
Ben said…
what a sweet thing to do…and its lovely…
May 23, 2007 2:36 AM  
Fanta said…
What a wonderful job. The perfect colur combination , perfectly balanced. It’s such a warm painting.
And yes, I also hope Casey will surprise us with lots of stuff. I bet she is sketching right now as I type. I really can’t wait!
May 23, 2007 9:44 PM  
wagonized said…
Holy crap. I love how you handled the colors.
May 24, 2007 3:17 AM  
laserone said…
omg i JUST love this. The colors are GORGEOUS. I have an almost identical bowl, but without the design on the bottom. Wow, this is really nice. :)
May 30, 2007 6:08 AM  
Serena said…
Fabulous work, Ronell! I gave an oriental bowl and chopstick set to my daughter last year…same colours too. LOVE this!
May 31, 2007 12:28 PM  
andrea joseph’s sketchblog said…
Absolutely STUNNING.

Barefoot and happy


A handful of years ago, we packed our two small girls and with a suitcase and a chair or two we headed for the unknown. In this case it happened to be Suffolk, England. We arrived in February, stayed in the Orwell hotel in Felixstowe for some weeks while in search for a haven to unpack our lives.
Two days ago Hartman called me from Felixstowe, where he was working for three days. While he was walking by the sea, eating fish and chips, visiting all the places we lived, buying Fox’s crunch creams, we remembered. We remembered how young our girls were. We remembered how cold it was, how wet, how grey, how exciting, how awful, how lonely. This led to many memories old and dear. It took me far back to our homeland, before we packed up, to days of golden sun, warm cuddling friendships, lazy beach days, back breaking work sessions, hat wearing sports events… all of which happened barefoot.
We learnt in England to wear shoes, after the girls have been frowned upon for running at school events barefoot, for running barefoot through the lobby of the hotel to quickly pick up Dad from work(truth be told, it was February…), I have learnt to keep shoes close by for when the doorbell rang and I learnt not to kick out my shoes when arriving at a friends house.
It has been a long time since I’ve had to remove some thorns from my feet. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt mud squishing up between my toes, or heated up my feet in a warm puddle of cow dung,….disgusting maybe, but those who grew up on a farm, will know what I’m talking about. They’re quite beautiful now, my feet, very soft and supple, lovely pedicured and all, which is something to be grateful for I suppose. But when the chance for being barefoot shows up at our door, we still happily kick off those shoes and dash across the lobby.

In the light of my melancholy, I did 3 quick sketches with some pen and watercolor on Fabriano HP paper….and even trampled some mud…



Ujwala said…
nice :D i wish i could draw my feet with as much ease. i do know about running around barefoot though :D pretty common growing up in India. Took to wearing slippers when i discovered that not doing so was one of the triggers for an allergy attack .
May 12, 2007 5:28 PM  
Kunya said…
Gorgeous & sensual. Love to look at these.
May 12, 2007 7:34 PM  
Renate said…
Not only are you beautiful with pen and brush, I’m also very touched by your words. A poet, for sure …
May 12, 2007 7:52 PM  
Bill said…
Beautiful thoughts and paintings.
May 12, 2007 8:07 PM  
Lin said…
Ronell — OH WHAT WONDERFUL FEET!!!! And memories and thoughts! I used to run around NY sidewalks and mud with barefeet .. grew many a callouses .. and sure do miss those days …!
May 12, 2007 8:35 PM  
shirley said…
I LOVE your paintings and your use of shadows.
May 12, 2007 10:51 PM  
Fanta said…
Wonderful tale, gorgeaus feet sketches (not to forget the gorgeous feet:)). My absolute fav. has to be the first one, I just love its vibrant colours and the dramatic treatment of the shadows.
I can’t wait to get back to China where I can have my weekly reflexology sessions for the fracture of the European price… I love to have my feet pampered. I can imagine cow dung can be very pleasant too, but never tried it. Well, not yet.
May 12, 2007 11:27 PM  
Robyn said…
I don’t think I can remember running through cow dung – but I still wince at the memory of chicken poo. Vivid, entertaining writing, as ever, Ronell and sweet feet!
May 12, 2007 11:37 PM  
Susan Hosken said…
To celebrate your blog entry I’m going to go paddling down at the beach and feel sand between my toes. What a treat.
Enjoy the journey
Lots of love from Susan in Australia
May 12, 2007 11:55 PM  
Serena said…
I loved reading this post, Ronell. It brought back memories of our trip to England to visit with family back when I was fourteen. Granny was shocked that my siblings and I were barefoot a lot of the time. Once, when my sister and I walked down the street to the corner shop barefoot, people would actually stop and stare at us like we were freaks. LOL Being barefoot was so much the norm back then in Australia. Nowadays, we tend to go barefoot only in our homes, yards and, of course, at the beach. Sorry for digressing….LOVED your sketches….great feet!!
May 13, 2007 12:11 AM  
Arty Velarde said…
Very, very cool.
paintings and story that is!
May 13, 2007 2:46 AM  
Anita said…
Beautiful post and fabulous sketches Ronell.
Living in the Fens, in England, I can happily report that my children are rarely seen wearing shoes of any kind. My youngest walks upon the shingle, thistles, stinging nettles…barefoot. My eldest feeds the animals and dashes over to my parents opposite the yard…Barefoot.
Me…Well let’s just say my feet are anything but beautiful. Tough, mostly naked and always looking a little grubby which is fine until I need to wear evening shoes!
It’s good to feel the earth you walk upon, freeing!
I also have it on good authority that it is very good for you to walk upon the early morning dew barefooted, especially women. I often do this and, damp footed, I breath in the virgin fenland air at the start of a new day…It’s a very calming way to start the day and allows me time & peace to appreciate all I have.
May 13, 2007 3:11 AM  
mARTa said…
lovely paintings and wonderful memories. I am fortunate enough to live in a climate where I run around barefoot ALWAYS at home. We do kick off our shoes when we come indoors or visit! And it’s sandle time so time for toe rings and ankle bracelets!
May 13, 2007 7:05 AM  
Jana Bouc said…
These are wonderful Ronell. I grew up barefoot too, in San Diego, California. I never wore shoes (except to school or jobs) and my feet were so tough I could walk on the hot beach sand or the hot sidewalk with no problem. When I took my drivers license test the examiner tried to tell me I had to wear shoes but I told him there was no law that said so and he gave in. It wasn’t until I moved to New York City when I was 19 that I stopped going barefoot. My first walk down the street I stepped in glass, spit, etc. and that was the end of that. I still go barefoot at home and around the yard though. I actually liked the way it sounds to warm ones feet in a squishy cow pie. I bet it felt better than mud!
May 13, 2007 7:32 AM  
Emma Pod said…
Wonderful feet and good colors too! I got “tagged” to tell 7 things about myself on my blog and then tag 7 others. I tagged you as one of my 7 (if you haven’t done it already) on my post tonight.take care! Mary
May 13, 2007 8:19 AM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for the comments- I loved all your stories about your barefoot days…wonderful to hear that it is a freedom still loved by many. It is so true what Anita says…to feel the raw earth beneath your feet, is to feel something freeing your soul.
May 13, 2007 9:18 AM  
Tonniece said…
What a wonderful story Ronell. I have never liked being barefoot in my entire life, till that is, I got to that magical age all we women must endure. I now find the floors so soothing and (cooling). As for the great outdoors and bare feet I’ve never done that, but you make it sound so relaxing and fun. As summer is fighting to stay here in Canada, I just might give it a try.
Love the sketches. (being barefoot dosn’t seem to have done them any harm).
May 13, 2007 9:35 AM  
Lindsay said…
Ronell, I loved this sweet and sentimental post. The paintings and your nostalgia are a lovely combination. Japan might be a great home for your feet!!
May 13, 2007 3:30 PM  
SCquiltaddict said…
great story about your feet…and going barefooted…too bad you were not in the south…you could have gone barefooted here!
May 13, 2007 3:51 PM  
andrea joseph’s sketchblog said…
These are really great. All of them. I love your approach Roneel. It makes me quite envious!
May 13, 2007 6:06 PM  
Nancy Van Blaricom said…
Wonderful post. (I love reading your story’s)Wonderful memories for you.Wonderful sketches.Happy Mother’s Day to you.
May 13, 2007 6:35 PM  
Natalie Ford said…
That reminds me of this – done years ago!
May 13, 2007 6:48 PM  
Sarah said…
This time I hope it gets posted … enjoyed your post and the paintings are lovely – particularly the middle one. Reading about being barefoot made my toes curl in delight – I love the feel of dew-wet grass.And strangely enough, I live in Ipswich – and am regularly in Felixstow as it’s my nearest coastal town and I miss living by the sea. Small world!
May 13, 2007 7:31 PM  
Robyn said…
Ronell – Just wanted to let you know, since I so enjoy your blog, I’ve tagged you. Just follow the link to my post http://havedogswilltravel.blogspot.com/2007/05/tagged.html
May 13, 2007 7:45 PM  
E-J said…
As a three-year-old, I was evidently known as “the little girl with green feet” because going barefoot was seen as such an oddity! My father was originally South African, though … perhaps that’s the connection …Suffolk!! It’s so close to where I am now.Love your sketches, and your words.
May 13, 2007 11:20 PM  
Silvia said…
Wonderful story and paintings. I can only agree with all that has been said before.
May 14, 2007 12:25 AM  
bec said…
ahhh ! barefoot. I’ve enjoyed going barefoot since I was a child too… now I find it so freeing especially when I play music-I’m a violinist- it always goes better when I’m barefoot! I always enjoy your free and happy sketches.
May 14, 2007 3:46 AM  
wagonized said…
They are beautiful feet! Not just the way you painted them, but simply them, their shape!
May 14, 2007 4:01 AM  
aPugsLife-laserone said…
Wow, what a fantastic post. I love hearing about people’s lives through their posts and their art. I am very… I am not sure of the word. I tend to think about the past a lot. I moved around A LOT growing up and so I think about towns and houses I used to live in growing up. I miss some of them. Some I do NOT miss but still think about or dream about in my sleep. :)
May 14, 2007 7:48 AM  
caseytoussaint said…
What a great post, Ronell! I also went barefoot all the time when I was a kid, even in New Jersey – and sometimes I forget and answer the door here in France with bare feet. The looks I get are terrifying!
May 14, 2007 8:39 AM  
Carole said…
I get such a sense of freedom from your description of enjoying your barefootedness! And the paintings seem to communicate that revelling in such simple freedom. Lovely post!
By the way, I’ve tagged you – but just realised reading through your comments that I’m not the first. Sorry!
May 14, 2007 12:12 PM  
Alison said…
Beautiful – I used to stub my toes so often as a child as I went barefoot all summer.
May 14, 2007 2:02 PM  
Jan said…
Great feet Ronell. And I’ve tagged you too! Seems someone else got here before me, but it’s too late to change. I’ve got you up on my blog. So come on over and check the details!
May 14, 2007 2:15 PM  
ksklein said…
Hi there, You have been tagged. To check it out have a look at my blog!I like the first feet pic.
May 14, 2007 4:27 PM  
Sandy said…
What fun, both story and sketches, Both show so much of who you are and it is simply GREAT. For someone melancholy you ROCK!
May 14, 2007 4:28 PM  
Teri C said…
What fun!!! I especially love the one with mud between the toes, that’s about as free as you can get!!
May 14, 2007 5:09 PM  
Biby Cletus said…
Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be backDeep Regards from the other side of the MoonBiby Cletus
May 14, 2007 9:15 PM  
Stacy said…
Ronell, it seems your foot post was a hit! I enjoyed it too! I always liked being barefoot as a child and found that I haven’t yet outgrown it. Shoes suffocate my feet. My kids are taking after me and take off their shoes as soon as they get home. In warm weather we often wear flip flops when we need to go out because they are the most minimal shoes allowed.
May 15, 2007 6:04 PM  
platitudinal said…
Melancholia may be a fleeting moment, but it certainly knows how to make its presence known. Hope you are feeling better. Love the bare feet sketches. I have a bit of a hard time imagining the delight of squishing around the cow dung, but was tickled by the idea that some people do not mind :)
May 16, 2007 1:44 PM  
phthaloblu said…
Oh my! I grew up barefoot. The bottoms of my feet were as hard as leather from going everywhere barefoot. My husband hated that (he’s from New Jersey) and wouldn’t let our kids go barefoot. I told him, sorry, you married a hillbilly! lol! Anyway, he hates it when I get back from girl weekend, especially if we’ve been in the mountains because the first thing I do is ditch the shoes. Thanks for bringing back some memories.
May 16, 2007 5:13 PM  

Links to this post

Come on, just do it!

Five things from my bathroom. Carole said so. (http://www.carolekirk.com/ I could only get to four. I struggled almost the whole day, but I’ve done it and I feel good. Great they are not, but I’m happy. Wonderful feeling of achievement! It was so great having someone tell me: “This is what you need to do, do it” Not thinking or planning or finding something…I just did it. Next time it will be better. Thank you, Carole.

I dedicate this to all of you who were encouraging and supportive, may I do the same to you when you need it.





Pen and watercolor, Arches HP. Click on images to enlarge.


Dave said…
Good for you! There are some lovely touches in those sketches too. The shine on the pitcher, the shadow on the stand, etc. Enjoyed looking at them!
April 16, 2007 9:31 PM  
Claudia said…
…I like the spontaneity and freshness of the sketches!-(I’m still working on that for myself…)
April 16, 2007 9:51 PM  
Sandy said…
Fabulous, I just Love your technic, so light and fresh but with great depth and personality – GREAT!
April 16, 2007 10:05 PM  
Carole said…
Hey! Good work. I just love how you do those watercolour washes. You have such a light touch. The chair and bowl/pitcher is particularly nice. Looks like you’ve got a beautiful bathroom there!
April 16, 2007 10:37 PM  
Teri C said…
Gosh, each one is a winner! Just wonderful!
April 17, 2007 3:36 AM  
Brenda Y said…
Fantastic!! My fav is the chair with the pitcher and bowl and plant–what luscious lines and soft colors. By George, I do believe you’ve got your groove back!!
April 17, 2007 6:12 AM  
Jana Bouc said…
These all have such elegance and beauty. It looks like you’ve found your inspiration again!
April 17, 2007 7:38 AM  
MrsSnowy said…
What a spectacular comeback! My favourite is the chair with basin and pitcher. Goodness, if I tried to find inspiration in out bathroom it would spin me into instant depression – not the finest room in our house!
April 17, 2007 11:00 AM  
platitudinal said…
Wow, these are beautiful sketches. If not for the toilet paper rolls and towels sketch, I will keep on forgetting that these are paintings of your bathroom!
April 17, 2007 2:51 PM  
artnewbie said…
Lovely! What great style you have.
April 17, 2007 3:43 PM  
Lin said…
YEAH!! AND WHAT A GLORIOUS JOB YOU DID!!!!! Hope it broke your uninspired spell and that Madam Muse is sitting on your shoulder!
April 17, 2007 5:10 PM  
bec said…
I love the stuff in YOUR bathroom!
April 17, 2007 7:49 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for the comments…I am back to working, almost repeating everything twice in order to get something that is half decent, but that is OK.
April 17, 2007 11:46 PM  
Ujwala said…
i’m away on holiday and hadnt been to your blog in a while. lots of wonderful work since I last visited and these 3 from your bathroom are super too.
April 18, 2007 6:13 AM  
E-J said…
Lovely little sketches. What an elegant bathroom you have, Ronell! Your watercolour style is very distinctive. And you’re so prolific!
April 18, 2007 12:48 PM  
caseytoussaint said…
Ronell, these are beautiful! You’ve combined your wonderful drawing skills with your decorating talent and it’s a great combination.
April 18, 2007 6:19 PM  
“Maggie” said…
Wow, the chandelier is lovely and the reflections really make this a great piece. I love all the intricate inked lines.
April 21, 2007 3:22 PM  
Africantapestry said…
April 22, 2007 4:30 PM  
phthaloblu said…
Once again, beautiful sketches! Love the light best of all.

Spot the differences

Play along and spot the differences between the two pictures.


Stand on your head to read the answer at the bottom.


casey said…
My, you are productive! I really like this one too. I’m running out of adjectives here!
March 25, 2007 5:43 PM  
Teri C said…
Good thing I have a laptop:) because the only difference I see is the lighter one on the bottom.Wonderful painting!!
March 25, 2007 7:18 PM  
Lin said…
I must be blind but I don’t see a difference — but I LOVE the sketch!!!
March 25, 2007 8:03 PM  
aPugsLife-laserone said…
I can’t see any differences, but I’m not awake, LOL! But I do love the painting! :)
March 25, 2007 9:04 PM  
:) Silvia said…
There are 7 differences??? My oh my… and I am only able to spot 2 of them…
What a creative idea :)!
March 25, 2007 9:41 PM  
Ujwala said…
Spotted 2 too and if you’re counting the colour difference then one more :D neat idea for the ilo.
March 26, 2007 6:01 AM  
Africantapestry said…
Hi everybody…thanks for the comments and playing along…there are really 7 differences(lines), maybe a bit more subtle than expected..it is actually hard to see on the small image and not easy to flick between the two images..but thanks, it is more about the idea anyway.
March 26, 2007 8:20 AM  
phthaloblu said…
This is such a cool idea. And the paintings are wonderful even tho I can’t see the differences.
March 26, 2007 2:45 PM  
Fanta said…
I only spotted three differences.
Thanks for commenting on my blog, your works are wonderful, and so glad I found you through Casey’s blog.
March 28, 2007 11:40 PM  
MrsSnowy said…
Wow – there is so much that pleases me here. First of all, I love the simple but so effective style of this sketch – now I’m going to bookmark your blog and enjoy it when I’ve done some housework! ciao Robyn
March 29, 2007 1:16 PM  
Carole said…
Well, I found 3 plus the colour difference! Lovely paintings. I like your pen and wash of the fisherman too.
March 29, 2007 7:49 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Again, thank you for the wonderful words, everybody, I really apprecite it!
March 30, 2007 12:37 AM  
Marilyn said…
 really don’t see any differences. See, we always see our own “differences” and think everyone else sees them.
I love your blog. You’ve done some mighty fine art.

A doorknob is a thing of art

I love the doorknobs in my home. There are many. All the rooms have french doors that open onto a balcony. I counted all the doors – 12 of them. So I decided to draw them. I also enjoy hanging stuff on to the doors, as you’ll see and that changes with every whim.
In the guestroom, always a flower glass with something from the garden, in this case a daffodil.


In the bathroom, an old star made from recycled tin, which I bought from an old retired farmer, when we lived in South Carolina…I can still hear him say with a long, southern drawl: “Oh, lordiee, lordiee..” What a fun old man he was!


Then the market basket is always on the ready at the living room door.

And here comes a little cheating as well…a door yes, but not really a doorknob, only a huge, beautiful old key. I used an old door I found at the back in one of our caves and made a bulletin board out of it, on which I hung this key and a wooden “Bonheur” heart, which really does give “Happiness” above my desk.


OK, so maybe they aren’t all doorknobs, but purely for my enjoyment here, I depict them as such


…a pretty porcelain handle to the bathroom and last but not least, the heavy brass handle from the large green painted wooden gates. It is always tarnished but looks glorious once it is cleaned. Which happens only when I need to get rid of bad energy. Then I’m stuck with a tennis elbow for the next 6 weeks.

There are still more doorknobs and handles and levers and keys, but I’m done now with doorknobs being a thing of art.

Sue said…
I agree with you about the door knobs. How wonderful you get to have all different doorknobs! Great drawings. Nice touch including the things hanging on the doorknobs.
March 22, 2007 5:51 PM  
Teri C said…
What a MARVELOUS collection of door knobs and accessories! I loved reading about your experiences with them and the drawings. Just wonderful!
March 22, 2007 5:55 PM  
rful post, Ronell. Your watercolors are really good – and I had fun trying to recognize each doorknob.
March 22, 2007 6:47 PM  
Susan Cornelis said…
I enjoyed the tour of your doorknobs. What a wonderful home ful of art you’ve created!
March 22, 2007 9:45 PM  
Carole said…
Oh my goodness, you have been busy! I love how you’ve done this as a series of doorknobs. Beautiful lively illustrations – I love the way you’ve used the watercolour wash so loosely.
March 22, 2007 9:53 PM  
Dave said…
What a great house you must have! I love these.
March 22, 2007 10:50 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you everybody, for the kind comments…they are much appreciated, like always.
March 22, 2007 11:18 PM  
Shirley said…
What a wonderful collection and fabulous watercolor paintings of them. Thanks for sharing your house with us.
March 22, 2007 11:49 PM  
Lin said…
What a WONDERFUL doorknob study — to say NOTHING about your FANTASTIC rendering of them!!! WONDERFULLY DONE …exquisite execution!
March 23, 2007 12:18 AM  
Anita said…
Such an enjoyable collection of sketches!
March 23, 2007 1:29 AM  
aPugsLife-laserone said…
Wow, what wonderful doorknobs. We once lived in an old house (a run down leaky monster that had been condemned, when we were poor) but it had really neat antique glass doorknobs. The doorknobs you drew are awesome, I really like them! :)
March 23, 2007 5:35 AM  
andrea joseph’s sketchblog said…
Ok these are good – very good. A fabulous collection of doorknobs. Your style works so well with the subject. Great colour. Lovely work.
March 23, 2007 10:39 AM  
Laura said…
Ronelle, these are AMAZING!! I love seeing all the variations and plays on form and color. The green door is my favorite, though I like every single one of them. You and Casey must have such fun together–I’d love to come and sketch with you! Maybe on one of my next trips to France…
March 23, 2007 12:23 PM  
Laura said…
Oops, sorry I added that extra ‘e’ to your name, Ronell. Old spelling habits die hard ;D.
March 23, 2007 12:24 PM  
:) Silvia said…
I just don’t know what I like better, your watercolor paintings of your door knobs or your ideas how to decorate and style them. Both of them wonderful!
March 23, 2007 2:16 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thanks so much for the beautiful praise on what I’ve done here, it is so encouraging!
March 23, 2007 5:33 PM  
Christeen said…
These are SO COOL! Each painting is unique, and beautiful, and kudos to you for deciding to do a series about the humble doorknob. Love them!
March 23, 2007 7:31 PM  
“Maggie” said…
What a lovely door handle series! What a lovely home you must have and the door handles are so unique. What year was the home built?
March 24, 2007 2:46 PM  
E-J said…
They’re all wonderful, especially the last one with its gorgeous colours.
March 24, 2007 10:41 PM  
phthaloblu said…
How cool! These are beautiful paintings and such interesting subjects.
March 26, 2007 2:41 PM  
nik said…
Ronell, this is wonderful. I love the watercolors. They are so bright and brilliant.
March 30, 2007 6:39 AM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for the great encouragement and praise..I appreciate it!
March 30, 2007 9:13 AM  
Sandy said…
wow wow wow

Mood in a flame

After having glorious days last week, the rain settled back in yesterday, with a daring chill after the warmth of those perfect days. That drove me to a long, luxurious bath last night. As I watched my candle’s flame flickering mysterious images against the wall, I thought I’d post a drawing of this mood in a candle…

Ink and wash on Arches water color paper.

I made so many mistakes in this one – once again misjudged the size of my paper, tried to correct an off-centre line by putting in more line, thus accentuating the problem(left side above), keep on fiddling with the flame so it became completely without ambiance, and left too few “lost edges” by continuing coming back and doing more lines. The learning process is an uphill journey all the time….


SCquiltaddict said…
LOVELY JOB …sweet candlestick…
March 18, 2007 6:53 PM  
Sandy said…
Maybe you had problems with is flame but I love the cherub and the overall structure and depth you achieved (yes we are all on the same journey uphill ;-)
March 18, 2007 7:20 PM  
phthaloblu said…
So beautiful! And I think the flame just adds a mysterious prescence to the overall piece. I love it!
March 19, 2007 2:41 AM  
Emma Pod said…
The cherub candlestick is exquisite! Great job. And all of your vine drawings/paintings are beautiful. This is my first visit to your blog – lovely! Thanks for visiting mine.
March 19, 2007 3:16 AM  
aPugsLife-laserone said…
This is realy beautiful. :)
March 19, 2007 8:22 AM  
Lin said…
This is incredibly beautiful! Such wonderful shading!
March 19, 2007 12:00 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you everybody for visiting, I appreciate all your comments!


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