“A favorite food,” says the list of the art group EDM for this month of May.. Only one favorite food? That is a huge punishment! I can draw a favorite food for a whole month and even beyond. How then to choose between all my wonderful favorite fruits, the colourful vegetables, the meat…(yes, you Greenies, I love my meat!) And then there are fish and shellfish and how about a slice of cake? Or a cookie. And dessert. I never skip dessert. I won’t even mention chocolate and that first cup of coffee in the morning. Only one favorite food?
However, I can sometimes play by the rules and this time seems appropriate enough to do so. So one favorite food it is. I confess my weakness for macarons. Those beautiful, sensual, romantic and utterly delicious delicacies our patisserie in Beaulieu so shamelessly flaunts in the display window. By just looking in my eyes, they know I am there for a box of macarons. Yellows and purples and pinks and reds which vary between red fruits and blueberry and strawberry and lemon and vanilla, chocolate, coffee, caramel and my big favorite, that green one, the pistache. I love them all. I leave the patisserie on an euphoric cloud and with my precious macarons gently tucked next to each other in a quaint box and artfully tied with a pink ribbon. All that is left now, is to nail this sketch, so I can retire with my box of macarons to my favorite chair in my favorite corner…..sigh. I rest my case.
watercolor and dip pen with Sennelier indigo ink in S&B alpha sketchbook, 22.9×15.2cm
I can totally understand why there are nutcases walking around hugging each tree they come across. sometimes I am one of them. Cause a tree is not just a tree. It is a friend, it stirs our emotion, it is a refuge, that safe place under/or in its branches where we hide from all that scorches us..the sun, the world. The olive tree is all of that for me. I do hug my olive trees and talk to them, touch them, stroke them, care for them, love them. They make me think of sunshine and heat. They makes me hear the cigales. They bring me the scent of lavender and wild herbs in the fields and I see colourful vegetables drizzled with the golden oil from its olives, glistening with crystals of fleur de sel. That is my olive tree.
watercolor and Prera pilot fountain pen in S&B epsilon sketchbook, 14×21.6 cm
I sat on the terrace of Café Douceur this afternoon and while sipping my coffee, I sketched the street. My pen ran dry on my halfway through the sketch, which resulted in some thin, scratchy lines. I hope the colourful splashes watercolor make up for it..
..street in Beulieu sur dordogne – close up 1..
Pen and watercolor in Stillman & Birn, alpha series sketchbook, 22.9X15.2 cm
..street in Beulieu sur dordogne – close up 2..
..street in Beaulieu sur dordogne..
And lastly some people sketching..done on Fabriano artistico watercolor block, 27X18cm
à la prochaine.
I still have 2 days left to capture some bulbs. Not that it means we are in spring. On the contrary, with snow forecasts for this weekend en cold to the bone weather and the fire burning high in the fireplace, it is everything but spring. Inside my barn though, I have forced bulbs everywhere and tulips in vases. Nothing can stop me from bringing some spring inside.
I used lots of different mediums and styles, just simply playing around, messing around. I enjoy working with gouache, I don’t do that enough, so it was great to do some sketches with gouache today. the last image is one of the gouache sketches..but I ruined it of course with that enormous name I signed…tried to be too artistic…
..contour lines with black Lamy safari pen on Fabraino watercolor block HP, 18×25.5cm
..watercolor and J. Herbin ink, café des iles in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, Epsilon series, 14×21.6cm
..watercolor and in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, Alpha series, 22.9x15cm
..gouache and black Lamy safari pen on Fabriano watercolor block, HP, 18X25cm
For figurative oil paintings, I use my people sketches for references. Sitting in a café, trying to hide behind a coffee and sketching with subtlety, is always difficult for me. I always feel like intruding, so I really try hard to be quick and get it over with.
The following sketches were all done in Stillman and Birn sketchbook, alpha series, with a Prera fountain pen. Here and there I have added some touches of watercolour(the lunch which was first done in pencil, then the watercolour and then the pen lines were added) and with some I just added slight water touches to bleed the ink.
..enjoying a lunch at Café douceur..
…Two ladies at the coffee counter…
..a soloist performing away(I am very excited about the figurative oil painting from this one)
..a few more faces..
I dug this sketch out of the bin. It ended there along with many others I’m lately not happy with. I feel in an awful slump and nothing seems to work..everything is either too “pretty”, or too perfect or it is just plain bad art. I struggle to find that exciting stroke, or that exciting subject, or even the right medium. I work on small tiny papers and do small tiny challenges. I am in need of freedom and uninhibited expression. I know what I want and what I don’t want..or do I?
I wonder if art can go through menopause…in which case, that is where I would say my art is right now. Going through menopause. I hope it passes soon.
the first one is just pencil contour lines and then of course I didn’t like it and thought colour and pen would make it look better…
watercolor, pencil and pen on watercolor block, HP, 18x26cm
Eggs. Easy to draw. Difficult to paint. but satisfying, because one can play around a lot with painting eggs..or the suggestion of eggs. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not.
..three eggs 1..
in watercolour and pen on Fabriano watercolour block, HP, 23×30,5cm
..three eggs 2..
in watercolour and pen onArches watercolour block,CP, 18x26cm
..three eggs 3..
in watercolour and pen on Fabriano watercolour block, HP, 23×30,5cm
I found some beautiful grays…some more bluish, others more yellowish and greenish and some just simply…gray.
watercolor and J Herbin inks on Hahnemuhle paper CP 15,5x25cm
Doing the above sketch was very quick and dare I say easy, without sounding obnoxious? I’ll tell and you can decide…
- With a goose quill and nib and “gris nuage” ink from J Herbin, I drew the outline of the twig/branch with contour lines.
- I added a wet was over the areas that I wanted to highlight as the greyish moss, in the process flooding some the water soluble ink lines.
- I dabbed in some light dabs of indigo, prussian blue, paynes gray, ochre and raw umber on the wet areas. To finish off the background, I dropped some paint , using the same colours, from a loaded brush to loosely suggest random patches of moss.
- Lastly I finished off with some dark paynes gray(little water, lots of pigment, to give very dark values, suggesting the small dark corners between the moss.
..J Herbin inks and goose quill…