Simply sketching in a tea shop in St Céré and having a coffee and croissant. No fanfare. Tout simple.
watercolour and pentel brush pen in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, 14×21.6cm
watercolour and pilot prera pen in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, 14×21.6cm
I am struggling enormously with my sketching lately. The whole process of art doing in my atelier is actually on the struggle. My art has taken a dive for the worse, but hopefully it will resurface with vigor soon. In the meantime I just follow the giant Nike’s advice: “Don’t think, just do it”. All in all, I felt better after doing these sketches.
All sketches done in the Stillman & Birn, Epsilon series, 14×21.6cm with watercolor and pilot prera pen.
I sat in the square in Beaulieu, first doing the Wednesday morning market and afterwards the view down the street.
I also did some people sketches while having a coffee. I find I have lately been moving into feathering again when drawing and I absolutely hate feathering. It always happens to me when I feel insecure in my art making. What I call feathering : I don’t draw a line in one go, I feather- feather in the direction I want a line to go, a lot of fiddling with shape and line…awful! It was good to get back into one line drawing, or rather sketching, by doing these people. they are wonky, but I feel good about the line work. More and more people don’t want to be the object of observation and I really try to respect that by being so discreet and unobtrusive as possible, making my observation a somewhat off the mark. I have to train my eye again to get to that discreet-drawing-level.
I have been asked so many times how I do my splashes and after another request from Sophia, I thought I could do a pôst to explain how I splash ans splotch. have forever been doing splashes in my watercolor paintings and sketches. I paint and sketch with a big brush and loads of pigment and water and the splashes almost happen all by itself on my page. There are times though that I use splashes to emphasize or create a certain effect or atmosphere. It all depends on the sketch or painting. I notice that it has become very fashionable in the sketching world to use splashes which is great. But sometimes a sketch can look out of sorts with splashes, which either don’t fit the style of painting or the subject doesn’t ask for splashes, and so it appears on sketches just because it is fashionable. I love my splashes, but I don’t use them every time and with every subject. I would like to see that watercolor work show more discretion when using splashes, before it ruins an already perfect watercolour painting or sketch.
Old french bowls 1…without any splashes. This sketch was done using watercolor, watercolorpencils and white gouache. I overworked the sketch somewhat, so the bottom bowl started losing its shape.
Old french bowls 3, with blue splotches and 1 red splash which I added simply to “accompany” my signing). I used only watercolour and pen for this sketch
Old french bowls 4, with brown spatters on the right side, dark red splotches at the bottom and 1 lilac splash(for my name). In my opinion, on this sketch, less spattering or even none would have been fine, I added the spatters etc for demonstration.
When working in watercolor, I use only one brush, usually my Rosemary sable 12. My splashes are done right at the end with the same brush. Depending on the subject and the atmosphere I want to add to my sketch/painting, I choose from 3 different types of splashes. I call them for my own use, splashes, splotches and spatters.
*Splotches are the small, smaller then the splashes, but bigger, but bigger than the small spatters. To get these dropletys, I load my brush a fair amount of water and colour and hold the brush up straight while I shake the brush in quick upward and downward movements to release the droplets.
*Spatters are those tiny droplets that sometime happen a line or a curve. I get them by loading my brush with not too much water and then flick my finger on the brush to spatter the colour, which most of the time, are small droplets which end up in a line on the paper.
Splashes are the large round drops dropped from a high distance above the paper. I fill the brush with color and water, stand up over the paper to keep my eye on the spot I want to drop a splash and press the brush at the tip to form a drop which splashes on the paper.
To illustrate some of my splashes and splotches etc, here are some of my previous work.
Two Siberian iris sketches – Left: Only 2 big splashes. The line work and minimalist appearance of the sketch doesn’t welcome tiny spatters of colour, it would only distract. Right: The more loose watery interpretation allows for some large splashes as well as some spattering. It adds to a frivolous interpretation and could suggest picking of the irises, blowing in the wind, petals falling…movement.
Some more examples of where splashes work and where not:
In the bottom sketch, splashes don’t belong..it is already a very busy sketch with lots of information.
The sunflower just asks for some splattering…suggesting bees working, pollen blowing in the wind, petals falling off… movement.In the sketch below, I used only a green splash and blue splotches to suggest sky and leaves and I like the effect of stark lines with the contrasting wild bursts of colour.
I hope this explained a bit my thinking and use of splashes, splotches and spatters.
Until next time
The biggest drawback of this Spain holiday was that I couldn’t swim. Something I love. Thus I was confined to the beach bar where I sat and watched others swim. And I sketched.
Because of the heat I drank the one glass of water after another with every now and then a delicious, freshly squeezed fruit juice. I ran through that whole menu. The thing I completely forgot about that first day on the beach, was that all that fluid needed to go somewhere. I realized that with a shock sometime during the day. I looked down the “boardwalk,” seeing the single “cabine de toilette” winking at me way over there at the entrance to the beach. I looked at the wheelchair next to me, buried under a mountain of stuff. I looked at my crutches and down at my blistered and calloused hands. I looked at my family who were bobbing specks in the water. I felt desperation clouding over me like a tsunami from which there is no escape. I started praying. For what I don’t really know, because there wasn’t any superhuman intervention that could change my situation. Physiology all by itself is already a wondrous complexity. But I prayed anyway and decided to give 2 minutes to some kind of miracle to find its way towards me. After 2 seconds I decided the only only way to solve this problem is the old fashioned human way. I carefully got up from my chair, all the while trying to do it speedily. Care and speed, those were the keywords. I looked across the beach to the water and “miraculously” mon cheri made his way to the beach bar. I signaled him with fierce intimidation to move his butt! Somehow I got into the wheelchair and we made it down the boardwalk to the “cabine” without me flying from the chair “en route”. Close to the cabin I stared down everybody who just thought of going ahead of me with a look that clearly stated: “Don’t even think about it for I will run you down”, while waving my crutches into the ready-to-use position. Before we came to a stop I pirouetted onto the crutches and into the cabin, didn’t even lock the door and shouted from the inside all kinds of instructions to mon chéri. There was no trace of my usual grace and inhibition and dignity left. Human was all I could be at that moment
I had the greatest holiday on the costa Brava in Spain , broken leg and all. My family decided a wheelchair is the way to get around effortlessly and although I complained loud and clear, I have to admit they were right. I could of course only sit at the “xiringuito” (beach bar) and sketch the world around me, while friend and family were out on the beach, in the water, snorkeling, sailing. But that is OK, I will get my turn next year.
the sketches are all done in situ and there will be blotches all over, because I turned pages while the paint wasn’t completely dry. a lot of mistakes too, which stayed on the pages, since I did everything directly in pen and just sketched over the mistakes. As you can see, my sketchbooks aren’t perfectly beautiful…too many blops and bloops!
xiringuito, Canyelles platja
I have an extreme “coup de fatigue”today and had only enough energy for a few scribbled ink lines and a few squiggles of watercolor pencil, mixed together with random splashes of water. Kitchen tools hanging from the stone wall in the kitchen corner of our temporary barn. Voilà. That’s it.
..kitchen tools in the kitchen..
watercolorpencil, ink and dip pen.
We have more measuring tools in our home than we have food. Fascinating stuff..all these rulers, square edges, the laser beams, the ultrasonic beams, I even have tiny pocket tapes for a handbag. An unending array of measuring tools, never to be found when needed
dip pen and Sennelier ink in S&B sketchbook, 14X21.6 cm
Lipstick. What does your lipstick, or lip balm say about you. Our good friend, Google, says the following:
- sharp angled tip: opinionated, high spirited, hates schedules, outgoing, selective of friends, likes attention, argumentative…
- flat top: high morals, dependable, to the point, quick-minded, loves a challenge, careful about appearances…
- sharp angles on both sides: spiritual, seeks attention, curious, mysterious, loves life, big ego..
- flat top, concave : great detective, make friends easily, inquisitive, adventurous…
- round, smooth tip: easy going, peacemaker, even-tempered, steady, likeable, generous..
..5 lipsticks for 5 personalities..
dip pen and Sennelier ink in S&B sketchbook, 14X21.6 cm