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Posts tagged “architecture

Sketches from Beaulieu and Les Jardins Marquessac.

My artist friend Sarah visited and we visited les jardins Marquessac.I am totally inspired to finish my garden here at Coin Perdu, not to mention painting! I worked in different sketchbooks and I am considering going back to Moleskine, all three sizes.

..a sketch done in Beaulieu while waiting for my physiotherapy appointment..

pencil, pilot prera pen and aquarelle in LANA watercolour sketchbook, 14x22cm(this is a lovely sketchbook with 300g paper, 25 pages and a great size, with the only drawback being the spiral back.)

Beaulieu house0001..a sketch of a street in Beaulieu..

watercolour in Daler & Rowney Ebony sketchbook, 14.9X21 cm(this paper still buckles a lot with washes, but it is not too disturbing. I like the hardback so it makes working across 2 pages quite easy.)

Beaulieu0001..the marketplace in St Céré..

watercolour and prera pen in Daler & Rowney graduate sketchbook,22X14.9cm(this is suitable only for drawing…a nightmare for washes..but it was all I had in my bag.)

St Cere..Jardins Marquessac..

watercolour and prera pen in Daler & Rowney Ebony sketchbook, 14.9X21 cm

jardin Marqueyssac sketchà bientôt


Beaulieu and people sketches

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.

beaulieu market

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.

..pantalon rouge..

poeple at Cecil's 20001

..pantalon arc-en-ciel..

poeple at Cecil'sà plus


Splashes, splotches and spatters in aquarelle.

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 1-001

Old French bowls 2, without any splashes. Mixed media – watercolour, watercolour pencils and white gouache.Old French bowls 2-001

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 3-001

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.

Old French bowls 40002-001

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.

SpattersSplashes 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.

SplashesI have chosen some of my sketches to show the effect of leaving out splashes or adding them.

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.

iris reticulata iris reticulata-001

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.

Le Pescher Maison 6466x4910

The sunflower just asks for some splattering…suggesting bees working, pollen blowing in the wind, petals falling off… movement.envelope to vivien0001In 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.

bretnoux la post

I hope this explained a bit my thinking and use of splashes, splotches and spatters.

Until next time


Two more garden corner sketches in watercolour.

I sat myself in the same  spot outside on the terrace as yesterday and did 2 more sketches . I have now almost made a complete 360 degrees turn and sketched what I saw in front of me. This time I faced the house and sketched one of the two comfy chairs under the kitchen window on the terrace. The chandelier hanging under the grapevine was next with the crystals catching the sunlight and flashing in all the colours..I can’t do it justice, but I remember it.

comfy chair on the terrace

watercolor and nib pen with blck ink in Daler rowney sketchbook, 21X29.7cm

chair on the terrasseChandelier hanging under grapevine

watercolor and nib pen with blck ink in Daler rowney sketchbook, 21X29.7cm

cchandelieron terrasse0001

Every day in May – (1)a favorite food and (2)a tree.

“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.

..olive tree..

watercolor and Prera pilot fountain pen in S&B epsilon sketchbook, 14×21.6 cm


à demain


A sketch in centre ville in Beaulieu.

The weather is so fantastic lately…if only I could be that fantastic…

..Centre ville à Beaulieu…place Marbot..

Pilot Prera pen and aquarelle in Daler rowney artis’s sketchbook,14.9X21 cm

centre villel BeaulieuUntil next time


Sketching at the Dordogne.

Today was a burst of sunshine and blue skies. I decided on a much needed break and took off with my sketch tools to la Dordogne in Beaulieu sur Dordogne. It was beautiful by die river, under the trees, with only a jogger here and there. Sat on the edge, I sketched the opposite side with its quint homes on the river. Hunger drove me to Café Douceur for lunch, before I could get in another sketch. The empty table next to me became a second sketch.

..la Dordogne..

watercolor and TWSBI-mini pen in Daler & Rowney sketchbook, 14,9X21,0 cm

la dordogneI tried a new pen today after reading about on a blog and I am highly disappointed. The TWSB-mini struggles to write over dried aquarelle and it scratches. When it does draw, it is thick and unforgiving, even though it is a fine point. Back to my preferred pilot prera.

..table and chair at Café Douceur..

watercolor wash and TWSBI-mini pen in Daler & Rowney sketchbook, 14,9X21,0 cm

table et chaise

à l bientôt



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