I adore the colours of hydrangeas in the fall. They lose that bright summer blues and pinks and become faded. Even the whites turn a faded green. Some dried brown petals turn the blooms into pieces of art in shades of all colours.
I did the the first sketch too stiff and controlled into a round ball, even though I am not too unhappy with the colours.
So I decided to do another sketch, this time much looser, maybe not immediately recognizable as an hydrangea, but I have never cared about likeness. Loose, fluid painting with personal interpretation is much more important to me.
Is there any gift bigger for a birthday than a sunny day in august and a large bunch of bright yellow sunflowers? so was my birthday yesterday.
And as sketches…my sunflowers captured lazily today as I think I had too much birthday yesterday…
birthday sunflowers 1
watercolor and pen in Daler and rowney sketchbook
birthday sunflowers 2
watercolor and pen in Daler and rowney sketchbook
I have a tendency to become tight the more I work. It is just one of those inevitable things. So I often have to change mediums and styles and experiment in other ways to loosen up again. I have notice with my sketching that I have become tight again. Normally I would change to oils and go do some plein air which helps, but with the bad weather, I had to divert to other options. As I was watching the horses walking all over our well the other day, I saw a contrast of grey sky and a line of white lace flowers and the green fields and it stirred the desire to put that onto paper by using the opaque gouache, a medium I quite like, exactly for its “experimental” qualities. It opens up possibilities to take it further into oils.
The following gouache experiments were all done in sketchbooks
After sitting outside, I moved in, bringing in some of the woildflowers now in seaspon and trying to create the broad bands of colour..the greens, the blues and of course the shapes, not worrying too much about authenticity. It was all just about colour and application with a loose wrist and finally some line squiggles, which I always love. For the dark lines I initially used inks, but it didn’t work too well on top of the gouche, so I used a dark mixture(which I alwyas use in oils for black) of Burnt unber, alizarin crimson and french ultramarine which always gives a rich dark black.
with this experiment, I used the gouache much more diluted to get more “wispy” horizons as a back drop for the lace flowers. Well, I don’t know what those funny linework at the bottom is all about, but at the time I felt in the mood for it.
This was a lot of fun and really something I will explore deeper, maybe on much lager scale with oils..and added animals…Many options in fact.
We were in Tolouse, visiting out children and I had unfortunately only time for one quick catch of a fleuriste when we sat down for a coffee. A figure was standing just in front of us and the fleuriste was across the street…don’t now if that depth and perspective come across on the sketch… and of course the beautiful red brick of Toulouse…la ville rose.
..fleuriste à toulouse, in Stillman & birn Alpha sketchbook, vellum, 22.9×15.2cm
We have a humid summer this year…hot and humid which isn’t normal for us. One can clearly see the effect on us humans. Our energy gets sapped by the humidity and many a day I , who adores heat, feel like a limp fish on these mucky days. The Mediterranean plants even more so. These Dipladenias enjoy heat and dry summers , so too they struggle with the heavy humidity. With not their usual abundance of flowers, they still bloom and show off beautifully, quite different from me, who struggled to stay focused on my sketching with no blooming and showing off in sight.
..watercolour and pen on Arches watercolor block, HP, 18x26cm..
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
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.
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)