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 am a lazy person. There you have it. My biggest secret revealed. If I don’t have deadlines and projects and goals, I fall in a slumber of doing less and less and less until I start enjoying doing less. In summer that can happen very easily with the holidays and lazy summer days, lingering by the pool…. So I decided to do some regular August sketching and get back to those sketches I haven’t done for months, years even. No summer laziness for me then, but pens and inks and aquarelle en all these new sketchbooks I’ve ordered and papers waiting to be turned into sketchbooks.
I use the rotring art pen quite a bit, and the ink allows me to add a little water(not too much) to bleed the lines. See the little sketch of the ink bottle below which was done with a rotring artpen.
I also love drawing with inks and especially J. Herbin and Sennelier inks. They are good inks, easy to find and much cheaper than ordering inks from other countries, just for the sake of having inks.
…See, the pens are waiting!…pen and J .Herbin ink, “Café des isles”
My palettes are organized and ready in waiting, mostly comprised of Sennelier and Winsor & Newton watercolor in tubes and pans. The palettes still need more cleaning, but you will never see perfectly clean around my art table..it confuses me completely and I can’t work…too afraid I’ll make mess!
Color chart of all the colors in my palettes. Sometimes I get confused and start using one color thinking it is another, especially if they are close in hue, so it is good to arrange and make sure the right colors are in their right places.
I use about 40 – 45 colors in the larger palette. .which stays at home. Not that I use all the colors every time of course. My tiny travel kit, which I have been using for years now, take about 16 colors which is just perfect.
Colors for my smaller palette…still deciding between some blues and yellows, but I’ll get there. I feel like change sometimes..
In a later post I will cover my use of color and palettes, the inks I love, the pens, pencils…all very simple. I am by far not so prolific and efficient as the urban sketchers or other daily sketchers out there. But more later in the month…this is just to get me started for the month of August.
So until tomorrow…sleep well!
I haven’t done urban sketching for quite some time. Since we have arrived here at our farm, Coin Perdu, I have mainly been doing plein air painting in the countryside or food sketches, which go with my foodblog, Myfrenchkitchen. I also mainly work on watercolor blocks, because I use a lot of water and pigment which mix directly on the paper and with a sketchbook, I have to wait quite a while before I can turn the page to do a new sketch. With the watercolor block I just ear off the paper, set it aside to dry and start a new sketch. Later I bind the sketches together. Funny thing is, people are more interested in buying the quick sketches than completed paintings, so in that sense a block works much better ( except for me, because being the total useless business person I am, I just give them away for free, thinking I can’t possibly charge money for a sketch? Well, as long as it brings that person joy, then it is OK. But…somewhere I have to draw the line though…)
So, I will get back to making my own proper sketchbooks with Arches HP paper. I have also ordered a few new sketchbooks.
The sketch below was done this morning (on Arches watercolor block, HP) in the company of friends at the market, which I found quite distracting, not being used to sketching with all that buzz around me anymore. The old buildings in France are wonky by default and below my faulty perspective makes it even worse…but for the most part, I am quite happy with this sketch after such a long dry spell.
..centre ville Beaulieu s/D..
aquarelle on Arches wartercolor block, HP, 18x26cm
In summer we don’t eat apples. We munch on peaches and nectarines. Except the horses. They have their apples throughout the year. An apple is one of the most delicious subjects to draw and paint. For the experts it is a challenge to capture its real beauty and succulent appearance and for the beginner it is easy enough to start off with and be inspired to keep going.
pen and aquarelle on watercolor block
..six apples close-up..
Just for some lazy fun, I splashed some greens for a sucrine salad…using blues and yellows, purple and payes gray for darker shadows. Salad is always difficult to draw and paint, so many lines and squigles…definitely not a favorute subkect of mine. The greens are a great challenge though!
pen and aquarelle on waterclor block
..sucrine salad close-up..
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
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!
Have a wonderful season!!
à la prochaine!