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Posts tagged “objects

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


EDM-art 16 & 18: Measuring tools and lipsticks.

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

..measuring tools..

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:

  1. sharp angled tip:  opinionated, high spirited, hates schedules, outgoing, selective of friends, likes attention, argumentative…
  2. flat top: high morals, dependable, to the point, quick-minded, loves a challenge, careful about appearances…
  3. sharp angles on both sides:  spiritual, seeks attention, curious, mysterious, loves life, big ego..
  4. flat top, concave : great detective, make friends easily, inquisitive, adventurous…
  5. 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

5 lipsticks

à demain


August sketching 15: Kitchen vignette

I did a lot of experimenting today..playing around with inks and rigger brushes, gouache paints and aquarelles. I finally played with  a kitchen vignette in aquarelle and Herbin inks. Not totally happy with the results, so a lot of work waiting  with the inks . the drawing was actually so much better before I added the aquarelle..should’ve stopped there.

vignette cuisine


August sketching 4: Things I love.

I love old things. Things worn with time and loaded with stories. Old cups, old jugs, tins, doilies from Maman, teaspoons…And so today I sat by my table and sketched all these old things.

..Watercolor and pen in large Daler and Rowney sketchbook,  21x29cm..

Things I love aquarelle 2 4747x6469(Apologies for the bad scan…I can’t get those dark spots away without changing the colour of the aquarelle)

 While we are in the barn, I don’t have an art atelier, so in fact the whole barn is my atelier! I have a large table just behind our little sitting corner where I work  when doing watercolors or drawings etc. All the brushes and pencils and pens are at hand in copper containers. Behind me(not seen on photo)is the large easel for when I do painting and all the oil pants are stored on a trolley which I store under the table. So, in fact, it works! One doesn’t need a fancy art atelier to do art! A little corner will do. I hope you too have your little corner, even if it is a corner of the kitchen table!

..my art corner..

art table in the barn 3870x2680à demain


My favorite perfumes in aquarelle.

When life trips me, I head to the perfume shelves. To indulge and forget for a while about the hardships of life. And I never leave without a tiny bottle of perfume. That is my biggest sin in life and I will gladly carry my punishment one day, should there be. I use a spritz of perfume every day everywhere…to town and  to the opera, to do the washing to weed the garden, after my shower and before I drop my head on my pillow.

there is a secret to good spritzing. Do you remember the way Malan and Mamy used to dab their eau de cologne behind the ears, on the wrists…well, those were the old days. The French way to do it, is to spray a cloud of perfume in front of you in the air and then walk through it. No harsh , overwhelming, nose itching smells, but rather a gentle caress on the skin, interacting gently with the oils of the skin to bring forth the  subtle underlying notes of the perfume.

..l’eau d’Issey by Issey Miake – light and soft for summer..

perfume 1


..Intense, by Dolce & Ganbbana- for those times I feel passionate and ..intense….

perfume 2


..baiser volé by Cartier – reminds me of Arabian nights…

perfume 3


..Coco by Chanel -my favorite perfume which always make me feel elegant , and brings out my French side!

perfume 4

So, come on ladies, spritz your perfume, time is too short not to!

à bientôt


A rough sketch of some painting tools.

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…

painting tools-001…just to realize it doesn’t look better, nor worse.

watercolor, pencil and pen on watercolor block, HP, 18x26cm

painting tools 2-001So. The solution is probably just to carry on and maybe consider not throwing out the awful ones. They should stay with us strive for better, or different, ot both.

à bientôt


September 20 & 21: Garden urns.

I believe in drawing as a basis for all mediums of art. Whether doing aquarelle or oil painting, statues of abstraction..it all comes down to understanding an object/subject and nothing else than good old drawing  can get one to that point. Not forgetting doing it on large format. Just my personal opinion. I don’t draw enough. There was a time when I was much better at drawing than I am now. Doing life model drawing saw to that. I have to get back to live drawing sessions with a model. Perfect for drawing skills.

..Garden urn..

rotring Tikky graphic pen on drawing paper, 21×29.7cm

garden urn

I actually enjoy doing urns, bowls, jugs…they are a good mixture of simple shapes put together in a complex way…ellipses, round shapes, triangles, rectangles, value shapes, light shapes, depth.. good practice for seeing shapes rather than lines, even though I do like line work.

Charcoal on drawing paper, 29.7×42 cm



medici 20-09-2013 14-36-12 2673x3706

Aargh…so many booboos in these 2 drawings, but it is OK. At least I didn’t ‘feather’ my drawings into correctness, like I see so often and I find it terrible. Rather a sure, continuously wrong line than a hesitantly feathered correct “line”. Once again, only my personal opinion.

à demain



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