One of my favorite paces to lunge for my sketchbook, is in Cafe Douceur in Beaulieu sur Dordogne. Such a welcoming lieu, you keep drinking coffee just to have an excuse to linger longer.
coffee corner in Cafe Douceur
Ink and a wash in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, 14X22cm
Coffee at Voyageurs
Pen and watercolour in Stillman & birn sketchbook, 14X22cm
Sketching faces in St Céré
Pen and watercolour washes in moleskine, 22X14cm
I had the opportunity to sit down for a coffee today on the terrace and had some men close-by to sketch. Some people don’t mind to be sketched, but the majority feel uncomfortable with being the subject. Fortunately today’s subjects were so busy with their own thing, they didn’t notice me who was hiding behind a big plant…sort of. I am very rusty on sketching people…there was a time I did it almost every day and now it happens once a year, for exactly the reason I mentioned…getting rebuked by people who don’t want the attention. Nonetheless..I present to you…the three men.all done in moleskin book(which is a little too light for my watery brushstrokes and the colour bled through to the back of the page. I don’t mind bucking pages, but I fiercely dislike colour going seeping through the paper.
pen and watercolour washes in moleskine, 22.5X13.5cm
Still digging deep to jiggle my art back up, I sat in the coffee shop this cold and miserably grey morning, squiggling lines left and right. After a while I gave up, closed the Stillman & Birn and rove to the garden center, where I loaded my cart with shrubs and trees and perennials. Everybody else was buying forced bulbs for their homes. I was probably the single person in France out in the cold rain, behaving only as one should in the midst of spring…going out on the planting. Well. It helped. I feel I can take on some more sketching this evening…make my hands work while my head is in spring, planting.
chairs and coffee table in coffee shop
pencil in Stillman 1 Birn sketchbook, 14.5X22.5cm
Potplants in coffee bar
Watercolour washes and Pentel brush pen in Stillman & birn sketchbook, 14.5X22.5cm
My mojo has left me since October/November last year with absolutely just no desire to put pen to paper or a brush to the canvas. The intention was there, many a time, but the execution didn’t happen. It was that typical staring at a blank page, at a blank canvas and realizing that even the mind was blank. So what does that say about ignoring inspiration or mood and just get on with it, regarding art as a job that needs to be done. I don’t have the answer. I can only say that if it were my job and I worked for a boss, I would’ve probably been fired.
Rutabagas, turnips and beetroot.
sketches in watercolor and pen in Arches watercolorbook HP, 18x26cm
I even went to see a Picasso exhibit, trying to find the desire to paint, but to no avail. No desire. No wanting it. I had a faint glimpse of my old desire today when I picked up a rutabaga(swede) for dinner tonight. I looked at it and thought by myself that it was a vegetable I haven’t sketched yet and I wondered why… a trigger as simple as that. Not that I am now suddenly overcome with desire to splash the paints, not at all. On the contrary. I wonder what o do tomorrow. But I am grateful for at least having a sketch done today, before January runs out. Tomorrow’s day will have to see to itself.
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
“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.
watercolor and Prera pilot fountain pen in S&B epsilon sketchbook, 14×21.6 cm
I try to sketch every time I sit down for a coffee somewhere in a village. Not all my sketches are worth showing. Sometimes my people look like godzillas and my buildings look like mudhuts and sometimes I just sit and mess around with colour, because I simply love color. But, in the end they all serve one purpose. To sharpen the saw.
The sketch below is from different buildings; the top one just being a little pigeonnier that serves as the entrance to a park and the other a door of the church further away.
One of the things I adore about our old Europe, is the church bells. Even here at Coin Perdu I can hear the church bells ring. Sitting in the old town centres sipping a modern Perrier, while hearing the church belles right next to me, sometimes feel completely surreal. Below is the old church in the center of Brive la Gaillarde, la collégiale St MArtin, dating from the XII th century.
Some of this and that in the street of Brive la Gaillade.