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.
I was enjoying a coffee in medieval Bretenoux with its lovely little cobbled squares and covered alleys. The sun was shining hot and I got tempted into a second coffee and drawing the post office just opposite me. Very lazily of course… as all sun lovers will know…the sun is a happy drug!
I added only a touch of colour, which I quite like, since the linework was very spontaneous and quirky..
pen in Daley and Rowney watercolor sketchbook
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.
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.
The rain came down by the buckets today. Beautiful of course, the rain, but not when you are on a roll and want to be in plein air, sketching or painting. I drank a cafe at out local café, waited for the rain to stop. Went home, waited for the skies to clear; Had another coffee. Starred out my back door, my only door…and looked into the old worn porcherie, or old pighouse if you will. It will be fixed up one day, but for the moment its dilapidated charm will be immortalized on paper. Not the best sketch ever, but the goal wasn’t a great sketch today, it was all about the paper..so there we have it. Just half of a porcherie. And three cows.
..Stillman and Birn Alpha series, vellum surface, 22.9×15.2cm..
..Close-up of the watercolor on the paper..
I went for the Alpha Stillman & birn sketchbook today, a real charmer! Much happier than yesterday with the Epsilon. It has a Vellum texture which is satiny an beautiful to work with in watercolors…like the HP of Arches and Fabriano. I like the color and yes…beautiful granulation…see the blue sky in the close-up above. (Even though it was a grey rainy day, I wanted to see what the paper does with cerulean blue which is known for having lovely granulation..on the right paper). The book opens nice and flat and I am surprised at how much water it can actually take, because I worked with even more water today than usual, really giving this little book a challenge. The buckling is present, but as already said, buckling in a sketchbook doesn’t bother me. All in all, a nice book for watercolor sketches and saying that only after one try, says a lot for me. I am an Arches and Fabriano HP fan and it takes a lot to convince me of something else better…or as good! Snob!!
Le Pescher is a quaint little village not far from us…when our daughter got married there in 2012, we all walked to our cars through the little village from the church, past the bassin, filled with enormous fish! My sketching for today was the church where they got married(well, only the tower, since I ran out of paper for the rest!) and a house opposite the pond on the route we walked.
..a house across the large pond, bassin..
I received 2 sketchbooks from Stillman & Birn and did my first watercolor in the Epsilon S&B sketchbook, 150gms. It is really too lightweight for my watercolor, but then it isn’t really meant for watercolor, only for drawing with ink and pen. It is very very smooth with no tooth at all, and I don’t even like it for drawing, for that reason. I like a bit of tooth which grabs a medium, whether it is watercolor or pencil or charcoal or whatever. But it is still early days and I only got started with the book, so there is still time to get used to the paper.
One can see the buckling of the paper, which doesn’t bother me too much, but the watercolor makes hard edges and there is no granulation, something I love in watercolor. It is all very flat and smooth. A sketchbook not fit for watercolor, even though I read comments on internet which convinced me to get it for watercolor sketching.
What is nice about these books is that it folds open without the spiral in the middle, allowing one to paint across two pages if you want to. But if I compare this book to my Daler Rowney, (satin finish, 160gms) that I have been doing the latest sketches in, it totally falls short. I personally prefer the Daler Rowney even with the spiral in the middle.
.. The S&B sketchbook and my brass palette with its 16 colours..