Figure drawings

1. We started again with our figure classes last night. We had only one long pose and the goal was to make a “nice” drawing, with only pencil and hatching.

I used pencil 2B and 6B on large format paper, 42×59,4 cm (16,5×23,4″).

2. A previous class: This second drawing was extremely difficult, but it sure openend up the mind. The model would move forward into another position, while one “axe” remained in the previous position. It was sort of like motion drawing. Hard, hard, hard! I consumed a whole baguette when I got home after this class…

Graphite and sanguine on paper, large format

3. A previous class: The slim model with the dog that we’ve had on previous occasions and he lost even more weight, making it very hard to see something to draw.

Graphite on paper, large format

4. A portrait of the model and his dog. I did this when we had 5 minutes left of class. Graphite on paper, large format

5. This is the same model as the first pencil drawing, but on a different occasion where we did a draining million(well almost) quick sketches for two hours. And again I consumed a whole baguette afterwards..

Charcoal on paper, large format.

Something that needs fixing

The ironing is always behind.

I have to iron. I have to see sharp folds and straight flat edges on shirts and linen and skirts and yes, T-shirts. Except of course jeans. No straight folds there. That makes them look nerdy. I learnt that from my daughters.

Sketches done with rotring artist pen and water wash in moleskine.

Like with a desperate diet, I start off every Monday with the determination to iron immediately when something comes off the line. Just to see my diligence fade into submission by Wednesday. The result is a growing mountain of washing and a leaking cup of courage. So I let the mountain run its course… after all, it is already there….and wait for the magical day when my cupeth runneth over again.

I’ll probably always have this habit that needs fixing.

Ice cream versus salad

How I love painting. And tennis. And I do love my garden, my house. Shopping. What else. Oh yes, and I love eating! Good food, healthy food, bad food, ordinary food, new food, traditional food, adventurous food…all food.

I am sitting here right now, licking a huge Magnum ice cream. A double caramel! Sweet and nerve rackingly rich, deliciously creamy, luscious, sticky, voluptuous and sensual…and far too small. While I am indulging in my ice cream I have a healthy menu for you, a great one for a long, lingering lunch on a hot summers afternoon around a huge table with great friends!


To start off: make a tomato mozzarella salad, using nice small vine tomatoes, some buffalo mozzarella torn into bite size pieces… stuff some in your mouth while you’re at it. Tear some basil leaves and lastly, sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and mill some fresh pepper and then add a sprinkling of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes.To finish off, mix gently with your hands and then lick off those fingers, serve on a pretty plate and enjoy with crusty bread.

 For the main meal you dig your beautiful platter out of the back of the cupboard, give it a rinse and then fill it with…crispy green leaves of your choice, mesclun, spinach, rocket and other herbs and don’t forget some crunchy red cabbage sliced finely for great color and crunch….

In the middle you stack some cooked quinoa, first sauteed in coconut oil with some red onions and then cooked until just done.

On top of that, beet cut into chunks, hand fulls of organic grated carrot and around the rim, little bundles of steamed asparagus wrapped in prosciutto or parma ham. And finish off with a little sweetness; a handful of golden raisins and pumpkin seeds and a Calamata olive or two. I like some green peppercorns sprinkled too. Finish off with a vinaigrette of your choice, some more crusty bread, a bottle of good Rose and you’re off to hear all the Oohs and Aahs from your hungry, anticipating guests waiting at the table! And do enter with flare…why else have you gone to so much trouble!


Dessert. No can’t do without dessert. To keep to the theme of health, you take lots and lots of strawberries…do the usual, and cut them roughly into chunks. Using a large fork, you crush them until pulpy but not to a puree. Then you add a large handful of chopped mint, which you ventured into your garden for early morning, with your hat and herbs scissors and gloves…and of course you pulled out some weeds while you were there. OK, the add this generous handful of mint to your strawberries and follow up with some balsamic vinegar and if you like your strawberries a bit sweeter, add some honey. Just before you put this beautiful dessert in the fridge, take a big spoonful to taste…you should be able to just sigh with pleasure, if not, then start over. Serve it in some beautiful glasses where its beauty can be seen. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, drizzle with some honey, a swirl of syrupy reduced balsamic vinegar, a dash of milled black pepper and of course, a small mint leaf…and please, don’t plant a tree!

So, off I go to fetch another Magnum…enjoy your lunch!

Pen and Watercolor on Arches paper HP 23 x 31cm (9 x 12″)



Robyn said…
After reading all of that and looking at you lovely water colours, I’m not hungry any more. What a way to diet! Oh, I think that I have room for another Magnum. Got one to spare?
April 22, 2007 10:50 PM  
Elizabeth said…
MM…my mouth is watering! Beautiful artwork to compliment a delicious menu.
April 22, 2007 10:58 PM  
Lin said…
OH MY GOSH!!! WHAT TIME IS DINNER!! AND YOU’VE BEEN A PICKIN’ IN MY GARDEN!! I just planted two dozen basil plants, some grape tomatoes .. and mercy, but buffalo mozzalla is hard to get here in my part of NC … and quinoa!! LOVE it!! Stawberries — it’s pickin’ time at the farm and my strawberry basket is abloom .. oh my, Ronell you’ve made my HUNGRY ..!!!Are you sure we’re not related?????FANTASTIC SKETCHES, MY FRIEND!!!! And description … drool accompanied ….!

April 22, 2007 11:11 PM  
ave said…
Yummy! Those sketches are lovely.
April 22, 2007 11:39 PM  
Anita said…
Oh my Ronell…I LOVE EVERYTHING about this posting, the sketches are fantastic and the words alluring…But quinoa?…What’s that then?
You do realise I am now off to raid the cupboards/fridge for a midnight snack…You temptress you!
April 23, 2007 1:21 AM  
Shirley said…
I’m not sure that I want to eat such healthy food – but I am sure that I love your pen and watercolor sketches! Great style.
April 23, 2007 4:17 AM  
Nancy said…
Wow, I love the menu (though I’ve never actually seen quinoa); and the accompanying pictures are equally luscious. Please ma’am, I want some more.
April 23, 2007 6:02 AM  
Emma Pod said…
Looks like a party at your house! All three drawings/paintings are beautiful. Nice work on the glass fruit plate and the spoon and dessert glass. Now, where is that ice cream???
April 23, 2007 7:18 AM  
aPugsLife-laserone said…
Ok, now you’re just making me hungry! 🙂
April 23, 2007 9:17 AM  
caseytoussaint said…
Mmm – having been at that meal, I can testify that everything tasted at least as good as it looked.
April 23, 2007 11:00 AM  
Robyn Sinclair said…
Ha, ha. As my mother used to say ‘Do as I say, not as I do!’ Thank your for a delightful lunch. I never thought of putting mint on strawberries but I do like a glug of balsamic. Fantastic food paintings!
April 23, 2007 11:27 AM  
Deb Salter said…
Great Post! I’m so hungry, it was the effect of your work and your writing! Ps, I love your profile painting, I so identify with that!
April 23, 2007 12:04 PM  
juj said…
Oh Ronell! It’s not fair to make a girl so hungry so early in the morning! (lol) Your sketches are simply beautiful and what a fun post to read. Thank you.
April 23, 2007 2:20 PM  
Lindsay said…
I’m so hungry looking at your lucious paintings!! Loved this tour through your meal!!! What passion for art AND food!
April 23, 2007 3:03 PM  
Sandy said…
Scrumptous – especially the finale!! I can relate Big Time.
Gorgeous painting, I just adore your technique
April 23, 2007 5:05 PM  
Christeen said…
Firstly, this post was tantalising to the point of cruelty. *winks* Secondly, these paintings are really cool, and made the wonderful meal you described seem even MORE tempting. Therefore, I have to stop commenting on your blog, and go fix a lovely lunch. *smiles*
April 23, 2007 5:11 PM  
Jana Bouc said…
Fabulous paintings–you’re a master of painting food! …. and writing about it. Your recipes are amazing and even though I never cook for others anymore (horrible stage fright at the idea) you’ve inspired me to want to try it again.
April 23, 2007 6:45 PM  
Africantapestry said…
thanks for the comments here.
April 23, 2007 10:47 PM  
Carole said…
Gosh – I’m glad I read this after dinner! What a wonderful cook you are as well as a painter. And these watercolours are just as luscious as the dishes they describe. Wonderful work, Ronell!
April 23, 2007 10:59 PM  
ksklein said…
You don´t feel like coming over and cooking dinner for me?
This sounds absolutely delicious!!
April 24, 2007 9:31 AM  
phthaloblu said…
OMG, was like watching acooking show! That line about stuffing some of the mozzarella in your mouth… too wonderful! You’re making me hungry! Awesome job on these paintings!
April 24, 2007 3:12 PM  
platitudinal said…
It is dinner time here, and I wish I could have whipped something like you described or painted! They all looked so divine!*Ronell, you certainly know how to describe eating ice cream like a Romance writer! Hehe.
April 25, 2007 4:37 AM  
E-J said…
These really are mouthwatering sketches. You are an expert at food painting!I will keep an eye out for further sprigs of mint from your garden, which crop up in the most delightful places: on top of strawberries, between pillows …
April 25, 2007 3:29 PM  
Fanta said…
Oh, GOd! What a mouthwatering blog entry! Gorgeaus illustrations of yours to go with it.
Have you ever seen my recipe blog?You should visit one day if you feel like it. It’s mainly about food (a very important pastime of mine):
April 27, 2007 12:34 AM  

Old doors in Tours

While waiting for the car to be serviced, I wandered around in a chilly Tours early on Saturday morning. Architectural features aways catch my eye and I tried to pen down some old doors of which there are plenty in the old town.

All sketches done with rotring pen, and given some watercolour back at home. Fabriano watercolour CP sketchbook, 18x26cm.

I had a conversation with some early joggers who stopped to have a look over my shoulder… going something like this:

“Ah, vous faites les portes?” (I see you’re drawing doors)


“A pity that door isn’t too well cared for.”

“Oh, that doesn’t matter, it actually gives it a lot of charm and character.”

“Yes, much like us. We also get more charming with age.”

Sketching in the vineyards

I love the vinyeards. They have all been recently snipped and pruned and trimmed, looking neat and well coiffed. Their stark woody trunks, attractively darkened by the rain, are given center stage in settings of gay springflowers.

I did several sketches. The first ones are still waiting for the art fairy to make them presentable, like Casey always says… These are of the last ones, after I started realizing I cannot fit a whole vinyeard onto my page! I always find nature intimidating, thinking I can create the whole universe on a single page. …”It’s elementary my dear Ronell, simplify, simplify”….

All sketches done in pen and watercolour on Fabrano Artistico watercolour paper.