Hydrangeas and awards

The hydrangeas in my garden are supposed to be blue, but the soil doesn’t play along. They start out with tints of blue and then turn a dark, bright pink, almost red. It makes for a very pinkish/reddish painting, but at least I had fun doing it.

This was done with watercolour on Fabriano artistico, HP extra white, 23×30,5 cm.

…hydrangeas, red and blue…

I also want to thank Mark from Paper Raven Art, Pamyla from Musings and Maggie from Scquiltaddict, for this award. I really appreciate it.

Like everybody else, I also would like to pass it on to so many people and since I feel I can’t stop at five names, I decided that I would this time like to pass it on to Cathy G at Asketchintime, who does beautiful art, experiments with all kinds of media, who often tries new directions, new techiniques, new approaches. She is an inspiration as well as a supportive friend. No obligations Cathy!

A french market scene.

 

Everydbody in our exchange group had already seen this scene posted on our FPP blog, and I just wanted to add it here too.  It was my contribution in Vivien’s book a while back. She ended her drawing with a lovely, soft, perfectly drawn feather and I picked up the feather cue from her. See Lindsay‘s creative continuation from here, posted on FPP by Robyn, and unfortunately you’ll have to wait a while to see how Robyn continued…but pop in at our FPP blog – the books are getting LONG and EXCITING and VERY creative.

I have seen all of us getting looser and looser, more original, more creative, more daring, trying new materials and mediums, playing with collages, pasting and glueing, going for beautiful realisms to beautiful abstracts, pushing and challenging ourselves.

A sketchbook exchange is a wonderful way to move a bit away from what we do normally in our art, “our signature work” so to speak and try out something different, still putting our own “signature” on whatever we do…pushing the envelope. I think that when this sketchbook exchange project is done, we’ll all look back, and discover that apart from the fun we’ve had, we will have learnt new ways, techniques and  creative playing-around , grown in directions we wouldn’t otherwise have discovered…I know I will.

…a french market scene…

Posting the whole page.

In my previous post, José made the suggestion that I post the full page and not only detail. So I took him up on his suggestion to show my pages, because there may be others thinking that I post the detail and not the whole sketch. I took the last couple of sketches in my sketchbook. Unfortunately it doesn’t look more interesting and there isn’t actually a bigger picture! I think you could say I “zoom in and choose to sketch detail”. What fascinates me is a broken window shutter, the the moss on a fountain, the intricate woodwork on a wall, a dilapidated door, a doorknob, the corner of a cornice, a shadow on a table, one flower in a bouquet…. so that is what I zoom in to. My sketchbooks are 19×24 cm and I use up all the space when I sketch. I struggle to paint on small format.

When I post, I don’t use any enhancement in terms of contrast or colour correction or whatever, except for the crop tool and then only to “neaten up” the page. It can be seen in image 1 and 2, where in image 2, I only took out the background and excessive white paper. And then of course I only post one page, because I scan most of the time and the whole sketchbook is too big for my scanner. And I also get nice white paper with the scanner.

Maybe it is time I zoom out and see the big picture….perhaps life could be less stressful…philosophically speaking?

…image 1…

…image 2…

…moleskine people sketches…

Sketches of quartier Blanqui in Tours.

I went into Tours today with a very low level of energy, trying to snap out of it. I succeeded in getting four sketches done, albeit a bit crooked. Even made a mistake in the spelling of “boutique”, didn’t really finish sketching rue avisseau and abandonned the lovely old church halfway…next time.

Blanqui is a tiny quartier, very quant, with only a boulangerie and poissonerie, a small family restaurant, a bar for café et journal, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a market and old houses, which are mostly now appartements.

…la boutique de mon pére..

…rue blanqui, 34 et 32…

…rue avisseau…

…la mére et l’enfant…

All sketches done in sketchbook with pencil, pen and watercolour.

Sketching moving people

I have started doing small, really quick capturing of people moving. Putting a pen to paper en sketching them on the move, not lifting the pen and only trying to capture the movement of the body, the suggestion of a movement, no details. I also choose people a little further away in distance, not close to me, so that I don’t get trapped in doing the details. Just by looking at the first and last image, you can already see the improvement – in the first, I still wanted to capture details and even if I couldn’t see it, I somehow sketched what I thought should be there, which turend it all into failures. In the last, I’ve more or less started succeeding in only going for suggestion, with some still not at all recognizable, but much better than the first images.

These sort of figures are very useful in paintings – adding some figures into a beach scene or a landscape, or a street scene. It gives movement and some personality and life to a painting. Not always, but I’ve seen street  and beach scenes come to life with just a few “idling figures” around.

It also helps a lot with concentration and focus and “connecting” the hand with the image you’re trying to capture. When looking at fast moving legs, it is hard to decide where to put which line and this is a great practice for that. I fist started looking at what the arms and shoulders do in movement and then move onwards to the hips and legs.The people sitting next to me on the sidewalk(having coffee) were very impressed by this kind of capturing and thought the little figures were trés mignon…very cute.

I so admire Gabi and José with their ability to quickly capture these little action figures in ink and they inspire me to keep working at these. I might just get better at it the more I do it. And besides, it is really fun!

They are done in moleskine with ink, and are really small and quick. Measure about 5-6 cm (1,9″-2,3″) for a little figure)…and look…NO WASHES!

Ink exercises

I love inkwork and there are some beautiful inks around not to mention the artists that do beautiful inkwork.

I took my summer shoes to do some excercises with the inks and pens I have. Excercise 1: Summer sandals done in Gris nuage ink from J. Herbin, drawing the lines with a stylo à plume d’oie(quill pen) and afterwards I bled the lines and washed with some powerful blue Eclat de sapphire ink and a small brush. I just can’t help myself. I have to do a wash somewhere with a brush. It is an addiction. I would so love to do only beautiful lines and leave it. Maybe next time.

…the blues…

Excercise 2: A second pair of summer sandals, this time using a speedball pen and Cafe des iles from J. Herbin. Once again just dragged a wet brush over the lines to get a wash, and finished off with some black india ink hatches.

…summer swing…

Excercise3: A pair of Sperry’s…and could I explain the difference in size?  Maybe I have one big foot and one small foot…? Or could it simply be bad observation? Done in a reed pen and plume pen with Sanguine 270, from Sennelier. And after dragging a wet brush over the lines to bleed the colour, I decided to add some washes of Lie de the of J. Herbin. Finished off with some scribblings with a rotring pen, 2,5 .

…Bigfoot…

Excercise 4: Since I had now used up all my summer shoes, I had only my shoe blocks left. Linework in rotring artist pen and washed with a wet brush to bleed the lines. Then decided to splash in some colour with Sennelier’s Sanguine 270 and Lie de the, J. Herbin.

 

…in-and-out…

In the past, I have done a lot of calligraphy work, so I have many speedball pens and nibs that work wonderful for drawing. Added to that, are some reed pens(which I don’t like much), plumes/goose quill pen, which I love to work with, rotring artist pen(Fine), and rotring rapidograph pen, size 2.5.

I enjoy the inks of J. Herbin. They are rich, make for nice washes as well as lines and dry with a nice sheen. I have only recently started working with the J. Herbin inks and they are really beautiful! Wonderful for linework as well as doing bleeding with a wet brush and they are lightfast, can be sealed beautifully…in short, I have nothing bad to say about them! I haven’t yet found a nice dark burgundy red, but Sennelier’s Sanguine 270 is a nice dark red which comes close to what I’m looking for.  All the sketches were done in a spiral watercolour pad, 18x26cm (7″x10″) Fabriano Artistico CP. Below you can see part of my “ink workstation”. 

…hailing efforts…