Helsinki – there and back

We’re back from Helsinki and what a wonderful city, beautiful people, delicious food. I loved every minute I was there. We landed in the snow and it was a fairytale wonderland. I walked all over, or rather ice skated all over – I can now understand why they are such great skaters…they learn it in winter on the sidewalks! At first, your steps are very careful and hesitant, arms balancing sideways like a tight rope walker, until you get the rhythm and allow your feet to slide forward…and you walk.

I visited the Atheneum museum with Finnish artists and of course loved/love the work of Albert Edelfelt, especially this Children playing on the shore. And apart from walking and taking in the beauty around me and enjoying art, getting completely lost in the dark and the snow, I ate herring and cod and salmon, warmed myself with glögi, giggled and skated even better on the sidewalks thereafter,  probed recipe books, waved to Nina in Stockholm, Sweden on the shore, and made only one sketch from the safety and warmth of the Café Engel on Senate square. Done in sketchbook with water soluble pilot pen and wash.

To see some photos, you can go here.

…helsinki cathedral on senate square…

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…strangers…

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A corner of the Loire

I have an exciting event happening in Corréze on Saturday, which I’ll talk about later. And on Monday I’m leaving for Helsinki for 3 days. I’ll be in contact when I’m back end of next week.

I captured (tried to!) a corner of the Loire just after we had floods coming past this way a week ago, sweeping the trees and branches and all kinds of debris across the river, leaving us with  gray and turmoil water. This is a corner under the overhanging trees. I never try to catch the realism in a scene, but rather the motion and emotion. The water is much calmer than it is portrayed here and much darker. More sinister. My contrasts could’ve been stronger and my shapes more linear. This was done from a few photos I took. I’ll have another go at it again sometime, probably rather on the spot, which gives a painting so much more spontaneity, and the atmosphere does get carried over onto the paper.  Not that it is so much fun sitting there in the mud, in the cold, in the wet next to the water…but I’ve been complaining so much lately about  missing nature, being wild and free with the animals, that I should zip my mouth now and sit my sit…

…disquiet…

loiregrisDone in watercolour and pen lines added afterwards on Fabriano artistico watercolour block HP extra white, 30x23cm(11,8″ x9″)

Nostalgia

I am filled with nostalgia lately. I’ve already put up my Christmas tree, I remember people from long ago, I recall precious moments, I miss family and friends,  I long for the smell of the African bush, I dream of jeeps and khaki hats, I listen to the sounds of the wildlife on CD, I walk around in the house snorting like the rhino, growling in the voice of the lion at nighttime … I feel savage.

Maybe it started when I had to draw my pages in Robyn’s Different strokes in our FPP, and I thought of all the different strokes our lives produce in one lifetime. So I gave her one of my strokes…one of my dreams, one of my loves, one of my yearnings…

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Done in charcoal, coloured pencils, watercolour pencils, white conté and a wash here and there.

Sketches from here and there

Some sketches done over a period of time, all in moleskine with a pen and water brush.

The first two sketches was done in Paris during the summer, while I was nervously waiting for our daughter who had her interview(first job!!) with an architect. She is now working and living in Paris.

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The next three sketches are some faces from all over… some OK, some bad and some really bad. I’m quite content with the guy with the ponytail…it looks exactly like him. Pen and wash in moleskine.

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And lastly, some people in motion, pen in moleskine. Here I’m happy about the “artist”; he was extremely busy, bending down, having his cloth fall often, painting wildly and I’m chuffed with capturing his energy.

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