The swans were back this year after 3 years of absence – a quick sketch in the moleskine done in pencil and back home worked over with gouache. I have never worked with gouache and after buying a beautiful sketchbook (Baie de Somme by Laurent Somon – Ronan Olier) done in gouache, I wanted to try it too. See some of Ronan Olier’s work, which I love! I find it a strange medium and feel very stupid with it, which resulted in a completely overworked effort.



The Watermarks project stirred up a desire I’ve had for a long time, but which always got pushed to the back of my list. Discovering and researching the Loire.

Living right next to it, it forms a big part of our every day life. In summer I stress about the extreme low level of the water and in winter I stress about being flooded away rooftop and all. In winters, it welcomes the gray and embraces the cold and I want to run from it, but it’s hypnotic powers keep drawing me to it, to the mystery that envelops it. In summer, I revel in its blue water and noisy birds and green foliage and crazy busyness.

One of my projects(I still have to run into the others..) will be to trace the Loire back to it its origin, snaking alongside it down to where it finally joins the Atlantic ocean in the west.

If interested, continue reading here…

9 thoughts on “A river to discover

  1. I’ve never used gouache but I guess it takes getting use to from what I’ve read. I can’t see that it’s overworked, but perhaps it feels that way to you because it has a different look to you than watercolors.
    I left a comment over on WATERMARKS.

  2. Splendid idea, Ronell I followed the link to Watermarks and was enchanted by the paintings you’ve made to date and the promise of where you will take us with this project. It’s a passion that could well become a book. And there would be room for the recipes too 😉

    Are you going to transport the whole sketchbook you are making or just the loose pages, adding them to the book as they are finished?

    I too bought gouache a while back but I’m afraid I haven’t got around to doing more than making swatches of colour. Your swans are beautiful. This is a winner project!

  3. I don’t think this looks overworked at all Ronell! Your swans and their surroundings are wonderful. I especially like the blue and geen swirls in the river. I’ve never tried gouache, but I’m sure as with any new medium it takes some getting used to.

  4. What a wonderful journey it sounds like! It could become a series of wonderful paintings too. I love the way you write, it is hypnotic and dreamy. You are a true artist at heart!.

  5. looking good to me :>)

    and I’ll follow your progress with interest

    People might be interested in Kurt Jackson who did this with the Thames – you can flip through the book online. (it’s fabulous, I bought it!)

    I’m doing a very slow burn project on local waterways. I was going to follow our river to the sea but it’s too short! It rises and joins another river in a very short distance – so I expanded the project to looking at local waterways including canals and pools etc

  6. Now I, too, am intrigued by gouache. Not being a “proper” painter, I just use very watery water colour, but I think I’ll experiment with this “heavier” medium.
    And your colours are very wintery to me (growing up beside a river with willow and pine,it’s quite familiar).

  7. Great idea about the Loire. Lovely region! I’ve been there on 2001 and have poems from Amboise – Loches – l’Indre – Tours and Azay le Rideau. Unfortunatelly at that time I didn’t sketches.

Tthank you for your visit and comment, II appreciate it!

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