Birds and chickens sketches.

With this very first post of 2013, I wish you all a very good new year..may it be all you wish it to be!

I have gotten myself back to the easel and sketchbook..a great achievement here in January. For myself, I hope that 2013 will be a better year than the previous, especially on the art front. But of course, that only depends on one

Of all the sketches I did today, the following ones are the most successful. The three chickens kept still long enough with their backsides to me, so I could practice my observation skills which got lost during the past year.

..three chickens in a row..

done in watercolor on Aquarelle block, HP, 18x26cm

poulets aquarelles

It is a different story with the birds. The mésanges(tits) are way too quick for me and I could only succeed in blobs of colour which looked more like flying saucers and even that would be an insult to the Martians. So I took closeups and put my own sketch together. According to my own rule, it is then not by definition a sketch, but more of a drawing, using sketching techniques. That is a mouthful! By my definition a sketch is only a sketch when done right in front of the live subject, “sur le motif”, we call it in French. when using the help of otter media..magazines, photos, it becomes drawing. The observation and rendering become totally different. By saying I used “some sketching technique”, I suggest that I used about 4 different photos, composed 2 birds on my paper, referred to the photo’s for colour and lastly added some branches and seeds from direct observation from the tree. So, finally, the whole sketch is my own composition with my branches and seed block being a true sketch with birds drawn onto it…

..Feeding two mésanges..

done in watercolor in Hahnemuhle watercolour sketchbook, 15.3x25cm.

mésanges aquarelle

A mountain house called Coin Perdu.

A few weeks ago we did the final signing for a little house, Coin Perdu, in the mountains in Corréze. It dates from the 1880’s, was built by the farmer himself, then handed down to the son and we bought it from the granddaughter, who inherited it from her brother. Complicated. Like all French administration.

We’ll be doing some restoration, keeping the spirit of the house with all the fixtures and just adding some modern day comfort and running water. I’ll keep a journal of this whole process, as we’ll be rolling up our own sleeves, climbing the ladders ourselves and stacking the stones ourselves.

We were down there this past week to meet the  mayor: an interesting woman with a charming accent and an obvious love for chatting. We asked permission to buy a stretch of  “municipal road” that goes through our propery. (for peace of mind) Nobody sees a road, it is somewhere in the brush, but because it is shown on the map, it does exist. Therefore it has to be put before the community of 200-something inhabitants of Puy d’Arnac, to contest should they “need the road”. Complicated. French freedom.

…coin Perdu…


…pig house at Coin Perdu…


Sketches done in moleskine, with pen and watercolour.