We have had rainy weather lately, not to mentions storms causing trees to fall and roofs to fly.I am eager to get outdoors to paint plein air, bu in the meantime I honed my skills a bit with animal painting. My chickens, Omelette and Rembrandt and our German shepherd Lindiwe.
oil on board, 30x40cm
Blocking in shapes for Rembrandt
oil on board, 30x40cm
oil on board, 30x40cm
blocking in shapes for Lindiwe in oil
on the easel
I had the opportunity to sit down for a coffee today on the terrace and had some men close-by to sketch. Some people don’t mind to be sketched, but the majority feel uncomfortable with being the subject. Fortunately today’s subjects were so busy with their own thing, they didn’t notice me who was hiding behind a big plant…sort of. I am very rusty on sketching people…there was a time I did it almost every day and now it happens once a year, for exactly the reason I mentioned…getting rebuked by people who don’t want the attention. Nonetheless..I present to you…the three men.all done in moleskin book(which is a little too light for my watery brushstrokes and the colour bled through to the back of the page. I don’t mind bucking pages, but I fiercely dislike colour going seeping through the paper.
pen and watercolour washes in moleskine, 22.5X13.5cm
Continuing my experimentation with large formats, different mediums and free strokes. Still sticking with charcoal, which is an unforgiving medium, but exactly that fact gives me the freedom to “play” freely. You can”t start over every time you make a mistake; so you are forced to work with the mistakes, which can either lead to great discoveries, or total mess ups – not to be seen as a bad thing. I also prefer working with the dark charcoal, and one can see in the images below the really dark black it gives. I don’t use fixatives.. I have the impression it doesn’t work in any case..
…radishes in charcoal, watercolor and watercolor pencils, 42x60cm..
I chose radishes, cut off most of the leaves to expose mostly the stems, thew them out on the table and chose a composition with only a few radishes.
..the start – in charcoal lines and watercolor washes, using lot of water and allowing it to run…
After finishing, I stood back and the watercolor looked too washed out against the dark charcoal, so I added watercolor pencil, washed it to blend and give darker color, and here and there I left some pencil marks to echo the charcoal lines.
…radishes – close up 1..
Far from being a perfect piece and it won’t end up in an exhibition, this was another good exercise in getting rid of “fear”.
….radishes – close up 2…
…radishes – close up 3…
Onto some some more work!!!
Thankfully there is always an end to yesterday. And to whining. Once I got tired of my own whining about this not working and that not good enough(see the previous post), I had the clarity to see that the only way to change what I don’t like in my art, is to work at it.
..Clementines in charcoal on paper, 43X60cm..
So here is what I went for:
- I worked only charcoal and white conté sticks.
- Large format. I will go bigger still, bit for the time being 43x60cm is plenty.
- I put the drawing on my easel and work with the whole arm and not the wrist, standing back often to get distance.
- No details.
- Large and free strokes.
- No erasing.
- No planning ahead, trusting impulse.
- Still worked from life..whatever is around, but no photos.
- No direct copying, put marks and lines as I felt and wanted, whether it is correct or not.
- Stopped early enough, while I still had the urge to continue.
I enjoyed this process todayeven though it still has my typical mark making, I feel happy about it. Will continue experimenting.
The paper is bending on the easel as I didn’t add a big enough support behind it, so the colour and focus are not perfect all over the paper.
Some close ups below to see the marks and smudges.
Close up 1
Some of the close-ups actuall make for nice pieces on their own..so the piece of work can be torn or cut into sections and reworked..maybe collaged as part of another work…?
Close up 2
Close up 3
Close up 4
Stay tuned for loads of work in the next few weeks..and if you feel like joining in..please do so.
Sunflowers look so easy to paint, but it is everything but easy! One can either paint it too stiff and controlled, depleting it of all character, or it can be painted sloppy, in which case it looks as if you didn’t know what you were doing. I think I fall in the second category. But it sure is fun to paint! Robyn made the remark that sunflowers remind her of happy people. While painting these, even when scraping off and starting over, even when throwing sunflowers 2 out the barn door and picked it up afterwards and finally completed it… I was happy. The colours, the shapes, the smell of the oils, the touch of the sunflowers, the buzzing bee around the paints and flowers, the leaves wilting and drying and taking on shapes of their own….I was happy. Still am.
oil on canvas, 41x33cm (16,1″x12,9″)
I did struggle a bit with sunflowers 1…he composition gave me trouble and I overworked it completely. It actually had a stage where it was perfect…sort of undone, half finished, a slight background with an attractive unfinished look. And I just had to add a touch here and there, which eventually turned into a completely different painting and I lost that “unfinished” stage forever. Fortunately , there is always the next one.
oil on cotton, 38x46cm (14,9″x18,1″)
Maree passed the Kreative blogger award on this way a few weeks ago…THANKS! – and now I have to tell seven things about myself. I don’t have seven interesting things to tell, but I can name hundreds of things that I love that give me joy in this lifetime. So I’ll name a few of them.
Apart from loving my family, I adore my cats, Tokala and Ayiani. They are highly intelligent, as you’ll see from the sketch, and they teach me how to be humble and considerate andhow to respect others’ time and place. I know they see me as a very intelligent creature and recognise my superiority to them. They laugh at all my funny talk and come immediately when I call. I never feel like a fool around them. They hasten to fulfill my every will. I am royalty in their presence.
I adore being a plein air painter. I never really loved landscapes, until I went out and did my first one, which was a complete blooper by the way. But the process of plein air means much more to me than the result. Sic. Of course I’m lying! I love an awesome result! I don’t want to do it just for fun. I want to be extraordinary! I want to be gooood! That is why I go out there again and again. In search of that high that comes with the process . In search of the experience. In search of that complete knock-out that will one day come with a stunning result…hopefully.
I love my bicycle. I look quaint and adorable. My backside rests small and dainty on the saddle. I don’t wobble and I don’t bobble. The uphills are SOO easy and the downhills have people fleeing from me. It says that I am in command. I feel powerful. When I was 5 years old, I ran away from home with my bicycle and a clean cotton panty in my little suitcase. I decided the corner of my street was far enough away from home. Not much has changed. I still wear cotton and my bicycle still takes me away from home. To every corner I choose.
In my next lifetime I am going to be a professional photographer. They make a lot of money and never have to work. They never go hungry. And they are always well dressed. They always travel in style and see the world. And it is all fun. For that they get money again. And they look professional with all their equipment. Everybody has respect for someone who carries a lot of stuff. They immediately think that person must be good. I want to be goood. And it counts in my favour that I’m trigger happy. So I will be a photographer. After all, I’m not scared of animals. Or people. Sic.
I can name many more…Africa holds my roots, France holds my heart…travelling to far-off places was invented for me…listening to other people’s stories of their lives enriches me…nature gives me space to breathe…our mountain home sets me free…
Let’s stop here. Life is too short to only name the things we love. Let’s go do it.
I am passing this award on to:
Cathy at Cards and stuff– she is a lovely french Madame, now living in South Africa and does extraordianary African art and just had an exhibition a hwhile ago of stunning African portraits!
Cecily at Butterflyhands – she is a good friend of many many years and her blog is fairly new, but I know her talent and skills from way back and I have always admired it.
Saying goodbye is always hard. And even harder, when you’re the one staying behind. We said goodbye to very good friends last week who returned to their home country after many years here in France. For now I’m sad, but tomorrow or the day after or next week, all will be OK again and I will start planning our visit to Australia. A friendship with such deep roots, cannot be pulled out.
…may the road always rise up to meet you…
Sometimes people come into our lives who leave a distinct impression, who change our lives for the better and we only realize it much later.
Joanna came into mine years ago and added so much richness to my life, which I only fully realize now. We were so different, yet shared so much. We were tolerant und understanding of those differences and appreciated the uniqueness of each of our personalities. Those differences even started rubbing off, making us enjoy what we’ve previously disliked. We were frequently off to les brocantes, searching for rose coloured glass for her and old stuff for me. We would stroll through nursery gardens and rescue half dead plants to see them bloom in our gardens the next season. We had lunches in little hamlets and drove all the wayout for a chocolate dessert. We “coffieed and caked” whenever the opportunity showed itself. We disagreed on movies and cracked up with Mamma mia. I tagged along in her search for clothing and she told me to wear brighter colours. I listened patiently when she ranted about Air France and she got me out of bed when I was depressed. I supported her in her cardmaking and she constantly encouraged me in my art. We baked tarte tatin and searched for new pressed veggie juice recipes.
She saw me when I was happy and gay and handed me the tissues when the world was all wrong. She saw my house when it was sparkling and smelling of roses and she washed my dishes when it started crawling out the door. I saw her when she was beautifully coiffed and I saw her when she was digging up the garden. I saw her when she went through chemo and I saw her when we celebrated her first clear check up and we laughingly celebrated with a coffee and cupcake. She pulled weeds from my garden while she was sick and I prepared dinners for those difficult chemo times. I took photos of her without her hair and we played around with wigs and bandanas. I took photos of her after her hair had grown back and we laughed about the impact of time.
Thinking of Joanna makes me smile. She talks a lot, she jokes a lot, she teases a lot, she laughs alot. She turns passivity into action. She can’t grow old for her spirit is too young. Like her, I want to laugh a lot and joke a lot and tease and I also don’t want to grow old, because my spirit will be too young.