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Free expression on large format.

Busy with my people’s project, I just wanted  to do something different. Something completely free and unrestrained. Taking large formats of paper and canvas, I put down the brushes and used only my hands and rolled towel paper. even though it feels a bit like first grade finger painting, there is a liberating feeling that results from “playful” and experimenting occasions like these.

1.Tilleul tree in gouache on paper.  For the first tree, I shaped the thick trunk with a large brush and for the leaves, added gouache pigment with my fingers, sometimes very wet so the color runs and sometimes I dotted only dry splotches. Not a very significant result, but it did loosen me up, like all these free, expressive exercises always do. this one really looks like a first grader “picture”!

1…tilleul tree in gouache on paper, 65x50cm…

1…detail…

2. Prune tree in oil on canvas. For the second tree, I used a large canvas, primed it with a layer of thin gesso,  “shaped” the tree trunks and branches with modelling paste and painting knifes, and finished off with a last coat of thinned gesso. After leaving it to dry overnight, I built up the tree trunk with layers of  oil pigment, using a rag to wipe and build up up the layers. The leaves were all added with crumpled toweling paper and lastly spatters of oil pigment with a large brush.

2…prune tree in oil on linen, 92x73cm…

2…detail…

3. Apple tree in charcoal: Again on large format and loose application of pressed charcoal, I only made marks and got in there with the fingers to suggest the folage loosely.

3…apple tree in charcoal on paper, 65x50cml…

3…detail…

To do excercises like this:

  • Use large sheets of paper or canvas or cartons. Off cuts from boxes can work as well
  • Wear old clothes.
  • Work where you have enough room/space…even outside on the lawn, or go to the park.
  • Choose something around you like large shrubs, trees, flowerbeds.
  • Use only big tools…big brushes, pieces of rag, knifes, twigs, and of course, hands(You can treat them afterwards with some good creams!)
  • Work on the WHOLE paper, even if you run off the page.
  • Stand back, up often and look at your creation from a distance. Don’t consider right or wrong or any painting rules.
  • Consider only marks, color, texture, shapes.
  • When finished with one, put it aside and immediately start another…with another bush another scene.. don’t go back to a previous painting, rather start another one.
  • Don’t think, just do.


More oil and gouache studies

I have been working a bit more in gouache and oil in the fields…doing the few hay balls still lying around in the fields here and there. The following pieces are only exercises done on site in plein air. I’m working hard at just interpreting, not rendering  the reality, but only the essentials.

…close-up 1

Close-up two was done using only fench ultramarine, white an a touch of black. I’m quite happy with this one…

…close-up 2…

I am finding that I enjoy gouache more and more. I like the touch of it on the paper’s surface and it is creamy enough for me and I can work thick with it or thin in washes. I also particularly like its “flat” two dimensional appearance, which looks very “painterly” to me.

…Bales of hay in gouache…

These two  gouaches were done on a large sheet of light grey laminated paper/carton paper (65x50cm..25.6×19.7″)

I did a small oil as well.. I have to regain my confidence in oil as I lost it completely during an experience a few weeks ago. I’m hesitant, I don’t really know what to do and where to go to on the canvas. But maybe it is a good thing too…maybe something new can be born from this. I hope so.

…bales of hay in oil…

oil on linen, 33×24.5cm (13×9.7″)

A June postcard

The months are flying by rapidly and we’ve already sent off  6 postcards of 13, almost halfway through. For this card to Martin, I decided on the vineyards here in Correze…our specialty wines, Vin paillé, meaning straw wine. The grapes are semi dried on straw beds and then pressed.

…on his envelope…

gouache on brown paper envelope

…and the post card… vin paillé of Correze

pen and watercolor on watercolor paper

Two oil paintings and a gouache.

My last post on Painting in Provence. Two oils and one gouache.All three were halfway done in the field and completed afterwards. they were all done at about three in the afternoon on hot days with the cigales singing in my ears, which was typical and I have no complaints about that. But the ants are at their most active at three in the afternoon too! Or so it felt! I got bitten the  second I dare stand still and at some point I started feeling like I was knee deep in the movie “The Mummy”!

..red sandstone cliff…

oil on canvas paper

…afternoon vinyeards and broom…

oil on canvas paper…

…mont ventoux on a cloudy afternoon…

…gouache on paper…

And some images from my four days…for more photos,  see “Provence” under Beauty of la France at Myfrenchkitchen.

Paintings from Provence

My week in Provence ended far too soon and it went by far too quick. I managed to do a few, not nearly as much as I planned, because typically Ronell, I forgot half of my art stuff at home. I left my very important oil canvases, boards and large watercolor pads by the door to pack them last and that’s where they still were while I as in Provence. Finding an art store proved to be harder than imagined  and so I ended up borrowing two canvas papers from Katherine…can one borrow a paper/canvas…?

To start off with: all of the following are sketches done around Les Couguieux, where we stayed.

…the blue shutters of les couguieux…

watercolor and pen on watercolor paper

…hameau des couguieux

pen and wash on watercolor paper

…the terrace at les couguieux…

pen and wash on watercolor paper

…still life with cups and lemon…

pen and wash on watercolor paper

To follow: landscapes in watercolor and gouache

 

A May postcard.

My postcard to Liz in Australia was a challenge and one I really enjoyed. Liz is an avid tea drinker and she is on a quest to try out all the different flavors on the market. I’m not a tea drinker, but I can handle my coffee quite well. So the logical choice for a post card to Liz was of course…an early morning french coffee and a croissant!

…a French coffee and croissant…

Pen and watercolor on watercolor paper.

…and a hint on the envelope…

Pen and gouache on brown envelope