February art: Café sketching.

One of my favorite paces to lunge for my sketchbook, is in Cafe Douceur in Beaulieu sur Dordogne. Such a welcoming lieu, you keep drinking coffee just to have an excuse to linger longer.

coffee corner in Cafe Douceur

Ink and a wash in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, 14X22cm

table at CD

Coffee at Voyageurs

Pen and watercolour in Stillman & birn sketchbook, 14X22cm

cafe aux V

Sketching faces in St Céré

Pen and watercolour washes in moleskine, 22X14cm

cafe st cere

faces at the cafefaces at the cafe 3faces at the cafe 2

February art: three men.

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.

Three men

pen and watercolour washes in moleskine, 22.5X13.5cm

faces at the cafe 3faces at the cafefaces at the cafe 2

à bientôt

Ronelle

Art in February: Tokala the cat.

Hard to believe that February is here. That actually suits me fne. The worst month, January, is over. Now I can start thinking of spring and the garden and planting…

But first I have to get my dried up art process going. February is a perfect month to do just that. I have done several sketches and these two turned out the best. It is Tokala, one of my two beautiful cats, who always remind me of the heather in Scotland.

Tokala

watercolour pencils and mini TWSBI pen in moleskine, 21X13cm

Tokala WC

Tokala WC 2

à bientôt

Ronell

Food sketches and a book on dining and painting

I’ve said this before…if all else fails, paint food. It really works. Whether it is the sensuality of food, or the colours or the health aspect or hunger or satisfaction or all of it together…painting food is a delight. It has been so for ages as you will see further down below. I had some poivrons cornes de boeuf and some pak choy. Both greens which is good practice in the greens once again.

…green peppers…

green peppers

…pak choy…

Pak shoy

…Sketches done in moleskine with rotring pen and watercolour….

When Katherine visited in October, she and her sister and niece came over for dinner on their last night in France. (See both her sites at Travels with a sketchbook and Making a mark – where she has some interesting facts in her latest post on Technorati.)

Apart from the bottle of champagne they brought which we décapitée (beheaded) Napolean style, they brought me this beautiful book too  – Boire et Manger, which they bought at Chateau Chenonceau. I have read it from front to back and back to front again. I love symbols and mythology and traditions and of course everything that has to do with food and art and this little book has it all.

It is all about the traditions and symbols showing up in old works of art, throughout the ages; how artists chose to paint certain food and scenes, involving food  for their symbolism, to depict the traditions and cultures and habits – in short, life during their time.

I want to share some of it with you. Different examples can be seen at Myfrenchkitchen.

…BOIRE ET MANGER…

.. bacchus adolescente:Le caravage(1596-1597)…

boire et manger

…la chanteuse des rues; édouard manet (1862)…

la chanteuseCherries – meaning: Passion of Christ, fruit of paradise

  1. One of the first portraits of Victorine Meurent, who was one of Manet’s favourite models until 1875.
  2. The cherry was a symbol of love, becasue of its deep red colour and round voluptiousness that reminded of the curves of the feminine body.
  3. All the sensuality in this scenes evolves around the woman bringing the sweet cherries to her mouth.

…la céne: Jacopo Bassano ( 1546-1548)…

la céne

Lamb – meaning: sacrificial victim.

  1. The lamb signifies the sacrifice of Christ.
  2. A fruit, resembling the apple, signifies the original sin.
  3. Next to Judas lies the knife, symbol of the treason which would follow.
  4. With his left hand, Jesus Christ himself points to the lamb which is a symbol of his own sacrifice.

…le jambon: édouard manet  (1875-1878)…

le jambon - eduard manet

Meat ; conserved/dried: ham taken from the porc, signifies gluttony sin.

  1. French dried ham had a strong international culinary meaning for Manet, because of its ancient gallic imports and long French tradions.
  2. In the 19th century the ham became a commercial product and thus also made its appearance in the city bourgeoise home after being traditionally country fare.
  3. In the rich Parisien home the ham would be served on nothing less than silver plattters, giving the ham a “worthiness”.

…scéne de cuisine: Frans Snyders (1630-1640)…

scene de cuisine

Porc and wild boar: sin of the flesh.

  1. Frans Snyders was a student of Rubens and specialized in refined commissios, usually overladen scenes of buffet tables with exquisite  food.
  2. The head of the boar was very sought after and seen in this “hunting” painting could be evidence of a commission by  some articrat.
  3. The lobster was already at that stage seen as one for the more rare sea foods, giving it an importance on the refined table.
  4. The little detail of the dog only sniffing the game, hints on aspects of respect.
  5. The presence of the artichokes is an indication of the choice of the painter to include only exquisite foods.

Just some sketches….and a vendange in Vouvray.

Every year I paint these clementines from la Corse. See last year’s sketches at CLementines.

…clementines from Corsica…

clementines in watercolourSketch done in moleskine with pen and watercolour

The next two sketches were done a while ago. I just sketched some things around me – a container in the living room with brushes and pens and stuff and part of a bookshelf. I try very hard to keep the bookshelf, neat, but I am starting to think we will never have neat bookshelves.

..brushes and pens…

brush holder

…disorder…

books on the bookshelf

Sketches done in Moleskine with rotring artist pen and water wash.

On Myfrenckitchen, I have posted some photo’s of a vendange in Vouvray that we did in Octobre. Good freinds have a bio vineyard where the harvesting is still done by hand. On one Saturday during the harvest period in October, all their family and friends get together for a day of grape harvesting. It was hard work, but a fun day, with a delicious lunch,  many laughs and jokes and a messy grape fight towards the end of the day. I only took photos, because I didn’t want to hide from the work behind my sketchbook! you can see some photo’s here at Pears in red wine and a wine harvest.

vendange-grapes

Hawai’i: sketches and chronicles 3.

With these last few sketches I conclude the reportage on my trip to Hawai’i. Since then, back here at thome, so many things had happened that made my life so full with running around – all good and exciting things! Hopefully I can recount on some of it later – I have already told of Katherine’s delightful visit! And I’m trying my best to get into my atelier to do some “island inspired painting”, for which I still only have the ideas tolling about in my head and nothing on paper or canvas yet…  Why does time fly by so quick when we have  a lot to do? Why does time fly by so quick when we get older? Why does time fly by so quick when we are happy? Why does time fly by  so quick when life is good?

…across the lagoon…

hawaii 1

hawaii 3

hawaii 2

hawaii 4

Sketches done in pen and watercolour in moleskine.

Some art work from well known artists from Hawaii:

1. Susan McGovney Hansen: (I can’t find a website of her, but you can try google her)

Susan Mcovney Hansen 1  hula dancer - m Hansen 87

2. Suzy Papanikolas – who “makes Hawaii’s people come alive” by telling astories with color and canvas.. You can read and see more about her artwork on her website – www.papanik.com

Susan Papanikolas 1 Susan Papanikolas 2

3. Calley O’Neill. See more about her at her website – Calley O’Neill

4. Yvonne cheng, who also does batik. See more about her on Cedar street galleries

The three graces - Calley O Neil 1988 Yvonne Cheng - batik

You can see some more art pieces here on Myfrenchkitchen: Travel.

Katherine in Touraine

This past week Katherine was in Touraine with her sister and niece. First stopping off to visit Monet in Rouen and then Paris and then arrived here in Tours, valley of the chateaux…but why am I telling you all when you can go read it on her Travels with a sketchbook and Making a mark.  See links  lower down.

…distracted sketches in Tours…

Tours - street lamp and charis

Tours -hotel de villesketches done with pen and watercolour washes  in aquarelle moleskine

What I can tell you is that it was so great to meet her! Such a fascinating person! With a very real passion for art, for books. A sponge for information. She thrives on researching and gathering information, and sharing it is her way of learning and growing. She confessed that she loves being asked questions, which takes her to digging and researching…so there you go, ask away! She is devoted to sketching which she does with great ease and comfort in remote corners as well as around buzz with lively people and situations. In fact, she thrives on scenes where the challenge to capture people coming and going, results in a scene where the setting is static, but the ambiance is moving and changing. Withing as little as  ten – fifteen minutes she can sketch a restaurant scene with tables and chairs and windows, cake and drinks and a traffic of people arriving and leaving, and they all find a place in her scene, the Katherine way. That becomes her unique view.

She’ll capture the skies in order to define the relief of Mont St Michel.  Or sitting opposite a boring road, where there is nothing but a line of autumn trees with flaming yellows, soft greens and a dark tunnel and it tuns into a gentle  fall scene of serenity. Or how about Chenonceau, where she would seat herself on a corner away from the people traffic, patiently waiting for people, blocking her view,  to take their photo,  and then shows up with a fairy tale chateau, water reflections and all. Or the gesture of two couples on a park bench, worn down from being tourists, perfectly captured to make you almost feel their fatigue!

By telling you this, it may sound that we did a lot of sketching together, but unfortunately we didn’t even do a single one together! Time passed too fast and too stuffed with things to do.  However, I saw her sketchbooks, paged through them again and again and only really saw her art for the first time. The computer screen doesn’t do her sketches justice and seeing her sketch books, was like opening story books! We also did indulge in eating a deliciously light French chocolate mousse cake.   We made up for that little sin by lunching on light salads and last night said goodbye over candles with champagne and boeuf bourguignon! I was fortunate to enjoy her sketching the restaurant scene during lunch, while her sister and niece and I saw to the conversation and entertaining side of the meal.

But before you think I’m completely worthless, I can show two  quick and distracted sketches I did while waiting to meet up with them in Tours. Part of our hotel de ville, typical French streetlamp and a few chaotic brasserie chairs! I can also show you Katherine’s creative hands and part of her sketchbook. To full enjoy this trip of hers, you’ll have to visit her sketchblog Travels with a sketchbook, where a wealth of French sketches will await you, probably as from Monday, when she’ll be back home and start telling and showing. And with all the books she took back home, Making a mark will surely be filled with loads of information, perfumed with a little French panache. Don’t miss out!

And I’m leaving you with a little personal glimpse of her…She has a laugh that can be tickled easily, with eyes that join in, crinkling with delight. She can talk and chat as easily and entertainingly as her writing is. She has an enthusiastic YES! when fascinated by something, she adores her two cats, she can lose herself in travel…and oh yes, she loves a cup of tea!!

…Katherine’s lunch sketch…

Katherine's sketch 10-7-2009 12-39-17 PM

…her book and her tools…

Katherine working 10-7-2009 12-49-52 PM