March postcard to Katherine

Deciding what to do for my second postcard which was to be sent to Katherine, was relatively easy. She had already visited “la Touraine”, ate dinner here at my home and saw the Loire in all is glory. So it would be the Loire. Easier said than done. The Loire stretches wide and far.

I finally decided on the Montlouis sur Loire bridge which makes for an impressive scene , crossing the Loire.

…Montlouis bridge across the Loire..

Pencil and watercolor on watercolor paper.

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I wanted  to use a brown paper envelope for the postcard and wanted to draw an extract of the postcard on the envelope which brought me to this: Part of the same bridge of my postcard, with touches of white…too much.

..envelope 1: pen and gouche on brown paper envelope..

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Not being satisfied with either the exaggerated slant, nor the drawing, I grabbed another envelope and kept things more simple…in gouche: a hint of the Loire wih the “muettes” hovering over their nests on the islands in the Loire. A typical spring scene. Happy with the result, off it went to the UK!

..envolope 2: pen and gouche on brown paper envelope..

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All our postcards are to be found on A postcard from my walk

Koi studies in watercolor

When we went to Hawaii last year, I took hundreds of photos of the koi ponds. It is one of the MOST relaxing pastimes…just sitting and watching those koi’s play. I did only one sketch of them in the time we were there, but I took  hundreds of photos and for the rest of the time, I just stared at them.

I’m on the “search” lately, not knowing exactly where I should go art wise. There so many different directions that give me joy and I’d like to continue doing them all, but I would also like to accelerate in a specific field…not be so all over the place as I am currently. As the weather is a bit bad lately and it is raining a lot, chances to go and do plein air are scarce.  I was looking through my Hawaii albummorning and came across these koi photos and the joy of sitting there and watching them(in the SUN!!) had me take them all to the atelier. This is my latest. I want to do some koi paintings, eventually in oil, but first some studies in watercolor, which to me is a far more difficult medium than oil.

Also posted on Watermarks.

All these studies done in pen and watercolor on Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper, CP, 18x26cm.

…koi study in watercolor 7…

A prerequisite for the koi paintings, is that I want movement in the paintings. So I tried in all of the watercolor studies to get movement. These studies are of course done from photographs, something I strurggle with doing, because I get caught up in a tight clenching mode and lose all spontaneity. So I decided to put my earphones on and I listened to Beethovens piano concerto nos 4 and 5 and Piano a la Roque d’Antheron with works by Lizt, Chopin Rachmaninoffto keep me “allegretto and crecsendo“. I think it did work, because looking at these studies, they almost come across as messy and I certainly hope not “tight”, except maybe for number three(koi watercolor 2) which was before I started listening to the music. You’ll clearly see that I still drew and painted “fishy by fishy”.  I did 7 studies, and like with everything else…I started getting better. but now I’m tired of watercolor and going to start doing the koi in oil…let’s say a little serie of koi in oils.

…koi study in watercolor 4…

…koi study in watercolor 2…

 

Now I also need to find a place where I can really study them…their movements( a year ago is too long to remember those kinds of details), their behavior, their mischief and play and capture that onto live sketches. then come back to the studio and NOT procrastinate again, like I’m SO famous for, but paint them immediately.

So, if you’re interested in seeing these koi develop..remember to stop by again!

..à bientôt..

Ronell

Sketches in January 2011-flora of the Loire

There is always something to pick up on a walk and take home to sketch, especially on a rainy day like we had today. I picked up a few twigs and leaves..which are always good to sketch. Leaves in winter have fascinating shapes which make up for their overall monotone brown color.

I also sketched some scampi and prawns, which are normally a translucent, greyish color, but turn red after cooking. Unfortunataly I couldn’t put these to mouth after sketching them..it felt a bit too “cannibalistic” to eat them after studying them so up and close…

..all sketches done in Fabriano artisico water color sketchbook, 18x26cm, with inks and watercolor..

…scampi and prawns..

..dry leaves of “Platanes” (Sycamore)tree and moss covered twig..

..a variety of seeds, leaves and twigs..

..bon week-end et à la prochaine fois..

Ronell

January plein air by the Loire

I wish you all a wonderful year with all the low points of last year turned into highlights this year!

Happy 2011


I wanted to start this new year off with a plein air painting, no matter what the weather circumstances were. And I did. I took off this morning with my painting stuff and a new pochade I haven’t used before, to the Loire. The temperature read 2 degrees C. I only had running shoes to wear, because my daughter has my hiking boots in the mountains.

It was very difficult…it took me ages to set up my things, I kept on slipping in the mud, my fingers were numb before I even started painting and I struggled to open the caps and squeeze out the oils. I found the little pochade extremely uncomfortable and clumsy and missed my French easel all the time. I couldn’t open the Liquin bottle and had to run back home to fetch another. I found it comlicated to paint with the muffins and the scarf was choking me and I felt thick and uncomfortable  with my sleeves in the way of the paint, constantly knocking over the mediums. I chose a difficult scene and had an uncomfortable spot in the mud and slighty up a hill. My eyes and nose were constant watery  from the cold and I had to fiddle with tissues all the time, resulting in me arriving home with a face looking like my painting. After 2 hours I couldn’t stand on my numb feet any more and I started doing nonsense on the canvas,  getting so frustrated that I slung my brush way into the distance, in the mud! And then I  decided that I should pack it in.

BUT!! I completed the study. Although I don’t like the painting/study, and although it was an enormous struggle, I am very satisfied that I did it. It is one of my plans for the new year – to get out and paint even if the circumstances are challenging – and I WANTED to start today, on January 1st. Now I only need to get out there often to get used to these difficult winter plein air painting. In the end it is really gratifying and I now know I can do it. I can probably save this study in my atelier if I want to but it serves no purpose. I didn’t get out there today to produce a masterpiece, although I would’ve liked it to be a bit better than it turned out…

..winter loire corner study  1..

..oil on linen, 34x23cm..

**Next time I’ll give my opinion about this easel, because I think it is unfair to give it now after only one time of use. I am too used to my old french easel. This smaller one is a lovely hand made pochade from Ben Haggett.

**I will also say more about my art plans for this year.

Until next time… paint away!

 

Sketching troglodytes along the Loire.

In winter the troglodytes all along the Loire are much more visible than in summer when they hide behind lush green vegetation.They are nestled in the cliffs high and low and some are still inhabited, although it is getting less frequent, as circumstances are changing and cliffs get unstable and dangerous.

I went down the road this morning and sketched two spots where the caves/troglodytes are still inhabited and a smoke trail is often seen escaping the hidden chimneys.

…troglodytes in Montlouis sur Loire…

..sketches done in sketchbook, 14 x19cm, pen and watercolor..

My contribution to Sketchercise, where sketching and exercising combine to keep us healthy and creative at the same time!

 

A few sketches in December

A few sketches of December…a leisurely walk by the Loire, some faces in a bar and a shed in a friends garden.

…a shed in a friend’s garden…

.. sketchbook 15,3×25 cm, watercolor and pen…

…bare tree at the loire…

..sketchbook 15,3×25 cm, watercolor and pen..

…faces in a bar…

..sketchbook 15.3 x25cm, watercolor and rotring pen..