Page 18 of 18

The details of a wisteria

The wisterias are magnificent now, their beauty cascading over walls and pergolas and trees and gates, windows and towers, roofs and even pathways. I just had to take on a painting or two, try and capture a little of their glory.

I tried twice again, not being too happy with the first try. I took on another corner, more “architectural”, more detailed, brighter colors, with which I am quite feels like “me”.


And I just can’t get away from it- detail- I need detail. Without it, I can’t stress. I can’t be obsessive compulsive. Without detail in my life, I can’t experience beauty. I can’t create beauty. Without detail, life is very foggy and leaves only an impression of what might be out there…very much like the first painting of these wisterias.


Watercolor and ink on Arches HP
23 x 31cm (9″ x 12″)



Fanta said…
Wonderful again, Ronell. I love the way the shadows “dance” on the wall surface created by your careful layering, especially in the first one.
Have a great Sunday!
April 22, 2007 2:01 PM  
Lindsay said…
I like how you do these a couple of times! Lovely job.
I’ve been trying to get my wisteris to bloom for YEARS. Stubborn things refuse to flower.
April 22, 2007 5:14 PM  
Teri C said…
You are persistant arn’t you! The signs of a good detail person….I recognize it because that’s me too.Those wisteria are wonderfu and beautiful. So glad you persisted to your satisfaction.BTW, I was just reading about creativity and a detail person is called “bios’ or the dteails of life, and the person that has an overview of things is called ‘zoe’ or the essence of life.

Hmm, I bet that is more information than you wanted! 🙂

April 22, 2007 6:43 PM  
Lin said…
GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS!!!! The frost nipped ours and I haven’t seen much since then — so I am thoroughly enjoying yours!! Did you know you can eat the flowers?? BUT ABSOLUTELY NOT THE SEEDS!!
April 22, 2007 11:13 PM  
Lin said…
PS — I’M RIGHT THERE WITH YOU AND DETAIL … MAKES ME SO UNCOMFORTABLE WHEN I LEAVE IT OUT!!! Hard to learn to live with simlicity — i do love the detail!!! lol
April 22, 2007 11:14 PM  
Dave said…
I love wisteria, and you’ve really captured it in these lovely pictures!
April 22, 2007 11:36 PM  
beautiful! i LOVE wisteria and the draping laziness of it. great pictures!
April 23, 2007 1:59 AM  
Nancy said…
Love the wisteria – I, too, have been trying to get mine to bloom – they are 9 years old now. Is there any hope?These a gorgeous!
April 23, 2007 5:13 AM  
aPugsLife-laserone said…
Oh my gosh, I just love these! My favorite is the first one. I’m such a sucker for blue. Very beautiful! 🙂
April 23, 2007 9:26 AM  
caseytoussaint said…
These are both beautiful, but the second one does more to convey the delicacy of wisteria – such a tough subject.
April 23, 2007 10:59 AM  
Sandy said…
I love Wisteria and mine is huge, but never blooms !!!!! I want to paint them too!!! Just Lovely! You have been busy!
April 23, 2007 5:07 PM  
Carole said…
I’m another wisteria fan, and I agree that you’ve really got the essence of wisteria in this second painting. The twisted branches and those wonderful long cascades of blue/lilac flowers. I once painted the detail of just one of those tiny little flowers – I may post it on my blog.
April 23, 2007 10:55 PM  
phthaloblu said…
I understand all about detail. Yep! As much as I try to get away from it, I am only happy when it looks like what I’m looking at. These are both so beautiful. I love wisteria, too, the way it hangs and looks. It’s all around my house, but not in my yard. Wonderfully done.
April 24, 2007 3:15 PM  
platitudinal said…
Thank you for your unrelenting pursue of details, we all benefit from it and get to enjoy the beauty you created based from your search.*Honestly speaking, though, Ronell, I think both takes of the wisterias are appealing. 🙂

The elegant fences of the countryside

The countryside provides a wealth of “elegant” fences…
I took Robyn( ), up on her suggestion a previous time, and did these sketches on site with a water soluble pen and 2 waterbrushes and my moleskin, along with nerves of steel(for standing right on the edge of the narrow French countryroads) and a pretence(so I would at least give the impression that I know what I’m doing) and chewing gum – that is for the nerves and the pretence…




Deborah said…
Once again a lovely little series of fences. They all look like cool breezy days but you have given them a real softness.
April 6, 2007 7:42 PM  
Shirley said…
These are such fun – interesting fences and nice loose sketches.
April 6, 2007 7:57 PM  
Lin said…
April 6, 2007 8:13 PM  
bec said…
You’re makin me want to get out and try the pen, brush and water plein air thing too! Nice atmosphere in your work….each of your fences seems to tell a story.
April 6, 2007 9:42 PM  
Carole said…
I could use some of these in my project! I really like these lively sketches. They inspire me to try and loosen up a bit! Great stuff.
April 6, 2007 10:00 PM  
Teri C said…
You are spoiling us…I love all your little answers to a challenge. Each one of these is wonderful!!
April 6, 2007 10:01 PM  
jill said…
fantastic job. amazing how interesting an old fence can be and how truly beautiful when done well. i really liked these!
April 7, 2007 1:54 AM  
caseytoussaint said…
Ronell, these are exceptional. And I know how utterly terrifying it can be to stand on a country road in France. Your sketching style is so free and expressive.
April 7, 2007 9:01 AM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for all the comments, I really appreciate them!Bec…You should give the plein air etc. a go, you’ll get hooked and there is a very special satisfaction in looking back at your sketch and remembering the experience.I’m looking forward to seeing yours soon!Carole, your latest landscape/fence is already a nice lively and loose sketch!


April 7, 2007 11:34 AM  
Lindsay said…
These are completely CHARMING! I love every one of them. You make them look as if they were done in color with the beautiful grays.
April 7, 2007 1:34 PM  
mARTa said…
oh Ronell, they are all wonderful. I love your sketches and would love to sit with you and Casey and sketch sometime!! If only we didn’t have an ocean between us!
April 8, 2007 6:47 AM  
MrsSnowy said…
I’d just like to clarify that I did NOT suggest you stand on the edge of narrow French roads, Ronell! You must have nerves of steel. Your fences are full of atmosphere and that tone looks very classy.
I’m grinning from ear to ear, from getting a personal mention in your blog. Thank you 🙂
April 8, 2007 10:37 AM  
platitudinal said…
To Ronell whose nerves are made of steel,I admire how you can produce such lovely sketches under strenuous circumstance. I especially love how the lines seem so lively and lithe … they told us a tale of how your pen and brushes danced deftly on the paper.*Many thanks for the chewing gum tip!

April 8, 2007 3:28 PM  
Emma Pod said…
I like your somewhat dilapidated fences! Each one has such good tonal values and they evoke the countryside. I think the gum-chewing was a good trick to give you courage and fortitude.
April 8, 2007 10:00 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for the comments, everyone!Marta..oceans, in my opinion, are there to be crossed! So, cross it and come visit for a 3 nights or so(I have more than enough room) and we can sketch whatever stands still long enough to give us a line and a color!My pleasure to you, Robyn, after all, it was your idea that roamed in my thoughts when I set out to do this challenge.

And, I actually hate chewing gum, apart from it being groase seeing someone chew constantly and stepping in it in the streets, it hurts my jaw!

April 9, 2007 9:07 AM  
Sandy said…
Each fence study is very interesting, and quite intriguing – you found unique subjects. Bravo!
April 9, 2007 6:06 PM  
Linda said…
Great studies! I particularly like the top one — although I’m having a hard time imagining what it would have been like standing on the side of a narrow road with no shoulder to draw! You get points for bravery!
April 9, 2007 11:29 PM  
Jana Bouc said…
Charming sketches and fun to picture you there chewing gum trying to look confident. I like the way you’ve suggested detail in a painterly way.
April 10, 2007 4:36 PM  
Fanta said…
I simply adore these dramatic fences. I like this “organized mess” that comes with it in your compositions.
April 13, 2007 12:18 PM  
andrea joseph’s sketchblog said…
These are fabulous studies. Really nice indeed. I think the new pen has worked well. They actually make me want to get out and do this challenge. The top one is my fave!

Picking grapes

These are my last sketches on the vineyards and grape picking in Stellenbsoch. They were done in pen and wash. I plan on using all these sketches to put together a series of paintings…hopefully it will move beyond planning!
This was much more difficult than sketching the “pickers” when they were taking a break. They really picked so fast and their heads were constantly bobbing up and down in the vineyard. Just as I thought I could capture one, he would disappear. In the end I stood further back to only capture glimpses of color in the vineyards.
The first sketch is of one of the many women pickers. This woman had such a presence about her and after a few hopeless attempts to sketch her picking, I asked her if she would keep still for maybe just one minute? The minute turned out to be much shorter than I know a minute to be, but I did manage to get her down.

The last sketch of the pressing machine was very boring for me to draw. I don’t like machines of any kind, except of course my coffee machine…I didn’t succeed in capturing it’s function, so it is hard to see what happens where, but at least you have an where the grapes fall into the shaft…








caseytoussaint said…
Wow, Ronell, these are incredible. They tell so much – travel journaling at it’s best. I hope there are more to come!
March 16, 2007 6:41 PM  
Lin said…
These are STUNNING!!! Fresh, VIBRANT! GREAT USE of ink and wash — lovely lovely lovely!! DITTO!! MORE !!!
March 16, 2007 10:33 PM  
gabi campanario said…
ronell, i can blog-travel to these vineyards thanks to these moments you captured so well with your pen and washes! i really like them. the first one is my favorite. look forward to more!
March 17, 2007 4:33 AM  
Ujwala said…
the whole series of them are fabulous! and i hope that you do get around to making paintings from them.
March 17, 2007 8:15 AM  
Jana Bouc said…
Wonderful work! All that’s missing is the glass of wine! You really captured all the steps along the way and your drawings of people are really excellent! I love the colors.
March 17, 2007 5:21 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you all, for the encouraging comments..
March 17, 2007 9:07 PM  
Anonymous said…
Hi Ronell This looks cool.
March 18, 2007 3:00 PM  
phthaloblu said…
What can I say except that these are just beautiful!
March 19, 2007 2:39 AM  
aPugsLife-laserone said…
Oh my gosh, these are just beautiful. Really nice work!!! …by the way, “Peeps” are little marshmallow candies coated in colored sugar. I just did a second Peep drawing on my art blog and also wrote a bit about peeps and provided pictures and links. Heheheh. 🙂
March 19, 2007 8:22 AM  
“Maggie” said…
Ronell,I love your loose sketches and colors of the vineyards and that capture moments of time. Wonderful!I want to say thank you for visiting my blog and glad you liked my blind contour. I love drawing them!

March 19, 2007 1:14 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you everybody for the nice comments, I really appraciate your visiting!

Napping in the shade of the vines

Here is the second batch of sketches of my trip to Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The first two sketches – pencil and watercolor on hotpressed Fabriano paper.

The last three – ink and wash on rough Canson paper, which I am quite happy with – it gives a feel of the roughness of the day and the job…grape picking isn’t so romantic when the heat comes down on your shoulders at about 35 degrees C.

I did the sketching on the spot and the washes later that afternoon. I was mostly interested in catching their actions and gestures and since they were clothed in all the colors of the rainbow, I could only run through my whole color palette afterwards to depict that.

As for the light – it was in the middle of the day and far too white to be spectacular.

I really enjoyed this day of drawing. The Cape folk are so easy to get along with – they take life in their stride, aren’t afraid to laugh, to joke, to talk, to differ and their wit has no equal! They were on lunch break and didn’t mind at all that I sketched them while they were taking naps. In fact, they ganged up behind me, looking to see who the next one was to be sketched, making suggestions, made jokes, even gave advice. I shared in their lunches and drinks, but unfortunately couldn’t share in the napping…would’ve liked to though!!

I had such fun.

I hope I did capture some romance in these napping in the shade of the vines….







Susan Cornelis said…
THanks for sharing all this wonderful sun and relaxation. I really get it from this post, pictures and text!
March 14, 2007 6:06 PM  
caseytoussaint said…
I just love these Ronell – thanks for sharing a little bit of your vacation with us! The colors are beautiful – well done!
March 14, 2007 9:17 PM  
Christeen said…
These just carried me away- what a great job with the colors, and the people’s positions are really believable- well done!
March 15, 2007 6:44 PM  
Jana Bouc said…
These are great. From your colors it looks like it was really hot–no wonder everyone was taking siestas.
March 17, 2007 5:19 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for the nice comments…much appreciated.
March 17, 2007 9:10 PM  
phthaloblu said…
Your sketches are so beautiful! You really got the postures of the people down so well that you can actually feel them napping.