February is a month in which many stores, restaurants and cafés close for a fortnight, taking their break before spring arrives with all its liveliness. Not much is happening in the mostly grey month of February. Everybody is cocooning and taking Prozac in front of their daylight lamps. Schools are also closed for a fortnight and the whole world goes skiing in February. Tradition. Except…this year is not a great skiing year with snow only on the highest peaks.
In the one café that is open during this month, I enjoyed my coffee and croissant. It is better than Prozac at least. It was stock full of people, being the only bar open in town, with everybody looking for a counter to lean on with their petit noir. I am not a counter girl, I prefer a table and a large one at that for all my clutter.
It is actually great sketching wise, when there are so many people in a bar. Nobody notices you giving him/her the infernal sketching glare, so drawing people is much more relaxed.
Streetview opposite café de la Poste in Bretenoux…Just a building across from Cafe de la Poste. I had my young German shepherd, Lindiwe with me who got impatient and I had to speed up the sketching.
Watercolor and Pilot Prera pen in Stillman & birn sketchbook, 22X14.5cm
Café life 1, 2 3: In PMU, we all call it Cécile’s bar, life was busy and noisy and sketching went great. The only problem was that my pen got empty and it got more and more difficult to make nice dark lines.
Pilot Prera pen in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, 22×14.5cm
I sat on the terrace of Café Douceur this afternoon and while sipping my coffee, I sketched the street. My pen ran dry on my halfway through the sketch, which resulted in some thin, scratchy lines. I hope the colourful splashes watercolor make up for it..
..street in Beulieu sur dordogne – close up 1..
Pen and watercolor in Stillman & Birn, alpha series sketchbook, 22.9X15.2 cm
..street in Beulieu sur dordogne – close up 2..
..street in Beaulieu sur dordogne..
And lastly some people sketching..done on Fabriano artistico watercolor block, 27X18cm
à la prochaine.
For figurative oil paintings, I use my people sketches for references. Sitting in a café, trying to hide behind a coffee and sketching with subtlety, is always difficult for me. I always feel like intruding, so I really try hard to be quick and get it over with.
The following sketches were all done in Stillman and Birn sketchbook, alpha series, with a Prera fountain pen. Here and there I have added some touches of watercolour(the lunch which was first done in pencil, then the watercolour and then the pen lines were added) and with some I just added slight water touches to bleed the ink.
..enjoying a lunch at Café douceur..
…Two ladies at the coffee counter…
..a soloist performing away(I am very excited about the figurative oil painting from this one)
..a few more faces..
We were in Singapore for a few days recently and apart from devouring sushi, morning noon and night, I managed to pack in a few sketches. I found the climate very tiring for walking and sketching…heavy, hot and humid! But for the rest, I enjoyed every bit of the trip(except the flight there and back of course, but that is only becasue I hate flying by default).
Singapore is rich in culture and history, two things that I thoroughly enjoy. Discovering cultures different than mine and learning about their history truly enriches me. I feel fortunate to have been able to learn a bit more of Singapore…next on my list is Japan towards the end of the year, depending on the circumstances. We were in Singapore when Japan was hit recently and I sadly witnessed many people cry for family they’ve lost or haven’t heard of back in Japan.
Read more about the history of singapore here.
You can see some photos of the trip here at Sushi..and Singapore.
Or on Facebook.
Pen and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15.5×35 cm
…on the esplanade…
pencil and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15.5×35 cm.
.. Lin bo Seng memorial and old supreme court…
pencil and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15.5x35cm
pen and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15,5×35 cm.
Pen and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15.5x35cm.
Pen and watercolor in watecolors sketchbook, 19x20cm
…buddha tooth relic temple in chinatown…
pencil and watercolor in watercolor sketcjbook, 15.5x35cm.
pen and watercolor in watecolor skechbook, 19x20cm
I’ve picked up my pen again. If one stays on a break for too long, you can lose the desire to return. It is like that with everything in life. At some stage you need to apply some discipline to get going again.
For the first time in along while, I have done some sketches while having coffee in a bistro in Tours. My favorite way of doing it, is with contour lines. If I don’t watch it, I’ll do everything in contour fashion. I love it.
Some of the sketches worked, others didn’t. But it is always like that. Not every sketch is a success. I’m happy with the sketch of the three men at the top and I’m happy with the two men to the left in the bottom sketch. Unfortunately the child and man to the right didn’t work out.
I have also received my first postcard from Albrecht in Germany. Please visit A postcard from albrecht in Germany to see the post on his postcard.
Today was a productive Friday, artwise. Early this morning I took off to paint the poppies plein air. Took the car to Midas for serice. While Hartman saw to the oiling and fixing, I had 2 hours on my hand, so I walked to the art store to buy Liquin.
They weren’t open yet, so I continued walking to Biocoop, where I always buy my turps – pressed from orange peel. On my way there, I passed by a farm with some geese and remembered that this WALK could serve as my “Sketchercise” contribution for this Friday.
I usually carry a rotring pen and moleskine in my bag, as well as my compact watercolour palette and brush.
So. Took out the molekine and pen and asked the geese to hold still. They refused and left. Now my sketches look odd.
Sulking, I continued on to the Biocoop, just to find they were not open yet. Everything closes up between noon and 14:00 and sometimes even up until 14:30. The further south you go, the later the reopening in the afternoon…maybe 15:00, but most likely 16:00.
Anyway! I turned on my heels and walked all the way back to the art store, passing the geese again. Being a bit more sensitive in my approach, I managed to squiggle a few lines before they noticed me and swaggled off. I shrugged my houlders and turned to a wild rose/prickly rose.
…a second try…
With my art and bio stuff heavy on my arm and my feet burning from wearing light sandals not fit for walking, I limped off to the nearest bistro for a coffee and water. After a walk up en down of roughly 4 km, I met up with Hartman, plonked in the car, stopped off at the boucherie for a medium rare steak over hot coals for dinner tonight, and kicked off the sandals to let my sorry blisters breathe.
The sun was still invitingly high in the sky. Along with Hartman on our bikes, we set off in search of a plein air painting spot by the Loire for tomorrow morning, since the sun had promised to be present this weekend. I stole a quick sketch of a fisherman with his back to me. He smiled at me, thinking I was sketching the Loire.
…an unsuspecting fisherman…
I found my painting spot for tomorrow, we enjoyed our peach and Coke, I gave Liandri a lift home on my bike, we lit up the fire, opened a red wine and scorched our steak. A perfect day.
We’re back from Helsinki and what a wonderful city, beautiful people, delicious food. I loved every minute I was there. We landed in the snow and it was a fairytale wonderland. I walked all over, or rather ice skated all over – I can now understand why they are such great skaters…they learn it in winter on the sidewalks! At first, your steps are very careful and hesitant, arms balancing sideways like a tight rope walker, until you get the rhythm and allow your feet to slide forward…and you walk.
I visited the Atheneum museum with Finnish artists and of course loved/love the work of Albert Edelfelt, especially this Children playing on the shore. And apart from walking and taking in the beauty around me and enjoying art, getting completely lost in the dark and the snow, I ate herring and cod and salmon, warmed myself with glögi, giggled and skated even better on the sidewalks thereafter, probed recipe books, waved to Nina in Stockholm, Sweden on the shore, and made only one sketch from the safety and warmth of the Café Engel on Senate square. Done in sketchbook with water soluble pilot pen and wash.
To see some photos, you can go here.
…helsinki cathedral on senate square…