Bill on a bicycle

I’m doing a portrait exchange with Bill. He’s been waiting very patiently for me. Thank you Bill! See how great he did my portraits here!! Not fair that he does so well and I am struggling!

As I say, I’ve been struggling. I started off today with just a contour drawing, which got filled up a bit more than just a simple contour. Then I did another one and another…and then jumped on my bicycle and went for a ride.

contour drawing, rotring pen on paper, 29,5×42 cm

I have new bike, a very cute one. Based on the old “Hollandais city” style. Up until now I’ve used an old bicycle which had me running just as I thought I was pedalling well away. Or I was on Liandri’s mountain bike, with my behind way up in the air and my head almost down between my knees. I sort of feel at this age, I would prefer my “derriere” closer to earth and my face “lifted”. So now I look very elegant, with my back straight and my hair in the wind.

…wizard of oz…

rotring pen and watercolour in Artistico sketchbook, CP, 18x26cm(7″x10″)

When I came back, my head felt clear enough to give Bill another go.  Put in some shadows this time. It doesn’t really look like him. And before I attempt a painting, I have to get the drawing right first. He has very intense eyes and I make him glare from the page. So, I have more work to do. More cycling to do.

inkdrawing, rotring pen on paper, 29.7x42cm(11.7×16.5″)

Figure drawings

1. We started again with our figure classes last night. We had only one long pose and the goal was to make a “nice” drawing, with only pencil and hatching.

I used pencil 2B and 6B on large format paper, 42×59,4 cm (16,5×23,4″).

2. A previous class: This second drawing was extremely difficult, but it sure openend up the mind. The model would move forward into another position, while one “axe” remained in the previous position. It was sort of like motion drawing. Hard, hard, hard! I consumed a whole baguette when I got home after this class…

Graphite and sanguine on paper, large format

3. A previous class: The slim model with the dog that we’ve had on previous occasions and he lost even more weight, making it very hard to see something to draw.

Graphite on paper, large format

4. A portrait of the model and his dog. I did this when we had 5 minutes left of class. Graphite on paper, large format

5. This is the same model as the first pencil drawing, but on a different occasion where we did a draining million(well almost) quick sketches for two hours. And again I consumed a whole baguette afterwards..

Charcoal on paper, large format.

Portrait of Martin

I exchanged some photos with Martin from dibujandoarte. 

Edit: He had just posted his versions of the photos I sent him and he did an amazing job! He’s very talented and tried colour, and soft romantic drawing…of course I like that one, hie hie! And he even threw in an artistically expressive one. See what he’s done here.

This first one I did of him is done in graphite.


My objective throughout the drawing was to have lost edges, definite lines, soft marks, dark shadows, bring some of the background into the drawing, keeping the work loose and staying within three values.


The pen drawing was relatively successful, until I carried on fiddling with the eyes and thus making them change into values, putting them out of context with the rest of the sketch. I only wanted to capture the different planes and shapes with contiuous linework, without worrying about likeness or values.


A revealing selfportrait.

I’m asked to reveal seven things about myself by Marie-dom and Desiree.

When I looked over at Marie-Dom’s site, she did a twinkle-in-the-eye selfportrait and I immediately thought it was a great idea. There has been quite a few selfportraits going around, all of them great. I’m thinking Anita, who did them all different and exciting(I’m only linking to this one post, but be sure to scroll down, she had done many!), and three-for-the-price-of-one from Suzanne, a very instructive series by a contemplating Diahn, a squinting Jana, an intense Martin, a first ever selfportrait by Serena, a dramatic Kate in the shadows and Joan, who took her lovely selfportrait on as a challenge, Linda who also showed us her beautiful first attempt, Ujwala, who tried her hand at a great monotype and Bill, who has his wonderful selfportrait, done in oil(I think?) on his home page. I am sure I missed many who did their selfportraits.


Compressed charcoal on paper

So here are my 7 revealing “things” – all of them to be found in the selfportrait above.

  1. I can lift my one eyebrow while lowering the other. I can do it both left side and right side. It was usually the threatening face of disapproval I gave our children….and Hartman.
  2. I have always worn bandannas and scarfs and bands and turbans and hats and all sorts of whateverings in my hair and on and around my head.
  3. Aging eyes force me to resort to reading glasses lately. I’m zooming in and out trying to figure out life in small print.
  4. Aging lips on the other hand, allow me to wear more dramatic colours. I have to stay away from shine now, but I can go for dramatic reds. I look stunning. Like Ava Gardner. 
  5. As compensation for all the rest that is sagging, my cheekbones are lifting. I wanted high cheekbones all my life. Like Sophia Loren.
  6. I have an olive skin and dark circles under my eyes which may explain why I am mistaken for being Portuegese, Spanish, Greek, Egyptian, Iranien and Irakien many times. 
  7. I am not witty, but I have a good sense of humour and I laugh easily. I hope that’ll explain my wrinkles.

Whoever is reading here, you are invited to just simply reveal seven “things” about yourself.

Facts and tender emotions

Once upon a time, there was a young girl, reflecting on a home and a husband and a family. I planned on having a home with a garden, a handsome husband and 5 wild sons. I placed my order. I got it all, except for the 5 wild boys. I met Hartman,(one of four wild boys!) and we were given two adorable little girls. We couldn’t be happier. This was a little over many years ago. Some time between then and now, they have blossomed into two beautiful, independent and strong willed young women.

Today, with some misty eyes that I suspect may have been tears, I waved goodbye to our Liandri-child, the youngest. This was my second experience in letting go and it was just as hard as saying these goodbyes to our eldest Marinell, four years ago. Although Liandri had done her own thing for more than a year now, she was still very much part of the breathing of our home; in-and-out with friends, parking tickets all over the house, shoes in every room, Godzilla-footfalls reassuring me of safe arrivals late nights, an angry door slamming somewhere, loud music resonating from her room, a freshly baked delicacy from her hands every now and then…

She has taken off today, passport and backpack. All on her own. Traveling, working, discovering. And she leaves behind a mother and father who are sad and happy, scared and confident, but most of all grateful and proud. I know she’ll come back and it will be different, better. But tonight the house is very quiet and empty and I have for company only the memories of twenty wonderful years. Tonight I am once again changing, adapting to the cycle of life, accepting facts with tender emotions. I know she’ll always find her true north. Her legs are strong. I know. We helped build them.


Inspirations in color

I am in search of Inspiration. I find it in people. That does it for me. Creative people, people with strong character, the survivors, the gentle, caring ones, the courageous, daring ones…I have them all in my small circle of friends.
Voici two of them. Two wonderful inspirations. Very far away, so I had to rely on photo’s. I don’t mind that much.
I chose to do the following sketch, because I love the way this friend interacts. She is a beautiful woman, an extraordinary talented florist; you can give her a dry stick and she’ll turn it into a magical creation. And she can’t talk without her hands. I love that. When I dropped by her floral shop, she was busy with a romantic bouquet for Valentine’s day and we stood for about 30 minutes chatting, while she held this wonderful creation in the one hand and expressed herself with the other. She wears this delightful “apron” when she works, to protect her clothes. Being around her, is feeling the creative juices flow…it is inspiring.

This was supposed to be only watercolor on HP Arches paper. Then I had to “fix” it by adding pen! It seems I have to fix everything lately.


This friend is a lovely romantic, in heart and soul and in appearance. She carries a bit of yesteryear with her. With her angelic hair and fair skin and soft features, she posed many problems to paint. This is my fourth go at her and it still not what I’m after and this time pen wont’ fix it. I want nothing less than a soft, flowy watercolor painting. I’ll probably try again and again…Maybe its because I know that she isn’t ALL romantic – she can swim faster than anyone I know, she can climb a rock as fast as the young guys, she can paddle a kayak through some scary rapids and she’s not afraid of any marathon! She exudes a wonderful zest for life, nothing is too hard or too boring for her, she does everything that comes her way…it’s contagious. This is watercolor on Fabriano CP (extra white)



Stacy said…
Ronell, your friends sound lovely and look lovely too! I love how their personalities influenced you as much as their appearance did.
May 23, 2007 6:08 PM  
Lin said…
May 23, 2007 7:06 PM  
Bonny said…
You have a wonderful talent, Ronell. Not only do you connect in a special way with people, but you portray them beautifully, too. Love the painting of your florist friend. She almost looks fey like a fairy princess. Gorgeous!
May 23, 2007 7:45 PM  
Teri C said…
Beautiful paintings Ronell!! I love your commentary with all your art-they were made for each other.
May 23, 2007 8:17 PM  
Dave said…
Well, you certainly fixed it well! Wonderful portraits, and what wonderful friends it sounds like you have.
May 23, 2007 8:39 PM  
Anita said…
Oh Ronell I LOVE everything about this entry.
May 23, 2007 9:07 PM  
Claudia said…
Ronell, w o n d e r f u l watercolours, especially the first one! It has something magic!
May 23, 2007 10:45 PM  
Lindsay said…
What a sweet and beautiful post. A nice tribute to your friends too.
May 23, 2007 11:56 PM  
martín said…
Beautiful portraits Ronell. The first one really talks. Your friend does it with her hands and you through your paintings.
May 24, 2007 12:31 AM  
SCquiltaddict said…
fun wc…great stuff…gotta get my paint brushes back out! keep it up
May 24, 2007 2:04 AM  
Jana Bouc said…
What a fabulous portrait–both in words and paint. I love the second one–it’s so loose and fresh and has a sweetness about it.
May 24, 2007 6:15 AM  
Tonniece said…
Love this post Ronell
I’ts so great to have friends, good friends, and being able to capture their essence as you have here is a wonderful gift to them and all of us as well.
May 24, 2007 6:51 AM  
Carole said…
I really love how you have composed and painted these to capture their character as well as their features. They are beautiful paintings and charming descriptions of your friends.
May 24, 2007 9:18 AM  
suzanne said…
Wow Ronell….these are both breathtaking. Not only in the sense that they are technically outstanding, but also in the fact that you have captured the personalities of your inspirations so well. Not knowing them, I think I could have pretty much described their personalities in exactly the way you did, only by looking at your paintings.Your inspirations are inspirations to me.
May 24, 2007 4:39 PM  
Arty Velarde said…
This is nice. I like the watery, “juiciness”!
May 24, 2007 6:47 PM  
janey said…
These are very soft and pretty and I like the descriptions that go with them. It makes the paintings come alive even more.
May 25, 2007 1:33 AM  
juj said…
Oh Ronell – These are lovely! I especially like the second one, so soft and loose – I love the expression on her face. And the deep red of the necklace is such a nice accent to the whole and balances her glasses perfectly. Your friends both sound wonderful. You must feel very fortunate to have them in your life.
May 25, 2007 3:45 PM  
Nancy Van Blaricom said…
I simply love the stories that go along with your watercolors. The watercolors could stand alone with not comments, but you bring such life to them all….
May 26, 2007 3:37 PM  
Robyn said…
Both friends are lovely – I love the mood as well in the first watercolour and the second is beautiful in the lightness of your touch.
May 26, 2007 7:07 PM  
ksklein said…
I love the top pic. Very romantic. It reminds me of weddings, brides, valentines,…
I would have loved to nsee a little more of her face though.
May 27, 2007 8:58 PM  
Emma Pod said…
These are both wonderful paintings of your friends. In the top one I can almost hear her talking…the hand gesture is so nice! Nice work!
May 29, 2007 5:35 AM  
Regula Scheifele said…
Both your paintings and your descriptions are loving and beautiful – what a gift you have and how nice for your friends to have you paint them!
May 29, 2007 2:09 PM  
Sandy said…
Ronell, these are beautiful and I loved reading how they inspire you..sandy
May 30, 2007 9:48 PM  
platitudinal said…
Beautiful paintings of those you hold dear in your heart. 🙂
May 31, 2007 12:04 AM  
Serena said…
Beautiful work, Ronell, and a very nice tribute to your friends. 🙂
May 31, 2007 12:30 PM  
phthaloblu said…
These are both beautiful paintings, but I know how you feel when you’re trying for a certain result and you can’t get it. But, these are very beautiful. I think lots of us look to the people we know when we need inspiration. That’s how we re-energize. When we are feeling down, we gravitate toward someone who is immensely positive so we can feed off of that positiveness. Does that make sense? Anyway, it sounds like you have some wonderful friends to look to for your inspiration. Full of life and creativity.
June 1, 2007 5:27 PM  
austin of sundrip said…
I’ve scrolled through your page here but I keep coming back to the girl with flowers, it catches my eye and won’t let it go. Awesome work, awesome.Austin of Sundrip