sketches in an old book

A while back I bought this lovely handmade book. It has the look of an old book with handmade paper pages. The cover had me immediately think of ink sketches, particularly olf etch-like drawings…statues, architecture…all things I love to sketch. I’ve started doing some statues in it…the paper isn’t very forgiving and not ideal for sketching and it doesn’t take watercolour at all, but maybe it only adds to the “ancient” look that I’m after. In any case this book is not about art, but about a look – I am looking forward to see it one day when it is done, filled with ink drawings, thick and used! by then, it might be REALLY old…

I use only ink and a pen with nibs and afterwards I wash gently with a little ink and water to just add a shadow and a stain here and there. The book is 11.5 x 17cm and I found it at Les milles feuilles in Paris.

…an old touch…

…statue 1-St sulpice…

…statue 2-…

…statue 3- chateau de vincennes…

…statue 4-chateau de vincennes…

Sketches from Paris in November

Visiting our eldest daughter Marinell in Paris this past week….

Paris was sunny and stunningly beautiful! Our weather is still very mild and everybody is out and in good spirits. The waiters are witty, the cars are their usual impatient selves, the women typically autumnal chic and elegant and the children street wise. It is always an experience for me to go into Paris. Once I get used to the traffic, the street hustle and bustle and and Paris noise, I fall into the rhythm of the city, revel in taking on my new pretend-role of la Parisienne.

…place de la sorbonne…

I have my few secret corners that I drop by every time (you’ll have to visit me to know what they are!) and for the rest, I walk and walk and walk, discover new quaint little shops and petits chemins, drop in to buy my regular edible gold leaf and to see what other delicacies are new. Discover bars and bistros and boulangeries and chocolateries, roam the markets, linger in the bookstores and art stores, enjoy lunch with Marinell at my one of my favourite bars outside the centre of Paris, L’usine Charonne. Tea at l’heure du gouter at Le Fumoir, meet Hartman at night on our romantic spot on Pont neuf,  read for hours in my favourite jardin de luxembourg where something happens every minute and each stroller is living his/her story. And always, always  held captive by the  incredibly beautiful architecture of Paris.

How I love Paris. How I love France!

See photos here:  Travel at Myfrenchkitchen

…st amandé – place de la mairie…

My sketches are all a bit tight, but maybe I am a bit uptight lately! I have done some more sketches which will follow in the next post and they are a bit looser and messier…the way I like it.

…le marais…

…place de la nation – statue…

All sketches done in sketchbook with graphite and watercolour.

Drawing in graphite

I haven’t had time to post my drawings from the afternoons with Casey the last two weeks, so here follows…

The first drawing was done at her house and she set up some beautiful statues. I had fun with this. I always have fun doing statues. I find they can hold long poses…

This drawing was done in graphite 9b, on drawing block, 50×35 cm.

…hold it, hold it..

This second drawing was last week and I set up some bottles, thinking I could at the same time play around with “different strokes”, which is the theme of Robyn’s book in our international sketchbook exhange. I enjoyed all the themes of the books and it revealed a little of each book’s owner, which made every book so unique. In this case, I can picture Robyn as someone with a whole variety of “different strokes”, making her interesting, lively with a great sense of humour and strong personality. So to come up with something for her book, “Different strokes”, I played around with this next drawing, which isn’t going into her book, but it did lead me down the path to the eventual pages I am busy adding to her book. And following the advice of her wise bee, I am also having fun doing it!

Drawing done in graphite, watercolour pencils, charcoal pencil, white conté, coffee, chocolate cake…ah…no, that was for eating..

…in search of different strokes…



I have also finally sent Lindsay’s canoe home, with a sniff and a blink… She’ll defintely post her whole book soon, but if you want to catch a glimpse of her canoe, see Captain’s log.

…Adieu..




Sketches of quartier Blanqui in Tours.

I went into Tours today with a very low level of energy, trying to snap out of it. I succeeded in getting four sketches done, albeit a bit crooked. Even made a mistake in the spelling of “boutique”, didn’t really finish sketching rue avisseau and abandonned the lovely old church halfway…next time.

Blanqui is a tiny quartier, very quant, with only a boulangerie and poissonerie, a small family restaurant, a bar for café et journal, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a market and old houses, which are mostly now appartements.

…la boutique de mon pére..

…rue blanqui, 34 et 32…

…rue avisseau…

…la mére et l’enfant…

All sketches done in sketchbook with pencil, pen and watercolour.

Sketches from Toulouse, France.

We are back from a wonderful time in Toulouse. Beautiful sunshine days and we were spoilt rotten by Marinell. It is so bad being back here and having no one to continue the spoiling!

In between all the coffees and lunches and soulful talks and laughter and movies and dinners and lots of walking and even rock concert by Maroon Five, I sqeezed in some drawings. I did the drawings on site and put the washes in when we took a break somewhere. Toulouse was swarming with people out on the streets, which made drawing extremely difficult. I didn’t even attempt painting.

Toulouse is known as La ville Rose (pink city), because of the amazing red brick used in its architecture. It is overwhelming and I felt totally incompetent, trying to capture some of it atmosphere.

The first three sketches were done in handmade sketchbook (22 x 25cm) in pen and pencil and watercolour.

…la ville rose…

…let in the sun…

…empty…

The next sketch of Pont neuf, crossing La Garonne, was done in handmade sketchbook, 22x15cm in rotring artist pen and wash.

..a wonky pont neuf…

A few people sketches  on Place de la Daurade and the ducks closing in to investigate. Rotring artpen and wash in handmade sketchbook, 22x15cm.

…so, who are the curious ones…

A while ago I came across a beautiful little handmade sketchbook, (30×12, which seems more like a marine sketch format) and this café scene was done in it with rotring art pen and wash. Unfortunately the paper doesn’t take wash well, so I’ll stick to pen drawings in the future.

…”une baguette, du vin, et du fromage si’l vous plait”…

Stockholm sketches 3

When I woke for our last day in Stockholm, I was welcomed by a bitter cold wind and rain when I stepped outside. Luckily this was my “national museum” day, so I would be inside most of the time. I was way too early for opening time, so I tried some sketches of statues, standing in the shelter of the museum…well, I only did two, the others were done on other days.

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Pen and Schmincke WC in handmade sketchbook(handmade by Marta)

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Pen and Schmincke WC in handmade sketchbook

The second sketch is of the old water “pump” in the old town, Gamla Stan, which dates back to the middle ages, then the only supply of water availbale.

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Pen and W&N WC in handmade sketchbook.

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Pen and W&N WC in handmade sketchbook

The national museum had an exhibition on design (Dreadful delight), covering interior design and trends in design from the early 18th century to our modern society….exquisite antiques to wonderfully kitch, it is all there. And a huge exhibition on art work with a special exhibition of Alexander Roslin. I went through the whole museum which took me far over two hours and by some stage I couldn’t care less about Roslin and which royal face he captured when. All his portraits started looking the same. By that time, my back was killing me and my head was pounding and I was thirsty, not to mention ravishingly hungry. I couldn’t get out of the museum fast enough! Into the rain. Searching for food and water. Into the mall. I hate malls. Nevertheless, I found food and sheler there.

And then I decided I was also done with culture and history and sightseeing. I felt only like sitting. Doing nothing, except maybe shamelessly stare at people. So I stayed in the mall and only moved from seat to seat. At the same time making it my mission to discover the best carrot cake in the mall. Which I did. Fantastic! It seems like tradition to decorate a slice of carrot cake with a Cape gooseberry in Sweden, just in case you’re wondering what is sitting on top of this carrot cake in the next sketch. It is accompanied by hot chocolate, which unfortunately seems to look more like Coke!

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Pen and W&N WC in handmade sketchbook

While I was feasting on my third trial of carrot cake and waiting to go to the airport, I captured a little of the optimistic and enthusiastic spirit of the young Swedish mothers and babies …..everywhere…. lots of them! Only in the coffee shop I was sitting, I counted 6 pretty mothers with their cute babies! Could it be the long dark days, all the candles and the cold weather?

These two strollers turned out real wonky and definitely wouldn’t keep any baby safe, but thankfully as a sketch it doesn’t have to be safe.

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Pen and Yarka  WC in handmade sketchbook