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Something that needs fixing

The ironing is always behind.

I have to iron. I have to see sharp folds and straight flat edges on shirts and linen and skirts and yes, T-shirts. Except of course jeans. No straight folds there. That makes them look nerdy. I learnt that from my daughters.

Sketches done with rotring artist pen and water wash in moleskine.

Like with a desperate diet, I start off every Monday with the determination to iron immediately when something comes off the line. Just to see my diligence fade into submission by Wednesday. The result is a growing mountain of washing and a leaking cup of courage. So I let the mountain run its course… after all, it is already there….and wait for the magical day when my cupeth runneth over again.

I’ll probably always have this habit that needs fixing.

Unknown faces on the train

Some faces on the train to Paris. All done in pen in moleskine and given a wash later at home.






Anita said…
They are all wonderful Ronell but I especially like the 2nd with the woman facing away, adds a sense of mystery and gets the imagination pumping!
June 17, 2007 3:58 PM  
Lin said…
BEAUTIFUL!! The softness of the wash is outstanding!
June 17, 2007 4:29 PM  
Meinhild Selbach said…
Great work! I really like your style.
Greetings from the Lyons area 😉
Meinhild (inselfan54)
June 17, 2007 4:37 PM  
Nancy Van Blaricom said…
These are beautiful. Was it ink or watercolor you used for a wash? Your portrait sketches are so well done.
June 17, 2007 5:18 PM  
Nina Johansson said…
Great with those grey washes, I love these drawings!
June 17, 2007 5:19 PM  
mARTa said…
love these too! I did my daughter on the train into Los Angeles on friday….she was right in front of me so I could see her!!! I love how these don’t have color…the washes are beautiful.
June 17, 2007 11:31 PM  
Jenny said…
Enjoyed your train sketches. Ink and wash is perfect for these.
June 18, 2007 1:19 AM  
Arty Velarde said…
These are nice, I like the washes for the gray scale.
It looks cool!
June 18, 2007 3:12 AM  
juj said…
These are fabulous Ronnell – Your linework is so free and easy, and the washes are the perfect touch. I love the sleeping man at the top and the one at the bottom. And there is something so compelling about the posture of the girl with the pony tail. Sly girl – capturing the people who wouldn’t notice what you were doing!
June 18, 2007 4:19 AM  
Sandy said…
Gosh how do you do this!!! I would love to learn watercolor wash like this…just beautiful and delicate. sandy
June 18, 2007 7:35 AM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you to verybody for the kind comments…I really appreciate your encouragement.
Nancy – I just used some black watercolor.
Marta – will have alook at your daughter’s sketch today. I think someone right opposite me is a bit intimidating(a stranger)…I expect them to bite me any minute!
Judi – Yip, that is exacty how I caught Hartman…!
Sandy – I feel like I’m is actually cheating; really good sketching can stand on its own with only the lines, but I feel mine needs that extra bit of “oomph”..
June 18, 2007 8:28 AM  
biteyourowntail said…
Sneaky drawings of people – love them. And what better way to spend a train journey? Lovely work
June 18, 2007 11:01 AM  
Dave said…
These are lovely. So expressive and the wash adds a lot to the line work.
June 18, 2007 3:21 PM  
Robyn said…
Wonderful people! I too love the girl with the pony tail but they are a delightful lot. I think the sketches would stand up very well without it, but the wash is a lovely touch. Paris! Sigh! The last time I saw Paris….
June 18, 2007 5:47 PM  
Tonniece said…
A real wow factor here Ronell.
Great sketches
June 18, 2007 10:17 PM  
hfm said…
Great work! Don’t know how you can draw on the train! I’ve tried but I can’t
June 18, 2007 11:25 PM  
Ujwala said…
the ink and wash portraits are beautiful ronnel! now i need me some trains to ride in 😀 actually i’d be too shy to pull out my sketchpad at such close proximity to the subject! 😀
June 19, 2007 12:59 PM  
Claudia said…
Oh, Ronell, you did so nice paintings and drawing while i was away on my hiking tours! I nearly can’t decide which I like the best! Your glass bells are so wonderful! But your garden sketches turned out so good as well!!! I like the colours you use!
And your train sketches are very nice, too! I want to see more!!!
June 19, 2007 1:03 PM  
Carole said…
You are so talented, Ronell. You’ve captured a lot of character with these simple lines.You are brave, sketching people. I always feel too self conscious to attempt it, which is a shame as it would be a good way to spend the time on the train.
June 19, 2007 2:35 PM  
Anonymous said…
June 19, 2007 6:17 PM  
caseytoussaint said…
I somehow missed this post – it’s wonderful, Ronell! These are so full of character, so individual – I really love them. This seems like a new departure for you (?)

Come on, just do it!

Five things from my bathroom. Carole said so. ( I could only get to four. I struggled almost the whole day, but I’ve done it and I feel good. Great they are not, but I’m happy. Wonderful feeling of achievement! It was so great having someone tell me: “This is what you need to do, do it” Not thinking or planning or finding something…I just did it. Next time it will be better. Thank you, Carole.

I dedicate this to all of you who were encouraging and supportive, may I do the same to you when you need it.





Pen and watercolor, Arches HP. Click on images to enlarge.


Dave said…
Good for you! There are some lovely touches in those sketches too. The shine on the pitcher, the shadow on the stand, etc. Enjoyed looking at them!
April 16, 2007 9:31 PM  
Claudia said…
…I like the spontaneity and freshness of the sketches!-(I’m still working on that for myself…)
April 16, 2007 9:51 PM  
Sandy said…
Fabulous, I just Love your technic, so light and fresh but with great depth and personality – GREAT!
April 16, 2007 10:05 PM  
Carole said…
Hey! Good work. I just love how you do those watercolour washes. You have such a light touch. The chair and bowl/pitcher is particularly nice. Looks like you’ve got a beautiful bathroom there!
April 16, 2007 10:37 PM  
Teri C said…
Gosh, each one is a winner! Just wonderful!
April 17, 2007 3:36 AM  
Brenda Y said…
Fantastic!! My fav is the chair with the pitcher and bowl and plant–what luscious lines and soft colors. By George, I do believe you’ve got your groove back!!
April 17, 2007 6:12 AM  
Jana Bouc said…
These all have such elegance and beauty. It looks like you’ve found your inspiration again!
April 17, 2007 7:38 AM  
MrsSnowy said…
What a spectacular comeback! My favourite is the chair with basin and pitcher. Goodness, if I tried to find inspiration in out bathroom it would spin me into instant depression – not the finest room in our house!
April 17, 2007 11:00 AM  
platitudinal said…
Wow, these are beautiful sketches. If not for the toilet paper rolls and towels sketch, I will keep on forgetting that these are paintings of your bathroom!
April 17, 2007 2:51 PM  
artnewbie said…
Lovely! What great style you have.
April 17, 2007 3:43 PM  
Lin said…
YEAH!! AND WHAT A GLORIOUS JOB YOU DID!!!!! Hope it broke your uninspired spell and that Madam Muse is sitting on your shoulder!
April 17, 2007 5:10 PM  
bec said…
I love the stuff in YOUR bathroom!
April 17, 2007 7:49 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for the comments…I am back to working, almost repeating everything twice in order to get something that is half decent, but that is OK.
April 17, 2007 11:46 PM  
Ujwala said…
i’m away on holiday and hadnt been to your blog in a while. lots of wonderful work since I last visited and these 3 from your bathroom are super too.
April 18, 2007 6:13 AM  
E-J said…
Lovely little sketches. What an elegant bathroom you have, Ronell! Your watercolour style is very distinctive. And you’re so prolific!
April 18, 2007 12:48 PM  
caseytoussaint said…
Ronell, these are beautiful! You’ve combined your wonderful drawing skills with your decorating talent and it’s a great combination.
April 18, 2007 6:19 PM  
“Maggie” said…
Wow, the chandelier is lovely and the reflections really make this a great piece. I love all the intricate inked lines.
April 21, 2007 3:22 PM  
Africantapestry said…
April 22, 2007 4:30 PM  
phthaloblu said…
Once again, beautiful sketches! Love the light best of all.

Ugly, but couldn’t do without

I have found “ugly” to be an emotional concept, at least for me…
When you know the story behind it, “ugly!”, turns into “oohh how sweet!”
On a bad mood day, I see more ugly people than usual; my car is ugly, which is usually not a problem, since I couldn’t care less about a beautiful car; the dry winter scenes, which are normally architectural masterpieces, are just plain ugly and my bedroom mirror, which is most days a sweet and kind soul, shows its mean side.

Today isn’t a bad day, so I couldn’t find anything ugly around me. Even the dishwasher and washing machine, fridge…all those machine-things have their beauty today, maybe because they still do their job so dutifully?

I decided that garbage bins are my love-hate passion in life. Every day. They are not emotion-related. They are a cruel reality of life on earth. I hate every form of waste… energy, time, food, water, garbage…A Garbage bin to me, signifies the ugly side of life. But I couldn’t do without it. In shame I hang my head and I embrace my bins, glad I only have to fill them and someone else, more courageous then me, will take care of the problem elsewhere! So, here I give you the ugly side of my life and unfortunately, yours as well….

I wanted to depict these bins as ugly, so I gave only 5 minutes to myself to do each, wash included and I kept to it. I used Pentel brush pen and watercolor pencils; black….and red and green for a touch of beauty, since this isn’t a bad mood day….



Kunya said…
Nice take on the subject and I amazed what you can do in 5 min.
April 12, 2007 7:03 PM  
Lin said…
Your words are so RIGHT ON!!! And you made those can beautiful, my friend!!!! I may have to tag onto your idea … I am having a hard time with this challenge!
April 12, 2007 7:17 PM  
Sandy said…
Wow – nice sketches for 5 minutes!! Yes ugly but sentimental by necessity!!
April 12, 2007 8:36 PM  
Shirley said…
Fabulous, as always. I love this loose style.
April 12, 2007 8:53 PM  
Carole said…
Great idea for the challenge – I too am having difficulty with it. I wish I could draw this well in 5 mins! But then maybe that’s why your sketches are so alive and vibrant? I like the little touches of colour in them.
April 12, 2007 10:40 PM  
Emma Pod said…
Wonderful choice of an “ugly” item. I agree with you about mood and ugliness….they do tend to go together. I like the gray tones in these drawing and the touches of color add something nice. You are right about the existential ickiness of garbage/waste.
April 13, 2007 1:28 AM  
platitudinal said…
Ronell, I like what you wrote about this ‘ugly’ theme. I appreciate your honesty when you admit you see more ugly people when you are in the bad mood. I see your perspective of the trash bin as a symbol of waste and how it pertains to our life.Thank you for the thoughtful post and the accompanying pictures. You tried to portray ugly, but you couldn’t help bringing some element of beauty in it … like the brilliant red of the trash bag tie, and the lush green foliage that slipped quietly in the corner.
April 13, 2007 4:50 AM  
Brenda Y said…
This post needs to be published! What a wonderful take on “trash to treasure!” You’ve made waste beautiful and given us so much to ponder as far as how our moods effect our outlook. Thanks!
April 13, 2007 6:00 AM  
caseytoussaint said…
I thoroughly agree with everyone’s comments – this is a wonderful post, and you’ve made charming drawings out of a rather un-lovely object. I just love the touch of color. Beautiful work, Ronell.
April 13, 2007 8:16 AM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for the comments, everyone.
While I was doing this post, I thought how I would enjoy doing more “important”(by lack of better description) art, not pretty pictures, but art that touches, rises questions, thoughts, discussion, even controversy…but to do that, you have to be brave and a bit careless, I think, not worrying about hurting feelings all the time, like I do!
I am working on that though, searching for how I can say something important with my brush…
April 13, 2007 8:23 AM  
Deb Salter said…
I really liked your thoughts on ‘ugly’! And your drawings are amazing, I hope it doesn’t spoil it, but they’re really attractive bins!
April 13, 2007 2:10 PM  
Anonymous said…
Hello. These are incredible, great obervation and take on the challenge!
April 13, 2007 3:46 PM  
bec said…
I so agree with your ideas about this challenge–I’m having such a hard time finding something “ugly” to draw. Your trash cans are beautiful!
April 13, 2007 5:16 PM  
Silvia said…
Really wonderful idea on “something ugly”. :)!!
April 13, 2007 9:13 PM  
MrsSnowy said…
You get no points for Ugly because, as has been noted, you’ve made your trash cans beautiful! I love that tone and the character in your lines! You do get a star though, for a great post. 🙂
April 14, 2007 6:44 PM  
SCquiltaddict said…
TOOO funny and what a great job with a great idea!
April 15, 2007 1:30 AM  
nita said…
Great interpretation of the theme and excellent sketches for the limited time allocation. Love those little hints of colour.
April 15, 2007 5:35 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for all the kind comments.
April 15, 2007 6:04 PM  
phthaloblu said…
Nice choice for the theme. I, too, hate wastefulness of any kind, and I think it’s worse when you can SEE it. 5 minutes? Wow, I am amazed what can be achieved in that amount of time. Well done!
April 16, 2007 4:23 AM  
Teri C said…
it’s perfect for ugly and sooooo well done.Love your little quick sketches also.