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Mood in a flame

After having glorious days last week, the rain settled back in yesterday, with a daring chill after the warmth of those perfect days. That drove me to a long, luxurious bath last night. As I watched my candle’s flame flickering mysterious images against the wall, I thought I’d post a drawing of this mood in a candle…

Ink and wash on Arches water color paper.

I made so many mistakes in this one – once again misjudged the size of my paper, tried to correct an off-centre line by putting in more line, thus accentuating the problem(left side above), keep on fiddling with the flame so it became completely without ambiance, and left too few “lost edges” by continuing coming back and doing more lines. The learning process is an uphill journey all the time….


SCquiltaddict said…
LOVELY JOB …sweet candlestick…
March 18, 2007 6:53 PM  
Sandy said…
Maybe you had problems with is flame but I love the cherub and the overall structure and depth you achieved (yes we are all on the same journey uphill 😉
March 18, 2007 7:20 PM  
phthaloblu said…
So beautiful! And I think the flame just adds a mysterious prescence to the overall piece. I love it!
March 19, 2007 2:41 AM  
Emma Pod said…
The cherub candlestick is exquisite! Great job. And all of your vine drawings/paintings are beautiful. This is my first visit to your blog – lovely! Thanks for visiting mine.
March 19, 2007 3:16 AM  
aPugsLife-laserone said…
This is realy beautiful. 🙂
March 19, 2007 8:22 AM  
Lin said…
This is incredibly beautiful! Such wonderful shading!
March 19, 2007 12:00 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you everybody for visiting, I appreciate all your comments!

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.

Airport people

Being back in France for 3 days after a holiday of almost 3 weeks, leaves me a bit off balance. I’m in slow motion and struggle to pick up the pace. I think my spirit is still lingering in the sun somewhere in the Cape, South Africa. I feel inspired, but at the same time, sad. Having had the most glorious time with friends and family, being spoilt rotten…it is hard to be back and just pick up where we left off 3 weeks ago.
I did do a lot of sketching, took close to a 2000 photographs, soaked up the sun in the vineyards by picking grapes(and sketching and eating and taking pictures, all at the same time) and had close conversation with some elephants (all in good spirit…!), heard a lot of good life stories filled with great humor, ate a lot, drank a lot(I was in the wine lands after all…), laughed a lot, in fact indulged way too much in everything of all sorts, which is a good thing every now and then, no?I’ll post some sketches in batches, starting off with CdG- airport, where we had to change planes because of a technical problem and could therefore only depart 3 hours later. So, here are some sketches of people wandering around…waiting, watching the clock, reading, chatting on their mobile phones, some extremely bored, others not showing any emotion….strangely enough, I couldn’t find anyone sleeping…maybe in fear of being left behind?

I’m still not comfortable sketching people in public….I still have a lot of practicing to do, before I’ll feel competent and at ease doing people in public, but I do enjoy it once it is done, until the next time! These were all done in the small moleskine, which I sometimes find a bit restricting.

So, here they are – all those waiting people at the airport…….








E-J said…
Hello – there are some lovely sketches on your blog! I wish I had such lightness of touch when sketching with watercolour. Bookmarking you. 🙂
March 9, 2007 7:00 PM  
Deborah said…
These sketches of the people are wonderful. The gestures are great. Can’t wait to see more from your trip.
March 10, 2007 1:42 AM  
caseytoussaint said…
Hi Ronell – great sketches! I’m thrilled to see you getting addicted to drawing people in public too, shall we go on some sketchcrawls? The nice weather is coming too…..
March 10, 2007 10:16 AM  
phthaloblu said…
These are wonderful sketches, and the washes look great. I’m curious, did you do the washes while you were sketching, or after you were home? Well done!
March 10, 2007 6:31 PM  
gabi campanario said…
hi ronell,
these are great, the person talking on the phone is my favorite. looking forward to seeing more!
March 11, 2007 5:57 AM  
Africantapestry said…
HiThank you for your kind comments on my blog.To answer your question, phtalobu, ….It depends. The drawings at the airport didn’t have any specific light or color that I wanted to capture, it was more just gestural, so I just washed them later, no specific order. I actually considered leaving them as pen sketches, but then started putting a wash in on one and liked it…I enjoy color, what can I say! With some sketches, I’d like to capture shadows or light, and then I would do it there on the spot. I carry a small watercolor and 2 waterbrushes with me. And then sometimes I would do a sketch, and would just make notes on the colors or shadows or light and do the washes later, but not too long afterwards, or else I forget!! (Or even become too lazy…hehe!

March 11, 2007 7:14 PM  
Jana Bouc said…
Wonderful sketches. I love the painting on the upper right of your site. Is that a self portrait? It’s so expressive and charming.
March 12, 2007 3:56 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you Jana…yes, it is kind of a self portrait – oil on canvas..
March 13, 2007 8:31 AM  
Renate said…
Lovely sketches. I can’t see that you did not feel comfortable doing them.
March 13, 2007 11:39 PM  
martha said…
These are wonderful! Airports are indeed great for people sketching.
March 14, 2007 3:28 AM  
andrea joseph’s sketchblog said…
Great studies.

Something tart

The Cape gooseberry(Physalis) is one of my favorite fruits..I love the delicacy of the leaves , transparent, like the wings of a butterfly. The berry itself is quite insignificant in taste, rather tart. Back in SA, I had a friend who grew them on her farm and we would pick armsful, stuff ourselves along the way and return home to make jams and chutneys and whatever else we could think of. For decoration, they are wonderful and just kissed with a touch of gold leaf, they can turn any dessert into a visual delight.I first sketched sort of a thumbnail in my sketchbook(the second drawing); just playing around with composition and color and values etc, and then did a more complete one, which of course, completely turned out overworked and stiff with no visual interest. This happens far more than I would like…too often my planning looks so much better than my final attempt, when”Thinking” comes into play then, it seems




Jana Bouc said…
Great stuff on your blog. You have a wonderful and lively sense of composition. Your sketches are great–so expressive and your watercolors are just delightful. I’m so glad you commented on my blog leading me to your site. I’ll be back!
February 13, 2007 4:40 PM  
Renate said…
Gorgeous paintings! Though I really like both versions, I prefer the more sketchy one. (aka the one you did first).
Oh, and have a great time!
February 13, 2007 5:03 PM  
ksklein said…
i couldn´t decide between the two. i like them both. the physalis is also called Lampionfrucht here in germany. that means lampion fruit. 🙂
February 13, 2007 8:04 PM  
Casey said…
I like them both, Ronell, but I think I prefer the quick sketch as well. It’s hard to reproduce that spontaneity in a second try!
February 13, 2007 9:05 PM  
aPugsLife said…
Very nice! Have u ever seen this photo of a Physalis?
Physalis and drops
It was very popular on flickr, and one of my fav. photos. 🙂
February 14, 2007 12:03 PM  
gabi campanario said…
you’re right, it’s often hard to replicate the spontaneity of a sketch when you set yourself to do a ‘final’. i’m trying to tell myself everything i draw is a ‘final’ to avoid that. but it’s still hard. great stuff in your blog, have a good trip to SA

Crash Ill. Fr.

 It seems to be hard work to have a cat and even harder to be one!

Graphite on paper


Casey said…
Wow, this is incredible. Did you draw from life or a photograph? I really love it.
February 12, 2007 5:57 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Hi Casey, this was done a while ago, when Tokala was still a kitten, maybe a little over a year ago? They were asleep on the couch and I had ample time to indulge. I dug it up yesterday when the “Crash” assignment came up and did rework it a bit..making the values more distinct/darker, using 9B Monolith. Thanks for your nice comment!
February 13, 2007 9:26 AM  
Sandy said…
This is beautiful Ronell.I just noticed you linked me..thank you so much.

Ink sketches – people

We went to Andorra for a week of snow and ski recently. No skiing though, since there wasn’t any snow except for that made by snow canons. The girls did ski, but H(love of my life) and I passed on that one, so we did a lot of other sightseeing. One thing we did frequently, was going to the sportcentre where H could make use of WiFi available. It may sound like he is a workaholic, but he is as passionate about what he does in life as I am about doing my art. He loves his job, so his computer and notebook and pen and paper go with him, like my stuff travels with me. So, while he “WiFis and calculates and designs, I draw and write and read and watch the world go by and of course, we enjoy a cuppachino or two. The spoet centre was a great place – a big complex with indoor pools, ice skating rink, tennis courts…and a cafeteria. I did these drawings while having our coffee. The first sketch is the “food corner” in the house we stayed in.



Cavalera said…
very nice sketches, keep up the good work
February 8, 2007 8:32 PM  
ksklein said…
hey, these sketches are great.
February 8, 2007 9:10 PM  
Casey said…
what a great window onto your vacation! Much more fun than photos. Nice, Ronell.
February 8, 2007 9:45 PM  
aPugsLife said…
I really like these! 🙂
February 10, 2007 4:51 AM  
andrea joseph’s sketchblog said…
These are really great – and I especially love the top one!