When we drove into Paris last week and arrived at Porte d’Italie, I could feel it has been a long time since I have been there. I forgot the traffic, I forgot the speed, I forgot the taxis, the motos…but I haven’t forgotten how much I enjoy going in to Paris. I didn’t do any museums. The weather was perfect and I just wandered the streets, took in the summer ambiance…and I did some sketches of which only one or two were completed, the rest will be finished next time I get to Paris.
Paris 1: The ever recognizable presse kiosks of PAris. this one is in the tree lined Blvd St. Germain.
Paris 2: Resting in the shade by la fontaine Sulpice, just opposite Annick Goutal, where I get my favorite perfume, Eau du sud.
Paris 3: I can’t remember where I did this sketch, since I haven’t noted down anything. I could be somewhere where I stopped for a coffee.
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
Below are two sketches I did from the car. I don’t often sketch from inside the car…somehow I am uncomfortable and the window is in my way. But I suppose everything just need to be done regularly and it will become habit. In bad weather it definitely is an advantage to sketch from inside the car.
..parked cars in Beaulieu sur Dordogne..
pencil and watercolor in Daler & rowney sketchbook, A5
..hotel in Beaulieu sur dordogne..
pencil and watercolour in Sketchbook, A4
à la prochaine
Right opposite my physiotherapist are some interesting houses in Beaulieu sur dordogne. I arrived early for the previous sessions and did these 2 sketches of the same street from opposite directions on different days. One of my goals is to move towards change in my sketching; my subjects, the way I approach it and the way I do it. In a next post I will lay it out in more detail. For the moment then, these 2 sketches: the same street, different angle and different approach.
..Street view 1 south..
watercolour and prera pilot pen in moleskine aquarelle sketchbook 21x13cm.
..Street view north..
watercolour and rotring tikka pen(0.1) Daler & Roney sketchook, 21X14.9cm
I tried a different technique for each one. The view north is similar to how I paint in oils .more impressionistic if you will. The view south is more true to my original way of watercolour washes. In both instances I wanted to keep the sketch loose and light. I also tried to complete a sketch under 45 minutes and I succeeded in doing the top sketch in about 30 minutes and the bottom one in about 40 minutes.
My artist friend Sarah visited and we visited les jardins Marquessac.I am totally inspired to finish my garden here at Coin Perdu, not to mention painting! I worked in different sketchbooks and I am considering going back to Moleskine, all three sizes.
..a sketch done in Beaulieu while waiting for my physiotherapy appointment..
pencil, pilot prera pen and aquarelle in LANA watercolour sketchbook, 14x22cm(this is a lovely sketchbook with 300g paper, 25 pages and a great size, with the only drawback being the spiral back.)
watercolour in Daler & Rowney Ebony sketchbook, 14.9X21 cm(this paper still buckles a lot with washes, but it is not too disturbing. I like the hardback so it makes working across 2 pages quite easy.)
watercolour and prera pen in Daler & Rowney graduate sketchbook,22X14.9cm(this is suitable only for drawing…a nightmare for washes..but it was all I had in my bag.)
watercolour and prera pen in Daler & Rowney Ebony sketchbook, 14.9X21 cm
I am struggling enormously with my sketching lately. The whole process of art doing in my atelier is actually on the struggle. My art has taken a dive for the worse, but hopefully it will resurface with vigor soon. In the meantime I just follow the giant Nike’s advice: “Don’t think, just do it”. All in all, I felt better after doing these sketches.
All sketches done in the Stillman & Birn, Epsilon series, 14×21.6cm with watercolor and pilot prera pen.
I sat in the square in Beaulieu, first doing the Wednesday morning market and afterwards the view down the street.
I also did some people sketches while having a coffee. I find I have lately been moving into feathering again when drawing and I absolutely hate feathering. It always happens to me when I feel insecure in my art making. What I call feathering : I don’t draw a line in one go, I feather- feather in the direction I want a line to go, a lot of fiddling with shape and line…awful! It was good to get back into one line drawing, or rather sketching, by doing these people. they are wonky, but I feel good about the line work. More and more people don’t want to be the object of observation and I really try to respect that by being so discreet and unobtrusive as possible, making my observation a somewhat off the mark. I have to train my eye again to get to that discreet-drawing-level.
I have been asked so many times how I do my splashes and after another request from Sophia, I thought I could do a pôst to explain how I splash ans splotch. have forever been doing splashes in my watercolor paintings and sketches. I paint and sketch with a big brush and loads of pigment and water and the splashes almost happen all by itself on my page. There are times though that I use splashes to emphasize or create a certain effect or atmosphere. It all depends on the sketch or painting. I notice that it has become very fashionable in the sketching world to use splashes which is great. But sometimes a sketch can look out of sorts with splashes, which either don’t fit the style of painting or the subject doesn’t ask for splashes, and so it appears on sketches just because it is fashionable. I love my splashes, but I don’t use them every time and with every subject. I would like to see that watercolor work show more discretion when using splashes, before it ruins an already perfect watercolour painting or sketch.
Old french bowls 1…without any splashes. This sketch was done using watercolor, watercolorpencils and white gouache. I overworked the sketch somewhat, so the bottom bowl started losing its shape.
Old french bowls 3, with blue splotches and 1 red splash which I added simply to “accompany” my signing). I used only watercolour and pen for this sketch
Old french bowls 4, with brown spatters on the right side, dark red splotches at the bottom and 1 lilac splash(for my name). In my opinion, on this sketch, less spattering or even none would have been fine, I added the spatters etc for demonstration.
When working in watercolor, I use only one brush, usually my Rosemary sable 12. My splashes are done right at the end with the same brush. Depending on the subject and the atmosphere I want to add to my sketch/painting, I choose from 3 different types of splashes. I call them for my own use, splashes, splotches and spatters.
*Splotches are the small, smaller then the splashes, but bigger, but bigger than the small spatters. To get these dropletys, I load my brush a fair amount of water and colour and hold the brush up straight while I shake the brush in quick upward and downward movements to release the droplets.
*Spatters are those tiny droplets that sometime happen a line or a curve. I get them by loading my brush with not too much water and then flick my finger on the brush to spatter the colour, which most of the time, are small droplets which end up in a line on the paper.
Splashes are the large round drops dropped from a high distance above the paper. I fill the brush with color and water, stand up over the paper to keep my eye on the spot I want to drop a splash and press the brush at the tip to form a drop which splashes on the paper.
To illustrate some of my splashes and splotches etc, here are some of my previous work.
Two Siberian iris sketches – Left: Only 2 big splashes. The line work and minimalist appearance of the sketch doesn’t welcome tiny spatters of colour, it would only distract. Right: The more loose watery interpretation allows for some large splashes as well as some spattering. It adds to a frivolous interpretation and could suggest picking of the irises, blowing in the wind, petals falling…movement.
Some more examples of where splashes work and where not:
In the bottom sketch, splashes don’t belong..it is already a very busy sketch with lots of information.
The sunflower just asks for some splattering…suggesting bees working, pollen blowing in the wind, petals falling off… movement.In the sketch below, I used only a green splash and blue splotches to suggest sky and leaves and I like the effect of stark lines with the contrasting wild bursts of colour.
I hope this explained a bit my thinking and use of splashes, splotches and spatters.
Until next time