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
One of my favorite paces to lunge for my sketchbook, is in Cafe Douceur in Beaulieu sur Dordogne. Such a welcoming lieu, you keep drinking coffee just to have an excuse to linger longer.
coffee corner in Cafe Douceur
Ink and a wash in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, 14X22cm
Coffee at Voyageurs
Pen and watercolour in Stillman & birn sketchbook, 14X22cm
Sketching faces in St Céré
Pen and watercolour washes in moleskine, 22X14cm
I had the opportunity to sit down for a coffee today on the terrace and had some men close-by to sketch. Some people don’t mind to be sketched, but the majority feel uncomfortable with being the subject. Fortunately today’s subjects were so busy with their own thing, they didn’t notice me who was hiding behind a big plant…sort of. I am very rusty on sketching people…there was a time I did it almost every day and now it happens once a year, for exactly the reason I mentioned…getting rebuked by people who don’t want the attention. Nonetheless..I present to you…the three men.all done in moleskin book(which is a little too light for my watery brushstrokes and the colour bled through to the back of the page. I don’t mind bucking pages, but I fiercely dislike colour going seeping through the paper.
pen and watercolour washes in moleskine, 22.5X13.5cm
For figurative oil paintings, I use my people sketches for references. Sitting in a café, trying to hide behind a coffee and sketching with subtlety, is always difficult for me. I always feel like intruding, so I really try hard to be quick and get it over with.
The following sketches were all done in Stillman and Birn sketchbook, alpha series, with a Prera fountain pen. Here and there I have added some touches of watercolour(the lunch which was first done in pencil, then the watercolour and then the pen lines were added) and with some I just added slight water touches to bleed the ink.
..enjoying a lunch at Café douceur..
…Two ladies at the coffee counter…
..a soloist performing away(I am very excited about the figurative oil painting from this one)
..a few more faces..
I had no idea what to draw or paint today. If I weren’t so committed to my September project, I would’ve been on the couch, watching a movie. It is raining, it is cold and it is Sunday. On the best of Sundays, I feel blue and foul mooded. Today was no exception. The drawing says it all.
graphite on drawing paper (49,7x42cm)
I am itching to move outdoors and go paint, sketch, draw. Why? Simple. Because I feel inspired. I can only be on the couch in front of the fireplace for so long and then I tire of having it good. I need some difficulty, like going out and sticking it out in the cold, feeling my fingers go numb, but persevering in finishing a painting or sketch. When surroundings and circumstances are too easy, life becomes difficult too. Luxuries and comfort numbs us – we don’t feel the pulse of life and we don’t hear opportunities knock on our doors.
So. No, not any cold outdoor sketches yet, only some faces done in the comfort of a heated indoor living room! contour drawing is one of my favourite styles of drawing…there are artists out there doing amazing work in contour drawing. I cheated a bit on mine…I lifted my hand now and then and added some more lines, which I probably shouldn’t…the charm of a contour drawing is actually the scarcity in line work. I’m looking forward to so some life drawings in contour.
…drawing faces in contour..
..pen on Canson drawing paper, 13.5 x21 cm..
With the rain falling non-stop for this whole week, I just couldn’t get to go painting the poppies in the fields like I’ve been burning to do! And now I fear by the time the rains tops, there will be no poppies left! Well, at least we have bistros with some faces to sketch…
Sketches done in rotring pen in moleskine
…faces, instead of poppies…