Landscape sketches..catching October colour.

I am in the mood to do landscape paintings in watercolour, which is a challenge for me, because I paint corners of landscapes, not full, wide scapes. so I set off this week with a collection of sketchbooks in different sizes and pages and a whole arm full of mediums and I  went sketching. I just sketched. Again and again. Some little sketches are awful, others not too bad. I do find it difficult, so I still have a lot of sketching landscapes to do. So. Voiilà. A few of my landscape sketches. In a next post I will show some more and embroider with more détail on my experiences.

les fardines

landscape study 1

I did this sketch at the bottom, after I decided that I didn’t like the one I did above. Then I liked this one even less. but by this time I was fairly tired, so I think the mood and energy to do a decent little sketch, left me.

landscape study 2

At home, I just scribbled a few things around me, while we were at the barbecue. they wer done in graphite and a little charcoal here abd tghere.

Graphite, charcoal sketches 2 Graphite, charcoal sketches à bientôt


September 8: Selfportrait.

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)

selfportrait 2013 07-09-2013 19-09-17 2220x2773

à demain



Still life with copper pots.

With this second attempt at an aquarelle still life, I didn’t  to set it up the still life. I only painted what was in front of me, which was my copper pots filled with brushes and other art stuff. I moved the objects a little to avoid “kissing” and to bring them a little closer. the apple that rolled to the side, was left as it found its place and I was very chuffed with it!It might be overcrowded for some, but I rather like the idea…in any case  more than a composed and deliberate still life. Maybe it is a mirror of my life…anything BUT composed and deliberate!

… stil life with copper pots… watercolor and graphite on Fabriano paper  CP 30.5×45.5cm…

…and a close up of my strokes and layers. I still feel I overworked it and could’ve let go of the brush much sooner..

Koi studies and painting in oil.

I finally completed one koi painting in oil. But before that, I did some more studies in different mediums. I didn’t really enjoy these koi studies as I should have. I felt a bit like ” eating strawberries in the mid winter” and so I feel out of season with the koi paintings and it influenced the “taste”. But I’m happy that I stuck to it and completed at least one painting. I definitely plan to go to the koi farm in summer, where I can seat myself for a day and really get to work on some series.

..koi, oil on linen, 61x37cm

In  step 1, using terpentineI put down thin washes of burnt sienna for the fish shapes and a thin wash of paynes gray and french ultramarine for the background/water.

.…step 1…

In step 2 I added some colour to the fish, cadmium red and yellow to the fish in the foreground and prussian blue to the back fish, to form the shadows. I started using liquin as a medium to have the oi dry quicker, but still have  an oil shine.

…step 2…

In step 3 I darkened the water with a mixture of paynes gray and french ultramarine and softened the shadow marks I made on the yellow fish. this was my first mistake, because I made mud. I left it to dry completely, so I could rework it…the oil was still thin enough to redo without removing the paint.

…step 3…

the last stages was all about adding colour and depth to the fish bodies and depth to the water , while using the same colours I’ve used in the previous steps, with the addition of ochre, raw umber and white.

…koi completed…

When doing the studies for this koi project, I worked mostly from photographs, using about 20 different photos, building my own scenes. I really found it difficult to render the koi in an interesting way. I feel I can do better, which is why I will patiently wait for the koi season to open and I can go and study them in real life.

I also felt that they ask for something a little more abstract or expressive than mere realistic rendering. In the following studies I tried to present them on the page in a little more interesting way. I found it quite exciting and I think I can even push the envelope even further in the expressive domain, which makes me more excited about the series of koi than I was when I started out.

In the meantime, I have a lobster and crab and mussels and oysters and several other shellfish in my freezer, waiting to be sketched and painted and studied. Maybe a new series of sea creatures? So hang around if you’re interested in seeing what will surface – it will be a surprise for me too.

…koi study in charcoal on paper, 22x15cm…

…koi study in graphite on paper, 22x15cm…

…koi study in oil pastel on paper, 22x15cm…

Also posted on Watermarks.

..à bientôt…


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.


Figure drawings

1. We started again with our figure classes last night. We had only one long pose and the goal was to make a “nice” drawing, with only pencil and hatching.

I used pencil 2B and 6B on large format paper, 42×59,4 cm (16,5×23,4″).

2. A previous class: This second drawing was extremely difficult, but it sure openend up the mind. The model would move forward into another position, while one “axe” remained in the previous position. It was sort of like motion drawing. Hard, hard, hard! I consumed a whole baguette when I got home after this class…

Graphite and sanguine on paper, large format

3. A previous class: The slim model with the dog that we’ve had on previous occasions and he lost even more weight, making it very hard to see something to draw.

Graphite on paper, large format

4. A portrait of the model and his dog. I did this when we had 5 minutes left of class. Graphite on paper, large format

5. This is the same model as the first pencil drawing, but on a different occasion where we did a draining million(well almost) quick sketches for two hours. And again I consumed a whole baguette afterwards..

Charcoal on paper, large format.

I give you… Christeen

A fun exchange in emails between Christeen and me a while ago, turned into work in the end! Not that this wasn’t fun. Too much, I would say…I actually attempted three paintings! But it sure was difficult…I was very worried about not doing justice to her beauty and wonderful character. She assured me though it is about the process, and not the end result(for this time, I’ll believe it, although I would normally believe that the result does carry quite a bit of weight too!)
She also sent me a picture of her and her brother at four years, which I’ll attempt a bit later. By her own words, she now once again has the playfulness, enthusiasm and humor she had when she was four and that was what I tried to capture. I can see it so obviously in her face, but capturing it, is another thing. She has these amazingly long eyelashes behind which she carries the sparkles of mischief, a mouth full and round with humor, and hair, wild like a free roaming lioness. See Christeen’s excellent take on this!!…. as well as the original image here
So, here I give you Christeen… graphite on paper; then watercolor on Arches and last, oil on linen.






shirley said…
All absolutely wonderful! What a huge project….
May 6, 2007 4:21 PM  
Christeen said…
Ronell, you are one amazingly talented woman!! Holy smokes! These are awesome!
May 6, 2007 4:22 PM  
Dave said…
Ooh, these are all good. I think the graphite one is my favourite. No, perhaps it’s the oil. Although now I come to look at the watercolour again…
May 6, 2007 4:29 PM  
caseytoussaint said…
Wow, Ronell, these are great! My favorite is the oil – it ‘s so full of life.
May 6, 2007 5:09 PM  
Lin said…
May 6, 2007 5:35 PM  
Claudia said…
I like the watercolour one the most! Wonderful work, all three are superb!
May 6, 2007 5:44 PM  
Nina Johansson said…
hese are just lovely! Incredibly good, you captured Christeen perfectly!
May 6, 2007 7:01 PM  
martín said…
Ronell, I absolutely agree with Christeen, you´re amanzingly talented!!! I can’t say I have a favourite, I can’t decide since I like the three of them very much. Each one has its own character. GREAT JOB!!!
May 6, 2007 7:45 PM  
Sarah said…
Amazing paintings – isn’t it interesting how the different media seem to emphasise different aspects – they’re all alive and vital, but the watercolour shows a more reflective person, the oil brings that hint of mischief out more and in the charcoal drawing she looks more curious, almost about to challenge someone (I should say – that’s how they look to me anyway)
May 6, 2007 8:45 PM  
SCquiltaddict said…
Ronell THese are just super…they got better and better as i scrolled down the page…cant decide WHICH is my favorite…they are all MAGNIFICIENT!!
May 6, 2007 9:19 PM  
Cathy (Kate) Johnson said…
Oh, Ronell, your charcoal is GORGEOUS, and so is Christeen!
May 6, 2007 9:21 PM  
Cathy (Kate) Johnson said…
Ooops, graphite! You did such a rich, deep job with it I just assumed it was charcoal!Read ALL the words, Kate…*G*
May 6, 2007 9:23 PM  
Silvia said…
All of the portraits are wonderful :), but I think I like the second one even best :))!
May 6, 2007 9:58 PM  
Kristin Saegaert said…
Wow! I think I like the graphite the best, but with your amazing talent it’s really hard to commit to that!!! Thanks for sharing your art with us!
May 7, 2007 12:42 AM  
Shelly McC said…
Stunning painting!
May 7, 2007 1:49 AM  
Kay Cox said…
Ronell, these are just beautiful. I aspire to be able to paint like you someday. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely work. Lucky Christeen!
May 7, 2007 2:23 AM  
bec said…
What a fun project! My favorite is the watercolor… nice play of light on the subject. Did Christeen draw you?
May 7, 2007 2:35 AM  
Robin Neudorfer said…
I love the graphite drawing. So spontaneous. What a fun project
May 7, 2007 2:49 AM  
Nancy said…
I love the graphite drawing and keep gong back to it (your model is beautiful by the way). I love to look at your site – I leave feeling inspired.
May 7, 2007 4:12 AM  
Serena said…
These are awesome! I think my favourite is the graphite. 🙂
May 7, 2007 9:08 AM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for all the comments -Sarah…thank you for being so’re spot on! I’m so glad you did see a littel of what I tried to do…see down below.Nancy: Yes I had a beautiful model to work with!Bec: and Christeen does have a snapshot of me, so when she has time, she’ll do one too.note: This was a very intimidating experience for me….doing a painting of someone you don’t know or haven’t met face to face, and in a weird sense is actually a friend(like you all would agree, I’m sure) and all you have to work with is a photograph – you haven’t seen some personal mannerisms, like how her mouth moves when she smiles, how she crinkles her nose, how she plays with a string of hair, how the light in her eye changes…anything that can give you an idea of something more than physical…. Normally I would’ve preferred to have Christeen’s face say something more than just displaying rendition, tell more of a story, but I didn’t feel confident enough to do that. Who knows, maybe our paths might cross and then I’ll redo these.

May 7, 2007 9:15 AM  
Regula Scheifele said…
So I’m going to chime in and say how much I admire your work and your courage as well… I couldn’t say which one I like the most, since they all have a different feeling to them, like showing different aspects of Christeen’s personality? – Would be interesting to know which one she thinks portrays her best?
May 7, 2007 9:29 AM  
Ujwala said…
all three are wonderful but the oil is my favourite 😛 sounds like a fun project and i hope we can see christeen’s work too.
May 7, 2007 12:14 PM  
Tonniece said…
May 7, 2007 12:35 PM  
Sandy said…
WOW – big WOW you are a master (bowing down before you)
May 7, 2007 3:52 PM  
Robyn said…
I love the graphite one, Ronell. it looks so spontaneous and very much from life. That, I find, is terribly difficult to achieve from a photo which usually lends itself to a more formal portrait. You are very clever – I’m so in awe of the oil too!
May 7, 2007 6:30 PM  
Fanta said…
I like the first one best, maybe because I love graphite, maybe because you truly did capture the child in her expression.
The last one truly looks like a lioness, even the twirls in the background resemble the presence of a lioness! Awesome!
May 7, 2007 9:49 PM  
platitudinal said…
Truly amazing work. You’re not only attempting a likeness of her, but also her essence. That’s very difficult to capture, and yet you did. I think each medium emphasize more of certain characteristic, but all and all they’re all there. Superb job, Ronell.
May 7, 2007 10:02 PM  
Carole said…
Well done – these are stunning! It’s so interesting seeing them done in three different media, and noticing how each gives a different feel. My favourite has to be the oil painting because I am such a huge fan of your luscious way with oils. Oh, to be able to paint like that!
May 7, 2007 11:16 PM  
Anonymous said…
Hello I cant tell you how much your work has inspired me to practice daily and hope that someday I also will be able to turn out wonderful works of art. You are a wonderful artist and I thank-you for letting us see your work hear.
May 8, 2007 12:49 AM  
mARTa said…
wow! how different they all are yet how smashing! Your blog is always a joy to the viewer!
May 8, 2007 2:13 AM  
Renate said…
Wonderful. They all have there own charm. I love the eyes from the graphite one, but my favorite is the one in oil.
May 8, 2007 8:50 AM  
wagonized said…
It is hard to tell which one strikes me the most — as each of them stresses something different about Christeen. Love her hair in the graphite one.
Thank you, Ronell, for your comments on my funk of the past few days. Your words, which i found on Suzanne’s blog, have stuck in my head ever since i read them. Yesterday, i just showed up at the page… 🙂
May 8, 2007 4:03 PM  
Christeen said…
I keep coming back to marvel at these. I’ve never seen a drawing or painting of myself before, and I enjoy them SO much!Your graphite drawing really captures how my hair feels to me- men have lost watches in it! It can be incridibly difficult to coerce into submission!I love the loose, fresh approach in the watercolor. You’ve made the light SO beautiful- I feel like I’m outside, just looking at it. I am also impressed with how you kept the line of my nosering thin and delicate in the midst of those wonderful washes of color. You’ve got my squint wonderfully.And the oil- wow. The brushstrokes are really lively. Thje background supports your lionine take on my hair, and suggests wind tossing it around (and it was VERY windy the day I took that shot). The colors are luscious. The colors you’ve used for my skin are particularly impressive to me.So, all that said, thank you SO much for applying your creative talents to this swap of photos! You’ve inspired and impressed me, and I’m so glad we gave it a try.

May 8, 2007 7:56 PM  
andrea joseph’s sketchblog said…
Great work Ronell – not just this post throughout your blog. These are great, I think I like the pencil one the best.
May 9, 2007 1:10 AM  
aPugsLife-laserone said…
These are really fantastic! You’re so talented. 😀
May 9, 2007 6:37 AM  
E-J said…
You’ve been so busy! You and Christeen have really taken this challenge by the horns. I think the oil is especially good.
ay 9, 2007 1:52 PM  
Linda said…
These are all great! Christeen’s painting of you is wonderful, too — you two are cooking up some fun stuff! 🙂
May 11, 2007 4:18 AM  
Anonymous said…
Come across to your blog and loved it. I will return.
May 11, 2007 2:40 PM  
janey said…
These are great, I love the color and texture in the last one.
May 11, 2007 6:15 PM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for all the generous comments!
May 12, 2007 8:26 AM  
phthaloblu said…
What a grand project! I love the graphite the best, but that’s just me. All of them are simply superb.