Meet Madame de Pompadour. While resorting our house, our temporary “bathroom corner” in the barn is fairly rough. Think old wagon wheel rim, huge old zinc tub, old wooden ladder for towels, old white linen for a curtain, 2 old wooden doors attached to another for a screen and an old mirror. And Madame Pompadour. She adds a bit of fantasy and romance to an otherwise rustic, country corner. She stands elegantly next to an old long mirror. It befits her.
I came across this funny gadget in the store the other day. It looked interesting so I bought it. At home I tried it out. I read the instructions. It sounded easy enough and harmless. When I stepped onto it, a few numbers started running in a large display window. When I stepped off, the numbers disappeared. I checked the instructions again. Apparently those numbers tell you your weight. I know I am very light. So I started thinking this thing must be broken, cause those numbers didn’t make sense. I took off my shoes, because shoes are heavy which may have explained those numbers. The numbers didn’t move. I stepped off again and took off all my clothes. I know fabric is quite heavy too. Mince! Those darn numbers! This was starting to get tiring; all the stepping on, stepping off-business and my back started hurting from standing and from holding my breath. So I pulled closer a chair. Placed it behind this thing. Made myself comfortable and put my feet on the gadget a foot on either side of the display window. And there you go, it worked! I knew I was light! This is a great gadget! The instructions just have to be corrected. I’ll write a letter.
..Step on , step off..
watercolour and nib pen with J; Herbin ink in Daler Rowney sketchbook, 21X29.7cm
I find labels fascinating. So much so that you will often find me in the alcohol section of the supermarket. That is where the most interesting labels are to be found. I don’t even drink alcohol, except for my glass of red wine in winter or rosé wine in summer and champagne when I feel chic. I can spend a whole morning in the alcohol aisle scanning top to bottom, browsing the beautiful bottles and the labels, like you would books in a bookstore and yes, I do sometimes succumb to buying a bottle of “I don’t know what‘ just because of the label. Especially the beer bottles. The labels are fantastic! When I am asked to buy beer, I always choose the bottles with the prettiest label, irrespective of instructions as to which brand I should buy. After all, isn’t it good to test new grounds?Then it turns out at home to be the most awful beer. As if I care, I don’t drink it! Now I am not asked to buy beer any more.
..2014 Mille et une pierre rosé wine from our area..
watercolour and J. Herbin inks in Daler rowney sketchbook, 21X29.7 cm
I first considered sketching my seductive love handles in a mirror and I even started, but in fear of having my grotesque image become viral on internet, I thought the better of it. So I stuck to an ordinary door handle. On the stable door. Our 2 year old filly loves this handle and discovered that it is a great scratching tool for her nozzle and head and everything which can reach so far. She also discovered that she can open it. She fits her nose right under the latch and with a quick swift she lifts and pushes at the same time, making the door swing backwards. And then of course she just casually steps out as if this is normal everyday routine and hits the road. Fortunately the door has swollen now from all the rain and gets stuck at the bottom. She couldn’t yet figure that one out. To her utter dismay, I might add.
..Dumêla and the stable door handle..
watercolour and nib pen and J. Herbin inks in Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook, 22.9×15.2 cm
à demain avec “something with an interesting label”.
Whenever we receive one of these official “Republique Francaise” envelopes, proudly printed with la Liberté Egalité Fraternité, my stomach turns a knot. Even though I love la Republique and la liberté it stands for! But these envelopes always mean trouble. Or most of the time at least. It is either taxes coming your way…and who doesn’t hate/fear those? Or it is something you did which you shouldn’t have done. Like speeding or some other infraction. And so we received one of these proud, but dreaded envelopes a while back. In its usual, very formal and polite but nonetheless slighly accusing tone, it stated that the driver of the vehicle.. bla bla bla….bla bla bla.. ran a red light. That of course meant mon chéri. I started on my tantrum, throwing my hands up at this obscene amount we now have to pay and en plus...lose 4 points on the driving permit for a whole year! Zut!! I, being perfect and all, started lecturing mon chéri about responsible driving, paying attention to the signs and manners of the road. Until he frowned and pointed to the date. Zut!! He was in the States on that date! It meant he was far from that red light. It meant that I was the one who ran this red light. But that is of course impossible. I mean, really… being perfect and all, me? Oh c’mon….impossible!
nib pen and J. Herbin inks in Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook, 22.9×15.2 cm
I still have 2 days left to capture some bulbs. Not that it means we are in spring. On the contrary, with snow forecasts for this weekend en cold to the bone weather and the fire burning high in the fireplace, it is everything but spring. Inside my barn though, I have forced bulbs everywhere and tulips in vases. Nothing can stop me from bringing some spring inside.
I used lots of different mediums and styles, just simply playing around, messing around. I enjoy working with gouache, I don’t do that enough, so it was great to do some sketches with gouache today. the last image is one of the gouache sketches..but I ruined it of course with that enormous name I signed…tried to be too artistic…
..contour lines with black Lamy safari pen on Fabraino watercolor block HP, 18×25.5cm
..watercolor and J. Herbin ink, café des iles in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, Epsilon series, 14×21.6cm
..watercolor and in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, Alpha series, 22.9x15cm
..gouache and black Lamy safari pen on Fabriano watercolor block, HP, 18X25cm
I am a lazy person. There you have it. My biggest secret revealed. If I don’t have deadlines and projects and goals, I fall in a slumber of doing less and less and less until I start enjoying doing less. In summer that can happen very easily with the holidays and lazy summer days, lingering by the pool…. So I decided to do some regular August sketching and get back to those sketches I haven’t done for months, years even. No summer laziness for me then, but pens and inks and aquarelle en all these new sketchbooks I’ve ordered and papers waiting to be turned into sketchbooks.
I use the rotring art pen quite a bit, and the ink allows me to add a little water(not too much) to bleed the lines. See the little sketch of the ink bottle below which was done with a rotring artpen.
I also love drawing with inks and especially J. Herbin and Sennelier inks. They are good inks, easy to find and much cheaper than ordering inks from other countries, just for the sake of having inks.
…See, the pens are waiting!…pen and J .Herbin ink, “Café des isles”
My palettes are organized and ready in waiting, mostly comprised of Sennelier and Winsor & Newton watercolor in tubes and pans. The palettes still need more cleaning, but you will never see perfectly clean around my art table..it confuses me completely and I can’t work…too afraid I’ll make mess!
Color chart of all the colors in my palettes. Sometimes I get confused and start using one color thinking it is another, especially if they are close in hue, so it is good to arrange and make sure the right colors are in their right places.
I use about 40 – 45 colors in the larger palette. .which stays at home. Not that I use all the colors every time of course. My tiny travel kit, which I have been using for years now, take about 16 colors which is just perfect.
Colors for my smaller palette…still deciding between some blues and yellows, but I’ll get there. I feel like change sometimes..
In a later post I will cover my use of color and palettes, the inks I love, the pens, pencils…all very simple. I am by far not so prolific and efficient as the urban sketchers or other daily sketchers out there. But more later in the month…this is just to get me started for the month of August.
So until tomorrow…sleep well!