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.
I’ve said this before…if all else fails, paint food. It really works. Whether it is the sensuality of food, or the colours or the health aspect or hunger or satisfaction or all of it together…painting food is a delight. It has been so for ages as you will see further down below. I had some poivrons cornes de boeuf and some pak choy. Both greens which is good practice in the greens once again.
…Sketches done in moleskine with rotring pen and watercolour….
When Katherine visited in October, she and her sister and niece came over for dinner on their last night in France. (See both her sites at Travels with a sketchbook and Making a mark – where she has some interesting facts in her latest post on Technorati.)
Apart from the bottle of champagne they brought which we décapitée (beheaded) Napolean style, they brought me this beautiful book too – Boire et Manger, which they bought at Chateau Chenonceau. I have read it from front to back and back to front again. I love symbols and mythology and traditions and of course everything that has to do with food and art and this little book has it all.
It is all about the traditions and symbols showing up in old works of art, throughout the ages; how artists chose to paint certain food and scenes, involving food for their symbolism, to depict the traditions and cultures and habits – in short, life during their time.
I want to share some of it with you. Different examples can be seen at Myfrenchkitchen.
…BOIRE ET MANGER…
.. bacchus adolescente:Le caravage(1596-1597)…
…la chanteuse des rues; édouard manet (1862)…
- One of the first portraits of Victorine Meurent, who was one of Manet’s favourite models until 1875.
- The cherry was a symbol of love, becasue of its deep red colour and round voluptiousness that reminded of the curves of the feminine body.
- All the sensuality in this scenes evolves around the woman bringing the sweet cherries to her mouth.
…la céne: Jacopo Bassano ( 1546-1548)…
Lamb – meaning: sacrificial victim.
- The lamb signifies the sacrifice of Christ.
- A fruit, resembling the apple, signifies the original sin.
- Next to Judas lies the knife, symbol of the treason which would follow.
- With his left hand, Jesus Christ himself points to the lamb which is a symbol of his own sacrifice.
…le jambon: édouard manet (1875-1878)…
Meat ; conserved/dried: ham taken from the porc, signifies gluttony sin.
- French dried ham had a strong international culinary meaning for Manet, because of its ancient gallic imports and long French tradions.
- In the 19th century the ham became a commercial product and thus also made its appearance in the city bourgeoise home after being traditionally country fare.
- In the rich Parisien home the ham would be served on nothing less than silver plattters, giving the ham a “worthiness”.
…scéne de cuisine: Frans Snyders (1630-1640)…
Porc and wild boar: sin of the flesh.
- Frans Snyders was a student of Rubens and specialized in refined commissios, usually overladen scenes of buffet tables with exquisite food.
- The head of the boar was very sought after and seen in this “hunting” painting could be evidence of a commission by some articrat.
- The lobster was already at that stage seen as one for the more rare sea foods, giving it an importance on the refined table.
- The little detail of the dog only sniffing the game, hints on aspects of respect.
- The presence of the artichokes is an indication of the choice of the painter to include only exquisite foods.
Every year I paint these clementines from la Corse. See last year’s sketches at CLementines.
…clementines from Corsica…
The next two sketches were done a while ago. I just sketched some things around me – a container in the living room with brushes and pens and stuff and part of a bookshelf. I try very hard to keep the bookshelf, neat, but I am starting to think we will never have neat bookshelves.
..brushes and pens…
Sketches done in Moleskine with rotring artist pen and water wash.
On Myfrenckitchen, I have posted some photo’s of a vendange in Vouvray that we did in Octobre. Good freinds have a bio vineyard where the harvesting is still done by hand. On one Saturday during the harvest period in October, all their family and friends get together for a day of grape harvesting. It was hard work, but a fun day, with a delicious lunch, many laughs and jokes and a messy grape fight towards the end of the day. I only took photos, because I didn’t want to hide from the work behind my sketchbook! you can see some photo’s here at Pears in red wine and a wine harvest.
With these last few sketches I conclude the reportage on my trip to Hawai’i. Since then, back here at thome, so many things had happened that made my life so full with running around – all good and exciting things! Hopefully I can recount on some of it later – I have already told of Katherine’s delightful visit! And I’m trying my best to get into my atelier to do some “island inspired painting”, for which I still only have the ideas tolling about in my head and nothing on paper or canvas yet… Why does time fly by so quick when we have a lot to do? Why does time fly by so quick when we get older? Why does time fly by so quick when we are happy? Why does time fly by so quick when life is good?
…across the lagoon…
Sketches done in pen and watercolour in moleskine.
Some art work from well known artists from Hawaii:
1. Susan McGovney Hansen: (I can’t find a website of her, but you can try google her)
2. Suzy Papanikolas – who “makes Hawaii’s people come alive” by telling astories with color and canvas.. You can read and see more about her artwork on her website – www.papanik.com
3. Calley O’Neill. See more about her at her website – Calley O’Neill
4. Yvonne cheng, who also does batik. See more about her on Cedar street galleries
You can see some more art pieces here on Myfrenchkitchen: Travel.
This past week Katherine was in Touraine with her sister and niece. First stopping off to visit Monet in Rouen and then Paris and then arrived here in Tours, valley of the chateaux…but why am I telling you all when you can go read it on her Travels with a sketchbook and Making a mark. See links lower down.
…distracted sketches in Tours…
What I can tell you is that it was so great to meet her! Such a fascinating person! With a very real passion for art, for books. A sponge for information. She thrives on researching and gathering information, and sharing it is her way of learning and growing. She confessed that she loves being asked questions, which takes her to digging and researching…so there you go, ask away! She is devoted to sketching which she does with great ease and comfort in remote corners as well as around buzz with lively people and situations. In fact, she thrives on scenes where the challenge to capture people coming and going, results in a scene where the setting is static, but the ambiance is moving and changing. Withing as little as ten – fifteen minutes she can sketch a restaurant scene with tables and chairs and windows, cake and drinks and a traffic of people arriving and leaving, and they all find a place in her scene, the Katherine way. That becomes her unique view.
She’ll capture the skies in order to define the relief of Mont St Michel. Or sitting opposite a boring road, where there is nothing but a line of autumn trees with flaming yellows, soft greens and a dark tunnel and it tuns into a gentle fall scene of serenity. Or how about Chenonceau, where she would seat herself on a corner away from the people traffic, patiently waiting for people, blocking her view, to take their photo, and then shows up with a fairy tale chateau, water reflections and all. Or the gesture of two couples on a park bench, worn down from being tourists, perfectly captured to make you almost feel their fatigue!
By telling you this, it may sound that we did a lot of sketching together, but unfortunately we didn’t even do a single one together! Time passed too fast and too stuffed with things to do. However, I saw her sketchbooks, paged through them again and again and only really saw her art for the first time. The computer screen doesn’t do her sketches justice and seeing her sketch books, was like opening story books! We also did indulge in eating a deliciously light French chocolate mousse cake. We made up for that little sin by lunching on light salads and last night said goodbye over candles with champagne and boeuf bourguignon! I was fortunate to enjoy her sketching the restaurant scene during lunch, while her sister and niece and I saw to the conversation and entertaining side of the meal.
But before you think I’m completely worthless, I can show two quick and distracted sketches I did while waiting to meet up with them in Tours. Part of our hotel de ville, typical French streetlamp and a few chaotic brasserie chairs! I can also show you Katherine’s creative hands and part of her sketchbook. To full enjoy this trip of hers, you’ll have to visit her sketchblog Travels with a sketchbook, where a wealth of French sketches will await you, probably as from Monday, when she’ll be back home and start telling and showing. And with all the books she took back home, Making a mark will surely be filled with loads of information, perfumed with a little French panache. Don’t miss out!
And I’m leaving you with a little personal glimpse of her…She has a laugh that can be tickled easily, with eyes that join in, crinkling with delight. She can talk and chat as easily and entertainingly as her writing is. She has an enthusiastic YES! when fascinated by something, she adores her two cats, she can lose herself in travel…and oh yes, she loves a cup of tea!!
…Katherine’s lunch sketch…
…her book and her tools…
My favourite stopping corner was here at the koi pond. Its tranquility and the elegance of the kois in their ballets seduced me into seating myself on the rock by the edge early every morning, staring at them endlessly, sipping my kona coffee.. the world was still quiet when I softly spoke to them, telling them my schedule for the day. Joking about their pouting lips searching for a delicacy. And then I’d sketch them. Snap them. Photo’s galore. They enjoyed posing and pirouetted spontaneously only for me.
Voila some stops on my walks. Colourful canoes on the lagoon. Elegant flamingoes. Impressive statues. I could probably have stopped more often to sketch, but a big part of the allure of Hawai’i is in the reflecting and quiet time, staring into distance. Quiet and still. Watching waves break. Listening to the wind rustling through the palms. Being entranced by the play of light on the shallow waters by the shore. Waiting along with the surfers for that next big one. Feeling that drop of sweat trickling down your back, telling you it’s time to move on. People who don’t do that, miss out.
In this quiet time in still corners of the island, away from people, in solitude with only the wind and the ocean as company, I have succeeded in solving issues, finding peace in who I am and how I am. It gave me acceptance with roads I will be following from now on. It gave me breathing space and freedom to come to terms with bridges that were burnt. I imagine I gave it all up to the waves and the ocean, while the soft touch of the breezes swept me clean from disappointments and sadness and just maybe the whisper of the palms filled me with optimism and a strong spirit. I look forward to tomorrow.
Because I enjoyed the koi fish so much, and because I have these millions of photos of them(almost), I thought to share them with you, offering them(like with the sunflowers) to those who so desire, to download and paint, paint paint them! Throw the photo’s together and compose a watercolour or pastel, or oil or drawing. Make marks…they are wonderful to paint and play around with. Look at the water as well…lovely shapes and colour. Great movement. Here are some close ups as well as general shots. So. I invite you to enjoy!
…koi fish for painting…
click on image to print larger version
For more photo’s on the trip see Myfrenchkitchen: travel
To be continued…
A post for Sketchercise:
This morning’s walk provided me with greens.I have to admit that I don’t enjoy drawing/painting/rendering leaves. Maybe it is the greens in them I shy away from. I find green a difficult colour to paint in watercolour as well as oil, or any other medium. Beautiful in nautre, difficult to render. Too much green can make me feel quite ill. The wrong greens can look very artificial. Green can easily look flat and lifeless. Like white, green isn’t just ..green. It absorbs and reflects its environment and by looking closer you’ll see browns and reds, yellows and blues…a whole spectrum of colour. And then we get transparent greens and saturated greens, which you can’t paint with only green from a tube or pan. Even oils are difficult and mix differently than watercolour, for one – we have a white which can be added to green in oils, then making it less transparent of course. Which explains why I rarely paint with green, but prefer mixing a green. And I love to mix it directly it on my paper or canvas to have the colours flow into one another, giving dimension and vibrancy and life, even if the green isn’t the “perfect” green. I sometimes add olive green(Schmincke) and the very different olive green(W&N).
Please do tell how you paint greens?!
In these three sketches, I have used more or less the same palette:
Cobalt yellow pale(W&N), cobalt yellow deep(W&N), yellow ochre light(Schmincke), lemon yellow(W&N),french ultramarine(Sennelier), cobalt blue(Sennelier), Prussian blue(Sennelier), Cerulean blue(W&N), Paynes gray(W&N), burnt sienna(W&N), raw umber(Sennelier), olive green(Scmincke).
All sketchesdone with rotring pen and watercolour in watercolour moleskine