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Walk and sketch 1

A post for Sketchercise.

With a little bit of time on my hands I put on my heavy hiking boots..urgh.. and took off for a walk. All the flowers on shrubs have made room for berries of all colours. Since I am in the process of noting all the fauna and flora in this area, I dragged along my  sketching palette, which is boringly still the same as you’ll see in this link, except that my sketchbook might be the small moleskine or the normal one…watercolour of course. I like the paper of the watercolour moleskine.

Tokala and Aiyani tailed along, until they realized to their horror that we were going further than normal. That had them plonk down under the apple tree, all the while complaining about my imbecility. On my promise to give them joghurt back home, they sulkily agreed to wait under the apple tree. I kept my promise.

…prunellier and aubepine…

berries 1

…bramble, stinging nettle and dock leaves…

berries 2

All sketches done in rotring pen and watercolour in watercolour moleskine.

Plein air paintings 1.

We arrived back from a six week stay at Coin perdu, Puy d’Arnac, where we worked a lot, hiked a lot, painted a lot, had friends visiting, so we wined and dined a lot and we experienced a lot.

…la frontiére, oil on board, 30x40cm…

la frontiére


la frontiere detail

With no Internet available or rather, we do sort of have Internet, but we are only provided with 56 kb/s by France Telecom which means that we have almost more ancient connection than the old modem system. So forget Internet, we don’t even try. Mobile phones only work on extremely bad mood days. We didn’t experience those. Fixed lines don’t exist, not yet anyway.  No room for television in our barn where we are living for the next few months. Civilized? I don’t know. What does civilized mean after all?  Any way, the only means of communication that exists at Coin perdu are the echoes of our voices across the valleys and woods. Echoes would thus be my means of “phoning” Hartman at the homestead where he’s ripping out walls and floors, to come help me carry my painting stuff from where I’m splashing and splattering  in the woods, or in the hills or by the rivers. He has a fancy manner of whistling that is very distinct in its echo, I can only shout which breaks up towards the end in some sort of falsetto shriek, but it has its echo anyway. Or at least, it has Hartman showing up soon and that’s what counts. May I never have to show off my shriek. We had a friend visiting us who entertained us on his famous Tarzan cry. The echo had all the animals in the forest answering.  And fleeing. A Welsh Tarzan.  How about that. He still has to work a bit on his Tarzan outfit though…

I reveled in plein air painting and sketching, sometimes even completed three a day and I loved every single minute. My wardrobe can testify to that. I have to invest in a completely new wardrobe, but at least I can now stand in front of the mirror and choose my oil stained outfit for the day. Even our steering wheel is a colourful caleidoscope, an original abstract creation of expressionistic finger painting.

More on plein air painting and my personal views on it later. For now, two of my pieces. It took me about two hours each and I had the company of a free spirited dog who we named Scruffy, who goes in search of a willing promeneur on Sundays to walk him, a distinguished monsieur who was walking Scruffy, un pêcheur, who gave up on fishing after a short while and a toad, who looked as if he had just woken up from hibernation.

…l’arbre solitaire, oil on canvas, 20.5x35cm…

collines lointaines


ccollines- detail

Earth day – respect, care and joy.

Today is earth day. Some garden sketches as my contribution.

All sketches done in moleskine with rotring pen and watercolour.



*Create a garden that is ecologically friendly. Ban pesticides. Plant combinations of plants and herbs and certain weeds for natural pest control. Learn to live with a few weeds and some chewed up leaves. Promote insect life by planting flowers that atttract them – lavenders, feverfews, buddleias, lilas, roses, honeysuckle… Take care of birds with available waterbaths, nesting houses, perches… Keep containers all around the garden to catch the rainwater with which you can water plants. Create a “strong” garden by not over watering your plants, much like you would train a young tree to bend with the wind, thus forcing it to grow strong. Use the water you rince your salads or other foods in the kitchen with, to water your potplants. Plant herbs to use in your cooking, for medicine, for the household. Ban chemicals from the kitchen and visit Gramma for tips on natural household products. There are info and tips all over internet and books galore on how to live as close as ecologically friendly as we can today, without going to extremes and freaking out on “bio”. Just a little effort already helps a lot.

Respect our earth, care for it and enjoy it.

Water on “earth day” – a clear brook, is my contribution to Watermarks. Drop by to see all our contributions for this day!

…a resting place for animals..

earth-day3…a resting place for humans



A corner of the Loire

I have an exciting event happening in Corréze on Saturday, which I’ll talk about later. And on Monday I’m leaving for Helsinki for 3 days. I’ll be in contact when I’m back end of next week.

I captured (tried to!) a corner of the Loire just after we had floods coming past this way a week ago, sweeping the trees and branches and all kinds of debris across the river, leaving us with  gray and turmoil water. This is a corner under the overhanging trees. I never try to catch the realism in a scene, but rather the motion and emotion. The water is much calmer than it is portrayed here and much darker. More sinister. My contrasts could’ve been stronger and my shapes more linear. This was done from a few photos I took. I’ll have another go at it again sometime, probably rather on the spot, which gives a painting so much more spontaneity, and the atmosphere does get carried over onto the paper.  Not that it is so much fun sitting there in the mud, in the cold, in the wet next to the water…but I’ve been complaining so much lately about  missing nature, being wild and free with the animals, that I should zip my mouth now and sit my sit…


loiregrisDone in watercolour and pen lines added afterwards on Fabriano artistico watercolour block HP extra white, 30x23cm(11,8″ x9″)

Autumn impressions

I came home this afternoon from a wonderful Rigoletto in the Opera Bastille last night, in time to splash some autumn impressions on paper. I just painted some colours onto paper as I saw the colours of the leaves and rose hips and and afterwards added some suggestive linework with 2.5 rotring pen. I think I’ll explore more autumn colours in the days to come, before winter takes over.

All done on Fabriano CP block, 18x25cm. Watercolour and pen.

Sketching in the vineyards

I love the vinyeards. They have all been recently snipped and pruned and trimmed, looking neat and well coiffed. Their stark woody trunks, attractively darkened by the rain, are given center stage in settings of gay springflowers.

I did several sketches. The first ones are still waiting for the art fairy to make them presentable, like Casey always says… These are of the last ones, after I started realizing I cannot fit a whole vinyeard onto my page! I always find nature intimidating, thinking I can create the whole universe on a single page. …”It’s elementary my dear Ronell, simplify, simplify”….

All sketches done in pen and watercolour on Fabrano Artistico watercolour paper.