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 am struggling enormously with my sketching lately. The whole process of art doing in my atelier is actually on the struggle. My art has taken a dive for the worse, but hopefully it will resurface with vigor soon. In the meantime I just follow the giant Nike’s advice: “Don’t think, just do it”. All in all, I felt better after doing these sketches.
All sketches done in the Stillman & Birn, Epsilon series, 14×21.6cm with watercolor and pilot prera pen.
I sat in the square in Beaulieu, first doing the Wednesday morning market and afterwards the view down the street.
I also did some people sketches while having a coffee. I find I have lately been moving into feathering again when drawing and I absolutely hate feathering. It always happens to me when I feel insecure in my art making. What I call feathering : I don’t draw a line in one go, I feather- feather in the direction I want a line to go, a lot of fiddling with shape and line…awful! It was good to get back into one line drawing, or rather sketching, by doing these people. they are wonky, but I feel good about the line work. More and more people don’t want to be the object of observation and I really try to respect that by being so discreet and unobtrusive as possible, making my observation a somewhat off the mark. I have to train my eye again to get to that discreet-drawing-level.
I sat on the terrace of Café Douceur this afternoon and while sipping my coffee, I sketched the street. My pen ran dry on my halfway through the sketch, which resulted in some thin, scratchy lines. I hope the colourful splashes watercolor make up for it..
..street in Beulieu sur dordogne – close up 1..
Pen and watercolor in Stillman & Birn, alpha series sketchbook, 22.9X15.2 cm
..street in Beulieu sur dordogne – close up 2..
..street in Beaulieu sur dordogne..
And lastly some people sketching..done on Fabriano artistico watercolor block, 27X18cm
à la prochaine.
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..
à la prochaine fois
Today was a tired day, even though the sky was blue and bright. Can’t explain it. It is just how it is some days.
..Typical houses around here…shops down below and the living is done upstairs, with volets(shutters), not my favorite thing to paint!
..done with rotring art pen in contour quick lines, while waiting for my lunch of duck and salad to show up. Added a light wash over some of the lines, and there you have it. a sketch..