Page 5 of 5

Two sketches from Caen, France.

Having the youngest daughter finishing her studies in Caen.., had us renting a truck and taking off in the directionof Caen to empty her apartement and bring it back home. Another chapter finished. She starts in Paris next week for a long “stage” and then we’ll take on another chapter, who knows where.  Always an exciting life when you have kids – it never stops!

Sketch in rotring pen and watercolour in watercolor sketchbook, 15.3x25cm.

When all was packed and we waited for the estate agent to come over for the “etat de lieu” – checking that we didn’t steal the ceiling or the shower etc…I sat on the windowsill of an empty apartment and scribbled a sketch of the building opposite her window, as well as the pigeons of Rue St Martin, trying their best to hide from the pouring rain and the cold. Not much in terms of great sketching, but at least some pen to paper!

sketch in pencil in wartercolor sketchbook, 15,3x25cm.

Sketchercise walk 22 March.

I’ve started my walking and sketching again. Walking I’ve always done, but now I’ve started taking the sketching stuff along again. I’ve also decided to do it a bit different from now on. The sketches will be very quick. The walking is about exercise firstly after all and stopping too often or for too long breaks my rhythm. On these sketchercise walks I will also only take my sketchercise journal(a lovely watercolour sketchbook, covered in red linen) and a rotring pen or pencil. I don’t want to carry a lot of stuff and I don’t want to fiddle with art supplies. I simply stop and do a sketch while standing, close the book and start walking again. I do a maximum of three sketches and they need to be very quick. Two to three minutes at the very most.

…all sketches done in sketchercise sketchbook, 18x25cm….

The sketches I did this morning were only about two minutes each and only in pencil. I added a wash at home. By making quick notes on the sketch,  it  helps work the memory for when I want to add a splash of colour at home. It works really great.  I achieve a lot…. get good walking in without breaking my rhythm and I get quick “unthinking” , almost blind contour drawing sketches done AND a posting as well! Leaves ample time to get on with the rest of my day and do decent art in the atelier or go out for some good sketching, with decent art supplies.

This is a fallen tree over part of the river which happened with the big storms that passed thr0ugh France about a month ago.

Sketches from Oslo.

We were in Oslo last week. My first time. I mentioned how much I loved Helsinki, but I fell head over heels for Oslo! It is a lovely city, with beautiful architecture, a warm ambiance, wonderful views, great people…it is wonderful! I can’t wait to go back for a longer and a decent visit.  My next stop will be Greenland!

Time was too pressed to do much, but at least I got to see “the scream”  by Edvard Munch up and close, definitely not one of my favourite paintings. The secret to his work, I think,  is that it should be viewed from a distance. His strokes are sometimes so messy and careless from close by that it bothers and disturbs the eye, but from far, his work has magic and I could even fall for “the vampire“, though I dislike  all kinds of vampire pictures and tales. His dawings and sketches and lithographs also attract me far more than his paintings and there you can really see that he has a swift and sure hand. I especially enjoyed his “Towards the forest” drawings, his alpha and omega series, his “Starry night“, so different from Van gogh. I still can’t really make up my mind whether the art of Edvard Munch “speaks” to me…but Oslo certainly does!

Photos of Oslo can be seen on Salmon-with-a-creamy-herb-sauce-and-a-trip-to-Oslo at Myfrenchkitchen.

All sketches done in pencil and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook.

Food sketches and a book on dining and painting

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.

…green peppers…

green peppers

…pak choy…

Pak shoy

…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)…

boire et manger

…la chanteuse des rues; édouard manet (1862)…

la chanteuseCherries – meaning: Passion of Christ, fruit of paradise

  1. One of the first portraits of Victorine Meurent, who was one of Manet’s favourite models until 1875.
  2. 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.
  3. All the sensuality in this scenes evolves around the woman bringing the sweet cherries to her mouth.

…la céne: Jacopo Bassano ( 1546-1548)…

la céne

Lamb – meaning: sacrificial victim.

  1. The lamb signifies the sacrifice of Christ.
  2. A fruit, resembling the apple, signifies the original sin.
  3. Next to Judas lies the knife, symbol of the treason which would follow.
  4. 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)…

le jambon - eduard manet

Meat ; conserved/dried: ham taken from the porc, signifies gluttony sin.

  1. French dried ham had a strong international culinary meaning for Manet, because of its ancient gallic imports and long French tradions.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)…

scene de cuisine

Porc and wild boar: sin of the flesh.

  1. Frans Snyders was a student of Rubens and specialized in refined commissios, usually overladen scenes of buffet tables with exquisite  food.
  2. The head of the boar was very sought after and seen in this “hunting” painting could be evidence of a commission by  some articrat.
  3. The lobster was already at that stage seen as one for the more rare sea foods, giving it an importance on the refined table.
  4. The little detail of the dog only sniffing the game, hints on aspects of respect.
  5. The presence of the artichokes is an indication of the choice of the painter to include only exquisite foods.

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.

A breather in spring.

I have been taking a long break. I’m doing things I have been neglecting for some time, I’m enjoying spring and everything that goes along with it. I have been waiting a long time for summer to show up and now that it is here, I have to make every minute count, for it passes quickly. I’m basking in the fruits of the season. I have had an attack of fatigue and I am paying attention to my health. And I’m playing around on Myfrenchkitchen, which I’ve allowed to slip from me over the last few months. I’m stopping by here at Africantapestry just for a quick breather before I continue on my road of indulgence. And pretty soon I’ll be back here with full gusto.

Enjoy the season!

Watercolour and pen in sketchbook

…mangoes for spring…