The agapanthus in my garden are blooming profusely and beautiful in their blues ad whites. To my amazement I realized yesterday i haven’t painted any agapanthus yet. I gave it three attempts. The first attempt is probably still the best , even though it is not what I am after. Most of the time that I try two or more attempts of the same subject, I find that the first attempt is the best.I have experienced it so many times. I think it is probably an instinctive reaction to what you see for the first time in front of you..in order to capture that is…and as we all know… first, spontaneous reactions are always instinctive.
Agapanthus 1: Not great composition, but the first attempt and probably the best of three.
Agapanthus 2: The values way too dark and the overall effect too messy.
Agapanthus 3: Third attempt and I think it turned out the second best of the three efforts. I quite like the lightness of the blooms, but the overall effect is a bit stiff.
Until next time
When we drove into Paris last week and arrived at Porte d’Italie, I could feel it has been a long time since I have been there. I forgot the traffic, I forgot the speed, I forgot the taxis, the motos…but I haven’t forgotten how much I enjoy going in to Paris. I didn’t do any museums. The weather was perfect and I just wandered the streets, took in the summer ambiance…and I did some sketches of which only one or two were completed, the rest will be finished next time I get to Paris.
Paris 1: The ever recognizable presse kiosks of PAris. this one is in the tree lined Blvd St. Germain.
Paris 2: Resting in the shade by la fontaine Sulpice, just opposite Annick Goutal, where I get my favorite perfume, Eau du sud.
Paris 3: I can’t remember where I did this sketch, since I haven’t noted down anything. I could be somewhere where I stopped for a coffee.
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
I had the good intention to go do some plein air painting today; The sun came out this morning with blue skies and although it was chilly,it was a perfect day for plein air. Then I got stuck in doing all sorts of nothings, so the day got older and colder and my courage weaker. To not feel completely useless, I grabbed this celeriac, already a week…or two, old.
I used J. Herbin ink, color café des isles. It is water soluble and along with some watercolor dabs, I bled the lines. So I think the cream, somewhat bland colored celeriac got a little red in its cheeks, giving it some snazzy attitude.
J. Herbin ink, nib pen and watercolor in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, 15x22cm
Vegetables are always a good idea. To sketch. The winter vegetables with their bland colours aren’t always that exciting to paint, but in that fact lies the challenge. It is easy to splash the reds and yellows in summer foods, but what with the black and beiges of winter root vegetables. for this exercise I chose kohlrabi, not a vegetable I particularly like eating and black Spanish radish.
Kohl rabi and black Spanish radish.
Mini TWSBI pen and watercolour in Daler Rowney sketchbook, 29X21cm
Painting those veggies.
I had the opportunity to sit down for a coffee today on the terrace and had some men close-by to sketch. Some people don’t mind to be sketched, but the majority feel uncomfortable with being the subject. Fortunately today’s subjects were so busy with their own thing, they didn’t notice me who was hiding behind a big plant…sort of. I am very rusty on sketching people…there was a time I did it almost every day and now it happens once a year, for exactly the reason I mentioned…getting rebuked by people who don’t want the attention. Nonetheless..I present to you…the three men.all done in moleskin book(which is a little too light for my watery brushstrokes and the colour bled through to the back of the page. I don’t mind bucking pages, but I fiercely dislike colour going seeping through the paper.
pen and watercolour washes in moleskine, 22.5X13.5cm
Still digging deep to jiggle my art back up, I sat in the coffee shop this cold and miserably grey morning, squiggling lines left and right. After a while I gave up, closed the Stillman & Birn and rove to the garden center, where I loaded my cart with shrubs and trees and perennials. Everybody else was buying forced bulbs for their homes. I was probably the single person in France out in the cold rain, behaving only as one should in the midst of spring…going out on the planting. Well. It helped. I feel I can take on some more sketching this evening…make my hands work while my head is in spring, planting.
chairs and coffee table in coffee shop
pencil in Stillman 1 Birn sketchbook, 14.5X22.5cm
Potplants in coffee bar
Watercolour washes and Pentel brush pen in Stillman & birn sketchbook, 14.5X22.5cm