Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cabbage and Friends - Virtual Sketch Date for August

Here is the finished version of my cabbage with its friends in situ. Thank you to Sheri for the challenging photo. I've really enjoyed doing this. My painting has lost some freshness from the first draft, but I do like the funkiness of the warmer pinks, and that masking fluid seemed a bit obvious.
It is Saturday morning in Australia, but I have just realised my blog entries are dates according to USA time somewhere. So I am way ahead of the deadline. That is a first!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Still in the cabbage patch

I am slowly getting ahead with my big tulip painting, in between rose pruning and other jobs.
Meanwhile, Laura told me about the Virtual Sketch Date, all about cabbage this month. I had had a bit of practice on the kale, so I thought I would have a go in watercolours. Immediately got a bit precious with the masking fluid and all the detail. I rather like it at this stage, with lots of white paper, but I can't resist filling it all in, so here is the record of stage 1, cropped and uncropped versions.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

ornamental kale

A friend brought me these fascinating heads of ornamental cabbage or kale .. more like roses than vegetables. I must remember to try and find seeds to plant. I think they are beautiful.

They've provided great doodle material for the ads between Olympic events. For once we are on the right time - line, and I am struggling with the guilty feelings I attach to watching any day time television! Great high points for Aussies, and ex Zimbabweans ! And watching Michael Phelps is watching history being made.

I've used the time to try different techniques .. ink lines, wash, wet-in-wet; just trying to learn to predict the intensity of the dry colour from the wet ... greens more so than soft pinks and mauves, for a start!

My tones are too similar in the end, so there is not a lot of impact in the end.

The doodly black and white drawing is using a new product I bought the other day.. a "pencil paint", made by Dervan, it is powdered graphite mixed with some sort of gel. There are a few subtle colours .. this just a dark grey. Applied with a brush (or whatever), it can be diluted with water to the palest tone, pushed about, washed out, rubbed out, sketched over or under. I kept on changing this experimental drawing until I just decided to stop, rather than because I think it has much merit.

There is a variety that dries to a permanent finish. This one can probably be changed forever.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happiness is flowers from someone you love

I am enjoying the watercolours a lot more, and it is so nice to be able to fiddle about without major disruption.

I have been working on these on the kitchen table, in between preparing for a girls' lunch tomorrow. A made-up paella, followed by quince tarte tatin. Which will be the greater success - food or sketches - remains to be seen.

It is always lovely to receive flowers, and my younger son is particularly sweet about bringing or sending them, as are all 4 of my nice children! A pretty bunch of lilium, rosebuds and statice was on the kitchen bench when I got home last week, and the lily buds continue to open and delight.

Tried to paint them loosely and washily, but the Botanist in me does insist on correcting things!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Poppy and linseed fields, South Oxfordshire

I did this from photos. I really would have sat out to do it,on Beech Lane among the nettles , with rain showers imminent, but ran short of time, as usual. The red field was so surprising, I had to try and capture it. Again, I think an oil painting, with reference to Hockney might be interesting to try. The mauve-ish fields are linseed ... a very pretty crop, with its pretty blue daisy flowers.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

some watercolours from our trip

This is becoming an approx once a month blog, it seems.

First, I have to say how frustrating I find watercolours! They are so hard, and I had decided to give up entirely, until I saw how scanning improved them (I thought!).They are so good to take away, and the IDEA of the leisurely sketch, which is, of course an instant success, lingers on - hence the frustration. Cath, how do you do those leaves of yours? Must study them more closely.
Well, over worked, fiddled with, etc... here we go.

Hotel in Norfolk

This is a sketch from a window of the Sea Marge Hotel in Norfolk, a venerable seaside Great-Aunt of an hotel, with a view of grey sea across parking and somewhat straggly gardens and roofs at the back. The front of the hotel has pretty lawns and gardens, and we did have a comfortable and pleasant stay there. We were there for a wonderful 60th birthday party in a huge triple marquee, in a field on a country Estate. I wish I could have drawn the beautiful people there.

View from a Villa at Le Cannet.

After Norfolk, we travelled to France, to the French Riveira, where we stayed with family members in their beautiful little villa near Cannes. It is on the mountainside, hedged in between hairpin-bend-streets, with glorious views of the Mediterranean and rooftops, between the stone pines, cypresses and olives that cover the stony ground.We were amazed at the amount of natural forest in this highly populated and urban area.
Between the hedge and the roof in the foreground is a path topping an ancient Roman aqueduct! This means that it is the only almost perfectly level ground until you get down to the coast; and it is much used as a jogging and cycling track. Jen says people go by, calling out to her in French, "See you for cocktails on the way back!"

The granulation of ultramarine in such a small scale sketch meant the sea came out looking very spotty! Smooth paper better, perhaps. And I cheated with some typing white-out as well.

The Stone Pine

I tried a charcoal sketch (small) of a stone pine in the garden, all aged and gnarled. It is home, like every other tree and bush to countless (because they are so well camouflaged) cicadas.

They create a merry racket, as long as the temperature exceeds exactly 72degrees F (or was that 74?) When it drops below, they shut up instantly. When we had dinner in a restaurant in the village square one night, it was quiet to start with, but as it got dark, and lights came on in the trees, they warmed up, and suddenly les cigales burst into full chorus once more.

Villa at le Cannet

Here is another little sketch, less doctored this time, and I think more successful for it, of the villa

Blue-shuttered, terracotta-tiled, stone floored, white and cool inside, it is just beautiful.

The little people are brother in law Matt on the phone upstairs, and Jenny, babysitting adorable grandchildren downstairs. There is a pretty pool and an olive tree.