Friday, 25 July 2014

Just one line

This week's klass was held by Brenda Swenson, whose watercolour art is just beautiful.

In her videos she challenged us to use the continuous line (continual line? - I've seen both, but don't know which one is correct) technique to really get us to see the objects we are drawing.

Homework consisted in making 3 sketches with the onle line technique: one sketch of one object, one with two objects and one with three objects.

The results are usually a bit wonky but also very lively, I think.

I noted the start and finish points in my drawings for reference.

coffe maker for Sketchbook Skool
The frame is another one of Brenda's tips and was added in the end
The teapot sketch is the one I'm most satisfied with from this series. Maybe it's because of the curvy lines which make the whole drawing look more flowing?

I also used a different pen, so the lines don't look so stark.

teapot for Sketchbook Skool
Fancy a cup of tea?
I was not very focused for this last one. I guess the subject was not very inspiring. And I don't like how stern the black looks.

office supplies for Sketchbook Skool
Looks so messy...
Brenda gave us one more assignment: make one more still life with the continual line technique and then colour it with watercolour. I am still working on it and might update this post later on.

I really enjoy this one line technique. It forces you to draw differently and think/look at your subject in new ways. 

Some students even sketched their living room like this. Very impressive!

I'm happy to draw smaller objects for now, but I will definitely try moving up to more complicated subjects in time.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Me, myself and I

I have been a very bad student for the second klass, this time held by Koosje Koene again.

Our assignment was to make one selfportrait a day. Which I failed to do miserably.

Koosje suggested that we make 2 portraits from a picture, 2 looking at a mirror, 2 using one continuous line and one from memory.

And I thought: "Oh yeah, I've done that before, it will be ok."

Right. Only the problem was I somehow didn't find the time / energy / will to do one every day.

So here are the only 2 portraits I did, both looking at a mirror, one of them in one continuous line (I'll let you guess which one).


In spite of my lack of actual work, I think this is quite a fun assignment.

I will definitely challenge myself to one selfportrait a day at some point. It was just not the right time, I guess.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

It's a piece of toast!

The second semester of Sketchbook Skool has just started and this time the theme is "Seeing".

The first klass was held by Danny Gregory again.

He gave us two assignments: the first was to sketch a piece of toast in as much detail as possible, focusing on its "nooks and crannies", not labelling what we see.

The second assignment was to use a fast and a slow approach in one single drawing. First drawing our subject in one minute, preferably with a very thick brush, and in a second stage drawing the same subject again in as much detail as possible.

The toast assignment was definitely an exercise in patience. I'm all for drawing in detail, but it was difficult to forget that the nooks and crannies were just tiny wholes in my bread!

However, I loved to slowly see the drawing emerge and develop on the page.

Who knew that toast could get so interesting?
The second exercise was a lot of fun. I find that starting off with the thick quick lines really helps to go to the essentials of the subject and gives the drawing a more spontaneous and vibrant feeling.

I didn't take as much time as I should have for the second stage of the exercise, but I definitely see the potential for learning from this technique and will try it out again for sure.

The colour is a bit off here. My editing skills need improving!

I enjoyed this klass as much as Danny's previous one. The videos are fun and motivational, at times even philosophical and almost touching to the metaphysical! Danny is a poet at heart!

Monday, 7 July 2014

A few days in the South of France - Nice

Before leaving the South of France, I spent a bit over one day in Nice. I was surprised at how much I liked the city. Before visiting it, the first thing that would come to mind when thinking of Nice was mainly beach. Nice, has beautiful architecture, though, and many great places to sketch.

My first stroll around the city led me to Place Massena. I'm not sure about all the historical aspects, for I was really just walking with no particular aim, but I think it is the biggest square in Nice. I might be wrong, though, so someone correct me if that's the case, please.

I didn't want to get lost in details (and I didn't have the patience for them either), so I applied the watercolour first and pencil later, like I first tried in Gréoux-les-Bains. I don't like the result as much, but it is definitely a good technique for me when I just want to record the impressions of a place and not all its details.

Place Massena
An old lady came to chat with me. She moved from Paris to Nice years ago and never looked back.
I went for lunch with Nathalie, the girl I met on the train from Marseille. We went to a restaurant a librarian recommended to me earlier, Restaurant du Gesu. It had typical yummy dishes from Nice. All in all a great lunch!

I aged Nathalie considerably on this portrait...
In the afternoon I walked up to the castle. I made a short stop at the cemetary, where I found a very convenient bench with a good view on this chapel. I tried to keep in mind what I learned during Sagar Fornies's workshop in Barcelona last year. I still need some practice, but I'm quite satisfied with the result, specially given the short amount of time I spent on it.

It was so nice and sunny that day!
On my way down, I sat down to sketch one of the narrow streets. I love such sights! I started with watercolour again, it seend to fit the subject. The weather got gradually greyer as I worked on this sketch, so I didn't stay there too long.

I have to saturate my colours more, I think
As the weather seemd to worsen, and I was near the museum of modern and contemporary art (MAMAC), I decided to go in and see what it had to offer. Plus the entreance was free. Que du bonus!, as they say.

I love Ben's work!
My flight only left the next day in the afternoon, so I took the time to enjoy the Promenade des Anglais in the morning. There were many people jogging, and graddually people came to sunbathe and enjoy the beach.

Promenade des Anglais
I would have loved to go in the water, even if the beach full of pebbles was not really inviting. I'm spoiled by Portugal's nice sandy beaches!

Instead, I took out my Pentel brushpen and started to quickly sketch the people there. That was a fun exercise. Will definitely do it again.

People on the beach are the same everywhere
This short escapade in Nice was very refreshing. I might go back one day, for a longer time, to see what else this beautiful city has to offer.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A few days in the South of France - La Provence (part 2)

We were on the road a lot during my few days in Provence, so there was no opportunity to do one complete drawing in one sitting, but I got to see a lot of beautiful places and quickly sketch a few scenes.

We spent one afternoon in the region of Esparron de Verdon, where I got to try my hand at piloting a motor boat for the first time. I have to say my Portuguese seafarer genes kicked in quite nicely. It was a lot of fun!

I tried to quickly sketch Carole when she was at the wheel, but it's far from resembling her.

Captain Carole
Pretty captain stranger
Esparron de Verdon is situated next to a river. Like all the places I have seen in Provence, it is very pretty. This quick sketch was done while eating a nice ice cream.

Esparron de Verdon
It is located on a small hill and overlooks the river
One of my favourite sights in Provence were the poppy fields. I had never seen so many poppies together and it was beautiful! It made up for not seeing the lavender in bloom.

I really wanted to have a reminder of those fields in my sketchbook, so I tried to quickly sketch a few. Not quite the effect I was looking for, but at least I got them in!

On another short trip we went to Roussillon, where colour pigments are produced. It was my favourite place from our excursions. I loved the town with all its rich earth colours: ocre, sienna, umber.

Again, no time for a full drawing, but I managed to sketch one building next to the restaurant where we were having lunch.

The evening was spent relaxing at Henri's place. I even got to sketch Carole sleeping on the terrasse. Henri cut a picture of her face for me, so I could paste it in my sketchbook. I love how fun it looks!

Poppies and Carole
Exhausted but happy!
After my stay in Provence, I left for Marseille in order to catch the train to Nice, where I spent one day before returning to Luxembourg.

As is almost custom with the SNCF, the train was 1) overbooked, and 2) delayed - a lot! What started with a 10 minute delay became 1h30! Good thing I was not in a hurry...

On a positive note, I got to know a friendly girl from Switzerland, Nathalie, with whom I arranged to have lunch the next day. There is a bright side to every situation!

Every time an announcement was made, it was to increase the delay...