April 18, 2017

My Moleskine today...

I had time to see Cy Twombly exposition at Pompidou today and stayed for coffee and sketching a while. Both were great for heart and soul.
I decided to draw simply and straight forward, without fiddling and hesitation, using a ballpoint pen. We don't always need the whole picture, all details. Draw straight on accepting errors as part of the drawing. Stop as soon as you think the page is complete visually, when some kind of balance or interest is obtained. It's so easy to carry on filling the page with ink. This exercise as every other should be repeated. I hope I can cope with that to feel more secure each time to be able to create more interest, to dare more... to let go.
What I like with Cy Twombly's work are the layers of paint and drawing traces on each other with that energy that visually emerges! The colors are very subtle and quite feminine in my eyes. It's not agressive.
I would love to put layers in my paintings too one day!
I haven't studied his work more than today so I admit I don't get the meanings in the paintings he proposes, the stories he's telling. But there are series of his work that are beautiful and that don't need explanations. They might have needed a starting point for him to develop from but for the viewer the story is not necessary in my opinion.

April 11, 2017

Sketches from south Normandy's coast...

I spent last week-end in Granville on Normandy's south coast and I even got some time "off" alone to sketch one day. Sea was low, beach large and rocks uncovered from water. Weather was incredible and other than the seagulls' scream everything was quiet. Noise is a big pollution in our environment and when I get to be in silent nature I'm really surprised of the wellbeing it gives me each time. This was short but good. I would have loved to stay to explore more painting.

April 04, 2017

"White flower sketches" with students...

Here are quick sketches, directly with the brush, to illustrate my speech during class this week, only words aren't enough many times. Too strong guidance can also be "threatening", as they end up thinking I want them to paint like me, which is not the point of the class. I rather prefer to give the tools to be simply able to paint alone. This takes time and they know it and persevere for that, and of course, that makes me feel grateful.

My students remind me of how difficult it was for me to draw and paint flowers with their many petals. My remedy then was to draw them over and over until I started to be able to "stay cool" in front o so many layers and shapes and I actually started to get them all on the paper. I did this with a fine felt pen so I couldn't rub it out, which also gives you confidence with practice. The rubber will not be needed much after that.
Today I try to teach the short cuts, if any, of how to render flowers and how to see in general. I explain what to look for to respect the shape (the contour) of the flower and the most important; the shadows. How to simplify and link shapes (shadows int this case) a maximum. To "paint the light" is the order. Do it by painting the shadows, after that you can eventually ad very light shadows in the light side of the flowers. To keep the painting luminous use light colors ("diluted" in watercolor painting) If your shadows are too dark it might not look credible. The light, mid and darker tones have to be related to make one shape. If one of those stands out too much we won't see the whole shape as one, that part will then not fit in the flowers harmony.
Stay "bold" in the gesture when painting, feel active, not passive and avoid fiddling with the brushstrokes or details. In the beginning you can use one color only, later mix a blue, red and yellow in different quantities and with more or less water to make luminous grays.
I hope you "see" what I mean and that it might be helpful...

March 26, 2017

Thank you "Pratique des Arts""

Again I thank french magazine "Pratique des Arts" (N°133 April-Mai) for sharing my sketching methods... 

March 17, 2017

Figure drawing session...

I felt already fitter during this week's figure drawing session; sharper concentration, more relaxed and confident which leads to loser actions. The hand follows some invisible guidance from the relaxed spirit. If the model poses as you find it interesting, the light seduces your vision and mind, something might actually happen on the paper. Some things cleared up in my mind this week. I should write them down before they vanish...

March 15, 2017

Snowy landscape studies with my students...

Studies for bigger painting of the same subject with my students. I even made them do a graphite drawing to start with. This way the final painting was easier and looser, as they by then knew better the subject and how they wanted to paint it. A process that surprises most as they think you just start painting, without any thoughts of how you are going to proceed or what you want. The amateur gets saturated of the subject very fast. I can only explain this by a not yet developed insight in the subject or the different knowledges you need to paint and a lack of looking. Knowledges that make the process interesting.
Think you have done it all and your best after painting a subject once, when you can paint it a hundred of times without doing the same thing and only get better and better.

March 14, 2017

Landscape from Normandy...

This was a view from Normandie, it took me only a year almost to scan it and post it here. (Size (40x25cm) is too big for my scan and that explains the middle line, which of course is not on the original.)

March 09, 2017

Figure drawing session...

Figure drawing is like exercising, when you stop practicing you loose it. The day you pick it up again you are stiff, unconfident and slow. At the end of the session you might get some fluidity back but far from how you have felt in the past. Your line work looses refinement and expression, you have a hard time with proportions, speed and focus. Drawing figures, or from life in general, has to be a regular discipline like any other serious occupation you might have. Today was for me one of those stiff days after a too long break.

March 08, 2017

"Clavel blanco"...

Hi! Here is a simple still life of a white carnation flower.
The most spanish of all flowers, to me.
(I do not yet manage to make nice picks of light watercolors so this one looks nicer and richer in reality. As I always repeat; art should be seen for real whenever possible. On the screen it's something else.)
I should be able to come up with more works soon. I have put my studio in boxes and I'm waiting to reinstall myself in a new place. Right now I feel "light and free" actually and I have my essentials accessible so I should be able to continue working if not better than before at least ok.
But first a short week end away at a place I've never been and I hope I'll be able to come up with a little sketch from there... until then, take care everyone ! Thank you for your time.

February 24, 2017

New book; "Drawing from life" by Helen Birch...

Happy and grateful I thank Helen Birch for including my work in her new book, "Drawing from life", a Rotovision edition (out 23rd of march 2017). A book also published in France by Pyramyd editions, titled "Dessin d'après modèle" and in Spain by Gustavo Gili , as "Dibujo del natural". 

Heureuse et reconnaissante je remercie Helen Birch d'avoir inclu mon travail dans son nouveau livre, "Dessin d'après modèle", édité en France par "Pyramyd éditions". Un livre également édité en espagnole  par Gustavo Gili sous le titre "Dibujo del natural". La version originale, "Drawing from life",  par "Rotovision" sortira le 23 mars 2017.