Wednesday, February 13, 2008
It's always worth taking the camera when we cross the border to France. Most of what makes up the view behind our house is in fact France as the border is only a few minutes walk from here.
Much of the view is dominated by two ugly apartment blocks which I doubt would have been approved by Swiss authorities, but there are so many interesting old buildings to discover just behind them.
These newer windows are not at all sympathetic to the design of this lovely house.
Shutters are always fascinating!
This was interesting - the solders whose bodies lie here were killed just three days after the Battle of Waterloo. The plague looks so new, it really brings history to life - you could imagine it happening not so far away and not so long ago.
What is left of some battlements in Gaillard.
Of course, looking at other people's houses and gardens is also fascinating. Some people just can't let go of Christmas! These Santa decorations are very popular in Geneva too.
A highlight of the route! I wonder if the owners are English speakers?
The sun was in the wrong place for a good photo of this wonderful gnarly tree.
I love the pollarded plane trees, they make winter more bearable.
The highlight though was spotting these meats drying in the window of an old barn.
I have to apologise for the haphazard spacing of photos and text, no amount of tinkering seems to make the working page, the html version and the published view match up.
Friday, February 08, 2008
I took a handful of Cretacolors with me to life class this morning. It proved quite interesting as I wasn't sure which colours to bring and which would be useful. In the end, I found that a colour called Olive Brown was just right for the model's olive skin (as well as my favourite yellow ochre and English red) but I also learned that the Cretacolors are not really soft enough for sessions like this where you need to work quickly. I may need - oh dear! - to get some softer pencils...ker-ching! The drawing is quite pale even though I was trying to build up layers, but as I blended with a tortillon, they just got pale again so it was a race against time to try and get some depth into it. I added the red/pink of the material and instantly regretted it, it looks too feminine and soft to me!
This was looking pretty bad for a time but I'm pleased with how it's turned out. It could do with some depth of colour but I needed time too to make decisions about which colours to use. My usual combo of the yellow and red wasn't working and I thought her skin looked slightly green so I went with that and was surprised that it worked. I didn't resolve the issue I had with the shadow on her left. I tried a few different things but none seemed to be right and it ended up a sort of neutral grey/brown, and quite dull. This morning was the first time I used my easel at the class and I found it really good for being to put some distance between me and the work and see it properly. And I'm also not aching all over like I used to despite lugging it there and back- it's supposed to be lightweight but I think only Arnold Schwarzenegger would agree with that description!
Thursday, February 07, 2008
After drawing my brother's portrait I couldn't decide what I wanted to draw next. A great pose like that doesn't come along often and another portrait would probably be disappointing but I'd love to do more. I also need to draw more varied objects just to find out my limitations with colour pencils. So I dithered and eventually came back to this photo I found a couple of weeks ago when I was going through the albums. I took this photo of Paul and Alex's hands about 10 years ago with the intention of drawing them but I never got around to it. You could say I drew this while I was dithering, however it was still practice. Paul and Alex's hands are quite different in texture and tone so while Paul's hand (below) was easy - mostly Yellow Ochre and English Red - Alex's skin is cooler and I had difficulty with the shadows. I tried Sienna Natural for the base instead of Yellow Ochre but switched back to warm it up, and Red Brown for shading but it looked a little 'dirty'. Blue Grey may have been a better choice. There are probably other combinations that I will come to like but for now I rather like the combination of Yellow Ochre and English Red (a brick red). I put them in my bag this week for sketching on the trams and every time I was in one it was either empty (!) or everyone was dressed in black and grey! The Swiss love their black winter clothes so I'll twiddle my thumbs a while longer...