Thursday, July 31, 2008

Butterfly and Dermott Dormant

4" x 4" watercolour on HP paper

Gel pen and sepia ink wash

Bears are dormant during the winter.
Volcanoes are best dormant.
Dermott is dormant after too much Tuscan sun.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Vespa Dreams

Sepia ink, white gouache on brown paper

We stopped at Bar 2000 at 7am on Friday for a calming cup of coffee after I took the first step to fulfilling a dream.

The dream is to buy a Vespa 50 - egged on, I might add by Katherine Making a Mark who suggested it was the ideal vehicle for me to sketch from in the Italian countryside. Up until Friday all I had actually done was sketch a Vespa 50!

On Thursday night our friend Chris called me to say he had hired a couple of motor scooters for the day and didn't have to return them until later Friday morning. This was it! My big opportunity to see if I actually had The Right Stuff to actually ride a motor scooter - and ultimately, a Vespa.

I did!!!!!!!!!

Not very fast, and suitably humbled by being passed by an octogenarian woman with her handbag dangling off her handlebars.

Anyway, I'm still only dreaming about the Vespa at this stage - it could be a fatal folly.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Arrivederci Vivien's Flying Pictures Sketchbook

Sneak preview of my addition to Vivien's Sketchbook

Vivien's Flying Pictures Sketchbook is winging its way to Casey in France. I do hope you like my additions, Vivien. If you don't, just send it back ;) I'd love to keep your book with its beautiful art.

This marks the half way point in our Flying Pictures Sketchbook Exchange - only three more books to go. Only three more panic attacks to suffer!

Along with my other Flyers, I'm the proud recipient of two awards from Casey. Thank you Casey!

Althought I spent the best years of my life rehearsing my Oscar acceptance speech, I'm ashamed to say I have been slow to acknowledge these generous awards which I have also recently received from Clare and Sharon. Thank you again!

Now I have to follow through with the requirements of accepting these awards.

1. Put the award logo on your own blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate 5 to 7 others.
4. Add links to them.
5. Leave messages for nominees.

Do you see now why I've been so slow? First of all many of the people I would award have already received their awards and delivered their acceptance speechs. My other reluctance is that in making these awards, one can't name all one's favourite blogs - many are left out, overlooked, heartbroken. There are also blogs I visit regularly, and adore that aren't even in my blogroll because I feel it would be pushy of me to associate myself with such talent!

So today's awards go to:

Katherine - Making a Mark & Travels with a Sketchbook (who is not required to fulfill the above tasks) but without whom, any art blog list would be incomplete.

Lin - View from the Oak - for her watercolours and being the most generous and active of bloggers.

Joan - Watercolours by Joan - who inspires with her dedication to the art of watercolour.

Toni - A Spattering for her wonderful blog of nature tales.

Robin - Rednews Another inspiration both for her talent and dedication to her art.

Wendy - Quirkyartist - for her adventures with new mediums and memories of home

Janie - Ragamuffins - for her gorgeous paintings and great photographs

Liz - Liz Patterson Art Journal - who always surprises and delights

Anyone who doesn't have time to participate, I totally understand!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Some Tuscan Rainbow Moments

In Jean's Garden - Watercolour CP paper

These are my additions to Ronell's Flying Pictures Sketchbook. The book is now with Casey in France. Ronell's theme is Rainbow Moments so these are some that sprung to mind. Above, a corner of a friend's garden here in Tuscany. The Rainbow Moment is actually when that old bell calls us to lunch!

First Scarce Swallowtail on our lavender

Our lavender bloomed on the terrace for the first time this year and attracted our first Scarce Swallowtail butterfly. Apparently this butterfly is so named because it is scarce in the UK, not here in Tuscany.

My Summer Desk - Acrylic, pencil & Stabilo fine liners

We are each attaching our own choice of paper to the concertina sketchbooks and it can be a challenge to carry an image across two different grounds. I resorted to an acrylic undercoat to try to pull this one together.

You can see the entire contents of Ronell's sketchbook, get a preview peek at what Casey is adding and follow its journey on the Flying Pictures Project blog.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vivien's Flying Pictures Sketchbook Update

Cover ⓒ Vivien Blackburn

Vivien's Blackburn's Flying Pictures Sketchbook is now in Tuscany. It has become a daily treat for me to open out the ten beautiful concertina pages of original work by three artists - Vivien, Ronell van Wyk and Lindsay Olson.

You can see my post about Lindsay's stunning additions to the book HERE at the Flying Pictures Blog.

Scroll through the blog to find Vivien's and Ronell's earlier spreads. The artful journeys of all seven Flying Pictures Sketchbooks in this exchange are being constantly updated on the FP blog.

I have now started work on my addition to Vivien's book. It is a daunting task, as you can imagine.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Looking at a Red Onion

The Gardener grew it, I painted it. He'll cook it, I'll eat it. Isn't life perfect?

Editor's Note: I actually meant to post this in Our Tuscan Garden. I should not be in charge of a blog!

An Onion on my Desk

Watercolour & WC pencils - A4 scribble block

HWEM has started pulling the first onions from the garden. I want to do a proper watercolour but thought I had better catch one at least in a sketch before it loses its leaves. All the sketches I'm doing lately are on a cheap sketch pad I bought from the supermarket. It is so liberating! ( Note to Sharon - I've used some Perylene Maroon in this. Sharon has been painting onions as well.)

Watercolour & Pen - Val di Chio

Inspired by looking at some lovely loose pen and ink sketches in our Flying Pictures sketchbook exchange (see Casey and Ronell) I've started playing fast and loose with the local scenery. This is a detail from the view over the valley from our carpark.

Watercolour, Acrylic ink and pen

Acrylic inks I bought on special in London and not sure if I really needed!

Roman building - Pitt Artist Pens & ink

Two Hot Dogs suffering the Tuscan Summer

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sunflowers Seated

Gel Pen & Pitt Artist Pens

Who was I thinking of? He made icons of both these objects.

I'm doing a lot of quick, loose sketches on scrap paper, trying to loosen up my style.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Ronell's Sketchbook flies on to Casey

Detail of my contribution to Ronell's FP sketchbook.

Ronell's Flying Pictures sketchbook left me today for Casey in France. I'm thinking Rainbow Moments may well take the opportunity to check in with her creator while she's in France.

Above is a peek at what I have added to Ronell's book. Of course it's not the bit I had so much trouble with ;)

As usual I'm so sorry to let another of these beautiful books go, knowing it will never return but I know Casey is going to add something wonderful and we will all get to share the images on line.

Ronell's book rewrapped and ready to go.

I know most of you have seen how Ronell packaged her book, but it is so pretty I had to post it again.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Flying Pictures - Rainbow Moments

Oil Pastel - ⓒ Lindsay Olson

I didn't think I'd ever be posting an oil pastel painting on this blog. I'm hopeless with oil pastels myself. They are, however, Lindsay's great love and forte and she has chosen them for her spread in Ronell's Flying Pictures sketchbook exchange called Rainbow Moments which is now with me in Tuscany.

Beautiful work Lindsay and a sublime mood you've created with the still, reflective water and the lovely island trees. A 'rainbow moment' indeed. I keep glancing at the picture, waiting for you to come paddling by in your canoe.

It's also a great delight to finally have some of Ronell's beautiful original watercolours . Ronell has created a gorgeous polished wax finish on her cover. There is also a special personal gift from Ronell to keep, which I won't reveal because it will spoil the surprise for the other Flyers.

Flying Sketchbook Cover ⓒ Ronell van Wyk

If you want to peek inside, you can see Ronell's pages HERE on her blog Africantapestry or at our Flying Pictures Blog, where the journeys of all seven books are being recorded.

Lindsay enclosed a secret First Aid Kit to assist with the anxiety that quickly follows the delight associated with receiving one of these beautiful books. Anxiety because one now has to come up with something to add to this beauty. I painted half a spread before I realised I was using the wrong size paper, so I started over ... and over... Don't hold your breath Casey, I may be a while!
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