sketch of the day Espedaillac fields

This is a little painting I made in Espedaillac in southwest France, where I teach plein air every year. We were ou for a walk through the fields when this flock of sheep wandered over. The sheep in this region are raised for the delicious Brebis cheese.



sketch of the day-the big island

This time of year I find my mind wandering to sunny places. It is not so much the sun I long for as the light. Somehow by January it seems that we have been living under grey skies so long that I have almost forgotten how strong warm light colours the world. 

Last year we found the light on the Big Island. This was a sketch I did from our room at a lovely guest house near Hilo. 




sketch of the day- Marcilhac

This painting was a demo I painted with our students, in the beautiful village of Marcilhac, in the Cele Valley, in southwest France. We had spent the morning drawing in the medieval ruined abbey, which still surrounds the church. But the afternoon was so lovely the group decided to stay and paint along the river, which cuts through a limestone escarpment, terraced with lush vegetation. 



sketch of the day--market day in Figeac

We always love to take our students to the Saturday market in the beautiful town of Figeac, 40 minutes drive from Espedaillac where we offer our plein air painting workshops.

Last September we discovered that a horse show and sale were being held on the same day as our visit. It had been lightly raining that morning but as we got our sketch books the sun came out.


Unless the horse is asleep, it is challenging to draw horses. They shift their positions and are constantly surveying the other horses near them. So, it's important to work fast and not to worry about getting the "right line."

I worked with a few different pens, including the Elegant Writer (a water soluble calligraphy pen carred by Staples). The black dye in the Elegant Writer separates out when you run water over it with a brush (I use a water brush, a brush with its own reservoir of water).

I also used a disposable Bic fountain pen (which is also a little water soluble) and finally some Micron Pigma pens which do not lift with water. 

I like working with pens which are water soluble as they create an instant value range. Whenever I buy a new pen I immediately test it for solubility. Sometime they bleed a lot, sometimes just a little. Some bleed whenever water is applied, some are soluble only when just applied. 

Here are some of my drawings from that memorable day:



sketch of the day- Cortez Island

Sometimes it's fun to work in only one colour. It forces you to push the painting into its full value range. I like French Ultramarine for this. Here's a sketch I did in my journal, a couple of summers ago, at anchor in one of my favourite spots, Manson's Landing.