That's a 20 minutes sketch of my cat Tom Gribouille done on the ipad, with a software named sketchpad.
I continue to do those drawing sessions on saturday mornings. For the moment I've seen a different model each time. It's interesting to see how, depending on the model, you feel more comfortable or a bit uneasy, and also, depending on your state of mind or level of fatigue, it will show up in the result.
It's a blend of high concentration and loose gesture, a mix of sticking to your favorite technique or daring to try different tools. It is interesting too to see what comes up when you completely let go.
I like the flow in the picture above, which was done in 6 minutes. Below, rightmost, is the last sitting the model did, she was a bit tired and had problems sustaining the pose, resulting in some shaking outlines that convey a nice movement to the sketch, I found.
I had my first session of nude drawing at a very small artist place nearby. I didn't do this in ages! I believe i needed to practice my drawing urgently.
We were a small team of six people drawing, in a totally relaxed atmosphere. We did 8-minute long poses for the first four or five drawings, then we went down to 6-minute poses. The model Christelle stayed for two hours.
I have been using graphite pencils, one dry for quick construction lines, a bold one for most strokes, and a light grey Tombow pencil with brush-shaped tip for quickly filling up the shadows. My approach was rather based on outlines, with just a hint of painterly effect with the grey brush.
I've uploaded the pictures chronologically, it's interesting to see how the strokes get more loose and firm in the middle of the session. The last two ones show signs of tiredness. I totally missed the proportions in the last one.
And yes, it was a good moment. I will attend on a regular basis from now on, on saturday mornings ( provided the previous night's party wasn't too wild ).
Right after I came back from Sao Paulo, where I was with Julien for exhibiting our installation "Aquatypes", I took a flight to join my buddy David who was in a middle of an train trip across Europe. For those who are not familiar with it, the principle is to subscribe to a Interrail ticket first, then you can travel anywhere in Europe for free ( mostly ).
Our planned itinerary was tight: Venice, Roma, Wien and Berlin, in just ten days, travel included. Thus it was meant to be quite superficial a trip, but I tried to sit here and then and scribble a bit. If it was just me, I would spend hours polishing my drawings, but you can't impose your accompanying pal such moments of wasted time. However, I managed to make a few rough doodles in every town.
It was great to find David again! Venice, at night, wandering in the calm streets, emptied of all crowds.. that was magical. Every square meter of this city shows layers of history and art.
Daytime was less great, because of the said crowd, and because a surprise public transports strike in Italy. When you're on an island, it's a bit embarrassing, to find no boat. ( fair enough, we french infamous complainers )
The drawing above was sketched at a small restaurant terrace, above a tiny canal and its parked gondolas.
The drawing above was in Roma, while doing a pause in the shade of the Villa Borghese garden. It is nothing famous or typical, only that is was a fresher place with a welcoming bench. I have sketched it in a painterly way, using various shades of grey of my Tombow markers that have a brush-shaped tip, without construction lines. The result is rather blurry, but I like how it manages to define an ambiance quite well. It's also a quicker and more spontaneous approach than the naturalistic way of drawing outlines.
We had a really awesome time in Vienna. The weather was excellent, we met numerous people and partied indecently :)
Above is a excerpt from my sketchbook that shows my strokes in tipsy mode ( left). It was at a bar which was brewing its own beer. Not to mention that the said house beer was good :)
On the right side it is a sculpture of a ram that adorns the columns of the Musikverein concert hall. ( Not really faithful to the original I must admit. The music wasn't too good actually, hence the boring sketch ).
Above is a sketch of a monument in Schönbrunn park. What is weird that I've read about it is that it was built during the 18th century to mimic an ancient roman site in ruins. So this architect originally designed it to look like the collapsed remains of a temple from 1 century AD. Ironically, after the romantic fashion had passed, the construction was left aside, and time did his job, deteriorating the monument badly. It is only in recent years that it as been repaired roughly with modern material that are clearly visible on it. All in all, it made me think of Frankenstein more than of romantic history.
The train trip from Vienna to Berlin has been a tough one. Originally, we were supposed to have a sleeper car, but David messed up with the dates so we lost the reservation and had to buy a new one; we chose normal seats because they were cheaper.
This night train was doing Prague, Berlin, then Warsaw and Moscow, among various stops. And it was really, really crowded. I tried to sleep, but after a while I just gave up because it was impossible. At least I had a seat... those kids entered the wagon somewhere in Czech republic. They had those medals around their neck, and those cups for I don't know what sports, and they were bearing this glorious exhaustion that champions deserve. The boys were like 14 year-old at most. They were all lying on the ground in the corridor, which became a impressive, intricate pile of sleepy limbs entwined. Out of boredom I tried to sketch them in my half sleep. It was not easy because they were all upside down, and they had this uneasy rest making them change position every 2 minutes. What a long and tiring trip it was... we have been stuck in a small, unknown train station of Czech Republic for more than one hour, in between naps, with the neck aching..
This was David sleeping during the trip back to France. Berlin-Bordeaux by train takes a whole day, it was long. I didn't find time, or energy to do a drawing in Berlin, that's a shame _ although we stayed there only for one day and a half.
Those quick sketches were about all I drew during the trip. It went so fast! I made a number of photos though. All in all, a predictably superficial experience, but really good and fun. Now it is time to work, and paint, isn't it ?
Some fingers touch
and the other can not
One chest lays down and the other beats
Cold cash machine
versus paper skin
I wish you were better at this game
For me to steal more of your lines
I wish I had been better at that Game
to score first place in your hall of fame
I didn't even know it existed such a shade of blue..
Pallais Gallien is a roman amphitheater from the 3rd century, of which only a few walls survived. Still is has this magical feeling when you randomly fall on this majestic sight, in the middle of the night, in the secluded decal of the sleepy streets.
I stayed there sketching in dim light for a short hour, enjoying the calm and the jump over time.
Isn't it an original name for a parrot ? ;) It's my grandparents's. It's grey, very old, and of course it can talk. Usually it doesn't like to be watched, but there it stood rather still. I think that with time this parrot is getting more sociable. okay, I'm not very good at drawing animals, because I almost never do that, but I like them ( even though they don't always like me. The parrots )
I met Helena in a train, we chatted a bit around a cup of overly expensive filter coffee that was overflowing at every bump of the railway. She is from Russia. Then I asked her if I could draw her. It was not easy, with the wagon shaking so much, and a face I didn't know, but an interesting, slighlty charming experience.
I met Jolita in a english pub. I wasn't sure how I would manage to have here stay quiet for long enough for a drawing. Then I gave her the ipad with Cash Machine, and apparently that worked about the same way as it does on me (Damned, I'm so addicted to this game!). Although the result is very sketchy, it was a very enjoyable moment that I would have wanted to sustain. I did another with different angle before getting caught by fatigue. Really looking forward to another try.
I made this portrait of my friend Dominique at his workshop, in a remote, beautiful and secluded barn in the country.
He is a painter specialized in the creation of murals.
When working on canvas, he uses to pin them directly on the wall, which shows the traces of dozens of previous artworks that were completed in this place.
Although it wasn't much easy to achieve the portrait for he wasn't standing in stillness, it was a pleasure to witness the artist at work, and a simple, peaceful, yet deep moment to share.