Wednesday, November 30, 2011


After the bike trip, we hung around in Gordes for a night and then took a taxi to St. Remy, where we stayed for 2 days. Looking back on my time there, I don't think I used it very wisely. There were lots of things we missed but maybe we just needed to chill for awhile after being on the bike for a week.

This sketch is from the Musée Estrine, Centre Interprétation présence Van Gogh. I went there after a long stretch of drawing a house just outside of the central town. The museum was pretty disappointing - there were no Van Gogh paintings or drawings and the other main exhibit was pretty awful. However, I did find this courtyard and got this sketch done just as they were closing for the day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


While biking in Provence we stayed in Gordes for a couple of nights. Gordes is a lovely old hillside village - often described as "one of the most beautiful villages in France". Before I left for France I had seen a wonderful book of sketches on the Provence region with drawings by Fabrice Moireau's that inspired my drawing above. They are pencil and watercolor sketches that are often "unfinished" in places. The effect is that eye is focused immediately on what the artist is most interested in describing and supported or framed with the added context of  the uncolored pencil drawing. One afternoon, after a hard day of biking, I forced myself to take my art backpack up the hill from where we were staying and draw this. It took me a couple of hours to draw the scene and the next day I spent an hour or so painting it.

When I returned and saw Moireau's book, I was amazed to see that the sketch on the front cover was of the very same scene that I drew! You can see his drawing here. They are similar in many ways though he sketched from a slightly different location than I did. This is  pencil and watercolor on 12x16 Canson watercolor block.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Colors of Provence

I loved Provence. I have always wanted to go and what better way to see it than on my bike. There is just no better way to see a region like this. The sketches above were mostly done in the small town of Gordes except for one on the top right which I did in Rousillon. Watercolor, pencil and ink in my 5x8 handbook journal.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Paris Institute of France with Riverboat

When I walked by this scene, I was intrigued with the contrast of vertical and horizontal lines. The strong vertical of the dome and the strong horizontal of the long riverboat. This sketch never quite captured it - too many mistakes of color and perspective are getting in the way. Maybe I'll try again sometime. This is in my large Handbook Journal (8x10)and reworked some in Sketchbook Pro.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Paris Cafès

In Paris, it is easy to just hang out at sidewalk cafès for hours drinking coffee, sketching, watching people, chatting. There are no shortages of these cafès in Paris - they're everywhere. On the day I sketched this scene, we woke late and I came down to a bakery around the corner from our hotel while Valerie did some work on the computer. The croissants were great, coffee delicious, and a nice mix of people came and went as the workers joked with the regulars. Valerie joined me as I was beginning to put color on the sketch. It was a great breakfast that managed to last until 1 o'clock in the afternoon.

Valerie enjoyed it so much that the next morning, while I was out drawing, she went there for breakfast again but found a completely different scene. The doors were closed, scaffolding was up, paint cans and tools everywhere. What a difference a day makes...