Sunday, June 14, 2015

an alternative view

Pen and watercolor wash sketch of French village.


I always get a kick of of it when locals don't recognise the view I've sketched. This is the case in both the sketches above. While locals recognised their village church in the sketch at the top, the vantage point puzzled them and I got lots of questions about where I sketched this from. I just pointed to a lovely shady spot on the other side of the river.  Somewhere they've probably walked by many times, but never stopped to look.

The sketch at the bottom of the page, in nearby Pont-en-Royans, is not of the famous Maisons Suspendues (medieval suspended houses). Again a bit of a surprise to the locals. But then I explain I've sketched that other beautiful scene many times and probably will again.

I think I see places differently now that I sketch on location. It's like how a climber never looks at a piece of rock or a mountain quite the same way to anyone else. A climber is always looking up, seeing a new way to the top, wondering if a line is climbable, if the rock is any good. Climbers see the beauty in cliffs and mountains in a different way to others. I think, since I started sketching outdoors, I see the beauty of places in a different way to others. I notice quite different things. I become immersed in a place so much more than before. Even if I don't sketch what I see, the colours, shapes, movements, people, and scenes stay with me.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

back in France



Here is one of our favourite places in the world ... the Gorges de la Bourne in the Vercors mountains just south of Grenoble. This valley has rock climbing, BASE jumping and lots of old villages perfect for painting. The French resistance had a big stronghold here and there's plenty of history.

The tiny village of Choranche is our base. Our home away from home, we've spent many summer months here. And although it's very tiny and perhaps has no more than 30 buildings, I always seem to find a new view to sketch. It's also nice to repaint scenes - I have some that are almost a tradition.

Here is a new one...



It's always daunting to do the first sketch in a new book. I always feel a bit relieved after I make the first mark. Somehow after the first mark it doesn't matter if the drawing works out or not. I just have to get started :-)