Wednesday, June 6, 2018

France Sketchbook - Day 6 - Roussillon

It's been a busy spring here at Summerhill, and I've been doing more planting and mulching than blogging and painting lately, but before I leave for Maine tomorrow, I want to share with you a few of the pages from my Provence sketchbook that I haven't gotten around to posting here yet.

When I last posted about my France travel journal, I wrote about our visit to the monastery at St. Paul-de-Mausole in St. Remy-de-Provence. The text on the page below is a continuation of that day, part of a French Escapade painting tour.


When I have a lot of journaling to do, I don't like to have an entire page in my sketchbook filled with nothing but writing. I try to think of something I can do to make the page more interesting and tie it in with the rest of the travel journal. Since I had quite a bit of writing to catch up on here in this two-page spread, I decided to tie the pages together by painting the backgrounds of both pages cerulean blue. I also designed same-sized borders for the two pages and used an almond-shaped motif in both designs, even though the designs themselves are not identical. The color schemes vary sightly on the two borders, but they repeat many of the same colors.

Ink & watercolor in a handmade 6" x 8" sketchbook filled with Kilimanjaro 140 lb. watercolor paper

The page on the left has a small landscape of the monastery building, viewed from the end of the garden (the area that I sketched on the previous page in my sketchbook), while the page on the right shows the picnic lunch that we enjoyed the next day.


I think adding background washes, small sketches, and interesting borders to text pages makes it more fun to read them!

Day 6 of our Provence tour took us to the lavender fields near Roussillon...


and guess what my lesson was on that day....how to paint lavender! Surprise, surprise!


We spent the entire morning on location, settled comfortably in the shade under the spreading branches of an old oak tree.


The children of the field's owners had a stand set up right next to us, selling bunches of fresh-cut lavender. It smelled SO GOOD!


I managed to complete my lavender field vignette sketch that day, in between jumping up and down to check on my students and assist them with their paintings.


Later on at home I added a title and a close-up view of a bunch of freshly-cut lavender.

"Lieu de Joie" means A Place of Joy (Ink & watercolor in a handmade 6" x 8" sketchbook filled with Kilimanjaro 140 lb. watercolor paper)

I almost always pre-plan my pages, so I have an idea of what type of layout I want to do, where I might want to place a title or journaling, how large the sketch will be, etc. Here, I roughed in an elliptical shape for the lavender bouquet at the very beginning of the sketching process that day in Roussillon. I refined it and designed the border for it later on, but if I hadn't planned for it, the ellipse would never have made it onto the page. Taking a moment to think before putting pencil or pen to paper can result in more interesting sketchbook pages.


After working hard all morning on our lavender field sketches, we were more than ready for a nice long lunch break. This photo brings back such good memories of our picnic under the oak tree.


The food was amazing - those fresh apricots, nectarines, and cherries were so delicious, they almost made me swoon. And it all seemed so continental! Picnicking under an ancient oak tree next to a lavender field in Provence - I mean, really, it seemed too good to be true.

The whole trip was like that. If you ever have a chance to go on an art tour with Jackie Grandchamps of French Escapade, jump on it.  She takes care of all the logistics, organizes everything perfectly, and chooses wonderful places for us to paint. I can't wait to work with her again in 2019 when I'll be teaching a workshop in Spain, May 6-13, 2019. You can read all about it here.

After lunch, we gathered our art gear, hopped in the vans and headed down the road to the village of Roussillon.


Roussillon is famous for its red cliffs and ochre quarries, where yellow, red, and brown pigments were mined in the 18th and 19th century for use in a variety of industries, including artist's paints!

The ochre cliffs of Roussillon

The town is one of the prettiest in Provence.

This building is so pretty it looks like it must be a movie set!

We had fun just walking around, exploring the narrow streets with their artisan shops and cafes, and taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.


Since it was a hot afternoon, we grabbed a little something to cool off...





I stopped in a shop that specialized in artist's pigments and bought a set for a friend plus a few jars for myself.


After wandering around the village for an hour or so, I had some time to sketch before I had to meet up with our group.

Ink & watercolor in a handmade 6" x 8" sketchbook filled with Kilimanjaro 140 lb. watercolor paper

Once again I made a rough plan for the page from the start. As soon as I had the idea of doing two sketches on the two-page spread, one a close-up view of a flower-covered balcony and the other a landscape showing the ochre cliffs, I roughly blocked in the areas on each page that would be filled with the images, then sketched in the title banner in pencil and lightly wrote a possible title on it.

I always block in the large shapes of the sketches and the lettering before inking. It saves me time in the end, because I sketch in pencil very quickly, then have the confidence to ink fairly quickly, too. Because I know I've worked out the main shapes and proportions in the preliminary drawing, I don't need to worry about accuracy when I'm using my pen.

When I ink the drawing, I use the pencil drawing as a guide, but I feel free to vary it if I want to, if I think the drawing would be better served by changing something. I also add more details with the pen that I didn't bother drawing with pencil.

I started this two-page spread with a  close-up view of the beautiful pink house on the main square (shown in one of the photos above), with its fancy wrought iron balcony, blue-green trim, flags, and window boxes overflowing with flowers.

The balcony and doors were the first images drawn on the page.

I blocked in the main shapes in the scene with pencil first, which only took a few minutes, then inked the drawing with my Platinum Carbon fountain pen filled with black Platinum Carbon ink.


Then I walked through the village until I came to an overlook that gave me a perfect view of the ochre cliffs. I placed them on the page so that they framed it on the right side and lead the eye toward the balcony sketch on the left.

I painted these pages using the ochre pigments I had bought in Roussillon plus other colors that were already on my palette. The ochre pigments were in powder form, so I had to mix them with gum arabic and water to turn them into watercolor paints. I'm not sure I used the proper proportions, but the paints worked okay and, despite being a little gritty, I think they gave me colors that were accurate and true to the ochre cliffs I saw and sketched that day in Roussillon. And using the pigments made me feel connected to the place I had sketched - a little piece of Proven├žal history, right on my page.

The last few pages of my France sketchbook will have to wait until after I get home from Maine in a couple of weeks. For now I'm happily anticipating fields of wild lupines,


the sparkle of morning sunshine on the waters of Penobscot Bay,


sketching, dreaming, and practicing idleness...


in a place that speaks to my heart...


and touches my soul.


I'll be posting on Instagram while I'm in Maine, and those posts will also show up on Facebook. On Instagram, follow lesliefehling. 



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

WINNER of the Travel Sketch Kit Giveaway

Congratulations  
shortybeth!
You're the winner of the
tavel sketching watercolor kit
GIVEAWAY!


Please contact me to claim your prize and tell me what rainbow of colors you'd like in your new travel palette.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

GIVEAWAY! Travel Sketching Watercolor Kit

Summer's almost here and I've got travel sketching on my mind, so I thought this might be the perfect time to do a sketch kit GIVEAWAY for you, my loyal Everyday Artist followers.

I picked up some goodies when I was at Cheap Joe's a couple of weeks ago, and they could be yours just for leaving a comment on this post.


Here's what's included in this travel sketching watercolor kit:


To enter the drawing for the watercolor kit, 
please leave a comment. 
I'd love to hear about where you'll be 
traveling this summer.

(Winner will be selected May 29, 2018)

I'll be taking my art supplies on lots of fun trips this summer and fall. First off is Maine, where I'll be teaching two back-to-back painting workshops.

Sketch from a 2016 trip to Maine (10" x 7", ink & watercolor in a Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook)

Then there's a family beach vacation in July (not much time for painting when there are four young children clamoring for attention, but I hope to squeeze in a sketch or two).

Sketch from last year's beach trip (9" x 12", ink & watercolor in an Aquabee Super Deluxe sketchbook)

August will find me back in Boone, NC, for a "Step-by-Step Watercolor" workshop. (This class is full, but if you put your name on the waiting list, you just might get in!)

May 2018 class at Cheap Joe's

Then I'll be gearing up for a fantastic trip to Italy where I'll be teaching two workshops. The first is on the beautiful island of Sicily where we'll be sketching soaring mountains, windmills, ancient Greek ruins, and picturesque seaside villages.


There are a few spots left on this workshop tour. Read all about it here.  Dates are September 15-22, 2018.


Then I'm off to Northern Italy for a workshop with The Blue Walk. During this weeklong tour, we'll visit Milan, Rapallo, Cinque Terre, and Lake Como, enjoying the unique character of each of these places. Sketching, touring, eating, shopping, relaxing - we'll do it all! Why not join us? It's going to be a feast for the senses.


If a week just isn't enough for you, join me for the optional three-day extension of the Northern Italy tour which will take us to Padua, Verona, and Venice.


Interested? Find out more here. Dates are September 22-October 2, 2018.

My last workshop of 2018 will be in San Clemente, CA, where I'll debut my newest class,  "Sketchbook Journaling Explorations", at San Clemente Art Supply. This class should be a lot of fun. We'll be playing around with new tools and techniques to mix things up a bit in our sketchbook journals. Visit the US Workshops page for a full class description.


Happy summer sketching! Remember to enter the sketch kit giveaway by leaving a comment. 


Good luck!



Thursday, May 17, 2018

Notes from Boone

Last week was a whirlwind of travel and teaching, but I'm back home now and ready to share with you some of the fun that I had teaching a five-day "Sketchbook Journaling Comes to Life" workshop at Cheap Joe's Art Stuff in Boone, North Carolina.

Spring was in full swing as we traveled from western Pennsylvania through West Virginia and into the mountains of Virginia...


past barns and cows...


and fields of wildflowers...


to the cute little town of Boone, North Carolina, nestled in among the Blue Ridge Mountains.


We arrived Sunday evening and checked into our hotel. My mom came along on this trip - she's my favorite traveling companion. My students always love her, too.

During the next few hours I ran into several of my students in the hotel lobby, on the elevator, and at the grocery store down the road. They all recognized me from online photos. (I felt like a movie star with paparazzi!) Everyone was so excited about the class - some had been waiting over a year for it. Oh, the anticipation!

I arrived at Cheap Joe's early Monday morning, so I could set up before the students arrived...

I still get such a kick out of this!



Before long the tables were filled with happy sketchers from all over the country...


I knew they were excited about everything they were going to learn during the week, but I think part of the draw for any Cheap Joe's class is this....


the outlet store that's right next door to the classroom. There was a whole lotta shoppin' goin' on throughout the week (but I refuse to divulge any names or dollar amounts!)

Class ran from 9 to 4 every day, and I packed those hours with so much information that everyone's heads were swimming, but luckily I gave them each a 50-page handbook containing all the information I was sharing, so they could relax, look, and listen without furiously scribbling notes.

This was a hard-working group, and their sketches were proof of that. I was impressed with the way they took what they were learning and put it into practice, creating colorful, personal, beautifully designed sketchbook pages.





Click here to open an album of student sketches. 

I guarantee you'll be inspired!



My friend Wendy came to visit while I was in Boone, and we stayed up way too late talking the two nights she was there. It added something special to my week, having a chance to catch up with her.

My mother Saundra, me, and Wendy

The lunches were catered for us each day right in the classroom, giving us more time to paint, rather than having to run out for food. The meals were delicious - my favorite was the southern barbecue!


The best part of every day was show-and-tell time. I love seeing how each person interprets an assignment, putting a personal spin on it that is uniquely their own. (See their work here.)


They inspire each other (and me!) and their sketches add a richness to the class that would be missing if I were the only person sharing my work.

Thursday after lunch we had a behind-the-scenes tour of the Cheap Joe's art gallery, offices, and distribution center.

Ann and Sue look longingly at shelves and shelves of art supplies

It's a catalogue come to life!


Paints, anyone?



This is where orders are packed and shipped...


Did you know that Cheap Joe's makes their own Kilimanjaro and American Journey watercolor sketchbooks and blocks right there in Boone? The beautiful European-made paper is cut to size on this machine...


then the sheets of paper and cardboard are stacked and compressed before glue is brushed on the sides. After the glue dries, they are cut apart and the covers are applied. It's all done by one woman in Boone.


Before I took the warehouse tour I had assumed that the sketchbooks and watercolor blocks were made in a factory overseas, but Joe likes to keep fabrication in-house when he can. And I like knowing that the Kilimanjaro watercolor sketchbook I'm using was made by a lady in the hills of North Carolina.

The art gallery in the office area at Cheap Joe's is filled with wonderful paintings from many of the instructors who teach there - it's a treat to see the work of these world-famous artists up close.


And I got a kick out of this framed letter from President George W. Bush to Joe Miller.


We all had a fantastic week in Boone. I made plenty of new friends, and I think many of them will continue sketching long after the afterglow from the class wears off. They're hooked!

This sketch of Terry's was one of my favorites - isn't it awesome?

A workshop at Cheap Joe's is an experience you won't forget. The facilities are the best I've found and the staff aims to make each person comfortable and happy while they're there. They even gave us free gifts each day during the week! If you haven't taken a workshop at Cheap Joe's yet, I encourage you to check out their catalogue of 2018 & 2019 classes here.

I'll be returning to Boone to teach a watercolor class in August, but it's already full with a waiting list. In 2020 I'll be repeating both of my 2018 workshops at Cheap Joe's. Registration for them will open the first week of January 2019. Here are the dates:

May 11-15, 2020
Sketchbook Journaling Comes to Life

May 18-22, 2020
Step-by-Step Watercolor


So put them on your calendar and be sure to sign up early, because they fill fast.

Meanwhile, there are still a few spots open on my Italy trips this September. Click on the European Workshops tab for all the details. And I have lots of other workshops scheduled for 2018 and 2019. Read about them the US Workshops page. I hope to see you at one of them!


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