'Aller au fil de l'eau' means to go with the flow. It is also, appropriately, the name of the café in the small French village where I live. On the terrace, the atmosphere is relaxed, life seems to mosey along no faster than the river that slips lazily by. In spring and early summer, conversations are often accompanied by a chorus of croaking frogs. Creating this blog is some kind of commitment to take brush or pen or pencil in hand every day and make art. As Julia Cameron says: "...creativity is not a marathon event that we must gird ourselves for, whacking off great swaths of life as we know it to make room for it. Creativity is not aberrant, not dramatic, not dangerous. If anything, it is the pent-up energy of not using our creativity that feels that way". Not making art is like trying to stop the flow of the river. I surrender to the flow and watch where it takes me.

Monday, 14 January 2013

A prolific weekend

Think I broke my own record this weekend, with a grand total of four pictures completed and posted on my Flickr and Facebook pages. Of course the quantity is irrelevant... what's important is the fact that I'm motivated at last. 

On Saturday afternoon I took myself off to the local spa town of Alet-les-Bains which, in addition to its healing waters, is home to a ruined Benedictine abbey dating back to the ninth century. It being winter, I was able to park my car right outside the abbey's ticket office, from where I had a perfect view of the ruins, offering a glimpse of the cathedral's unusual hexagram-shaped stained glass windows.

At home that evening, Simon was sitting opposite me, engrossed in a game of Beach Buggy Blitz on his Nexus 7. A perfect opportunity to get in some badly needed life drawing practice...

Later, much later, I couldn't sleep and, instead of lying awake overthinking my life, I opened my sketchbook again and added watercolour to a pen sketch I had done on a recent visit to Villerouge-Termenès. It's really a study of a small section of the chateau entrance gate because, as often happens, I started too big and there wasn't room to fit in the scene I had originally been attracted by. The colours turned out well though. I'm really loving the pinks and violets at the moment, perhaps because they are a good antidote to winter.

On Sunday night, I decided to attempt a studio drawing of the street I had wanted to capture in my sketch, using a photograph as source. What drew me to this scene was the bluish quality to the light in the alley through the gate and the way it contrasted with the warm ochres and pinks in the archway's stonework. The biggest challenge proved to be the values, since the whole street apart from the very top of the houses on the right was in shadow. The result to my eye is rather flat as there are no stark contrasts to give depth.

This painting also, to my mind, lacks the looseness and spontaneity of my sketches. A good exercise though... and a satisfactory conclusion to an art-filled weekend.

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