Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Vacations in France" Moleskine sketchbook journal, vol. 2 Summer 2008

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I'm taking this post away from my cat Sacha ...
As promised, (seems like ages ago I promised), these are some of the pages from my new "Vacations in France Moleskine Sketchbook, vol. 2". I know it's been awhile since my summer vacation this year, but I just haven’t had the time to post to this blog ... life happens, so enough about that.

These are just a sampling of the Moleskine pages I did this summer, because there are too many for me to scan/photograph. I'd never get them all up here in one post anyway and you’d be bored to tears... sort of like looking at some old auntie’s vacation slides.

Although I did use two different sketchbooks, the majority of images were done in a regular Moleskine sketchbook (not the watercolor one, I don't like that paper). I used Winsor&Newton watercolors, Sigma Micron pens and some Talens Van Gogh regular colored pencils (not the wc pencils). Hmm, I suppose these are more like *finished drawings* than traditional sketches, but that’s the way I work in my vacation journals (not to mention, these are my journals made to please me. *wink*).

On with the images ... (by the way, this second volume is more than half way done now! I really did a lot of work while away.)

Sassetot-le-Mauconduit , Hameux Le Hêtre , Seine-Maritime, Normandy, France
We stayed at the gite "Ferme aux Canard" which is in the hamlet of Le Hêtre which is part of Sassetot-le-Mauconduit in the Seine-Maritime region of Normandy. Sounds confusing, doesn't it? heh heh. This is a watercolor and ink sketch of an apple tree in front of the gite we stayed in during the first two weeks of our summer vacation, end of June to beginning of July, 2008.
copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Little Apple at Ferme aux Canard"

Fireplace at the second gite on the same property. I did this one very early one morning around 6am, no one but the chickens and me were up! ;o)

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Fireplace in Early Morning at Ferme aux Carnard"

We stayed 3 weeks here, in the last week of our stay we moved to this second gite. Very, very nice. We will be back there very soon. The gite is in a great location for day trips to other parts of Normandy.

Honfleur, France
A short trip down to Honfleur. Lovely old city with an ancient inner harbor basin with many, many cafés and restaurants around - difficult to choose one.
copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Boats in the Harbor and a Normandy Design in Honfleur, France"

The drawings/watercolors above are of the boats in the inner harbor basin on the left of the journal and a typical Normandy embroidery design I skteched in the musuem in Honfleur. Cameras were not allowed in the museum but no one said anything about not sketching. I only did the pen & ink work in the museum and painted it in outside, while having lunch at a café by the harbor basin.

Lisieux, France
We took another day trip down to Lisieux, France. Visited the Basilique Sainte-Thérèse as well as other locations in Lisieux. I did this while sitting on the front veranda of the basilica. Nice place to take a long break. The view of Lisieux, in the distance, was stunning on the day, but I was more fascinated with the arches...

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Basilica of St. Thérèse Portico Arches"


And of course, we visited a bakery while there.
French Macarons (a cream filled meringue cookie) from a bakery in Lisieux. Mmmm, these were so tasty!

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong, "French Macarons are Wonderful"

I’m now addicted. I am partial to the violet flavored ones, which are not to everyone’s liking but I loved them. Plan to buy more when back in France...nothing quite like them!

Back at the gite (vacation house)
Hortensia/Hydrangea bloom from the property of the gite – from a bouquet given to me by the owner of the gite.

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"The Gift of Hortensias from Ferme aux Canard"

In the summer, hortensias/hydrangeas are in bloom everywhere ion France (of course, we also have them all over in the Netherlands). The gite was surrounded with hortensias of so many different colors ... you could paint them forever. I just managed a sketch of one of the blossoms from the bouquet I was given. The tiny pink and lemony-green blooms were so pretty in the morning light on the dining room table. I doubt that I captured the light here, but I still enjoyed drawing the blossom.

Giverny, France
And since we were not too far away, we took a complete day trip down to Giverny to see Monet’s house & gardens and the American Museum. Wonderful day, beautiful village - perfect weather. Way too much in Giverny to tempt you to paint or draw. Below is my watercolor sketch of an area around Monet’s waterlily garden.

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong, "Behind Monet's Pond - Giverny, France"

I wouldn’t dare try to paint the waterlily pond...but I found a bench to sit on and was taken by this view... lots of green! lol

Fécamp - Normandy, France
Back closer to where we were lodging, is the harbor town of Fécamp. Below is my sketch of of Benedictine Palace in Fécamp.

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Palace Benedictine in Fécamp"

The drawing is of one of the huge windows outside the palace and was done from the park across the street from the building. This is where the world famous Benedictine liquer is brewed and bottled. A rather grand building and very interesting to tour inside which we did, and we also brought home a bottle of Benedictine. mmmmmmmm!

That's all I have taken shots of, from this Moleskine ... there are more, (about 35 more), but perhaps another blog post at another time.

In the meantime, I read this from a recent horoscope ... “accomplish as much as you can while you have the time and energy.”

So, that’s what I’ll be doing from now on, as my health, my family, my time and my art are all becoming more precious to me. I intend to treat them wisely.
cheers,
Judy
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cherries in Egg Tempera

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"Cherry Times" copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Egg Tempera on panel, 5"x 5"
(the scan doesn't show the detail very well..sorry about that)

"Mom's" been exploring the traditional painting technique of egg tempera. She thinks this is a very exciting method of painting... so clean, so pure and so involving. For hundreds of years, this is how it was done...just a raw egg yolk, some water and some ground/mulled pure pigment and very fine brushes.

closeup of cherry stem in upper-left section:

This closeup shows the cross-hatching technique for overlaying the egg tempera paint and creating the value gradations ... hopefully. The blue is cobalt blue powder pigment by Schmincke.

This is just a small post, and a small first go, to show you her new interest. The cherry piece has taken almost a year to complete. Egg tempera is slow process by nature, but one you actually can put down and come back to over time. There are things she'd change about this little piece, but on to the next one since there is a better idea waiting to be painted.
Tot ziens,
Sacha and Judy ("mom")


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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A little too much rain = a very green canal!

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How green is my canal? This green ...

That's duck weed covering the surface.
Normally this is a lovely view, with clear water.
I like the color green...but not covering everything.
Way too much rain this summer....and more on the way.

I can hardly see my duck friends...

... slogging through the green stuff. (I guess ducks "slog").

So "Mom" (Judy) has been staying inside sketching what's been growing in the back garden.
She picked this Passion Flower blossom from a vine in our neighbors garden that hangs into our garden. :o) Hey, it was there waiting to be plucked! lol

"Study Sketches of a Passion Flower"
copyright 2008, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils
and Derwent Graphitints in Moleskine sketchbook

Not much esle to report.
I'm just watching the skies turn dark again.
Tot Ziens!
Sacha
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