Monday, 18 September 2017


Last week our subject du jour was 'Sea Turtles'. Just Because. Also, they are very interesting - and I have once in my life actually seen one in the middle of the Ocean, in a storm: he (or she) paddled calmly past us. And made quite an impression. They are ancient creatures, around for over 100 million years, from the time of the dinosaurs. I learned from Agnès that they cannot retract their flippers like other turtles. Well, and they are absolutely beautiful, intelligent and full of expression!
All of us worked on doing them justice in watercolours  - and I think that worked out! Here are the results:
 Doreen painted a baby sea turte of (as she called it) "a whole new species". She experimented with salt, very brave!

Brenda's turtle looks mildly at us while swimming...

This sea turtle was painted by Bev, 'Diving' movement very well achieved!

Celina's turtle - almost finished... I love her clear lines and the contrast between the flowy background, the interesting back and the almost mosaic-like flippers and head
Dave painted this friendly giant turtle - with a beautiful aura. Quite an achievement: it was his very first painting in watercolours!!

Another gorgeous sea turtle, by Elia. This one high up in the sea. Perfect use of salt and colour. I hope to show you the finished version next post! 

Sylvie already painted a sea turtle some time ago, but she started a new one in a new style, with pleasure!

This colourful version was painted by Agnès, I love it! For the story behind it, check out her blog
And last but by no means least, Patience painted this amazing fast andenergetic turtle... he swims just under the surface, and the sun shines!


Monday, 11 September 2017

Stretching paper revisited...

Below are a couple of pictures in which I stretch watercolour paper. It can be done in more ways (with staples for instance), but I use paper tape, Arches 180 or 300 grs torchon paper, water resistant boards and a bath tub half-full with water 

Here's how I do it:

The (still wrapped) roll of Arches Torchon paper, 1.13m wide and 9m long... 

...paper unwrapped and ready to be cut...

 ...sheets straightened, soaking in the tub with cold water...
...wet sheets hanging...

...cut to size... out the water (diagonally) and stretch at the same time... 

...cut the sticky paper tape... paper stretched...

...boards with stretched paper drying...

See the Aquarellista Blog to check out to what's done with them :)

Monday, 4 September 2017

3 Portraits in watercolours - an Aquarellista Holiday...

The group of watercolourists will start again on 5 September, after a month. You can look forward to pictures of their work from next week...

I have spent all of August in a blissful artist mood, working on several projects. The 500 years Valbonne book (more later!), my expo in the Chateau des Demoiselles (more later!) and the one that I told some of you about: 'the dead wife painting'.

This was the challenge:
A commission to paint the portrait of a woman who passed away. I have done that before, but I always knew the person. In this case I had never met her. Her husband gave me a lot of pictures which I carefully studied. Then I sent him the selection that I thought would be a good basis for a portrait. He never replied, and, confident as I am, I assumed I chose the correct examples and started with an aquarelle. A big one. On Arches 600grs torchon...
When I was happy with the face, I sent a picture to him, expecting praise and maybe even emotion. He replied that it was awful and didn't look like her at all... oops! That was the start of a very very interesting path, in which I became humble again and learned a lot! It was a combined effort, of using the pictures more loosely, and adding what he told me about her. Spontaneous, warm, with a real smile, and colourful clothes...

After 28 watercolours and at least as many sketches, I finally got it right. I loved it. He loved it. He actually loved it so much that he asked me to paint 2 more portraits like it, to give to other people who loved her. And that's how I spent my off-Hangar days - couldn't have wished for a better way...

Here are the three portraits I finally delivered, all 3 on rough handmade paper:

Monday, 28 August 2017

Rentree of the Aquarellistas!

 Big Rose Flip flops by Elia B.

We've been on a well-deserved summer break - to relax and enjoy the sun, and most of all to absorb impressions and get inspiration... I still owe you the work that was created the last time we saw each other, the 1st of August (feels like ages ago!). To prepare for the holidays we had a 'beachy' still life with flip flops, towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat and espadrilles

Andre first finished another painting and didn't finish but his version looks great!

Liz painted a contrast-rich and quite glamorous looking beachy watercolour

Patience was very much impressed by the brave pilot whose plane was heavily damaged by the egg-size hail stones in Istanbul, and who managed to land the plane perfectly.

So she used that as inspiration for this painting - SO strong! Fantastic!

More finished work:
Elia's 'old couple'...

...and her 3 faces with ribbons.

Agnès's 'Paris Street Orchestra'... so lively, you can almost hear the music!

Sandra's 'Spring Onions' - they have her signature orange light which makes them extra interesting

Cathie's old man - a combination of watercolour with brou de noix. Fabulous painting, with so much character!

Monday, 7 August 2017

Découpe rapide d'un passe-partout "maison"

The English version of 'quick'n easy passepartout-cutting' you can find HERE 

Les aquarellistes mettent généralement leurs oeuvres sous verre et savent que la peinture est mieux présentée et paraît plus profonde avec un passe-partout mat autour.

Vous pouvez achetez des passe-partouts standard mais souvent la taille ne correspond pas à votre aquarelle. Malheureusement, couper un passe-partout parfait dans un carton épais avec un biseau à 45° n'est pas chose facile et si vous vous exprimez sur du papier tendu, vous ne pouvez pas restez dans les dimensions standards.

La méthode de découpe ci-dessous est simple et rapide. Elle peut être utilisée seule ou en complément d'un montage standard.

Vous aurez besoin d'un morceau de papier épais (>=150 gr), une règle, un crayon, une gomme, du ruban adhésif et un bon cutter.
1. Prenez les mesures correctes à l'intérieur de l'image
2. Dessinez le contour sur le support papier que vous allez couper:

3. Collez du ruban adhésif aux croisements des lignes:

4. Avec le cutter, coupez une diagonele sur les quatres coins:

5. Découpez un rectangle ou un carré plus petit:

6. Pliez doucement les 4 parties:

7. Retournez pour verifier si tout est parfait, tourner à nouveau et collez votre image, c'est fait !

With a big thank you to Edith for the translation...

Monday, 31 July 2017

Cute Couples

Guest Aquarellista Annabel Clarke painted this characterful image. I love everything about it, the style, the colours, the composition - and the subject. Big compliment!

Subject du jour was 'Old Couples' last Aquarellista Tuesday, and we decided that many of them have the same effect on us as baby animals. A big AWWWW factor... Have a look for yourself...
Work in progress by André. He will leave the couple white (rub out the pencil lines) and create a vibrant abstract background

Fabulous watercolour by Liz... Are they going to the dance? Or returning from it... 'She' definitely has dancing feet!

Fragile and so lovely, this old couple by Elia B. (in progress)

And how about this pair - painted by Michele. It is very well-observed and also she outdid herself with the dark contrasts!

 Cathie worked on an old single - as you can see it is super textured, her speciality! This is a watercolour, on canvas, with a thick, irregular layer of gesso.

 An other texture watercolour by Cathie. Same technique, totally gorgeous!!

Carol finished her fabulous  still life with garlic... 

 ...and started a new one with pomegranates. A complicated one that will keep her busy in the holidays 😜

'Carol at the Hangar' by Patience. This kind of small portraying happens often in our group! It is so much fun to secretly sketch one of the hardworking and not-noticing aquarellistas...

 Patience was on a roll last Tuesday. With the motto 'Less is More', she wrote down some other famous quotes, on an interesting abstract background - on a big piece of rough-grain paper...

And with the same intention painted this fabulous abstract. Enlarge it by clicking, it contains so many surprising shapes - and is also beautiful to just look at as a whole... Well done!!

Sandra is working on this still life with spring onions that has such a fantastic indian summer light...  

And last but by no means least, this a-ma-zing street orchestra in Paris by Agnès! No doubt it will be in her blog soon - in finished form, but I already love it in this setup. Note how the transparent tape, used to mark the border actually functions as a curtain...

  It is not the first musical painting for Agnès: during the Hangar-25 year party, she got the inspiration to create  this fabulous, colourful painting of the band!