Saturday, 24 October 2009

Brittany sketches

I spent more than three glorious weeks in Brittany and became completely enamored of its tranquil beauty and its intimate scale. It is less dramatic than I'd imagined, less rugged than coastal Scotland and Ireland, less vertiginous than some of the places in Cornwall I remember, more temperate (there are palm trees and camellias and fig trees in the Golfe du Morbihan!), more feminine somehow, more French than I'd expected. May I please have another lifetime? I'd live in Quimper or on the Morbihan coast, I'd rear my children, I'd dine on the freshest oysters imaginable, and I'd paint every spare moment I could steal or borrow.
I'd originally planned to take acrylic paints and gessoboards to make rock and water studies on location. Due to my mother's precarious health, I had to travel as lightly as possible, knowing I might have to return home at any moment. Thus, these sketches, from which later paintings will ensue:Presqu'ile de Rhuys, beach with rocksRocky shore, Golfe du Morbihan, BrittanyPort Coton, Belle Ile en MerEbb tide, Brittany beachGolfe du Morbihan, tide's outBreton beach, rocks and water
I have more of these sketches and will post them here soon. I am in the process of sharing all my sketches from Brittany on my blog Laurelines, so please drop by and have a look!


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Realy great sketches Laura - and your Brittany sketches are going to get a feature on 'who's made a mark this week' today.

I'd like sketches like this as the finished 'thing'. What I'd really like to see you do is produce some big watercolour paintings - in the same sketchy style - from these studies. Big brushes at dawn? ;)

I hope your mother gets well soon and you can get back into your studio

muddy red shoes said...

Ooh, lovely lovely sketches, I am hopping over right now to see what you did in beautiful Brittany!

Julie Broom said...

these are wonderful, gorgeous textures and colours.

Anonymous said...

I really like the way you've portrayed the motion of the water as it swirls in and out. That's a really hard thing to do, but is one of the truly beautiful things about the shore.

Laureline said...

Thank you very much, nice commenters! Katherine, I hope for her sake and mine, that my mother's condition improves. I agree with you about finding the brushy style that will express what I want to--it's a process I'm in, made much more slow by all that's happened this year. Good advice!
Sarah, I thought of you the very minute I reached the house I'd rented deep in the countryside--I was surrounded by Red Shoe light!

Lindsay said...

I agree that you have beautifully captured the motion of the sea. It amazes me that you get pencil lines to look so ink like!

Your "Red Shoe" light made me smile. Hoping I too can experience this at some point in the future.
Lovely sketches.

vivien said...

utterly gorgeous! so atmospheric and evocative and so lovely and freely painted.

Laureline said...

Thank you, Lindsay and Vivien. Lindsay, I used a new drawing tool I found in an art supply store in Auray---it's an oil pencil, made by Cretacolor. It's charcoal mixed with oil, so it doesn't smear--I'd missed the sensuous lines I used to get with my 8b pencils, but had abandoned a couple of years ago because they were just too darned messy. I've been mostly using pens for a couple of years, but they're completely different animals.
Anyway, the new oil pencils (they come in four degrees of softness, I think) allowed me great freedom of mark-making and I loved that freedom while making these sketches. The top one is done with a Japanese brushpen, called the Memory brush.

Anonymous said...

Lovely sketches've truly captured the beautiful coastline of Brtagne! We are now awaiting your paintings flowing from these sketches, which I secretly hope will have some watercolours among them watercolour - I think you were born for watercolour work!

Jeanette said...

I love the water shapes and colours you've gotten down perfectly.

I can see why Brittany has appeal. There is a ruggedness and charm there that pulls you back.

vivien said...

I like the sound of those pencils - I sometimes use some cheapo charcoal pencils that are a bit oily - not at all like a normal charcoal pencil. I wonder if they are a bit like that? I rather like them.

Kelly Marszycki said...

I'm coming to visit your blog -- ohhh, I love these -- the spontaneity and lightness are marvelous qualities. Especially love 'Ebb Tide' -- very soft hues one does not see too often.

Cathy Gatland said...

Ooh, I keep finding more beautiful Brittany sketches - these watery ones are superb. I agree with Katherine that 'finished' big works just like these would be fantastic.

Lindsay said...

Sadly Blick does not carry them in the states:>(

Might be a long wait. I like them too. I wonder if they are like a litho crayon but with a sharper point.

José said...


These sketches as well as other ones remind me of something : I'm a procrastinator in what comes to drawing practice.
Shame on me :-)
I like the loseness and fluidity of these works.

Have a nice week,