A blaze of juicy colors at Les Folies Bergère in Paris

SBS Juicy ColorsI am teaching a klass at Sketchbook Skool, a really great online drawing University with a Fakulty of outstanding teachers, I’m really proud to be part of. There is also a huge crowd of amazing students who produces an never ending flow of great pieces of art, even among beginners. I love it so much that I am also following the Bootcamp track just for the sake of it, with 3 quick demos and homeworks a week.

But let’s be honest, sometimes there are assignments you feel less inspired by. That was what I thought, looking at the Juicy colors demo from Koosje Koene. Not that I did not like it. On the contrary, I was fascinated by the vibrant process and its colorful result. No, I think it came right back from my childhood. As a matter in fact, I am not comfortable doing large color spots on a sheet of paper. It reminds me of awful times at primary school where my teacher used to yell at me each time I was doing an ink blot (I can even recall the smell of this wonderful purple ink) in my school notebook.
Plus I’m a kind of guy who loves to be in control of his drawing and therefore don’t feel comfortable with blots or colors deciding by themselves of their destiny. And last but not least, I wasn’t satisfied with my last so-so drawing on “making money” – though it was a very clever one brought by my friend Danny Gregory (also cofounder of Sketchbook Skool) – and I was afraid of having one more lousy drawing in my sketchbook.
But, by joining the kourse I made an initial commitment of tackling every assignment, whether I feel inspired or not, because I found out that, sometimes, wonderful things can pop up out of an assignment you don’t feel at ease with, simply because you’re pushed out of your comfort zone.
And finally, I also wanted to be sure ‘d’en avoir pour mon argent’ …I mean…get value for my money even though Bootkamp is a free lunch (Btw TINSTAAFL).

So I was ruminating for the past 48 hours on what I could draw for this assignment…until lunchtime yesterday.
I was having lunch with my wife, in what we call in French a ‘boui-boui’, a little shabby bar where to shelter illicit love. Oh Yes… I must add I have made up my mind long time ago to also select my wife as my mistress, mostly because I was said it was the best solution to avoid family affairs.
So we were having a clandestine rendezvous in that boui-boui to discuss private highly important matters, like scrutinizing our sons’ last marks at school in order to define our evening strategy… when… I suddenly I saw it !
My drawing assignment …
It was standing right in front of me…
The rain that was falling for the past 24 hours has suddenly stopped. The dark clouds parted to let a ray of light illuminate the facade of the building in front of me, a wonderfully refurbished theater with a pure Art deco architecture, les Folies Bergère.
I was contemplating with fever the central motif bathed in a golden sunlight.
There it was… my juicy SBS assignment, right in front of me in its vibrant blaze of joyful colors.
– “Jean-Christophe, Are You listening to me?” asked my wife.
Holy Ghost! Why do women always picked up the worst moment to ask embarrassing questions ?
I smiled and dishonestly answered ‘Yes!’
– “And what did I just asked you” she smirked ?
I smiled again, like a shameful naughty boy trapped with his hand in the jam pot.
– “Huuu…Yes… I mean Yes I agree with you. As always !”
-Oh No ! She answered. You’re still lost somewhere in one of your drawings. Anyway, we’ll finish this conversation later. Time for me to go! Next business appointment in 10mn ! Talk to you soon and give my Bonjour to your SBS friends, she growled !!!
She just left. Let’s be cynic and say the timing was a perfect one for me! I still had half an hour before my next meeting, far enough to tackle this delightful colored silhouette dancing amongst geometrical patterns. I pulled out my sketchbook and my Pelikan fountain pen. I draw feverishly for 30 mn, botched my afternoon appointments ‘en moins de temps qu’il ne faut pour le dire’ (in less time than it takes to say it) and rushed back home.
I then took my small Winsor & Newton watercolor, melted Aureoline, Yellow Cadmium and Carmine. I reminded having seen, long time ago, Ralph Steadman drawing in a TV documentary, swinging like a conductor in a Wagner Opera, sending blots on his sheet of paper.
So, I tried to mimic him, swinging violently huge sets of color blots for the next twenty minutes. I stopped only when my paper started to look like a psychedelic leopard fur….
…And so was my whole desk, the carpet of my living room and my white shirt. ☹
But I was happy to have ventured out of my comfort zone.

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Time for a beer at The White Lion in Covent Garden

London 003

The difficult choice when you’re drawing a pub is to decide between having a drink first and draw  after or on the contrary go for a beer once the drawing is completed. I must say the rainy weather helped me answer this tricky question. I took a quick snapshot and ordered a pint of bitter in the warmth of the Pub. I decided i would postpone the drawing once back at home.

Le choix le plus difficile lorsque vous dessinez un pub est de décider si l’on boit avant de dessiner ou au contraire de n’aller prendre une bière que lorsque le dessin est terminé. Je dois dire que le mauvais temps pluvieux m’a aidé à répondre à cette question délicate. J’ai pris une photo rapide pour aller commander au chaud une pinte de “bitter”. J’ai finalement reporté le dessin au soir à la maison.

I should say London is in black and reds

London 001In a former post, i said i liked the idea that a town could be synthesized into a very limited set of tones, in which case London would surely be in black and red. Actually i should have said in black and reds. Last week i enjoyed a bright and sunny spring weather in London and was struck by the variety of colors of the facades in the street. Bricks colors range from red vermilion to burnt sienna or even charcoal brown: a festival for a watercolourist !

J’aurais du dire que Londres est une ville en noir et rougeS

Dans un de mes précédents posts, j’ai dit comme j’aimais l’idée qu’une ville pouvait se résumer à une palette très restreinte de couleurs, auquel cas, Londres serait sûrement en noir et rouge. En fait, j’aurais du dire en noir et rouges. La semaine dernière, à Londres, j’ai goûté un temps printanier ensoleillé qui faisait resplendir les façades et j’ai été frappé par la variété de leurs couleurs. Le rouge brique s’étage du rouge vermillon à la terre de Sienne brûlée à l’Ocre jaune parfois ou encore un brun un peu charbonneux: un vrai festival pour un aquarelliste!