Tuesday, 31 December 2013

It's time for 2013 to get some rest

In a few hours, this year will be over. Already!

It's been very eventful and positive for me. I haven't seen time pass.

Now let's put 2013 to sleep and hope 2014 will be just as good.

This is how my Dad watches TV

Have a glood slide into the new year, as we say around here. Gudde Rutsch am neie Joer!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

This jolly Santa was in the newspaper today.

When I saw him I could just imagine his booming laughter :)

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Monday, 23 December 2013

A study on a gear shift

A few days ago we went on a trip to Strasbourg to enjoy the Christmas market.

My father was driving and since it is a two hour trip I took the opportunity to sketch something to pass the time.

The result is slightly wobbly because of the driving, but I'm quite satisfied with it.

photo 2
"I don't like the yellow" - was my father's reaction, haha

Friday, 20 December 2013

December mail art exchange

Here is my second attempt at mail art. This time the exchange was organized by Urban Sketchers Belgium.

I took some inspiration from the beautiful letter I received in the previous exchange.

The subject was "Decemberrrrr", so I was looking for something that would fit.

Luckily the temperature yesterday was mild and I was able to sketch a small part of the Christmas market on the Place de la Constitution. I added the colour later.

The whole time there were tourists waiting for a bus ; it was funny to have a big group of what I assume were Chinese people around me, taking pictures of the market and not really curious about what I was doing.

This is what the envelope looks like once it's closed.

And this is what it looked like before I folded it.

UPDATE: Here are the works of all the participants on the blog of Atelier "Carnet à Spirale".

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

People on the bus

I really love sketching people in public transportation.

Even when they're not doing anything in particular, they are so absorbed in their thoughts that I can study them at leasure.

I tend to have more difficulties drawing men than women. It might not look like it, but this man is no exception. Although he was not a bad-looking guy at all, I made him much more handsome than he actually was.
Sans titre
Italian elegance distracted me
I was attracted to this girl because it looked like she was completely out of it, looking at the ceiling and smiling as if she was seeing someone she knew. I even wondered if she wasn't on drugs...

Seeing angels
I liked this woman's hair for some reason.

woman phone
Loved the nose, too!
This lady looked so warm in her winter clothes and was delightfully absorbed in her book. She didn't move at all.

The hairdo was interesting to sketch as well
How could I resist this nose? Just beautiful!
Sans titre
Now I see him quite often. I'll have to sketch him again.
I was sitting face to face with a teenager, completely engrossed in a game. The movement of his hands was fascinating.

Fast thumb movements will lead you to victory!
Of all the people inside a bus, there are always quite a few on the phone. I liked this woman's posture. Plus the fact that her neighbour was on the phone as well. The rest was a matter of being stuck in a traffic jam.
bus ride home
Traffic jams rule!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Stamminee: Luxembourg's image

The forum of contemporary art, Casino Luxembourg, organises a sort of round table on various subjects which they call Stamminee.

Stamminee is a Luxembourgish word meaning 'table of regulars' (in a pub), and by extension the regulars themselves.

This month's Stamminee was on the subject of nation branding and on Luxembourg's image in particular.

The guests were people active in the art and culture scene, business promotion, nation branding, as well as civil servants from the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of the Economy.

I actually went to provide moral support to a friend of mine, one of the representatives of the business aspect of the subject. I had to smile when she said she was not the Antichrist when she introduced herself to a crowd mainly composed of people who believe that culture and business cannot work together.

my notes from the Stamminee

The main ideas that I found interesting during the exchange were:

The fact that Luxembourgish people are not proud of their culture and history, so how can they convey an image of Luxembourg other than that of a tax haven?

There is even a sense of shame for what Luxembourg is and a defensive stance ('We are not just a tax haven!'), instead of a more positive proposal to describe the country.

It is important to work on the country's image at home first, so it can improve abroad.

Questions like Who are we? and What do we want? must be answered before any efficient nation branding strategy can be developed.

On a more positive ending, it was noted that people who have been to Luxembourg usually like it, find the population friendly and leave with a very different impression of the country.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Virtual Paintout December 2013: Venice

This month's Virtual Paintout location was both wonderful and terrible, for how can one choose only one place to draw in Venice?

I remember last time I was there I couldn't put my camera down ; it's such an incredibly photogenic city.

So I decided to settle on a view of Campo Santa Margherita, the place I last saw a very good friend of mine.

It was a challenging image to draw from, for it is bustling with people, and I'm not really satisfied with the result:

What attracted me to this particular place was the children playing and running around, plus the beautiful old buildings all around.

The result, however, is very stiff and there are too many distractions, so after careful consiferation I decided to crop it before sending out my submission:

Venice - december 2013

I think it looks a bit better this way.

I got a bit of feedback from more experienced sketchers and think that I definitely learned from this one.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Mail art exchange

I recently stumbled upon Sylvie Bargain's blog where I found out that she was organising a mail art exchange.

I had never heard of mail art before and it sounded like fun, so I decided to join.

Plus I love to get mail!

Here is my contribution. It should have arrived at its destination in France by now.

Quite predictably, I decided on a Christmas themed sketch. I was hoping to sketch outside, but it's really been too cold and after a few less than inspiring attempts, I figured it would be best to sketch some Christmas lights I have at home.

My armchair is very friendly!
I inserted a small invitation on the back of the envelope.

And a glimpse of Luxembourg inside: the view from my office, some Luxembourgish newspapers and a couple of brochures. I'm hoping to attract some visitors, ho ho ho!

This has indeed been fun and I'm looking forward to getting mine!

Next mail art exchange will be at the end of December, this time organised by Urban Sketchers Belgium.

UPDATE: Here is the beautiful mail art I received from Sandy from France. I think I'll take inspiration from it for future exchanges.

Absolutely wonderful. I still have a lot to learn...

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

I think she was Russian...

The first thing that attracted me to this person was the huge fuzzy pom-pom attached to her hat.

The second thing was her long orange-brown hair.

And then there were her long mascara-laden eye-lashes.

That's probably why she doesn't look like a teenage girl in my sketch anymore.

It's not clear from the sketch, but I absolutely loved the pom-pom!
This is a post for Portraits without mercy. Check out that fun blog!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Baroque in cinema

For the fourth year running, the Cinémathèque in Luxembourg organises a crash course on cinema in collaboration with the University.

Every month, a different specialist holds a conference, which is then followed by a movie relevant to the content of the speach.

This year the theme is about the different styles in movie making.

Last week it was Hervé Aubron, a film critic and professor of the Université Paris III, who came to talk to us about Baroque.

These sessions are always full and I always have to be there at least half an hour early, so I get plenty of time to sketch.

I have to admit that this doesn't really look like Mr Aubron, but I got to try out a different way of sketching and taking notes.

Looking forward to the next month's session on Naturalism!

Le Baroque au cinéma
Le Baroque au cinéma

Monday, 25 November 2013

Dead orchid bloom

We have a beautiful white orchid at the office.

I call her Simone. That name just seems to suit her.

Last time she bloomed, she looked so wonderful that I couldn't throw the dead stalk away when it dried out (she has a new one growing as I type).

So I decided to stick it in a pot that I still had there.

It has a sort of ikebana-type of appeal, I think.

dead orchid bloom
First splashing attempt

Monday, 18 November 2013

Sketch walk around Amieira

As the cold days are announcing the arrival of winter, I like to remember warmer and sunnier days spent in Portugal.

I go Amieira, the village where my father grew up and later built a house, every year and this time I took some time to sketch a little around the place.

This little abandoned house is probably my favourite. You can find similar ones all around the region, this one is just falling apart. If I could, I would buy it and renovate it. Leave it as it is. I think it just fits in the scenery perfectly.

amieira 1
To be renovated!
Just a short walk up the hill you can find this cute little chapel. I like the colour combination with the house next to it a lot.

amieira 2
And there was no one around...
Last but not least, my parents' house, which they built and improved over many years. It was their dream when they migrated to Luxembourg. I feel I did not do it justice, specially the roof. But I can try again next year.

amieira 3
Accident in magenta on the left...

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Happy birthday sketching

Yesterday was my birthday. And a very sunny one it was.

Which doesn't happen frequently on my birthday, so I just had to take advantage of it and leave work early in order to do some quick sketching before going to my parents' for dinner.

And try out my new colour pencils, a present from my very friendly and thoughtful coworker.

BCEE - Avenue de la Liberté
Agence Caisse d'Epargne on the Avenue de la Liberté

Monday, 11 November 2013

On the bus

As the weather is getting colder, there are less occasions for me to draw outside.

Luckily there is public transport.

And drawing people is always interesting.

bus woman
Deep in thought

bus sleeping
Deep in sleep

Deep in study

Friday, 8 November 2013

Virtual Paintout November 2013 : Iceland

I stumbled upon this blog called The Virtual Paintout ages ago and have been wanting to participate ever since.

However, I somehow never got to do it until now.

The concept is very easy: every month a specific country or city is chosen and you have to use the Street View function on Google Maps to find a location which will be your reference for a drawing or painting.

Here is my submission for this month, Iceland :


And here is the link to the reference I took for my drawing:

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Sleepers on the bus

Careful not to sleep in the bus when I'm around !

Peaceful sleeper
sleeper 2
Very dapper sleeper

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Portraits without mercy

I have been added to this fun blog called "Portraits without mercy".

Basically it's about sharing drawings or sketches that "show a complete lack of kindness or affection towards the portrayed subject".

Which can happen both voluntarily or, let's be honest, in my case mostly involuntarily.

Although I have to admit that I can sometimes tend to be a bit mean in some of my drawings.

Anyway, here's a link to my first contribution to the blog.

Friday, 11 October 2013

While sketching the ARBED palace

The ARBED palace is one of my favourite buildings in the city.

The other day I decided to try and sketch just a detail of the building. I didn't have time for more and, quite frankly, I am still a bit daunted by the idea of sketching the whole building.

A nice bus driver who was about to park the bus right in front of me decided to reverse and offered me a clear view on my subject, allowing me to sketch to my heart's content.

ARBED (detail)
Detail of the ARBED palace
The palace was built in 1922 and used to be the headquarters of ARBED steel and iron company (Acieries Réunies de Burbach-Eich-Dudelange), which later became Arcelor and then ArcelorMittal.

ArcelorMittal decided to close the headquartes last year and there has since been a lot of speculation as to the future of the building. It was suggested that ArcelorMittal should sell it to the Luxembourg state for a symbolic EUR 1, but I'm not sure if that actually went through.

In any case, it is a protected building, for which I am glad.

For my part, I think it would make a perfect national gallery of Luxembourgish art. We don't have anything like that, only museums of contemporary art and such, which I think is a pity.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My (soon-to-be-inhabited) new apartment

My new apartment is finally renovated! I've been waiting so long that it somehow seems unreal.

I've been practising perspective in the meantime.

Lots of mistakes, big and small, but it's been a lot of fun making them.

Can't wait to make new sketches when I'll actually be living there!

Here's my future office. With lots of stuff lying around for the finishing touches.

My (empty) new appartment
My future office
My kitchen is open and connects with the living room. Again, lots of stuff hanging around.

My (empty) new appartment
View of the kitchen from one end of the living room
The living room is quite spacious, specially for one person. I still have to figure out how I will furnish it. I already have a couch and chair, I just need to decide what to do with the TV area.

My (empty) new appartment
View of the living room from the kitchen, with door to the balcony
My bedroom, waiting for my new bed, wardrobe and other elements. It leads to a balcony.

My (empty) new appartment
My bedroom
My bathroom, which I didn't have time to colour. But I like it like that.

Sans titre
My bathroom - had no time for colour
There's only one room missing: the WC. I didn't have a chance to try it out yet.

I'll be moving in soon. As I still have to buy quite a few pieces of furniture, I'll be living with lots of boxes for a while.

Will that make me a box lady or something? haha

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

On the merit of waiting rooms

I used to hate being stuck in waiting rooms, specially when waiting for a doctor's appointment.

However, now that I have a sketchbook with me almost at all times, I don't mind them so much anymore.

They have become a great opportunity to sketch.

For example, sketching people is definitely more interesting than reading silly people magazines.

Waiting rooms

Otherwise, when alone in the room, the outside view can be more alluring. For this sketch, I only had time for the outline. I did the colour at home.

Waiting rooms

Monday, 23 September 2013

Sketchcrawl in Luxembourg

I've been trying to get 2 of my best friends to come out on a sketchcrawl with me here in Luxembourg. This Saturday we had our second meeting and this time we were 4!

I think we still need to figure out the logistics of such things, for it took us ages to decide where to stay, until we finally arrived on the Vauban trail (around the ancient fortress walls) and, already a bit tired, just sat on some stairs and started drawing.

I wanted to sketch the view of Abbaye Neumünster from there. It's one of the nicest views of the building.

It was fun to talk to the tourists who were visiting that part. I met a nice Pakistani girl and spoke to some Luxembourgish people.

There was one particular older couple who were commenting in Luxembourgish (thinking I wouldn't understand, I suppose) that I knew how to draw. I thanked them in Luxembourgish and was amused when when the man said, very surprised: "And she's Luxembourgish!"

Sketchcrawl, September 21, 2013
Abbaye Neumünster
It started alright, but somewhere along the way it started feeling too forced, so I ended up 1) making big mistakes, and 2) not having fun with this particular sketch anymore. I think that particular day I was not in a mood to draw too precisely. I was not focused enough.

So I started on a whole knew approach, with my new Hiro fountain pen, which I discovered at the BCN Symposium (it seemed like all the Asian sketchers had one) and absolutely love. You can't bee too precise with it and it just glides on the page.

This house is one of my favourite on the Vauban trail. I love that its windows are all placed so "randomly". It makes if fun and, along with its pink colour (though not as pink as on my sketch), very cute.

My approach was to draw it as if it was a monster. It's an approach that was taught during the symposium as well. Though I didn't attend that particular workshop and don't actually know what it was precisely about, this expression just stuck with me.

I had a lot of fun drawing like that, without taking too much care of detail and perspective, and I think it shows on the page.

Sketchcrawl, September 21, 2013
House on the Vauban trail

After my second sketch, not knowing what else to sketch and seeing that my companions were still busy with their work, I decided to just sketch them. Tessy and Didier here, I somehow messed up a bit (Didier looks much older than he is and I shouldn't have fiddled with Tessy's nose so much, lol), so we had a lot of laughs thanks to that.

Sketchcrawl, September 21, 2013
Dider and Tessy, busy sketching
Annick recently got engaged and asked me to draw her engagement ring. So I did this very quick sketch for her.

Sketchcrawl, September 21, 2013
Annick got engaged!!!

And, last of my day's production, Annick's idea: sketching our feet and her cigarette stubs.

Sketchcrawl, September 21, 2013
Annick's cigarette stubs
Finally, here's the commemorative photo of the day: I love to see my friends having fun sketching! 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Photomeetings Luxembourg - impressions

Photomeetings Luxembourg has started this week until the 19th.

It is a great occasion to discover the work and hear the insights of well-known photographers.

These last three days I was able to attend conferences held by Roger Ballen, Isabel Muñoz and Massimo Vitali.

Here are some of their comments.

Conference by Roger Ballen
Roger Ballen
Roger Ballen appeared quite gloomy to me. Very dark and meticulous with a dark sense of humour.

Conference by Isabel Muñoz
Isabel Muñoz
Isabel Muñoz is a true humanist, in my definition of the term. Very caring and loving. And more essentially, someone who loves and is fascinated by humanity in all its manifestations.

Conference by Massimo Vitali
Massimo Vitali
Massimo Vitali seems very technically rigorous. It was interesting to hear his opinions on the place of photography in the art scene.

These lectures allowed me not only to discover these artists' work, but also to understand it in a different level.

It became very clear to me that each one of these photographers' work reflects their personality and beliefs. It may sound like a very obvious thing to say, but now it feels like I can see them when I look at their photographs.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Drawing People in Action: A Character Sketching Crash Course - with Marc Taro Holmes

I love drawing people. I actually think that I'm much better at it than at drawing buildings.

However, I am still stuck at making portraits, so Marc Taro Holmes' workshop on  how to draw people in action was absolutely fantastic.

Check out this link for a more detailed description of the lesson.

Standing in the middle of La Rambla, trying to sketch people as fast as possible was very challenging, specially in the beginning when still warming up.

However, gradually it stopped being stressful and started being just a lot of fun.

Marc had us first use a pencil to draw very general lines of our subjects and only later add ink and details.

People coming towards us : quick, there's no time to overthink it!
The last exercise consisted in choosing people doing one activity and sketching that, starting with pencil, then ink and finally adding colour. I chose these ice cream sellers.

Girls selling ice cream on La Rambla
The important thing I learned from Marc Holmes was that when sketching an event or action, I should focus on the action as such first and add details later - even if those details are taken from a different person. It's the action that counts.

I haven't practised this since I came back from Barcelona, but it's definitely an exercise I wish to repeat and improve on.