Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Workroom Bliss in Paris

Wednesday was a work day.  We spent hours and hours with our books taking all the fantastic inspiration from around the city and the fabulous lessons from our divine instructor, Jane Davenport.  There are only ten of us, and we've been together doing things all week, so we've become fairly intimate with our creative processes and the results all around the room have been amazing.  Positive energy and persistence were key for me.  I tend towards the prolific when I'm working because I like moving around to various pieces in progress as things dry or I take new looks at them, so I finished quite a few pages in spite of the breaks I had to take due to crazy profile frustration or wet-on-wet destruction.  Here are my offerings from the day...

This little diva started with a face that I actually copied from a piece I drew in Starbucks a few months ago in Mt. Pleasant, SC.  I love that I can see that same face but she's become a Parisian.  I experimented with several different watercolor brands and came back to the Peerless palette because the color was just too lovely (and it's now familiar to me!)  The monkeys are from an old French children's book that I picked up at the flea market over the weekend.

Here's a little pre-color/post-color share...

While at Monet's Garden on Monday, I did this quick contour sketch on an already painted background (that I did with leftover paint during a class at Art & Soul a couple of weeks ago).  I just caught the basics of the bridge and the weeping willows that will turn into a dream for this girl.  The pic shows an earlier sketch of her on top and then a more complete face with a collage of serviettes that came from the Garden's gift shop featuring Monet's work.  This one's still a work in progress because every time I work on it, I get transported back to the side of the pond where I stood to sketch and it's a wonderful escape.

This little bit of crazy got worked on a page I collaged the first day we were here with a bunch of tissue serviettes that were shared by others from the class.  So, as she looks up dreamily she's seeing the contributions of everyone from around the room.  I used a water-soluble pen (only sort of on purpose) so I had to work with the shading as I applied acrylic and pencil...learned a lot on this one.

Mean girl, here, ended up in the front of one book.  She needs some bigger lips. I started her out on a background of drippage from a bigger painting I worked on at home months ago.  What to do with a big stack of dad's old folders? I spread them out under my easel while working so they catch the scraps and become fodder for something new later, like a Paris diva.

I brought it back to center after some frustration with a tilted face sketch and added short hair...since short hair rocks, obviously.  I've been wearing my itchy orange beret everywhere, so this little pixie got to wear it for a while, too.

My favorite from the day, if I can actually have a fave, is this crazy one that I did over a collage featuring a Paris metro map serviette.  I put a little sampling of the progress on this one because I started out with Buzz Lightyear by accident and thought it was hilarious.  I drew the face on another piece of paper, cut it out, and glued it in.  I included the top of the head, though, so it looked like a bit of a bald cap...even when I had hair added across the top.  Luckily, Jane was able to mentor me through that one and helped change up the hairline and highlight the flow of the hair.  She has a "fleshy-toned" paint marker that she uses like an eraser...hilarious.
And, last but not least, we worked on some actual figure drawings after a lesson from Jane.  Very challenging.  Jane added her lines and joy to my work and we ended up with this little collaborative piece that I just love...especially because I worked through the frustration of jacked up face proportions!  I'm motivated, now, to sign up for Jane's on-line class that specifically deals with figures based on her training and years of experience as a fashion illustrator.  So excited.

I relaxed all evening with a walk around our neighborhood here near the Gare de Lyon.  Dreamily (but with plenty of situational awareness...haaaaa) I spent time imagining living in one of these little apartments and walking through the park on the Viaduc des Arts on my way home from class or a student internship at a gallery or museum.  Last thing in my google search?  "College of Charleston Study Abroad Programs."


  1. I LOVE SEEING THESE! yes, meant to shout! Please more pix! Vicariously sipping cafe au last with you...

  2. Your paintings are absolutely awesome! Please teach us some pointers at our next meeting (and a little French? lol)

  3. Your girls are just Awesome! Your diary is delicious, love seeing all this through your eyes!

  4. Hey Jen! Your art and designs are just so incredibly inspiring to me! I can't wait to see what you do next! And I second Jan's idea about giving us some pointers and French lessons at our next play date! Enjoy!! You truly do ROCK!!


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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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