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Christine’s thoughts on her Brussels art session

Easels... More easels...“These were 2 weeks of pure happiness, from beginning until the end. We had some challenges of course,
particularly during the first week, but I can sincerely say that I’m happy and proud I took this session.”

Christine actually picked a rather difficult subject. One of the objects in her still life was in fact a mother-of-pearl box.

“These were small objects that I like very much and I always dreamt of being able to paint them some day”.

Christine passed over each step and managed, according to one of the objectives of the course, to completely change her values on at least two aspects. She used her retina in a different way. Christine was actually able to improve her observation skills by a major step, not only with shapes but also with tints, colors and reflexions
Still life by Christine


Whenever we look at an object, we actually only see that particular object. Then, we see the details of the object and only then, do we see the details of the details.

Christine noticed that each time she was moving her eyes or her head by half an inch, the spots reflecting the specter broken down into the mother-of-pearl box were different. She actually was the only person of the class who used turquoise and bright pink to render the reflection of the mother-of-pearl.

To summarize that exceptional training session, Christine, mentioned the incredible riches of both the human aspect and the artistic discoveries.

The fan…

Where does the hand-held fan come from ? The Orient supposedly…
When was it first used ? Since the creation of woman, with no doubt, ladies being naturally so charming and this attire being so elegant must have appeared the same day woman first existed. I’m convinced that Eve was using one in the garden of Eden. Her fan, bird feather, leaf or flower, to be more primitive, was nonetheless a fan !

Whatever its age or its origin, we must admit that it is the most charming piece of jewelry and the most precious ornament on a woman. It is actually the pretext for so many gracious moves and ravishing poses.

Sometimes mysterious, sometimes frivolous, imperious or teasing, it allows the protected face to shelter or to hide a smile, dry off a tear. It’s used more often to restrain a yawn due to a boring affair or to conceal a burst of blush listening to a hot story, than…

To keep off bugging flies,
To protect from the cold when the sun goes down,

Nothing more fanciful, alert, spiritual than the hand-held fan :

A fan can express all that you feel,
all that a heart can suffer.
It can flatter, refuse, agree,
condemn and approve.

It is therefore not a surprise that it has inspired so many poets and suggested delicate illustrations to
so many artists. Such as Watteau, Fragonard, Lancret, Moreau the young if we only mention the XVIIIth century artists, when nicely decorated fans were in fashion !

To make a pleasant composition and create an attractive painting on a fan, one must know how to do a little bit of everything, one must bend to all conceptions.

There is no limit in the composition of a fan or a screen blind.

All subjects can be painted, no matter how strange it may look, as long as you stay away from the common and the trivial : one can remain gracious while being original at the same time, treat highly unconventional subjects while keeping a good taste, even use, as decorative motive, unexpected objects or quite ordinary things while staying distinguished.
It all depends on the way you make your composition and interpret your work.

You can use a vegetable as well as a flower ; you can use a fish or a bird ; a dog, a cat, a rabbit can
make a terrific subject. I even pretend that the little pink pig can be a very pleasant subject. It can be part of a charming little scenery.

It has been said that, in faraway countries, that fairies can turn ugly things into gold or precious stones ; all you have to do is to pick something trivial and turn it into something beautiful and charming…


The study of drapery is happily one that can be carried on at almost any place, time, and season, and perhaps it is because of this very ease of access that it is so often neglected and many an otherwise satisfactory picture will be marred by the poor drawing of drapery and clothing. When the weather is unsuitable for sketching, when there is no person available as a model, time may well be spent on a little practice in drawing drapery. Take any piece of material, a handkerchief for lack of anything better. Pin it up on the wall or to a curtain—anywhere so long as it falls in natural folds—and make a sketch of it. Notice the tendency to trian­gular forms, the way in which the folds radiate from the pin, and the foreshortening of the curves which form the bottom edge of the handkerchief. Having satisfied yourself with that sketch, take the handkerchief down and throw it over some object such as a book standing on edge or an inverted flower vase, and make another sketch. Notice the arrangement of the folds; they will end abruptly at the top if falling from a sharp edge, and will

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fade away gradually from a rounded shape. Something of the underlying object should be obvious from your drawing of the handkerchief in the same way that clothes should suggest the limbs and body they cover. Then make a sketch of it, knotted, or tied around something. As you tie the knot (which makes the best study if not tied too tightly), notice which fold passes behind and where it reappears, and be on the lookout for this continuity when you come to draw it. Fig. 117 to 123 show outline studies of drapery. Fig. 117 shows it loosely looped around the figure in natural folds. Long, sweeping lines predominate. In Fig.118 it is more bunched, and the long lines are disturbed and irregular. In Fig. 119 the fluted line of the edge of the material is noticeable. Fig. 120 shows the abrupt change of line where the drapery trails on the floor. In Fig. 123 the triangular form of the folds is again plain, and also the fluted edge. Fig. 122 emphasizes the under­lying human form even though the drapery is voluminous.Fig. 121 shows the flowing lines and repetition of form in material blown by the wind. The usual tendency in drawing drapery is to shun straight lines and make the folds too rounded. The angularity in Figs. 120 and 123 should be noted. Figs. 124 and 129 show how the lines of material, in one case loosely and in the other more closely draped, follow and suggest the form they cover. Fig. 126, a sketch of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, shows the charm of simply interpreted drapery; Fig. 125, the elaborate arrange­ment of a bygone fashion. Fig. 127 is given to show that the ragged, careless effect of old clothes may be accentuated by ragged and somewhat carefree lines. Fig. 128 gives folds of a thick, rich material. The broad folds show the thick, com­parative stiffness of the drapery and the reflected light in the shadows suggests the sheen of brocade. Thick material will not fall into narrow folds unless artificially arranged, and will tend to straight lines and angles. Thin material falls in narrower, less clearly defined folds with more flowing lines and rounder corners. drapery loosely looped around the figure in natural foldsdrapery118drapery119drapery120drapery121drapery122drapery123drapery124drapery125drapery126drapery127drapery128drapery129