Sainte-Croix, Vaud

I’m just back from another visit to Sainte-Croix in Vaud, Switzerland. Mostly I was working, but I managed to do a few sketches.

I started sketching at the airport. The flight was full.

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Here’s one of the outside of the hotel, done in 1 hour and 50 minutes, sitting on the pavement in the sun.

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In between work on the computer and discussions, I made small quick sketches of what was in front of me. I experimented with watercolour sticks, which are very messy, but deliver strong bright colour.

Here’s another experiment with the watercolour sticks. I was walking back from the swimming pool, and saw this sweep of land and the farmhouse sheltered by trees.  I was shortly due back at the hotel, so I made this sketch in about 10 minutes, sitting on the road. The watercolour sticks throw the colour on very quickly, and don’t allow me to fuss.

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Here is a sketch made in about 20 minutes, while waiting for a meeting to start. I was looking out of the window…..

IMG_4626 From the window of the Bistro

At the end of my visit I sat at a table on the terrace and looked across to the Mont de Baulmes.

IMG_4624 from the terrace

Pen and wash, 20 minutes plus 20 minutes later.

Here are the watercolour sticks in their new/old box. It’s an old cigarette box. I just discovered they all fit into it nicely.

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Here’s a drawing on location:

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With thanks to Marina and Rolf, proprietors of the Hôtel de France, 25 rue Centrale, Sainte-Croix, Vaud, Switzerland. www.hotelfrance.ch

I have sketched here before:

Sketching in Crete: May 2018

Aptera was a city in Greek and Roman times. The people went to the Theatre.

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Remains of the Greek and Roman Theatre at Aptera. The Greek period is something like 300 BC. Then the Romans adopted it when they took over 67 – 395AD. The Theatre was a total ruin when we first visited in 2011, with part of it missing and the stones used to make a limekiln. In 2017 the lime kiln was removed and the auditorium circle has been re-created.

From the small slab in the centre, the acoustics are perfect. John gave a rendition of the speech of Richard III “Now is the winter of our discontent….”.  I heard it perfectly, at this distance.

The place where we stayed looks out over the bay.

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Military vessels pass by into the NATO base opposite, including submarines. Some of them go past, and into Souda.

We drove into Souda, to find out where they went. We found only a peaceful fishing harbour.

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The military harbour is hidden.

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I took a new sketchbook on this holiday. It had rough pages which meant I needed to work in a loose style. There were some spectacular sunsets

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Watercolour in sketchbook from the Vintage Paper Company.

We shared the house with a gecko.

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There is a contrast between the peaceful location…..

…and the fearsome weapons of the NATO warships in the bay.

The ruins at Aptera have stood for two thousand years. Civilisations have come and gone in their time.

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Inside the Roman cisterns at Aptera. The city is mentioned in texts of 13th and 14th century BC. These Roman cisterns supplied water to the city. The city was destroyed by earthquake in 365 AD.

These pictures were done on location in various notebooks, using watercolour, pencil and De Atramentis Document ink.

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Agia Traida, view from the entrance, in Stillman and Bern Delta Series watercolour book, using only ink.

 

Sainte-Croix, Vaud, Switzerland

I visited the Hôtel de France, Sainte-Croix in Vaud, Switzerland. Here is the hotel, from the street outside, just after I arrived.

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I had to wait in Geneva train station, for the train which goes to Yverdon-les-Bains. The sun came through the windows and people walked through the lighted space.

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The Hôtel de France is known for its absinthe.

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IMG_3521I sketched the absinthe table. The bottles look like a group of people waiting for something to happen. Like people, the bottles have common basic characteristics, but each has their individual variations.

Glasses, too, have their characters.

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I walked down the ancient salt road to the village of Vuitebœuf. Here is the Église de Vuitebœuf from the rue du Culaz, which I afterwards found out is also on the ‘Via Francigena’ pilgrims’ route Canterbury to Rome (1900km).

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This church was constructed in 1904 to the design of Charles-François Bonjour.

I travelled back to London late Sunday night, on a crowded ‘plane from Geneva.

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Work in progress on the drawing of the Hôtel de France, 19 April 2018. Jackson’s watercolour sketch book, 7″ x 10″

Here are links to previous drawings in Sainte-Croix.

View from a Swiss Hotel

Some sketches of hotel tableware

Sainte-Croix, Vaud

Here is a link to the etching of the Absinthe Table: The Absinthe Table

The Absinthe Table

This week I experimented with hard and soft ground.  Here is “The Absinthe Table”, etching on copper plate.

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It’s based on a sketch I made at the Hotel de France, Vaud, Switzerland. They have a collection of absinthes for tasting.

Walking on the way to the print studio I decided I would do two colours. Furthermore, I thought that the second colour, with black, should be green, as absinthe is sometimes called the “la fée verte”. Rooting about in the leftovers box at the Print Studio I found some green ink.

The long process of making the plates took all morning. I watched the rain fall into the canal. Perhaps some of this atmosphere went into the print. Making a two-colour print means:

  1. placing the colour-ink plate on the press.
  2. roll over until the plate is out but the paper is trapped under the press roller
  3. lift the press blankets and remove the plate without shifting the paper or the template
  4. get the black-inked plate
  5. put that plate very carefully in the same place on the template
  6. replace the press blankets and roll back over

The potential for error is great. The most obvious error is to put the second plate in up-side-down.

I printed the plates in the afternoon. The error that happened first time round was that the green ink didn’t print at all. Not a dot. Examining the tube very carefully, reading the writing between the splodges on the tube, I saw that it was “block-printing ink”. Lesson: block printing ink does not work for etching/intaglio process. OK.

This is why the background is brown, using the Charbonnel etching ink which I had brought with me. This is very reliable, but is brown not green.

Here is the single colour black, one plate in hard and soft ground.

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Here is an out-take, the very first print of this series. The bottles are in hard-ground only, and the registration is totally off. But perhaps that weird dislocation is appropriate for a picture of an absinthe table.

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Here’s a sketch of the absinthe table from February this year:

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The Cuttlefish

I made a collage postcard inspired by “the Blue Planet” series on BBC2.

This is the cuttlefish. The sea bed is made of breakfast cereal, and the seaweed is strands of unraveled rope.A fish-like being at the top is made of a speckled feather I found.

The post card went off on its journey to Switzerland on 1st Dec. I hope it gets there.

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Martin Hicklin’s work inspires these collage postcards.

Some sketches of hotel tableware

I have been experimenting with pen and ink. Previously, I have used waterproof ink, with watercolour on top. This “pen and wash” technique depends on the ink staying where it’s put. See, for example, the urban sketch on this link.

Recently, inspired by the work of Nick Stewart  https://quinkandbleach.wordpress.com, I have been trying non-waterproof ink.

Here are four sketches, done in the Hôtel de France, Sainte-Croix, Switzerland. Click an image to enlarge.

 

They are all done using only Robert Oster Signature Fountain Pen Ink, colour: Black Velvet. This ink has the property that is produces a chromatograph effect, blue and pink, as it runs and dilutes with water. See, for example, the left hand side of the “wineglass” drawing, where you see black, blue and pink.

I’m using a dip pen: the Pensive Pens Serendipity dip pen.

All of this is quite a challenge to accomplish, especially as the pictures were done in a Swiss dining room, on white tablecloths. No ink drops contaminated the pristine environment. But I had to be very careful.