Not only did I find myself painting from moving trains but also from moving cars. Ok, I did not have my watercolors going in the car but I did make some quick sketches which I would fill in with color later, like the one above.
This one, also sketched from a moving car, I decided to go over it with pen instead of watercolor.
This is the view from the old town of Les Baux-de-Provence, considered as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Walking through this hilltop town was like waling through a set of Game of Thrones. Once I got to a look out point I couldn't help myself and took out the paint box and watercolor book and began to sketch.
To be honest I think most of the hill top towns and villages in Provence are beautiful, and they always offer some sort of view which begs to be immortalized through paint.
Such is the case of the town of Lauris, where my friends and I stayed for six days. The two sketches above are painted in plein air from two different points of the town.
This was also meant to be a watercolor but I decided to keep it as an ink drawing instead. Again this is looking out into the valley from the town of Lauris.
One of the things I miss most from my Provence getaway is being able to roll out of bed and stepping into the courtyard and having breakfast outside. Sometimes I would sketch my breakfast or whatever was on the table, such was the case with this bowl of peaches. That morning we were getting ready to visit Aix-en-Provence where the Cezanne studio is located. Perhaps I was inspired by his watercolor still lives which are my favorite!
One afternoon I walked for a while and before I knew it I was leaving town. To my luck I found this view across someone's yard, which I thought was an empty field but soon the owner came out and spoke to me in French. I had no clue as to what he was trying to say but he left me alone when he saw what I was painting. One thing I noticed is French people have a lot of respect for artist and admire what we do. On another occasion, while I was painting on a wall overlooking the valley I had two cars trying to maneuver their way around me. I had no idea the wall was a parking area. I was in their way but they all apologized for disturbing my painting session.
The beauty about Provence is that you can village hop, they are so close to each other that you can do two visits in one day and still be back to your spot by early evening, just in time for a glass of wine and dinner. One of the towns we visited was Bonnieux and that day was market day. While my friends took a wine and coffee break at one of the cafes I lost myself in the little uphill winding streets, and before I knew it I found myself faced with another beautiful view. You can guess what happened next.
Aside from the beautiful views, the wine, and the incredible food, the one thing that I took away from my first trip to Provence is experiencing the light. Provence has a lot similarities to Tuscany, but the difference is the the light and how it allows us to perceive its surroundings. In Provence there's a cooler light, which then makes things a little more blue and cool green. I could finally understand why Cezanne's color palette was what it was. It all made sense!
This June I will be going back to this part of France and this time I will be teaching an two week class with AIP (Artist Immersion Program). Click on this link for more information and to register. Hope to see you there.
"Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have the vision-it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so."
- Charles W. Hawthorne -
"One of the functions of art is to remind us of common humanity. The artist, like the priest, can sometimes remind us that we are bound by an obligation to one another stronger and more lasting than the bonds of politics or economics."
- John Manchip White, Diego Velazquez: Painter and Courtier -
"To defend an artist as original says little about his work except that it is in some way different from what preceded it. As such, originality itself is rarely a strong defense, for it is born more of admiration for audacity and perseverance than necessarily of understanding." - James H. Rubin, Manet's Silence and the Poetics of Bouquets -