Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Painting at la Fontaine de Vaucluse and in an abandoned Ocher Quarry

Thursday we spent a wonderful day at the village called La Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, where the largest spring in France is found, and is the source of the Sorgue river. The sun shone, the temperature was perfect and the colours in the fast moving water were intense blues and greens. I love painting reflections in water, and so was delighted to walk, snap photos and feel inspired. 

I finally settled on a view.......


This morning we painted at an old ochre quarry near Les Bassacs. We arrived about 9:15 and the view I wanted to paint had many interesting cast shadows. I tried to paint quickly and get down the darks and some mid tones, but the light kept changing.
I did finish the painting (left) in situ but felt it neede some colour correcting back in the studio, and so the final version (right) is a little different, though the photo is too light, and the painting has a stronger ochre tint. Now that I see them side by side I think I like the first version better! C'est la vie!
Tonight is our vernissage and then last dinner. I am almost packed and already anticipating the next two travel days, to Marseilles and Paris, then to Toronto and finally to Guelph and home. 


I am a day behind in writing these posts......yesterday we went to Bonnieux, a lovely village with wonderful views within the village itself as well as big landscape views towards the horizon.


I painted a tree - don't ask why I chose that from all the other great possibilities, because I have no answer!  So here is the view and my interpretation.


In the afternoon I worked on another painting that I really like, of a meadow around the house in Les Bassacs.



Fauvism in Rustrel

There was a warm mistral leger blowing on Tuesday this week, so we painted in the small village of Rustrel where there were streets that afforded some shelter from the wind. This is the view I chose on a quiet side street; it had an interesting combination of building shapes, rooflines and angles, as well as some green trees.  I have really been trying on this trip, to paint the local colours of what I am looking at, but today, despite the lovely subtle ochres, grey violets and greens, I decided to embrace fauvism and work with an intense colour palette and flat, lightly modelled color shapes. Et voila.......
Back in the studio after lunch I worked on a small abstracted version of a landscape I posted yesterday, and thought I think that I probably overworked it, I am still quite pleased with it, and see some potential for a much larger version when I get home.


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Week 2 in Provence Begins

Our second week began with a morning painting session in the village of Goult. I decided to once again paint some of the crazy topiary trees that punctuate the cemetery landscape there. Here is my set up and the resulting painting.

In the afternoon we painted in the studio and I completed two more works that I am quite pleased with.
That's 7 hours of painting - and right now my right shoulder-neck could use a good massage. Hopefully dinner, wine and a good night's sleep will do the job.



Friday, 22 May 2015


The good weather returned on Friday and we spent the morning in the village of Joucas painting. I found a spot just below the walls and streets, beside the winding road that leads up to the village. From that vantage point I had a choice of three interesting views, and the challenge became one of how to choose. After far too long thinking about this, I finally decided on the one that put my back to the sun. 
All week I have  been trying to see, mix and paint the actual colours in the Provence landscape - something I rarely do because I don't do a lot of plein air work, and I quite like a more expressive palette. As I worked out my composition for this painting however, I decided to simplify the tree and building shapes, and try to make it all more abstract, and play with colour.
I was able to complete most of the painting in two hours and then another hour in the studio to tidy it up. Not much like my earlier work this week, but perhaps more like me.


Thursday was not a good painting day. The mistral continued to howl, and despite the sun, it was not particularly pleasant to be outside painting. Instead I walked around and took photos of the vineyards near Les Bassacs, and then tried painting in the studio, using one of the photos as a reference. It was not terribly successful. In the afternoon we went to the village of St. Saturnin Les Apt where I took more photos.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Day 3 or is it 4?

Days are starting to slide into one another. The infamous mistral wind is blowing and weather is fresh, and at least sunny. Because of the weather we stayed close to home this morning, painting around the house at Les Bassacs. The challenge was to find a spot out of the wind, but not completely in the shade as it would be too cool. So down a path and voila the view seemed fine, and I could sit in the sun and in fact was rather warm. Three hours later I had painted these.....based on the view across the fields. I was happy with both - which was a good thing because the afternoon's excursion to an old abandoned quarry did not inspire me, though I did take many photos that may prove useful later this summer. After a day of wind and sun, good food, wine and conversation, sleep beckons!