During the summer I painted several variations of a particular image that I found both intriguing and inspiring. (Truth be told, I have probably always done this.) This fall I have been re-visiting images and scenes that I have painted in the past - and that has resulted in a number of related works and variations on a theme.
The first theme or subject was inspired by a particular view looking over the Luberon Valley (in Provence) from the small village of Saignan. I was there is 2014 and painted this watercolour in situ, at the time.
Of course I also took many photos and thought that I might do another version in acrylic once home.
Looking around for a subject in October, I re-discovered these photos and decided to try a much larger version of the same scene - and this is how it evolved.
I quite liked what I had by stage 2, however it really didn't look as good as it does here in the photo. I needed to resolve the middle ground, and the foreground flowers - and keep it loose. Easy! Hah!
Stage 3 was tighter, and by stage 4 it felt like a disaster. At that point I felt quite discouraged and ready to white it all out out and forget the whole thing - or - try something really different - and turn the whole thing into a mixed media work with collage papers and acrylic paint. This approach sounded like a lot more fun, so that is what I did. I have a very large collection of textured Japanese rice and mulberry papers, in various colours and patterns and began to apply them over the painting, leaving lots of painted areas exposed. Then I painted over those papers to blend them into the painted areas and to soften the colours of some of the papers. I continued working this way until it was finished. The final work looks like this. It has a wonderfully varied and textured surface, protected by several layers of medium and varnish. I am delighted with the result and will definitely do this again.
The Valley Below Saignan I
40" x 30" - collage papers & acrylic on canvas