Sunday, June 29, 2008

Paintings from France

Here a few of the paintings from the Fountaine-Fourches workshop in France.

The first is a door on the barn/studio. I painted it one late afternoon when the sun was out. Then later I was able to "kick up" some values on the sunlit parts. It is oil on multi-media board that had been gessoed.
The center painting is part of the climbing rose over the pergola on the house. The window with the geraniums in the boxes is actually the room where I stayed. This was a morning painting. It is oil on Sourcetek panel.
The last painting is of a cottage in a village called Gravon. We set up to paint across the street from it. Ann, Sarah, and L.J. worked in watercolor while Anne painted in oil. Faye did a beautiful sketch of a door on another cottage and Kippy worked on the street scene in pastel. The lady of the house came out several times to see our progress. She was so nice. Kippy invited her to our final night reception and she came! I am very honored to say that all three were purchased that night. I will post a few others later to give you some idea of the picturesque landscape and architecture of the region.
One of the nicest things about staying in one place is the opportunity to work more on something when the conditions are right. Monet always worked on more than one painting at a time and would go back to work on them when the light and atmospheric conditions were the same. If the light and shadows change while you are working, stop! Sometimes you can "nail" the shadows first and get away with painting after the sun goes behind a cloud, but it is hard to remember all the colors you saw while it was shining. It is better to go back at the same time another day and finish it.
Another thing about staying in an area is you can locate the best time of day to paint. I like cast shadows when painting architecture, so I want the sun on it and behind me. One of our stops was the lovely town of Moret-sur-Loring, where Alfred Sisley painted. Our view of the river and mill was in shadow that afternoon. I had to move up the bank and to the left to see the light hitting the facade of a building across the bank and see the sunlight dancing on the water. (That will be another post!)
Hope you have a great National Holiday week and enjoy being with family and friends. I will celebrate my birthday with fireworks and a cookout. Sometimes, it pays to have a July 4 birthday!
Back to painting!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Au Revoir, La Bonne Etoile!

Our workshop ended on Friday night with a "Vernisage" in the studio. Kippy explained that it was the night that the artists who were juried into the Salon in Paris would put the final coat of varnish on their works before the show opened to the public. It was the preview night for the patrons with a reception. Ours was lovely! The studio had tables decorated with flowers and of course, cheese, wine and champagne!

Each artist had a panel of their paintings and sketches from the workshop on display. Our watercolorists also had their sketchbooks out. Kippy and Jerome invited several guests including our chef Marc; the sculptor John-Paul; Chantal the art restoration expert; the house manager Madame DeLahye and her husband; neighbors; French friends Monique and Raymond from Gravon; artist Nicole and her husband from Villuis; and even ladies from Marnay-sur-Seine where we painted.

I was very proud of the work that each of the participants had completed from their first en plein air experience! I hope that they will all look back on this with many happy memories as I will: Living the life of an artist in France!

Check out my Picasa web photos for more workshop scenes!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Here we are in Paris!

L to R: Durinda, Sarah Fowler, L.J. Huffaker, Anne Platt, Ann Currey, Faye Woolfolk

This is the group of Happy Painters in front of the Musee D'Orsay in Paris. Yes- it is June 12, it is summer, and it is COLD here in France, to us. We keep hearing about the 90 degree weather in Chattanooga, but it is in the 60s with wind and a lot of rain showers here. Neverless, when the sun does shine, we have been trooping out to farm fields and village gardens to paint. Nothing like seeing a large poppy and pea field close up. We toured a large chateau with beautiful furnishings very close to where we are staying. Our train trip to Paris included a guided tour of the Impressionists paintings, followed by lunch in the museum restaurant (tres chic!) and then a visit to L'Orangerie where Monet's large waterlily paintings are displayed.

Saturday found us in the medieval walled city of Provins where a medieval festival was being held. It was a lot like the Renaissance festivals we have, but this was in the REAL thing with the tents set up in the mote around the outside of the city. What was so cool were all the people who came to the festival ALSO dressed in costumes: mothers, dads, children and even babies! It was hard to tell the performers from the visitors!
The group has been working on still life paintings in the studio with a copper pot, wine glass, and fresh produce when we can't get outside to paint. There is always a way!
A busy week ahead for the painters! Let's hope the weather cooperates and we get lots of outdoor painting time!
Au Revoir for now!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bonjour from Fountaine-Fourches, France

Not sure if I can post any photos on this, I am trying to read the French on Mon Yahoo to know what to do. It is beautiful here in the countryside. It has been rainy and cool. I am sitting beside a fire after painting outside for an hour or so. I got cool- yes, I know it is quite warm back in the southeast US, but it is more like March here right now than June. I haven't been able to paint outdoors as much as I had planned, but the rest has been wonderful so far.

Tomorrow the workshop participants will arrive! I am ready to get to painting for the next two weeks. Kippy has driven me around to several villages and spots that will be perfect for our plein air experience. IF the weather continues to be cool and damp, we will use her barn/studio that has all the comforts and paint tres francais pottery, linens, fruits, vegetables, and beautiful roses from her garden.

As for painting, I am most happy with my Sourcetek panels. I wish I had brought a dozen more! I am painting with my Gamblin paints and trying out a medium called archival lean from Chroma that Kippy had in the studio. I will let you know how I like it. It is similar to Liquin, but not as gel-like, more like Galkyd Lite. I have been painting here around the house and studio, one of the door to the boiler room, but I call it the pottery shed, one of the rooftop of the house with the roses over the arbor, and one of the barn doors which lead to the studio upstairs. Will try to shoot and post them soon!

Until next time,

Au Revoir!