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September art 2: Sous l’arbre.

Under the tree, the apple tree stand an old wagon that we inherited with the farm. Sometimes it serves as a table when we have many guests, sometimes it serves as a support for cutting wood and sometimes it serves as a ladder for our young faul, Dumêla, so she can reach the higher apples.

..Sous l’arbre..

Oil on linen, 27X40cm

Sous l'arbre 01-09-2013 16-40-59 3502x2300

à demain

Ronelle

Two new plein air paintings

So two new plein air paintings are almost dry.

I started off with doing paintings just around the house..familiar ground..juts to get my confidence back. I can’t start off new with concentrating on all the aspects of plein air techniques, as well as handling people watching. The most difficult part of getting back into it, was staying with large shapes and not moving into picky painting. To help me with that, I had a limited palette of 6 colours and only two large flat brushes – a large one for getting down the main shapes and a slightly smaller one towards the end, getting down the impressionistic strokes.

…four à pain..

oil on linen, 24X33cm

Four à pain 27-07-2013 12-13-08 2699x3252

I almost gave up halfway through the first painting(seen below), since I couldn’t recognize any thing on the canvas at that stage, but I knew I would sulk for the rest of the month, so I had no choice but finish it. I am fairly happy and I know the process will just get better from now on… given that I continue painting of course!

..la route..

oil on board, 33X42cm

La route 27-07-2013 12-14-54 2535x3509

I just realized once again…it isn’t the completed painting that gives me the biggest kick, but the process that leads up to the end result. Now that I have some two or four paintings finished, busy drying, my biggest excitement is not seeing them in completion on the easels, but feeling the itch to start a new canvas.

Free expression on large format.

Busy with my people’s project, I just wanted  to do something different. Something completely free and unrestrained. Taking large formats of paper and canvas, I put down the brushes and used only my hands and rolled towel paper. even though it feels a bit like first grade finger painting, there is a liberating feeling that results from “playful” and experimenting occasions like these.

1.Tilleul tree in gouache on paper.  For the first tree, I shaped the thick trunk with a large brush and for the leaves, added gouache pigment with my fingers, sometimes very wet so the color runs and sometimes I dotted only dry splotches. Not a very significant result, but it did loosen me up, like all these free, expressive exercises always do. this one really looks like a first grader “picture”!

1…tilleul tree in gouache on paper, 65x50cm…

1…detail…

2. Prune tree in oil on canvas. For the second tree, I used a large canvas, primed it with a layer of thin gesso,  “shaped” the tree trunks and branches with modelling paste and painting knifes, and finished off with a last coat of thinned gesso. After leaving it to dry overnight, I built up the tree trunk with layers of  oil pigment, using a rag to wipe and build up up the layers. The leaves were all added with crumpled toweling paper and lastly spatters of oil pigment with a large brush.

2…prune tree in oil on linen, 92x73cm…

2…detail…

3. Apple tree in charcoal: Again on large format and loose application of pressed charcoal, I only made marks and got in there with the fingers to suggest the folage loosely.

3…apple tree in charcoal on paper, 65x50cml…

3…detail…

To do excercises like this:

  • Use large sheets of paper or canvas or cartons. Off cuts from boxes can work as well
  • Wear old clothes.
  • Work where you have enough room/space…even outside on the lawn, or go to the park.
  • Choose something around you like large shrubs, trees, flowerbeds.
  • Use only big tools…big brushes, pieces of rag, knifes, twigs, and of course, hands(You can treat them afterwards with some good creams!)
  • Work on the WHOLE paper, even if you run off the page.
  • Stand back, up often and look at your creation from a distance. Don’t consider right or wrong or any painting rules.
  • Consider only marks, color, texture, shapes.
  • When finished with one, put it aside and immediately start another…with another bush another scene.. don’t go back to a previous painting, rather start another one.
  • Don’t think, just do.


More oil and gouache studies

I have been working a bit more in gouache and oil in the fields…doing the few hay balls still lying around in the fields here and there. The following pieces are only exercises done on site in plein air. I’m working hard at just interpreting, not rendering  the reality, but only the essentials.

…close-up 1

Close-up two was done using only fench ultramarine, white an a touch of black. I’m quite happy with this one…

…close-up 2…

I am finding that I enjoy gouache more and more. I like the touch of it on the paper’s surface and it is creamy enough for me and I can work thick with it or thin in washes. I also particularly like its “flat” two dimensional appearance, which looks very “painterly” to me.

…Bales of hay in gouache…

These two  gouaches were done on a large sheet of light grey laminated paper/carton paper (65x50cm..25.6×19.7″)

I did a small oil as well.. I have to regain my confidence in oil as I lost it completely during an experience a few weeks ago. I’m hesitant, I don’t really know what to do and where to go to on the canvas. But maybe it is a good thing too…maybe something new can be born from this. I hope so.

…bales of hay in oil…

oil on linen, 33×24.5cm (13×9.7″)

A June postcard

The months are flying by rapidly and we’ve already sent off  6 postcards of 13, almost halfway through. For this card to Martin, I decided on the vineyards here in Correze…our specialty wines, Vin paillé, meaning straw wine. The grapes are semi dried on straw beds and then pressed.

…on his envelope…

gouache on brown paper envelope

…and the post card… vin paillé of Correze

pen and watercolor on watercolor paper

Two bales of hay in oil and a gallery.

I love the bales of hay standing all around the countryside at this time of year, soon to be stored for the winter. The days are hot and the evenings linger long before the starry nights set in. Perfect summer days. Today was one of those days. The temperature stood a 41 degrees C(105 degrees F) when  I took my oil paints just down the hill to capture the hay balls before they’re stored away. I used an old flop painting and started painting over it. Don’t think I’ll do it again, I felt distracted by the already painted scene on the board.

…three bales of hay study

oil on board,

I have a new project this summer. I woke up one day a few weeks ago and decided I want a little gallery/atelier in Beaulieu. After searching and asking around, I came upon a tiny location, right in the medieval center of Beaulieu sur dordogne, opposite the beautiful old church. I hastened to get my things in order…what things?…drove up to Montlouis to fetch “stuff” to fill my gallery with, drove back 5 hours, offloaded, had a glass of champagne to celebrate this new”craze”, went to bed and unlocked my tiny gallery/atelier the next morning to welcome my first visitors..oh no sorry…clients? Lo and behold, I sold quite a few things!

Et voici mon gallerie/atelier.

…arrival and downloading…

Changes I’ve made: I have an olive tree in a big pot instead of the two small pots, because people nick my stones and use the pots as ash trays…imagine!!

…just finished offloading…

I have postcards made of my artwork and bookmarks and edition prints. People can also browse through watercolors and drawings…which sell very good. And most of all, people enjoy fiddling through the sketchbooks and many want to buy, but of course the sketchbooks aren’t for sale. Next thing that interest them, is to buy a sketchbook and some materials for themselves, because they are inspired by it all. That is so exciting and now I’m preparing small “sketch kits” that people can buy for their holiday or as a gift with my own small handmade sketchbooks.

..opening the first day…

…entrance…

Since taking these photos, I’ve made a lot of changes:

The kids’ corner is bigger with their own little gallery against the wall. they LOVE this and the gallery is already filled up with their dawings: the principle is that they do a drawing for me and they can choose a lollipop from Pierrot Gourmand(see photo below) I provide all the paper and crayons and aprons, all they have to do, is make a drawing/painting).

…kid’s corner..

My goal is probably not to get rich from this little gallery, but to make people aware of art and the fact that art doesn’t have to be expensive or for an exclusive part of the population. I want to show that a gallery doesn’t have to be boring, but can be fun and there can be something for everyone. I would like to have people feel the joy of buying a handmade postcard rather than a boring mass produced postcard from a tourist stall.  I work in the gallery while people are browsing and talking to me and asking questions and so far, it seems as though they are enjoying the ambiance and feel of my little gallery, me working there included. Many have made comments on the nice smells of the citrus solvent I use, they enjoy touching and picking up, looking from up close. they even enjoy my music, which is mostly Edith Piaf and the poems of George Brassens and Léo Ferré.

…inside…

…working space…

I also have a theme each week or so, focusing on an artist, putting out books and info on this artist, what he did, images, reading material etc. This is still tough for people and most walk by, but there is the odd one who stops and reads.

Will I succeed in bringing art to the common man on the street?  If I can reach only one person, then yes, I’ve succeeded.

…exhibition…

Two oil paintings and a gouache.

My last post on Painting in Provence. Two oils and one gouache.All three were halfway done in the field and completed afterwards. they were all done at about three in the afternoon on hot days with the cigales singing in my ears, which was typical and I have no complaints about that. But the ants are at their most active at three in the afternoon too! Or so it felt! I got bitten the  second I dare stand still and at some point I started feeling like I was knee deep in the movie “The Mummy”!

..red sandstone cliff…

oil on canvas paper

…afternoon vinyeards and broom…

oil on canvas paper…

…mont ventoux on a cloudy afternoon…

…gouache on paper…

And some images from my four days…for more photos,  see “Provence” under Beauty of la France at Myfrenchkitchen.