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Paintings from Provence

My week in Provence ended far too soon and it went by far too quick. I managed to do a few, not nearly as much as I planned, because typically Ronell, I forgot half of my art stuff at home. I left my very important oil canvases, boards and large watercolor pads by the door to pack them last and that’s where they still were while I as in Provence. Finding an art store proved to be harder than imagined  and so I ended up borrowing two canvas papers from Katherine…can one borrow a paper/canvas…?

To start off with: all of the following are sketches done around Les Couguieux, where we stayed.

…the blue shutters of les couguieux…

watercolor and pen on watercolor paper

…hameau des couguieux

pen and wash on watercolor paper

…the terrace at les couguieux…

pen and wash on watercolor paper

…still life with cups and lemon…

pen and wash on watercolor paper

To follow: landscapes in watercolor and gouache

 

January plein air by the Loire

I wish you all a wonderful year with all the low points of last year turned into highlights this year!

Happy 2011


I wanted to start this new year off with a plein air painting, no matter what the weather circumstances were. And I did. I took off this morning with my painting stuff and a new pochade I haven’t used before, to the Loire. The temperature read 2 degrees C. I only had running shoes to wear, because my daughter has my hiking boots in the mountains.

It was very difficult…it took me ages to set up my things, I kept on slipping in the mud, my fingers were numb before I even started painting and I struggled to open the caps and squeeze out the oils. I found the little pochade extremely uncomfortable and clumsy and missed my French easel all the time. I couldn’t open the Liquin bottle and had to run back home to fetch another. I found it comlicated to paint with the muffins and the scarf was choking me and I felt thick and uncomfortable  with my sleeves in the way of the paint, constantly knocking over the mediums. I chose a difficult scene and had an uncomfortable spot in the mud and slighty up a hill. My eyes and nose were constant watery  from the cold and I had to fiddle with tissues all the time, resulting in me arriving home with a face looking like my painting. After 2 hours I couldn’t stand on my numb feet any more and I started doing nonsense on the canvas,  getting so frustrated that I slung my brush way into the distance, in the mud! And then I  decided that I should pack it in.

BUT!! I completed the study. Although I don’t like the painting/study, and although it was an enormous struggle, I am very satisfied that I did it. It is one of my plans for the new year – to get out and paint even if the circumstances are challenging – and I WANTED to start today, on January 1st. Now I only need to get out there often to get used to these difficult winter plein air painting. In the end it is really gratifying and I now know I can do it. I can probably save this study in my atelier if I want to but it serves no purpose. I didn’t get out there today to produce a masterpiece, although I would’ve liked it to be a bit better than it turned out…

..winter loire corner study  1..

..oil on linen, 34x23cm..

**Next time I’ll give my opinion about this easel, because I think it is unfair to give it now after only one time of use. I am too used to my old french easel. This smaller one is a lovely hand made pochade from Ben Haggett.

**I will also say more about my art plans for this year.

Until next time… paint away!

 

Plein air painting – A red roof.

We had terrible winds when I painted this painting. Everything tumbled over every now and then. So I feel quite proud that I’ve completed it.

… red roof…

correze

oil on linen, 46x38cm (18″x15″)


…red roof: close-up…

And here is my preparation stage, the very first washes.

I have so much to learn when it comes to plein air painting. My biggest problem is usually finding the best viewpoint.  Sometimes I impiulsively like a spot, just to realize after a while that the paintings doesn’t have any strong focus point, or the basics are weak(the shapes) or there is no interest, or it is too static. In this case I find that I have no real interest, no excitement, no strong focal point to hold the viewer captive, not enough strong movement to lead the viewer around the painting. So. Off to a next effort!

Oil painting – plein air – a quiet path.

Yesterday I did a plein air(sur le motif) painting…on my birthday. It was great. I’m quite happy with it in the sense that I really didn’t fiddle..I gave a first wash, then a second layer thin paint and then the final layer and lastly added fine details and I’m happy it turned out OK.

And THANK you to everybody who sent me good wishes for my birthday…I loved each one!!

…a quiet path…

oil on canvas, 38x46cm

…preparation for plein air, quiet path…

Plein air painting at Coin Perdu

I picked up my plein air painting again and even though the wrist is stiff and unwilling to be free and spontaneous,  AND my eye is out, my perspective and composition is askew and the little apple tree stands right smack in the middle where the hill ends…a very bad meeting point and I might just go,out there and redo it tomorrow. But it is STILL wonderful! I realize again how much I love it…and how much I’ve neglected it.

The scene below is beautiful in real life, but doesn’t really work as a painting. As I’ve said before..sometimes a beautiful scene is there to enjoy with the eyes and sometimes an ordinary scene makes for a stunning painting. But it is worth it to go out and paint it all…it helps in deciding on a paintable scene, getting your eye focused for plein air. Painting plein air is SO different than painting from a photograph, in terms of “seeing. and of course, MUCH more gratifying, even if it doesn’t turn out the way one planned…which in fact it never does. Sometimes, the scene changes a bit too. like the scene below. In the painting it looks like there is a large hill to the right of the tree, which in fact, there isn’t. But it looks much better this way than it would without the “hill”. and I am not after realism, so seeing a hille on my painting which doesn’t exist in real life, gives me quite a kick. Makes me feel like I’m very original!

Our area is very green at the moment after the rains. The trees and forests are green, the fields and hills are beautifully green and lush, , there aren’t many colorful wildflowers around, so the world tends to be green, green green.  Having all this green in a painting can make one feel a little woozy…

Maybe I’ll do the same scene again, but in some different colors than that which I see in front of me..

…Apple tree…

Plein air painting in oil on linen, 41x33cm (16,10″x12, 10″)