Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A little night painting

Now I'm back home I've started to load all my photos into a Flickr Collection - Provence 2011 - for all to see - minus a few which will only be shared with those who visited Provence!

I thought I'd post a few of these to the blog so you can see what you would have seen while we were there if we hadn't had the lightning strike.

The first is to show you that Sarah not only produces lots of paintings - but also that she does it at all times of the day and night!

Here's a photo of her night painting on the night when we had the total eclipse of the moon.  That's as in plein air oil painting at night!

Sarah Wimperis - plein air oil painting at night

Friday, 8 July 2011

How Much Paint?

How much paint does a painter paint when a painter paints Provence?
Well this may tell you:
In two weeks I did 59 paintings.  13 small oils and 13 bigger ones, 11 larger watercolours, 11 medium watercolours and 11 tiny gouaches.
This is a picture of my oils just before I packed them to go home:
I wont bore you with the list of colours but they were all brand new when I arrived, white was finished and Paynes Grey and Vandyke Brown were unopened.  Interestingly taking them on the plane home was no problem. They were packed in my bag for the hold.  I had my old watercolour box in my hand luggage but that only caused the customs guy to talk about painting for a while, he was a keen amateur artist!
Here are some images to give you an idea of the various sizes of paintings done while Painting in Provence.

So to sum it all up, the average number of paintings done per day was 5, don't count the days arriving or leaving.  I have a lot of work for follow up paintings, some work for exhibition in August.  I took too many clothes.  Didn't drink enough wine.  Met two very lovely people Robyn and Ronelle.  Got to rather like scorpions and felt "energised" by lightening.  Didn't miss the tyranny of the Internet when we lost it, in fact it has made me think about how I use it.  Wished that I had had a car but was quite glad that I didn't, I wouldn't have liked the long drive home that everyone else had and I would have brought far too much "brocante" at the antiques market.  Best of all I fell in love with Provence.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Oil painting #4 - the view from Julian's studio window

This is the small oil painting I did of the view from Julian's studio window after I gave up wasting paint on the canvas boards and gave them three coats of gesso instead!

It was done the day after the lightning strike when the weather was a bit odd and I was waiting around to see "what needed to happen next" re the telephone and modem - so staying near to the house seemed like a sensible idea.  Ruth did a sterling job in England sorting out the telephone people while I dabbed at the board with some paint!

Oil Painting #4 - the view from Julian's studio window
5" x 7" oil on board
I feel I have to keep saying that those vineyards really are dayglo green at a certain time of day - their colour absolutely staggered me the whole time we were there.

The painting is on a small 5" x 7" board and the smoother surface of the sanded down gesso certainly helped me paint.  I also learned how to scratch out and what happens if you use a bit more paint and a bit less solvent.

I made a mistake with this painting in trying to include the roof of a small outbuilding which made absolutely no sense to the painting unless you knew what it was - which was when I learned about how you can paint things out of the picture!

The main benefits/lessons for me were
  • finding out how much I liked working at an easel in a studio!  That's not something I routinely do and I now have to think about how this might be remedied in "real life" - as opposed to "Provencal life" which is now becoming something of a dreamlike state!
  • learning just how difficult it is to find a subject which works in terms of composition, colour and brushwork when painting a small painting.  My admiration for those who can do this grew in leaps and bounds - especiallyin relation to the local landscapes produced by Julian.  
The need to simplify much more is I hope a lesson well learned.  I'm not saying this painting is in any way good - it's just the product of a learning process and hopefully that's one which I will use to re-engage with oil painting in the near future. 

Monday, 4 July 2011

A View of Mont Ventoux - WIP

I tried to finish this pastel - of a view of Monet Ventoux with the vineyards in the foreground - on my last evening in Couguieux. The light beat me in the end so it's not finished.

I think I'm calling this one a large scale study for another pastel yet to be completed. You'll recall I've already done one sketch of this view in Mont Ventoux and the vines

The view is from the bend in the road where I took the photo of a sunrise over Mont Ventoux in my PJs on the the first morning of my stay.

I'm now off to Calais via Boulogne for the last leg on Frency soil of my trip home to London. I'm then catching the 6pm Eurotunnel train and hopefully getting back to London sometime around sevenish - having collected my lost hour en route!

Then it's down to sorting out all the stuff that's not been posted as yet!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Heat of the Day

Shadow Shed.  Oil by Sarah Wimperis

Washing Line and Pegs.  Oil by Sarah Wimperis
House in the Hot Sun.  Watercolour by Sarah Wimperis.
 Here are a few little paintings, done in the heat of the midday sun in Provence, with the sound of the cicadas making the heat even more intense.  Dry grass and dusty earth and the smell of pine resin. 

The Demoiselles de Coiffees - WIP

I'm now on my way home and am posting this while sat in a hotel in Bourg-en-Bresse.

It's a good time to try and to post some more of my sketches and pastel works in progress which haven't yet made it on to the blog given to only being able to post images via Flickr.

This work in progress is maybe about 60% completed - enough for you to see where it's going and not enough for me to be happy with as a completed work. It's on half a sheet of Art Spectrum Colourfix.

I spent a lot of time while at Couguieux directing people to the path where you can see these amazing landforms. There was a point where we speculated about putting up a picture and a finger saying "They're that way" but I don't think any of us had the correct french for it.

I was very disappointed not to be able to make it to Rousillon on Thursday. Most of the day was given over to trying to find a hotel for last night's stay. What I hadn't realised was that France hits the road as soon as the schools break up - the traffic I saw going down the Autoroute de Soleil yesterday were awesome.

My sat nav decided that the traffic was way to heavy to let me go via the autoroute and took me via the D7 and D8 up the Rhone Valley where I drove through very many vineyards and lavender fields.

However if you want to paint sunflowers go to the fields south of Bourg-en-Bresse either side of the A42 - there are numerous amazing fields of sunflowers.

Today I'm off to more vineyards on the Cote d'Or which is where the best red burgundy wine comes from.

Friday, 1 July 2011

A potager in Provence

A potager in Provence by makingamark2
A potager in Provence, a photo by makingamark2 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
This is Ruth's potager (vegetable garden) at Couguieux with Mont Ventoux in the background. it's a little way from the house and all the water has to be transported by hose and watering can.

This sketch was done in my last full day in Provence. it's not finished - it got too hot to continue where I was sitting. However I like the composition with Mont Ventoux in the background so will probably have another go at creating a drawing of this view.

The good news is that I am typing this while sat at the dining room table. The man from the telephone company came this afternoon and plugged in the new modem and did various testing stuff and pronounced the wifi as working but the connection to Julian's computer to also need replacing. Which means I continue to be limited to posting via Flickr - and one pic at a time. There is a backlog!

I've got the art books and painting stuff packed. Just got the clothes to do but before that I'm going to have a go at finishing the big pastel of Mont Ventoux before packing clothes and concocting a meal from what's left in the fridge.

Last night I had my "treat" meal out at Le Mas des Vignes and the sketch of that will follow in due course.

A Little More From Far Away

Rainy Day.  Oil. By Sarah Wimperis.

Midnight, Summer Solstis.  Oil.  By Sarah Wimperis

Blue Chair. Oil. By Sarah Wimperis.
Having got home and unpacked my bags, mostly painting equipment and paintings, I have done a final count up and seem to have managed to have done 59 paintings in two weeks.  I am terrible at doing things after the event, blogging stuff that has been done and when the time has past I find difficult.  Not having the Internet for a week has also made me realise what a fantastic archiving system having a blog is! 
So while it is all fresh in my mind and before I get right back into illustration work and more painting I shall be making a page at the top of this blog, and on my blog The Red Shoes which will show all 59 paintings, large and small, oil, watercolour and gouache, good, bad and indifferent.  It is an archive, you might be interested to see what one, slightly obsessional, painter can do with two weeks.  I also want to say that every one was painted "en plein air" and "alla prima"  In other words, painted on the spot and in one hit!
I will, in later posts go through the materials used and any tips that I have learned from this trip.
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