Monday, July 25, 2016

Sorollas lost and found hat and Paris Plages

First do please take a look at French marché queen, Marjorie William's story on Paris Breakfast. Check out Paris Plage for beachy details. And def play DJ Teddy J's essential background beach music while you're reading.
I couldn't help noticing how Sorolla loved his summer straw hats.
He mostly lived and painted in Valencia, 30 minutes from the beach.
He uses hats (mostly straw FYI) to focus on his subject's face by losing the edges like here. Try squinting and the hat disappears. Other times he contrasts the hat's edges(known as 'found' in painter's lingo).
I tried my hand at it after a sunny visit to Paris Plages along the Seine yesterday. I need to do a few hundred more before I get even close. Fortunately I've got August to work on them.
You had to squint it was so bright yesterday yet the temperatures were perfect, in the 80s.
A whole variety of seating arrangements and sun umbrellas
These girls were in a book-lending area provided by publisher Flammarion, except they were reading email..
Free sparkling and flat water provided. BYO bottles svp.
Back in a Sorolla sketch beach people werewell-covered up.
Unlike Parisians yesterday
Note Sorolla in this photo is wearing a lost-and-found straw hat
Another 'lost' hat makes the red dress 'pop'. Squint and you'll see it.
If only one could take a dip. They say by 2020 the Seine will be cleaned-up enough. Hmm
Of couse one must have the obligatory ice cream mustn't one, here prvided by Pozetto.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sorolla and the Paris years - Musee l'Impressionnismes Giverny

Last Wednesday I attended a press preview of Sorolla and the Paris years at Musee des l'Impressionnismes, Giverny. Its an absolute joy to behold. Something we all need a bit of now.
Pure light and beauty
Do  you know Joquin Sorolla's works? A masterful painter, often called the Spanish 'impressionist'. A quote from La Prensa, Buenos Aires 1923,
"Sorolla's brush was a beam of solar threads that left no opaque matter on the canvas, but only pure radiations. Sorolla painted the unpaintable."
Large format paintings take up entire walls.
An exhibit of 100 paintings, many from Madrid, 4 coming from Cuba.
Sorolla (1863-1923) was a contemporary and friend of John Singer Sargent (1856-1925).
Their subject matter were often similar as was their virtuosic brushwork.
As a student Sorolla copied at least 15 works by Velazquez in Madrid. His work was a constant source of inspiration throughout his life.
His blacks
And his whites have incredible depth
Take time to look at the small details painted with such bravura.
"With all its excesses, the modern impressionistic movement has given us one discovery, the color violet. It is the only discovery of importance in the art world since Velazquez."
Its recorded Sorolla painted quickly and directly from his subject, often completing large, complex paintings in just 4 days.
"I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly. Every effect is so transient, it must be rapidly painted.”
"As far as outdoor work is concerned, a studio is only a garage; a place in which to store pictures and repair them, never a place in which to paint them."
His home and atelier in Madrid is now a museum. I'd love to visit.
A room entirely devoted to Sorolla's small oil sketches, 50 of them.
Painted on card or wood as possible reference for future works
A Paris view painted during his student days as a struggling young artist
If you're coming to Paris do go see the Sorolla and the Paris years exhibit in Giverny, just a 45 minute train ride from Gare St. Lazare. Rizolli has translated the beautifully illustrated catalog if you can't make it.
I couldn't resist making some watercolor sketches from his sketches. So much to learn and enjoy them even further.
By the way Paris Breakfasts is competing for the Best in Paris Expat blogs. Please vote for Bear! (you may need to scroll a bit).

Friday, July 15, 2016

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dans l'Atelier - Petit Palais

As soon as the DANS L'ATELIER exhibit opened at Petit Palais back in April I was there.
You have till 18 July to see it. Its surprisingly big and goes back to the 1800s.
I think this is Jeff Koons studio - very orderly. But then he probably has dozens of assistents to tidy up. Wannabe my assistant?
I'm not sure anyone could get in the door at Francis Bacon's famously hellish, messy studio. Even the door had wet paint on it. It's all preserved, every last scrap too. I am definitely in his camp though not equal to. Maybe a 5 where Bacon is a 10++ on the 1-10 messy scale.
Petit Palais even has miniature model ateliers, in case you're clueless what goes where.
In the old days, the 'Oriental' or near East style was in. Think turkish rugs, drapes, two-story high skylights.
Oodles of space. These were not garrets. As I said before my father predicted I'd 'end up in a garret with a bunch of cats' if I became an artist. Please send cats somebody. I got the rest right.
Picasso's hound quite at home in his atelier.
Back in New York, Bear ran the show. I think I had 4 work areas, all piled high with stuff. I am not a believer in clear space.
In the Chelsea Arts Club a desk is always provided. Every member is an artist so they have to.
My watercolor teacher, David Dewey always said,
'When you travel, the best light is in the bathroom'.
In Maine I got to set up in the bathroom with water and hairdryer closeby. Very convenient.
My hotel bathroom on rue de Seine...terrific light for still life subjects.
My latest Hotel Sphinx bathroom in Montelimar was huge with great light 24 hours but no work table.
Instead the table was secured to the wall. Not the best of situations but you learn to improvise. Note the pillow on the too low chair. Once you get going it all begins to flow and you don't notice the small stuff..
In Aix the setup was perfect. Long table beside a window. Room to spread out and good light.
I did some furniture moving in my Etretat hotel room at La Residence. But I didn't really get painting until the last morning and checkout was at 11 am as it is universally. Tant pi.
This last trip I dove in fast and painted a stack. Someone said I bet you're going to have a watercolor sale soon? Stop reading my mind :) Still some editing to do. Then we'll see.
Back in Paris I've been immersed in les bonbons d'autre fois (old fashion French candy stores). I'm happy to report the JULY Paris confiserie map is mailed out. Hurrah!