Monday, May 28, 2018

Van Gogh sat here...

Sunday was my second visit to the charming town of AUVERS SUR OISE, 20 miles outside Paris
Van Gogh spent the last 70 days of his life here and made 80 paintings.
Auberge Ravoux was his home. He probably did sit out front sipping an absinthe or two at one time or another.
On Sunday it seemed like every visitor to Avers sur Oise wanted to sit in Van Gogh's chair
On Sunday I put down my pencil and picked up my brush to paint directly 'en pleine aire' as they call it.
Time has stopped in this quiet 19th century town.
Every doorway has secrets. Who has passed in and out.
Cezanne, Pissarro, Daubigny painted here.
It would be lovely if there were a few Van Gogh original paintings on view.
Instead large posters sit side by side to the places he immortalized.
This time I made it to the magical musee de l'Absinthe.
I bought this gutsy Absinthe glass and a postcard of "Vincent's Bedroom".
You can learn a lot copying a masterpiece. The perfect balance of complimentary colors. The tipped-up floor influenced by Japanese woodblock prints. Its a chance to walk in someone else's shoes.
Naturally there are wild irises by the side of the road in Van Gogh's last home. If you have a day to spare Auvers sur Oise provides a quiet respite from the glamour of Paris
A Big Merci to Marge!
She suggested I send out whatever Paris souvenirs I have on hand and I have  bags of them. Not to worry if they are unrelated to the art. For some unknown reason, 5-star hotels do not hand out their cards readily. In future all envelopes will have Paris goodies. 
Letters, maps and watercolor from Paris are up on Etsy. Take a look svp.
The Auvers Musee de l'Absinthe is coming up next.
Bon week PBers!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Journees des Plantes de Chantilly 2018

Last Saturday it was my pleasure to take Paris Urban Sketcher, JANE KLARES to see château de CHANTILLY for the first time (my 5th visit but there are always new discoveries).
It was JOURNEES DES PLANTES weekend to boot. Have you been to Chantilly? Only a 20 minute train ride out of Paris on the Picardie line at Gare de Nord and so worth it!
Hundreds of top floral garden specialists show up to tempt you.
My mother would be pleased to see me so entralled with these garden fetes. I used to touch her gardinia petals no matter how many times warned not to. My dad paid me a penny for every beetle I collected off the rose bushes and jarred so maybe I have a green pinkie after all..qui sait?
My favorite citrus supplier was back from last year, OSCAR TINTORI of Pescia, Italy.
Gorgeous huge clay pots.
Whimsical clay pot 'plates' and 'cups' set à table amidst a mossy 'tablecloth'.
Jane was eager to see Chantilly's fabulous collection of art, biggest next to the Louvre in France.
They used to let you enter via the grand stairway, but now they send you outside to climb up tothe original chateau entrance, in fact a better experience.
Very auspicious
With. Jane along I discovered artworks I'd previously missed visiting on my own, like all the Ingres in the red room.

In the past I'd always turned left and missed the 90 Clouet portrait room!
Renaissance artists, Francois and Jean Clouet painted all the kings and queens of Europe, including Francois the 1st, Mary Queen of Scots and Catherine de Medici. The portraits are painted on wood with egg tempera, delicate and refined. There's a slew of 300 Clouet drawings hiding somewhere in the castle, yet to be discovered.
The view out the gallery windows of the LE NOTRE gardens is stunning. Jane tried the French door handle. We would have loved to sketch on the balcony but not this time..
A captivating view back in the 1600s of Chantilly.
We happily parked ourselves outside to sketch
And eat our picnic lunch.
We were not alone. Many families were picnicing along the banks.
Bring your own eats. Food lines can be long and the wait daunting.
Lucky to have perfectly sunny weather, we had Chantilly mostly to ourselves till the royal wedding watchers arrived later on in droves. Ice cream may be a diet no-no but its impossible to resist fresh Chantilly whipped cream at its namesake, oui? TAKE A LOOK on Etsy for more Chantilly watercolors. And let me know if you'd like to receive Paris mail. 
Monet's Giverny gardens await tomorrow. 
Xxx Cheers PBers

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Delacroix was a cat person

There's a new retrospective of EUGENE DELACROIX (the first since 1963) at the Louvre. Its on until july 23rd. DELACROIX'S self-portrait looks a little cat-like. Oui o non?
Cats big and small show up in his paintings repeatedly. So does this gent show up in my photos. Grrrr
A watercolor sketch with the anatomy well-defined, yet subservient to the emotional power of a resting cat about to attack.
The attack! Roiling cats get the better of these poor soldiers. How did Delacroix get the poses so perfectly? I wanted to lay a paw on this gent...
Marvelous lively cat doodles fill the margins of Delacroix's lithographs, yet have nothing to do with the litho's subject matter, but they definitely enliven it.
Horses too are a favorite subject
Delacroix was also a lobster man.
And an Orientalist par excellent. This painting is huge. The figures slightly larger than life-size.
Serene and graceful, the details create a lush, exotic atmosphere, little still lives hidden within a bigger picture.
A wonderful small oil study of Moroccan slippers, baboushes. Delacroix traveled many times to Morocco along with French diplomats, all expenses paid, as every artist would prefer to travel.
His Moroccan sketchbooks are reknown for their intimate views of quotidian life. Delicate pen sketches and superb watercolors are a stark contrast to his energetic, often violent, big ambitious paintings.
Then again here's a perfect, small study of a reclining odalisque with oriental touches.
Delacroix did many loose oil studies in preparation for the bigger commissions.
Like this complex composition.
I didn't know his big flower paintings before seeing this exhibit. Not your usual pretty paintings, they're full of energy.
Viewing the Delacroix retrospective was my break from an Urban Sketchers workshop in the Louvre courtyard.
Our assignment - paint the gazillion tourists racing by. I decided to focus on subject matter standing still instead. Please TAKE A LOOK on Etsy. And let me know if you'd like to get mail from Paris. Have a Bonne Week PBers xxx