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!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Montelimar - Fete de la Couleur Lavande

3 guesses where I am? I came to see the fields of lavander in the Drome..sort of upper-upper Provence also known as the Rhone Vallée. Almost every region in France has abou3 names nd thy just changed them again to keep the French on their toes.as if they weren't already expert enough...ahem.
I saw they had a fete on this weekend. By the way there are fetes every weekend in almost every town in Provnce and upper/lower Provence.
The lavander is available for just a short window.
Then its cut and distilled etc into oils, essences, room sprays, you name it.
Lavender oven ware and pas cher...so tempted but I'm already loaded. I'm sitting on a park bench postine which is why there are even more errors than usual. Please forgive PBers. Also there are roosters definitely free range running around crowing to give a country effect. Ha!
La creme de la creme of honeys..well one of them made from bees that hang around the lavander. I spotted a few visiting here in town for the fete.
The regional viennoisserie of Provence flavored with lavander. I am resisting...so far.
Of course there is lavander soap...so tempted.
Some bars have actual springs of lavander.
I did not resist buying a bunch...which I'll probably leave in my hotel room (Hotel Sphinx).
I misread and thought there were shuttles to the champs de lavande (fields of lavender) to paint. Wrong! There is a faux champs set up in the town parc and you are meant to paint there. Oh.
For the readers of PB who love tech here's how they distill the essences.
At 4 am this morning I was trying to distill lavender essences of aquarelle...
How to paint lavender?
Which by the way is not at all the sweet, wussie pastel color we think of as 'lavander'.
Its deep purple with bits of green plants and not at all a piece of cake to paint. This series will continue. Have you visited the lavander in Provence?
My work station/atelier at Hotel Sphinx. I tipped the chambre de bonne a tenner NOT to clean my room Please! Let them deal with it after I'm on the train. Bonne chance. Someone asked if I put plastic shower caps on the table (for protection). No, those are freezer bags (fom the US and becoming rarer and rarer in France). I carry all my materials in them - so handy.
The view out my bathroom window. No wonder Matisse, Bonnard and everyone else painted their windows.
And the piece de resistance!! Fabulous home-made apricot jam bought at the Fete. They grew their own apricots. The Real Deal. I ate so much last night I woke up with a hangover. But oh so worth it. I'm back in Paris late this afternoon. I have to finish the July Paris map before July is over!! Just in case you were wondering. Meantime there's a very nice post on Bonjour Paris on June's ice cream map.