Au Revoir, France!
Fresh inspiration struck this month during a wonderful visit to France! I'm now reviewing literally hundreds of photos to determine where to begin a new series of paintings.
It will be a tough call because we covered a lot of territory. Starting in Paris – my favorite place in the world! – a trip to L'Orangerie reminded me of Monet's powerful use of color, and persistence, in painting all those water lilies. A quick ride on the amazing TGV train to Nice let us visit the Picasso and Matisse museums where their techniques and sources of inspiration were on display. Driving around Provence we learned about pigments and pastel manufacturing in the hilltop village of Roussillon, toured Cezanne's studio in Aix and followed the Van Gogh trail in St. Remy.
All this helped me brush up on technique, but the towns themselves made me eager to paint. I can't decide where to begin! Perhaps with the winding streets of the medieval city centers. Or the equally narrow roads in mountaintop villages, whose stunning vistas were particularly exhilarating as the Mistral's 30 mph winds arrived. The bright blues, sunshine and boats of the Riviera shoreline are tempting. On the other hand, the cafe scene and energy of Paris always call to me. And so do the markets of Provence, full of cheese, veggies and sausage, plus ceramics, fabric and antiques.
It's a wonderful problem to have and I look forward to sharing progress with you as I develop this exciting new group of paintings. If you have a preference for what I should paint first, feel free to chime in! For now, here's a photo of me in Arles at the scene of Van Gogh's famous painting, Cafe Terrace at Night.