Saturday, June 30, 2012

Painting memories from France

We recently took a river cruise up the Seine (down the Seine?)  to Normandy.  I had no time to paint, but I took lots of photos.  So here are some of my attempts to recreate what I saw. They kind of jump around.  The photo above is one that was left over in my mind from an earlier trip to Paris.  This  row of book sellers is one of my favorite sites in Paris.

This is a scene from Rouen.  It was a place that I had never visited before.  I  have not attempted the most famous object from Rouen, the Cathedral. Rouen is the place where Monet painted many pictures of this famous cathedral.  I was a little disappointed in the Cathedral actually.  Monet's versions of it are so beautiful. The Cathedral is a virtual encyclopedia of architectural styles. I immediately came home and looked up the paintings to see what he did with them that was so wonderful out of that mixture of carvings, towers and styles. Monet painted the play of light and shadows and he cropped into the cathedral to avoid an impossible collection of dingbats, geegaws and furbelows.  I may eventually give it a try, byt above and below are some of the timbered buidings and the most beautiful clock tower.

It was the weekend of the annual celebration of the burning of Joan of Arc.  Crowded is an understatement.  I hope that I captures some of the hubbub in the painting above.  Below is the entrance to a church that captured my attention.  Like so many towns in France Grey is the dominating color.  I love shades of grey.  (I'm not referring to "50 Shades")  The interesting thing about painting a location that is monochromatic is that as you stare at it and paint it, other colors come into play.  The grey of the roof is not really grey, but green, the walls are actually yellow with streaks of rust.  The bounced light turns the doors bright red and the mosses and lichens glow green and ochre.  In my photo it was for all intents and purposes a black and white photo - but I can still remember the colors I saw as I walked by, thinking,  "I wish I had time to paint that, that's beautiful."

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