It’s been awhile since the last post and I’ve got a lot to report! The jet-lag fog is beginning to clear now that we’ve been back from France for over a week and I’ve begun processing the material gathered and have actually started two projects. To recap the high points….. two weeks were spent in France. The first week was spent in Arradon, Brittany with side trips to the Loire Valley and Normandy. Four days were spent in Paris with considerable time spent in the Louvre, Musee’ d’ Orsay and the Rodin Museums. There will be much more to say as projects evolve but, initially, I have to thank our hosts Claude and Catherine Martin in Arradon for making us feel very welcome in Brittany. Catherine has a fantastic garden which is one of the first projects I am undertaking. Hopefully, I can do her garden justice. Here is the completed sketch I am working from. At this point I have stretched and mounted the paper and plan to start the first wash later today, after completing some value studies. I will probably use the yellow color family and develop a warm temperature for this project as I attempt to recreate the mood at the time. The approach will be high key and we’ll see how the planning holds up.
The next project features the small coastal town of Auray, in particular, the lower part of the old town, the 17th century port of Saint-Goustan, which is the highest tidal reach of the River Auray to the Gulf of Morbihan. I plan a project showing the actual port area but the sketch you see here is of a section of the old town center that I found interesting. This painting will probably use the blue color family and have a cool temperature. I am currently working on value studies to get a sense of how I want to attack the painting. The day was dreary and a bit foggy lending a blue tint to everything, hence the blue color family decision. I’m thinking low-key but with high contrast, lots of tonal shifts in the blues/greys with a splash of color here and there to move the eye around.
Catherine was kind enough to drive us around one day to places with names like Quiberon, Carnac and Auray, giving me an opportunity to gather material and get to know Brittany a little better. Pont-Aven, Brittany was a home base to Paul Gauguin before he headed to Tahiti in 1891 to escape European civilization. Brittany still has a rural feel to it that I found very relaxing. I suspect you will be seeing a bit more of Brittany in my work over the coming months, as well as other areas in France.