Thursday, April 28, 2011

There Are Places I Remember

Marie Clarie and me after lunch at the Maison de Van Gogh

I always say that without art I would never have met such a vital cross section of individuals and also find myself in so many remarkable places the world over

In 2002, Bill and I spent a month in France, a week in Paris and the rest travelling in the south. For me this trip became a Van Gogh pilgrimage as well as a reconnoiter mission, scouting where I could paint the next time we went to France. As luck would have it next time came the following year. 

On both visits we were hosted by the Vallets who live just west of Paris. Between these trips I read everything I could about Vincent including an art/cook book called Van Gogh's Table, which I had to own. The Auberge Ravoux is the restored guest house and cafe where the artist lived his last few months. It was where Vincent died. I needed to go there. When I told Jean this he thought I meant Auvers in the south and maintained, rightly so, that it was too far from Paris to go there for lunch. A man who prided himself on being a grand tour guide of France, he had not heard of the cafe, but when we arrived in Paris, he was ready with a reservation and a guide book of Auvers-sur-Oise.  On October 4th, 2003, he and Marie Claire provided us with one of the most memorable days of my life.

Lunch was exceptional.  After it we visited the cemetery and went on a good long walk about the town looking for the sites where Van Gogh had painted.

At the graves of Vincent and Theo

Auvers-sur-Oise is spotted with signs like the one below announcing the sites where Vincent had painted.

The immortalised Auvers Church
Wandering quaint streets we found as many sights as we could
Marie Claire

To be continued ...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's Been a While

My last solo show was in April three years ago.  WILD! featured paintings large and small, mostly new and some really early pieces from the 1960s to the 1980s.  These were to illustrate that my love for the big cats of the world was not a new thing.  What I am building up to here is this collection included the last large canvas (36" x 54") I was to paint for a while.

Today I celebrate finishing the largest canvas since then ...

Table Mountain and Beaver Mines Lake
(Southern Alberta Rockies)
oil on canvas 30" x 24" (day four)

Moving from Canmore to Claresholm, Alberta, in September 2008, heralded a semi-retirement mode for me.  I am now in a position to paint for the sheer pleasure of it, to experiment with mixed media, pottery, card making, book binding and whatever my little heart desires.  It feels good to be living the dream!

I have always leaned on having a purpose to propel me to paint.  The Alberta Society of Artists will showcase an exhibition called Peaks of the Canadian Rockies (in July and August).  This is what encouraged me to paint the scene; to enter it into the juried show.  Let's see if it is accepted.

When we went south, for the month of March, I left the painting on the easel at this stage; an acrylic wash.  I like to think of it as a colour map.  Often, but not always, I start an oil this way.

After day one
End of day two the canvas is now covered with oil

After day three

The painting was completed on day four ... see the image at the top of this post.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

C.M. Russell Museum

Yours truly, April 7th, 2011

On our last day of travel home from Palm Springs we stopped in Great Falls, Montana to see Charlie Russell's Museum.  The last (first and only) time we were there was in the early 1970s, when there was a 1500 square foot museum beside his log cabin studio.  We marveled at the extensions, the collections and the grandeur of it all today.

I remember the log cabin vividly because, as is always the case, viewing the working space of a deceased artist (1864-1926) is almost sacred to me.  His easel, paints and brushes sit there as though he had just stepped out.

The Jerk Line, classic Charlie oil

To view more photos from our visit to the museum please click here: 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

All Play, No Work

At the Esprit pool, March 29th

With so little time left here I have opted to leave off painting in favour of just enjoying what Palm Springs has to offer.  After the last painting I began stepping out with Bill in the mornings to play tennis with a group of seniors affectionately known as The Geezer Tennis Club.  It is important to note that Bill and I are junior geezers but there are some senior geezers, such as Fred, who is 86 and Bob, who is 79.  Remarkable, don't you think?

Geezer Tennis Club, March 28th

It has been very hot the past few days with highs of 30 - 38C and with the trek home commencing on the 5th I think I'll just keep on playing tennis and hanging out at the pool!  Let me leave you with this bright, cheerful image ...

California Poppies

If you like, you'll find more photos on these links ...
Lunch in Beverly Hills
(Visiting Selma) PSCA:

Geezer Tennis Club: