Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Greetings from a French Graveyard.

In many countries it is called "The Day of the Dead," and with Halloween coming up this weekend,
I could not resist one more visit to Bonnieux...

...and the huge cemetery I discovered on my last day, at the very tippy-toppy of the town.  



 And now, from the sadly serene to the zaniness of the whole Ternay clan performing just for your
entertainment, in the latest "Hymn For Her" music video, "Sea."
 Have a safe and scary Halloween.
And oh yes: BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Provence; the Summation.

I returned from our wonderful week in Provence over a month ago. It was a fun time for all.
And it looks like we're going to do it again next year. So time for a summation, and moving on.

Although I enjoyed every one of the many trips to rustic towns, and wine tastings, and effulgent
meals, and camaraderie with my new friends, on a very aesthetic and personal level, there were two
excursions that took the Artist in me to hallowed ground. Here I am in the studio of Paul Cezanne,
in Aix-en-Provence.

Everywhere we went in town one encountered signs announcing "The Trail of Cezanne."  

And here is the master, exiting his studio; in the last known picture taken of him.
When I was in art school and for many years afterwards, I did not have a clue of what Cezanne's
paintings were about. And although I took the course at the Barnes Foundation, I'm still at work,
in my attempts to digest the totality of meaning in his paintings. But I do know he was a revolutionary
genius, and marched to his own drummer, and influenced artists who followed in his footsteps, since.

Not many footsteps beyond his studio (about one half a mile) is a hill  from which he  painted many
of the views of his beloved "Mont.Saint Victoire."

And here I am, playing "Tourist," with the Mount in the distance. At one point Picasso bought
a piece of land that had a view of the mountain, and he supposedly proclaimed "I now own
Cezanne's mountain!"        

And here we have another genius, although during his tragically brief lifetime, neither he nor
anyone who knew him or his art, would have thought of him as such. This is a sculpture of my friend and mentor (I have many) Vincent Van Gogh. It is on the pathway leading into the grounds of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, the sanitarium in St.-Remy where he voluntarily admitted himself.

The actual room Vincent stayed in is in the still active part of the sanitarium, but I assume, as in most institutions, each patient's room is pretty much like another. 

Here is a drawing done by Vincent of the interior courtyard. So beautifully complex.

And that same courtyard today. A space for contemplation.

Here are three more water colors done by me while under the spell of Provence.

And this week of wonderful experiences would not have happened without the enthusiasm and
planning of my dear, dear friend, Ellen.
Merci Ellen, and au revoir!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Avignon and Workshop Day One.

Monday morning we were greeted by our elegant, charming, and oh-so-very French guide for the week, Laurence Minard-Amalou. On this first day she was taking us to Avignon; city of the French Popes, and after lunch to the first of our many wine tastings.

Unfortunately, as we left Bonnieux, I found my camera batteries were dead, so everyone but me has pictures
of  the wonderful architecture of Avignon, the amazing rooms and art in the Pope's grand palace, our leisurely lunch, and the wine tastings in the afternoon. Such is the life, at times, of a forgetful tourist.  

So we fast forward to the end of the day, and the beautiful garden behind our hotel, where I did a "Demo"
to introduce my students to my thought processes as I do a painting.

The light in the late afternoon was perfect for my mostly fledgling student/friends to tackle outdoor painting,
which is challenge enough for experienced painters. Wonderful shadow shapes, patches of golden lawn,
rock walls, a fountain and a variety of trees. 

And a view of the town of LaCoste, on the distant hills of the Luberon Mountains. 

After my demo everyone found a subject to paint...but first of all, I insisted they explore their subjects
to resolve compositional concerns by doing "Value Studies."

Here is the study by Jackie Lang, who loves the Impressionists, and had never drawn before, least of all
picked up a paint brush. A very good start.

By the time the sun had set behind LaCoste, and the castle of the Marquis de Sade, now owned by Pierre Chardin...

... we were ending our day dining in one of the many cozy restaurants in Bonnieux.

Here is a water color painted by me a few days earlier, again looking towards LaCoste.
Awaiting us on Tuesday: our visit to an organic vineyard, Russell Crowe, and serpents.
And a very private and raucous dinner.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Provence Workshop; the students arrive.

By now anyone of you who reads my blog can see I enjoy the art of photography, almost
as much as I love painting.

On Sunday morning I took advantage of my second free day, and explored the cobbled
streets and winding stone stairways leading me to the upper reaches of Bonnieux.

But first, a quick "Bonjour" to the friendly and very busy baker, at the nearby Boulangerie.
He took time out from making the morning breads to sell me a yummy croissant to go with my coffee.

Although I was looking for a subject to paint, I kept getting seduced by...well, the following,
and so many more images to shoot.


I finally did settle in, and found a subject to paint.

Here is the final finished water color.

By the time I got my painting gear together, and made the trek down to our hotel, it was late afternoon.
Just enough time to get cleraned up, and meet the students.

Here we are at our "Welcoming Dinner," in the dinning room of our hotel, le Clos du Buis.
From left to right; Ellen, Holly, Donna, Cass, me, MJ, Jackie, Tema, and Judy.
The first of many wonderful meals and experiences to be shared in the coming week