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!


  1. GORGEOUS pictures!!!
    Do not end it yet please!
    There must be more..
    Love your abstracty watercolor with the colored shutters particularly.
    I would love to do the Cezanne trail...
    And St. Remy
    Such a ray of sunlight - this post

  2. PS
    PLEASE do a watercolor of everyone of yr photos here!!!

  3. Will the rich vibrance, of your vision of Provence.........carry into future paintings around home, Philly NJ?........
    Will be watching to see.
    Interestingly, Mont St Victoire...........resembles closely, Tunk Mt,up here in Washington County!
    Did you know that cateracts, affecting Van Gogh's vision are responsible for the "special effects he achieved in Starry Starry Night?
    This summer was a gift to you ,Bill.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures! What a glorious journey through some of my favorite painters lives. I've never visited this part of France...but hope to do so someday...preferably with paintbox and brushes in hand!!

  5. Thank you PB, and PS, and AI, for your kind comments. PB; I'm sure you're having fun in Paree right now, and PS, Brrrr...heard a Nor'Easter came through up in yer neck of the Maine woods.
    (still recalling that picnic on the rocks, and the lobster lunch) and Amy, what say you we go painting sometime, in the Wharton tract...?

  6. What a wonderful entry in your blog. It makes me want to go there - and you know how I hate travel. The first photo of you is so wonderful and the paintings so full of light...scumptious!

  7. Bill: I will keep a link to your wonderful Provence blogs as a reminder of that special trip. Your photos and paintings are a treasure, and remind me of all we saw through your artists eye. Thanks, Tema