Far from the Madding Crowd

“Far from the Madding Crowd”
coloured pencils and oil pastels. 330 x 365 mm. October 2017

If you have been to Paris, you know what Cathedrale Notre Dame is like.  Its magnificence makes it a magnet for tourists.  Endless queues snake towards its doors as people wait to go inside and up the tower.   Like all great world tourist attractions, it is a place to steadfastly avoid.

Only five minutes’ walk from the maelstrom of humanity, across Pont de l’Archevêché and down on the riverbank of Port de la Tournelle, all is serene.  The view of Notre Dame is sublime, the river Seine quietly flows, minding its own business.

So few people walk by that I have to wait patiently to compose my source photo for the drawing I want to do.  Finally a few pedestrians come into view and I have my composition.

I give a prayer of thanks.

 

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Happy Paris Anniversary

A celebration of what was, is, and what will be…

This weekend one year ago Alicia (middle daughter) and I arrived in Paris.  I am celebrating the anniversary with a slice of “Opera” cake from Wild Bakery (to be eaten later) and a look at the drawings I have done so far from that inspirational trip.

Here is – basically – half an exhibition.  The other half is still to come.

“Somewhere”
November 2016

“Guiding Lights”
November 2016

“Show Time”
December 2016

“Alone in the Upper Marais”
December 2016

“Nearly Dusk”
December 2016

“Good Morning Paris”
January 2017

“On the Road”
January 2017

“Just a Moment”
January 2017

“In Town Tonight”
April 2017

“The Elegance of the 4th”
April 2017

“Evensong”
May 2017

“Sideshow Alley”
May 2107

“Once Upon a Wall”
June 2017

“Rhapsody in Gold”
August 2017

“Walk”
September 2017

“Irresistible Blanche”
October 2017

I mentally immerse myself in Paris long after physically returning to Fremantle.  I don’t wish I was still in Paris now.  I am there during the creation of each drawing.  Can one be in two places at once?  Without a doubt.

A photo of Alicia during one of our unforgettable walks together.

 

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Irresistible Blanche

“Irresistible Blanche”
coloured pencils and oil pastels. 235 x 350 mm.
October 2017

Place Blanche bursts into technicolor life as dusk deepens into evening.

As I have mentioned in past posts, Place Blanche is decrepit during the day.  (Perhaps it was always so, even in the late 19th century.)  Iconic Moulin Rouge in daylight hours is clothed in a dreary red – a courtesan well past her prime.

However, linger until the sun goes down.  Eventually the windmill’s blades start to turn.  All the lights pop on and the area becomes a roaring kaleidoscope of colour.    At dusk Place Blanche is transformed into an artist’s fantasy.

Surely this can’t be real?!

“Irresistible Blanche” on the easel.

 

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High Noon in Pontocho

“High Noon in Pontocho”
coloured pencils and oil pastels. 22 x 27 cm. September 2017

To each of you who came to my art exhibition “Entranced” this month, thank you so much!  Many of you saw me working on this drawing and some of us discussed techniques together.

The drawing as a work-in-progress at the gallery in September 2017.

Once the exhibition closed I finished the drawing at home.   It is titled “High Noon in Pontocho” because when I checked the source photo information I found that I’d taken it at precisely 12 o clock.

People who came to the exhibition saw that looking at my blurry drawings close up and far away were two different experiences for the eyes.  So for this post I have taken a photo of the drawing from a small distance.  The blurry drawings make more sense from a wall across a room (as they are designed to be viewed)  than they do as a close-up computer screen image.

High Noon in Pontocho on the easel.

Finally, who were these two maiko?  They were Taka and Hisamomo of Pontocho.

The two maiko in the drawing

 

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Impressions

A small coloured pencil/oil pastel piece which I’m drawing at the exhibition.

I am spending a couple of hours each day at my art exhibition “Entranced”.  In this exhibition I have several works from the past five years as well as a series of 2017 drawings.

While at the gallery I am listening to the opinions of visitors.  What I am hearing is that many people prefer drawings with a more interpretive impressionistic bent than the detail-filled sharply focused pieces.   Indeed, the first to sell at the opening was “Daydream” and many visitors have admired this piece and others like it.

“Daydream”
August 2017
coloured pencils on top of an undercoat of oil pastels.

I am happy that visitors are responsive to the impressionistic work because this is a type of drawing I am enthusiastic about as well.   After years of detailed work, it is a pleasure to work in a looser interpretative style.

“Sideshow Alley” – coloured pencils/oil pastels
also in the exhibition.

Kidogo Arthouse (Bathers Beach, Fremantle) is open from 11 – 4 Tuesday to Sunday (but closed on Sunday 17 September) until September 20.  I am on site from 11 until 1.  I am giving a talk on Saturday 16th at 2 pm.  All welcome.

 

 

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Walk

“Walk”
Oil pastels and coloured pencils.  24 x 25.5 cm.  September 2017

The pedestrian signal is green, inviting me to cross Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville and perhaps traverse Pont d’Arcole to Ile de la Cité.  And really, is there any better way to explore Paris than to walk?

The two small images above show the work in progress.  The first image was taken when I had undercoated the whole piece with oil pastels – applied with a bristle brush.  The second image has some layers of coloured pencils over the top of the pastels.  Pencils + pastels allow deep intense colours.

Plus a note to say “Entranced” opens this Thursday, 7 September, at 6 p.m.   Details below.

 

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Rhapsody in Gold

“Rhapsody in Gold”
Coloured pencils and oil pastels.   330 x 390 mm
August 2017

On 22 October 2016 I wrote in my journal, “Sigh!  I sure am feeling lazy.  I don’t really want to go anywhere”.  However I forced myself out of my little apartment on rue de Poitou and set off for an evening’s photography walk.

Next morning’s journal entry reads, “I finished yesterday’s entry by saying I didn’t want to go out.  I was downhearted.  I’d had enough of Paris and felt homesick.  Blah blah blah – negative thoughts.  However, the light changed, I got good photos.  On the way home I got even more good photos.”

One of the photos during this walk became my source for “Rhapsody in Gold”.   The view is of Ile de la Cité; la Conciergerie, a dome of the Palais de Justice, a spire of Sainte-Chapelle – and beams of light emanating from the Eiffel Tower.  In the foreground, the Seine reflects street lamps and traffic lights.

The moral of the story is, sometimes when you don’t feel like going out, it is good to force yourself.  You might just find treasure – in this case – pure gold.

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