Friday, July 22, 2011

More on the workshop in Provence

"Ochre Quarry at Rest"
Near Roussignon, France

"Nature's Colors"
Ochre Quarry near Roussignon, France

On Wednesday, we left Les Bassacs at 8:30 to travel to the small village of Goult. We had a choice to paint in the cemetary or the village, and Maggie demoed using the interesting shapes of the topiary trees and the monuments to create a shape painting filled with light and shadow.

One topiary tree is visible beside the right-most monument
Cemetery at Goult, France

Most people went out and painted in the village, but Joan and I parked ourselves in the shade in the cemetery. This was my crash and burn morning, and Maggie had to talk me through it! Here is Joan's wonderful painting.

The cemetery in Goult
(c) by Joan Kendall

Joan would tell you this is a departure from her more realistic oils, and Maggie deemed it very successful. That afternoon we could shop in the city of Apt or stay at the village. We chose to stay at the village, rest, read, do laundry, and sketch. About 9 p.m. we adjourned to the studio after dinner where Maggie presented a slide show of works by some of the masters.

Entrance to the village house where David and Liz hosted our workshop

Thursday was a hoot. Kind of like being a hog in hog heaven. Picture 10 artists clambering around an ochre quarry where in past centuries miners dug pigments to make artists' oils and watercolors. The quarry is near Roussignon, a town that is very golden reddish from the rocks used to build the village. Ochre is a yellow/brown/red/purple pigment derived from clay containing mineral oxide. This quarry has been abandoned for some time because much of the paint today is produced chemically, rather than using the natural pigments. The old quarry was a maze of unusual shapes, canyons, and hills, and trees have taken root in places.

Ochre Quarry near Roussignon

We clambered over it. This is one of the reasons I joked about art as an extreme sport. We reveled in it.

Artists selecting a spot to paint.

Marie, Sally, and Michelle join me with expressions of joy

Love those purples

After climbing over the quarry, we set up our easels and began to paint. I had my six colors which did not include ochre or burnt sienna, colors that abounded. No problem; we mixed our own. I strongly considered grabbing some of the dirt and dropping it on my wet surface, but feared I might make a complete mess. The two paintings at the top of this post were done on location at the quarry. The top one was the first one I painted and took a couple hours. The second one I painted in under 30 minutes. The workshop reinforced for me that painting one subject multiple times helped me really know that subject. Subsequent paintings were much easier for me. As a group we took home some very exciting work when David arrived at 12:30 to take us back home for lunch.

Joan and Trish Adams, coordinator and artist extraordinaire, take time out from painting

Trisha Adams was the organizer for this workshop and she did a superb job. She is kind, upbeat, and accommodating. She is also a very successful artist and instructor. I was impressed with the caliber of people who took this workshop from Maggie Siner. Go here to see Trish's art and accomplishments. Trish painted this gem in the quarry.

Ochre Quarry
(c) by Trisha Adams

I leave you at midday as we enjoyed our fabulous meal of the freshest ingredients prepared and served by David, Liz and their capable helper.


hw (hallie) farber said...

Wow--the quarry is unbelievable. And your paintings of it are wonderful--I liked them even before I knew what they were.

Tim Robinson said...

It has been a while since I have visited your blog. I really enjoyed viewing these paintings and photos, especially the cemetery.

AutumnLeaves said...

What a fabulous trip and one I know you will always remember and cherish!

Mary Paquet said...

Hallie, thanks -- the abstraction of this place is amazing.

Tim, thanks so much for visiting. I see you've done some fine work in my absence.

Sherry, this trip was amazing and created many wonderful memories.