Why is the call of Provence so strong? beguiling? bewitching? Did Peter Mayle set a trend? Today's writers, photographers and artists flock to this wild, enigmatic part of France.
Van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Renoir, Bonnard, Vuillard, Cezanne ....the list of painters fill today's museums
with priceless works of art.
What drew these men to Southern France over 100 years ago?
They say it is the shimmering ambient light,
the rugged masculine landscape,
the dry hot climate
that gnarls olive trees into grotesque shapes,
the singing meadows filled with birds,
the velvet moon and searing white sun,
all unfolding, unfurling.
So different from Paris.
We have definitely romanticized Provence.
And the first time I visited, I too,
fell head over heart in love with this unique place
with all of its folksy charm.
Through the years I have probably painted more Provence inspired paintings than any other genre.
Me and a zillion other painters.
This past month I have been revisiting some past trips,
enjoying ever-so-many photos
and journal writings.
And so it happens that all this French inspiration has landed in my sketchbook.
Plein air sketch for a future painting.
Smaller watercolor sketch taped onto larger design. Try using black masking tape in journals. White lettering done with a white-out pen.
Charming, whimsical, Provencal printed fabrics are
found in abundance in villages large and small.
Today I hung a long Provencal fabric table runner vertically across a window, serving as a valance. Double stick carpet tape keeps it in place.
My kind of no-sew project!
Fruit, vegetables, herbs: fresh, fragrant, sun-ripened.
Every village claims its own
unique market in the center of town.
No doubt there will be more sketchbook pages filled with memories of southern France.
I have mentioned a few renowned past painters, but what of today. If you have a few minutes, visit Postcard from Provence
at Shifting Light, the website of Julian Merrow Smith.
You will experience today's Provence.
He is a painter with an exceptional vision and authentic voice.