dimanche 27 février 2011

Before/After .The old library.

I plan to post a series of before/after pictures of some rooms featuring in "Demeures peintes".

This one shows the library of the XVIIth century castle in the second chapter.

I discovered it, at the end of the winter,when I first visited this mansion. I remember being both surprised and puzzled. I did not imagine such a room in this relatively severe looking old building and I wondered what I could do there. I mean , how I could understand this weird mix of post-Renaissance and late XIXth century  and do something with it.
There were pieces or elements I could relate to and like and some others I really disliked.
After the visit I started researching in my personnal documentation and figured out that the overall design was very Italian Renaissance but that some elements were totally alien.
Then,for quite some time, I had to wait for the authorisation of the local historical buildings architect to work in this castle.
After looking at my work he finally decided I was the man of the situation and I could really start thinking about this room.
There is apparently no historical record about the italian painters who decorated this castle in the XVIIth century.Some were quite popular in this area at the time . Frescoes are still visible in one of the towers.

My guess is that these guys created and painted the overall composition for the library and that it has been restored and repainted later .
There are other artworks in the castle, like these painted ceilings in the dining room and the kitchen.

They have probably been painted by a french artist of the XVIIIth century who was quite famous (locally) at the time and who decorated some rooms of the city hall in Lyon. These ceilings are "classified" at the national historical monuments inventory. I observed them closely but could not relate them to the paintings of the library.
There are also more minor paintings in some rooms of the library level.

I would say that these might have been done during the 30s or 40s and I think that the painters who did this are the ones who restored  or repainted the library.
Now that my little inquiry had given me some clues ( but the truth is that I really do not know) I could add my little tune to this old and strange harmony.

Yves and I spent this whole summer afternoon taking pictures and at the end of the day the gold of the old books was still shimmering in the sun.

mercredi 23 février 2011

Treelogy III

Here is the last act of this mediterraneen triptych, the cypresses. Perfect counterpoint ot the   gray fuzziness of the live trees, to the aristocratic elegance of the pines , their dark fingers point in the direction of the sky...


"Escalier d'Este" (230x75cm casein on canvas, after E.Roesler Franz)

"Grand Tivoli" (230x140cm,casein on canvas,after E.Roesler Franz)

Detail of "Grand Tivoli"

"Fontaine d'Este" (230x75cm,casein on canvas)

"Villa Malta" (50x50cm casein on canvas, after Lord Leighton)

"Tuscania" (50x50cm, casein on canvas)

No title, this is a prototype of decorative panel;I did a coupe like this but did not continue in this style.

"Sera" (approx.40x60cm,acrylic on board)

"Umbria" (50x50cm,casein on canvas)

"Siena" (approx.40x60cm,casein on canvas)

A cypress in the Alpilles (Provence) that I used last year as a class support.

A view of the classroom at Palm Fine Arts, Sweden.

Close up in the top of the tree (acrylic on canvas)

samedi 19 février 2011

Gold Fever. Part II.

Here are now a few pictures of the work in progress.
Once the decision of painting on gold was made I had to pick up the gilder.
Ten years ago, on a job in Southampton (NY) I met a talented french gilder, Malek Moussouni. A few years after he became one of my mural student son Paris and we kept in touch. We work together every once in a while and I proposed him the job.
He started by gilding all the moulding and once a few mural panels were covered I started painting.
Malek gilding a panel.

The magic of gold.

Mr Goldfinger in action.

Virginie, Malek's helper was also there to helps us keep up with a tight schedule.

The Gilders.

I had drawn my ornaments on tracing paper with very soft grapite pencil ( 4B) and would transfer using a hard one (4H).  

Look close ( click on the image) and you will see what I would get from the transfer...

dimanche 13 février 2011

Treelogy II Pines in paintings

Here are now different examples of pines in some of my paintings. Most of these paintings date back to a few years now. My style evolves and my centers of interest change but anytime I am in the south I still take pictures of these trees , they still fascinate me. The thing is that I have paintes them so often that I now feel closer to them. Paintings them has helped me bridge the gap, reduce this feeling of separation we sometimes sense when we face the mystery of beauty.

"Deux pins". Two pines in Bonnieux, at the very top of the hill where the village is built. (50x150cm,casein on canvas).

'Pincio". The fantastic pines of the gardens of Villa Medici.The garden as we see it now had been planned and developed by Ingres himself. (50x150cm,casein on canvas).

"Forum". Evening light on some of the pines nearby the Forum in Rome. (50x150cm,casein on canvas).

"Lournarin". Detail of a painting of the olive grove near Lourmarin,Luberon. (50x150cm,casein on canvas).

"Jardin de Tivoli". Based on a painting by Fragonard, gardens of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli. ( 80x140cm,casein on canvas).

"Lazio". Pines seen at the Piazza del Popolo in Rome. (50x150cm,casein on canvas).

"Sainte Victoire". Cezanne's mountain in the back...(50x150cm,casein on canvas).

"Pin de Nemi" a view of the Lago di Nemi, south of Rome near Castelgandolfo. (50x150cm,casein on canvas).

"Falaises". Near Oppedes-le-vieux , last village of Luberon on the way to Cavaillon. (50x150cm,casein on canvas).

"Bonnieux".Again, at the very top of the village, the pines are shaped by the north wind, called Mistral in Provence. (60x92cm, acrylic on gessoed board).

No title. Near the Forum, in Rome, pine heaven. (40x60cm, acrylic on gessoed board).

jeudi 10 février 2011

Gold Fever. Part I.

Here is the "story" of a commission I did last December. I think it is interesting to share some of the episodes of this particular job as the "creative" process has been quite long and has  actually followed my clients' reaction to each sketch I proposed to him.
This client ( Atelier Louis XIV, high end french style baroque and classical furniture maker) was about to open up a showroom downtown Paris , in one of the most "deco" areas of the city ( rue du Mail). Most of the major players in the textile business are in this street ( Pierre Frey, Chelsea, Sahco, Brunschwig, Lelievre...even Pinto has his Paris office over there) and my client wanted to be close to these companies in order to create business relationship with them.
When I first visited the room, in July, the wall panels had already been installed and the "problem" was to make the place really special and attractive.
I visited the place, did sketches and watercolors and imported them in my pictures via Photoshop.

I then emailed those to my clients with a quotation. I had a positive response but I understood that he wanted something more spectacular , he told me about a beautiful  green lacquered room in Wurzburg and said that would like something more colorful...
I kept the same design but porposed a series of different tones for the walls. Here is an example:

I had another nice email but I felt he was still looking for something "stronger", more powerfull.
I then decided to give up this style and picked up a model I had photographed in the Salon du Conseil in Fontainebleau , here is what I proposed...

Another very gentle emailed let me understood that I was making progress but that this type of figure might not be suited for Arabic clientele. I took an appointment with my client...on his way to France, onboard the train, he had read a magazine and seen a picture of the Salon Dore in the Palais de L'Elysee. That was it, he had finally found what he was looking for : gold. The panels would be gilded and I would paint over it. Here are the designs I finally created:

I made another Photoshop sketch and I had a GO!