dimanche 31 juillet 2011

Crazy french ...

This  post is about painting for fun.
Painting on pieces of cardboard boxes taped up together ...cheap.


The subject is also cheap but mythical in France, the famous 2CV of Citroen, the most popular french car ever...


I cannot tell if this was because of the nice red wine we had for lunch but we started getting really creative in the afternoon , Pascale, my wife suggested the old kitch wallpaper stuff and Pierre Aucante ( the guy holding the animal's head , photographer, writer and  museographer ) went into the attic and deciced to find a way of including his trophy in the painting ...

As we were having fun some other people were also very creative ...

This whole thing was in fact because of the yearly international gathering of 2 CV people in a nearby city.
For this unique occasion, the museum had exhibited two picturesque specimen of the french iconic automotive.

Here is the "painting" installed in the Museum of poaching ...this place is a lot of fun, we have done other paintings for them, I will post about them too...

lundi 18 juillet 2011

Work in progress.

A work in progress is sometimes ( often?) more fascinating than a completed or finished piece. I suppose it comes from the fact that at some point , things are coming to life , they are fresh and full of energy. They are a vibrant expression of something happening in front of your eyes.
When this magic moment materializes ( it does not always, it depends on what you paint) I grab my camera and I take a picture.
Here are some of these fleating moments I captured.
Most of these paintings are copies or interpretations of the "Tiepolos" ( Giambattista ,the father, and Giandomenico ,the son).
I am presently painting a ceiling with a whole bunch of figures of Tiepolo and I still enjoy learning to see through the eyes of such inspired and dedicated painters.

mercredi 13 juillet 2011

Five Cherubs

Last year, at Maison et Objet a designer of Mis en Demeure stopped on my booth and told me about a project in Germany.
Baroque ceiling with cherubs.
I made a sketch, proposed a quotation , both were accepted.
I was very happy to work for them . They are one of the big players at Maison et Obket and I have always admired the elegance of their furniture and decoration style.
After this I was given very precise instructions about the colors, contrasts, number of cherubs and exact location of them to the centimeter.
I did the painting in my studio and hired my friend Malek to do the gilding and help me with the installation.
The house is located in a small german town of the "black forest" , quiet and romantic.
Having researched a little bit about this villa I discovered that it had been build by the famous portrait painter Franz-Xaver Winterhalter.

It impressed me. I thought to myself that if I had known that earlier it would have changed my approach of the painting.
I always try my best but on this particular mural I felt a little trapped by the strict requirements of the designers and I was not totally satisfied with the result ( I am never anyway).
The villa does not feel very impressive when you arrive but is much bigger than ot looks at first sight..

The first thing we did was to install our primitive ( but not stupid) "stand" in the center of the ceiling just to check out the dimension of our wooden"sticks".

Next we installed the canvas as you see on the picture.

Then we glued up one half of the ceiling and appled the canvas.

Finally we repeated the same operation on the rest of the canvas.
The whole thing went smooth and took hardly more than two hours.
The next  day we trimmed the extra canvas along the molding and painted the sky in the inside of the big cornice.

Then Malek did the gilding with a little help on my part.

Then we removed the scaffolding boards to take a couple of pictures.

They had wanted me to paint five cherubs in this ceiling.
As I was walking in the park of the villa I noticed that there were five nice statues of cherubs...five outside,five inside...

samedi 9 juillet 2011

Thank you Maison Chic !

 Here are pictures of a nice article in the last issue of a charming french decoration Magazine named
 " Maison Chic" ( no translation needed I am sure).
I do not know the whole story but somehow they got in contact with an Interior Designer I have been working for these last years . Her name is Martine Di Matteo and as she worked in the US for quite some time she now has a very good american clientele in Paris.
Her style is usually a mix of a typically french XVIIIth century revival  and more modern elements with brightly colored curtains, cushions ...etc. Charming, elegant , classical but never boring , I like what she does and this appartment in Paris is a good sample of her work.
It is located in the famous Place des Vosges , a marvellous example of our XVIIth century architecture.

The house is located right at the back of one of the buildings at a corner of the square , perfectly calm and in the very heart of Paris.
Here is the cover of the magazine with a couple of shots of the appartment.

Here are now some views of the living room and kitchen where two of my paintings are ...

...and now let us focus on the paintings.
First an ornament inspired from an XVIIIth century design for a ceiling.

I called it "Audran", the name of the famous french ornemanist whose design inspired me.

And now some views of the other two artworks.

This one is a painting I created two years ago for a show called "New Trends" that took place in Bergamo during the International Salon of Decorative Painters.
It is in fact the first of a whole series of paintings I called 'Neo Style".

A mix of simplified classical ornaments and realistic"views" or details of " Marie-Antoinette" by S.Coppola.
The ornament is painted with casein and the views in oils directly over my very absorbant lime based background.

The last painting is inspired by Giandomenico Tiepolo ...another elegant young aristocrat of the end of the "Siecle des Lumieres"... ( casein on canvas)

vendredi 1 juillet 2011

Three days in Antwerpen

Chantal Siebens and Jan Lhermitte are two Salon friends. They have been running a school, Ideefiks, in Antwerpen for many years and last year they invited me for one of their masterclasses.

Belgium is a fabulous country of painters. From Van Eyck and Rubens to Magritte they have given birth to major painters and they also have the strongest tradition of classical european decorative painting ( marbling and graining in particular). I was glad and honored to go there and teach for the first time.

The plan was to organize a short class, I asked them to pick up a "three day" panel their students would like me to teach. They chose the "Vase and Drapery" , a painting I had created a few years ago for a class at the Mural School.

Chantal and Jan live in a typical house they bought years ago and skillfully renovated...

The group of 12 peolple filled up the classroom  but the teacher's spot is big enough to have everyone comfortably installed for the demos.

We began with the landscape in the morning, were finished by the end of the afternoon  and had time to get started on the vase ...

Most of the second day was spent painting the vase and again , by the end of the day we were able to move to the next element : the drapery...

...we have had a perfect weather, the food was very good and the backyard of the school is ideal for outdoor lunches...

Views of the classroom on the third morning...

The traditionnal group picture.

Jan, Pascal, Chantal...

My panel after three days of fun and efforts.

On Sunday morning, before I drove back home  Jan and Chantal took me for a quick tour of the city.
Of course we went to Rubens house ( I guess I will post about it some day).
In the main street of Antwerpen there are statues of Teniers and Van Dyck and  Rubens ...painters are definitely rockstars over there!!