mardi 29 novembre 2011

Grisailles I

I have painted many grisailles, of different types ( landscapes, ornaments, bas-reliefs) and I still do. I like them for their strong decorative potential.
Here is a selection of the bas-relief type. I could have showed them randomly but finally I though it was more interesting to point out how my style of painting has changed from the very first example to the most recent ones.
This one,  the very first I did , years ago, was painted , with acrylics, on canvas glued up on panel .

This other one is the first I included in one of the collections I create for Maison & Objet. It is painted with casein. The style is still a little tight but it is already looser and more decorative than the previous one.

Six month later, after a visit to some florentine villas, I painted this one, and later on added a version with two small side panels for a french wallpaper company.

Then I found a nice XVIIIth century sketch that I turned into a bas-relief grisaille...

...and also worked from an old black and white picture I had bought at a flea market . Here are two versions painted from this picture.

This one was meant to look like a real bas-relief . At this point ornamentation becomes trompe l'oeil.

The last two are quite recent and if you compare the last one with the first of this series you will see how I got from tight to loose... from a nice exercise or "beginner's" panel to a painting where trying to show off is not the pont any more...the point is to try and capture the simple but fascinating magic of painted ornaments.

vendredi 18 novembre 2011

A show in Provence

My first personnal show , as a decorative painter, took place a couple of years ago , in Uzes.
Uzes is a gorgeous small city located at the confine of Languedoc and Provence.

The show had been organized by two art agents, Francoise Kerjean-Benaksas and Katherine Poulachon, in one of the XVIIth century mansions of the center of the town, l'Hôtel des Consuls.

The place is used for art shows but has been left "dans son jus" as we say in french ( untouched , as it was decades ago) and my paintings had been very harmoniously installed in this place of great character...

...cut off canvases that I created for a booth at Maison&Objet had been used to decorate the doors to the rooms...

and I had installed a temporary studio in the attic for some last minute touch-ups ...what a place!

Francoise has organized another show in the same location this year. My paintings were exhibited with the exceptionnal pieces of furniture and chandeliers of Pur Lustre, the whole thing was brilliantly showcased by  interior designer Richard Goullet...I will post pics one of these days...

jeudi 10 novembre 2011

Simple but not easy.

Simple but not easy. This is what I would say about painting volumes.
The principle I use in such ornamental paintings is simple :
_ a mid-tone ( the soft grey I basecoated my canvas with)
_ one value ( darker than the mid-tone) for the shadows
_ another one ( even darker) for the drop shadows, sometimes a third value for the accents ( the darkest darks)

_one value for the lights ( lighter than the mid-tone)
_ another one  ( even lighter) for the highlights.

I did the drawing in charcoal, "inked" it in with some watered down soft grey ( black, yellow ochre and white) and painted the shadows and drop shadows.

Then I painted the lights and higlights.

Finally I painted some lighter greys between the leaves and into the moldings.

I guess it sounds and looks easy but I do not think it really is.
If you work, like in this example in flat tones with no gradations ( no blending, it is not possible anyway if, like me, you paint with casein paints on a very absorbent surface) you have to put your strokes in the right place ( this means that you must have a good knowledge of how lights and shadows behave on complex volumes) and these strokes must have the right shape ( which implies that your hand can draw with your brush).
If this was easy we would all be great painters and beautiful paintings would not fascinate us like they do .

If you use the same technique but allow yourself to do a little bit of softening on the edges of you tones, this is what you will get...