a mediaeval house in Blois, in the Loire Valley

première phase d'aquarellage de la rue Pierre de BloisThis is my latest watercolour.  In this post I have represented the three stages of its completion.  The subject is one of the oldest mansions in the city of Blois, in the Loire valley, France. The mansion is situated at the top of a hill opposite the cathedral overlooking the Loire river.  It was erected in the late middle ages and its style is the French equivalent of Tudor architecture.  The name of the street is Pierre de Blois, (literally the Blois Stone), because a large stone must have been there in the middle of the road, forcing passers-by to circumvent the obstacle, but the stone must have been withdrawn since then.  Stage one shows the first layer of watercolour, and as this is a rather classical picture this time, I started with pale colours moving into dark ones. At the time when the picture was taken, I had already added a few of  the timbers of the house.

première phase d'aquarellage de la rue Pierre de BloisStage two is actually about the second layer of watercolour on the house and its surroundings.  Still, some areas have been left blank intentionally at that stage, such as the area behind the window.

première phase d'aquarellage de la rue Pierre de BloisStage three is about adding all the details and the shadows in order to make colours more vivid and bright and contrasted.  The funny thing about this watercolour is that it will be sooner hung on one of the halls of the house that it depicts at number 13, rue Pierre de Blois in Blois.

a watercolour of villa hallé in Paris in several stages

la villa Hallé depuis la nouvelle maison du 8bis rue Halléhere we are with my latest watercolour in the making. i have decided to present the various stages of the design of that watercolour. this watercolour depicts a ‘villa’ which in Paris speak means a privatised dead-end street (not the usual meaning of villa as in other parts of France or southern Europe).

on the left-hand side is phase zero of the watercolour with the main structure laid out for the drawing. the original idea came from a visit to the designer house which was temporarily opened to the public in Paris’ 14th arrondissement, rue Hallé (number 38b for those who might still be interested in visiting the house). for memory’s sake i took a quick snapshot of the villa from the top bedroom of that house with the camera of my mobile phone. it’s a pretty bad camera but as my purpose is not to reproduce exactly what i see, it doesn’t matter at all. the format of the watercolour is rather small, and aimed at fitting into an existing frame.
La phase 1 de l’aquarellage de la villa Hallé

next comes phase one with the first colours being laid out. At that stage i have already spent a couple of hours on that watercolour, despite its small size. some of the areas of the watercolour have been left without colouring in order to give myself time to think about the colours that i will want to use on that painting. this is namely the case for all these areas which will be kept very dark at a later stage such as the tree on the right-hand side. they will be coloured in phase two. at that stage i don’t know yet whether i will use India ink to highlight some of the areas of the drawing and i keep my options open at that stage. it will somewhat spice up the process by bringing a bit of unexepcted.

the following stages will be shown as i go along in the production of this watercolour

Waking-up in Saint-Jacques (Paris 14)

Saint Jacques au réveilthis is my latest watercolour depicting the early morning hours in Saint-Jacques,our area around Montparnasse and Denfert-Rochereau in Paris. The idea was not so much to describe the area but rather to tell a story – as long as brushes can tell a story – about a day in the life of the people around us.

To a certain extent, this picture has nothing to do with Paris, it could have been made anywhere where people are living close to one another. Some may think that being so close to one’s neighbours is really awful. In fact it’s not. It makes you feel part of a community and that feeling is certainly very strong here where the old ‘village-spirit’ still prevails. I believe that what this picture reveals is that feeling that we are very close to one another but that it is rather nice because – in spite of our differences – we are all part of a community sharing the same space, going to the same shops and restaurants and eventually, it makes you feel very much in synch with your environment. At least this is what I feel. (click picture to enlarge)

The Eiffel Tower (Before the Fireworks – final version)

La tour Eiffel, version finaleHere’s the final version of the Eiffel Tower that I was mentioning in the previous post. In this version, a few final elements have been added such as the foreground crowd namely.

I will show this watercolour together with my other most recent drawings at the open artists’ workshops day due to take place in Paris on May 13, 2007, rue Edgar Quinet (right at the foot of the Tour Montparnasse) where I will be in a booth for the day. Click the thumbnail or this link to enlarge.

The Eiffel Tower (before the fireworks – unfinished)

the eiffel tower before the fireworksthis is the latest watercolour that i am currently working on. it represents the Eiffel tower a few moments before the kick-off of the fireworks on Bastille day last year. the characters in the foreground aren’t finished yet but they will be soon. this is number two in a series of watercolours representing the Eiffel tower. people familiar with this blog already know about my passion of this big tower of metal, which i never cease to find fascinating. i am not sure whether i will manage to make 36 different views of the tower tough, like Rivière and Julliard, but over a long period of time, i might get there anyway, time will tell.

The London Eye seen from Plantation Place, Fenchurch Street, London

The London Eye From Plantation Place in London

Here is a sketch of a view of the London Eye seen from Plantation Place, Frenchuch Street in the City of London. The drawing was made using an EF Artpen by Rotring and crayons. The hatching and cross-hatching technique is meant to give the drawing an etching look, similar to what Rambrandt used to do. The hatching technique was remarkably mastered by Rambrandt as shown in a recent exhibition in Paris, at the national library in October 2006 (see following article in Le Figaro). A list of Rembrandt’s etchings is available from this website.

Procession under the trees

Maurice Denis - procession under the trees in St Germain en Laye (smalll)

Maurice Denis (1870-1943), a famous French painter, one of the leaders of the Nabis movement painted ‘Procession under the trees in St Germain en Laye’ in 1892. From February 22 to May 20, 2007, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will present a major exhibition, the first retrospective ever shown in North America of the French painter Maurice Denis.

Although familiar with Denis’s work and namely his murals and his chapel (I lived in St Germain en Laye for 13 years) I didn’t know this painting which I discovered in a book dedicated to Maurice Denis and his life a short while ago.Petit detail des projections sur le sol

I found this particularly interesting namely because I had also been repeatedly inspired by similar shades projected from the barks of the trees in the park of St Germain without knowing Denis had done it too. It is true that given the space in the park and the space between the trees, the projections of those shades is absolutely remarkable and could not be missed.

My own vision of the ‘procession’ under the trees though was a modern and far more secular one. But I have the feeling that it conveys the same kind of serenity that I sense in Denis’s painting.