img_0002This first one looks as if it is not quite finished I will have to take it out of the frame to get the final version. 

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This exhibition is a mix of still life and landscape, oil painting, watercolour and drawings. Following the sense of the exhibition, one first comes upon four small canvases that were painted in plein aire – there is a certain clumsiness about them which show my lack of practise in oil painting in situ. There is however a liveliness and richness of tone that balances the clumsiness and is also the fruit of the brush racing to capture light and form in the living atmostphere of passing time. The first picture is entitled “Allee dore” “Golden road” – it is a view of autumn trees that have inspired me with admiration for years – I used artisitc licence a little as the leaves had fallen a little faster than I painted them. Just as I was finishing the picture a person walked down the street wearing a yellow jacket and blue trousers, perfectly echoing the leaves and the sky.

The next painting is called “La porte du paradis” -“Heaven’s door” and is the door to a small garden shed – that is to say an old french garden shed which is more like a cellar as the front wall is stone and the interior is carved out of the hillside. I struggled with the rendition of the ivy which covers much of the walls but in the end was quite happy with the effect. The next painting was a view of an old church on a hill – the church is barely recognisable as such. What had caught my eye, when I stood before the view, was a perfect golden ring of fallen leaves around a young tree. I had to squash the proportions a little to fit the ring in as well as the horizon line and a thin line of sky. The fourth painting in this little set is a close up of a young cherry tree and a Hollyhock. It is called “Conversation” the conversation being between these two protagonists. This one was an attempt to simplify my composition as I had previously struggled with trying to fit two much onto a canvas.

When hanging the exhibition I found these four went well together, nicely balancing each other in colour and perspectives.

The next little chapter of the exhibition is three landscapes – two sunrises painted from photographs – the first with the sun just hidden behind a large cloud, thus giving it a silver halo, the mountains below being bathed in golden light. This one is called “Doublure argente” “Silver lining”.

The next is a darker sunrise, possibly from a photograph taken the same morning. It is simply entitled ” Par dessus les toits” “Over the rooftops” as the foreground is a dark, barely discernible roof, the real clue to it’s identity being in the paler tone of a skylight. The sun peeps out from a lake of orange and purple haze, there being more sky in the painting than land.

The last in this series of three it not a sunrise but closer to a sunset with the sun being “off camera” but suggested by the lighter sky on the left side of the canvas and pink and white highlights, again on that side of the painting. This one is called ” Vol de nuages” ” Flight of clouds”.

After looking at these one is invited to turn and consider two more small landscapes, also plein aire studies. These two are entitled “a l’ouest” et “a L’est” ” to the west” and ” to the east” as they are views to the west and to the east of a friend’s garden. The same garden that is home to the garden cellar and the small cherry tree.

The next picture in the path of the exhibition viewer is a drawing of a bouquet of “Bottlebrush” this being the name of an Australian flower. This is done with coloured pencils on black paper. The drawing was done in Australia at my mother’s house. Below it is a dedication to her memory, with poems to read, a single lily in a glass and the order of service from her funeral. A very charming photo of her in her twenties features on the front of the order of service and lifts the mood that might be evoked by reference to a death.

Following on from there, turning towards the left, the viewer will see a glass doored presentation cupboard with several shelves. On the topmost shelf are several dry pastel works. Two long still lifes, fruit, vegetables and flowers on a light-drenched tabletop, with a dark bluey purple background. These are keeping company with a small square picture of two pears set on the same table-top.

The next shelf introduces us to the series, “Once upon a windowsill” -watercolour still life works of my studio windowsill which is rather like a busy boulevard or terrace of a popular cafe for a mottled collection of bottles, vases, bowls and “objets extraordinaires.” The first three in this series are accompanied by a small square watercolour; lamp, teapot and small bronze sculpture seen from slightly below, the source of light being the lamp.

On the floor of the cupboard are a trio representing three different media; pastel, oil and watercolour. The pastel is another square composition – two pears and two apples deep in discussion with a small glass bottle. The centre piece is one of my “Here comes the sun series” – an oil on board sunrise, the sun being low in the sky there is room for a flight of skylarks above it, hence the title “Dawn flight”. The water colour representative in this trio is another square composition. Also another lamp in company, despite the lamp being simplified almost to abstraction. Centre stage is given to a rosebud in a small vase. This is very loosely treated and there are some lovely granular effects in the colour.

From here, the viewer’s lifted gaze meets the largest picture in the room, once again a sunrise. The bare stone wall on which this one is hung gives a nice echo to the spreading clouds which obscure the sun, above a long shadowed lanscape. The sun is glowing through the clouds, simply a source of light pale gold towards the top and warm orange below.

Next to meet the viewer’s attention is pair of small watercolours of Nasturtiums and Rosemary, these ones are treated with quite a bit of freedom, the yellows and oranges of the Nasturtiums singing against a turquoise blue back ground, the purple of the rosemary flowers and the green of the leaves making bridges between these opposing colours. Beside these is another drawing on black paper. Some honkey nuts from a silver princess lie etched against the dark background, throwing their shadows onto the pale sandy yellow table. This piece is immediately followed by a bouquet of flowers from another eucalyptus. This time the background has been lightened with lively pencil work so that the bouquet itself holds mystery of darkness, the points and angles of the leaves and buds echoing the spiky strokes of paler colours which make up the background. Beside this one as we turn further to the left is a pair of larger “Once upon a windowsill” watercolours. Both house a squatting stone sculpture which rather throws the other objects back into their utilitarian place of colour and light filled objectivity. On a chest of drawers that stands against the wall below these works, are two larger watercolours (70 x 25 cms including frames). These are once again part of the windowsill series. The first is called “La foule sentimentale” (The sentimental crowd) which is the title of a well known french song. The second is called “Les amis de la bouilloire” “The friends of the kettle”. These are both on very thick handmade indian paper. The “foule sentimentale” has a curved edge to the top of it as I had cut one piece of paper into three and that was the top of the sheet which did not have straight edges.

The eyes of the viewer next fall on another view of the window sill, this time a drawing on black paper shows the squatting stone carving and another taller sculpture of a female figure among the bottles and pot plants. I gave this the title of “Goddess and goblin watching the time go by” This one was much admired for its energetic pencil treatment and dark papered mystery.

The list of titles takes us next onto the actual window sill where two small pictures are placed for those who look in from without. The first is a print of a watercolour copy I did of a beautiful little oil sketch by Arthur Streeton. The other is a small watercolour of a pepper mill and a pot plant, with a beautiful little ceramic oil lamp I was given recently. This one is called “What the peppermill said”

The last piece before one comes to the door is another drawing on black paper, this time a sprig of Nasturtiums in a champagne glass -“A glass of Nasturtiums” is the title that presented itself to me.

In the second room of the gallery are my husband, Yann’s Photographs.

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