‘Sechoir à Tabac’
30 x 40 cm. Oil on Panel.© The Artist.

Old Tobacco Drying Barns

The South West is where most of France’s tobacco is grown. This is an old drying barn (sechoir), not far from my house. In these types of barns, alot of work goes on, as the leaves are hung up to dry & then carefully processed by hand. One of the jobs is to take the leaves off the trunks, which are large & woody. As I was painting this, the farmer was burning the old trunks on a smokey bonfire. An aroma of fresh tobacco floated across the landscape. For just how long this crop will go on being produced, I don’t know. Recently the government passed a law banning all smoking in public spaces, much to the annoyance of ‘Les Gauloises’.

 Some American fauve barns :

Allen Tucker (1866–1939)   Red Barns 1923


no heightened colour RED

Heightened colour = where the colour is pushed back to the most saturated, most intense. Back to ‘pure’ colour straight from the tube, the ‘mother’ colour of the mixes.

I remember reading somewhere in a Robert Genn newsletter, something about trying to paint a rusty barn & keep it browny rust , rather than let it go over into heightened colour RED. So I decided to try out this pictorial idea of an ‘anti-fauve barn’ , being something of a fauve myself.

Et viola la resultat (as much this poor quality pin-hole digitial camera will allow. Yes, I’m still waiting to be reimbursed by Sony Minolta for the manufacturors default in my Minolta Dimage A1).



Rules in Painting

However, so as to make up for following one rule, I also decided to deliberately break another ‘artistic’ rule. That of never placing the centre of interest in the middle of the picture. These rules have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Part of me still longs to paint a fauve barn, hei oui!  Red, I see you on my palette & in my dreams… but where are you in my paintings?

this is the post fauvist barns part one
fauvist barns part two – fauvist-barns-heightened-colour-vlaminck-kandinsky

Fauvist Barns 3 : Red in Landscape Painting

Heightened Colour in Photography


30 x 40 cm.
Oil on Panel.

High grass, bluey tints, another ‘vieux tetard’ (coppiced willow) here in St.Dizier.

the right size for plein-air painting

Nice to be swinging the brush around again in a more natural way (natural to me, that it is), after having made the mistake of trying to fit too much into too small a space. I am not a minaturist. Funny to think that last autumn I was trying to paint 61 x 85 cm oil ‘en plein air’. 30 x 40 cm is a good size for plein air, if you approach with care & set of small brushes.

After ‘Chateau de Biron’ (which I consider to be a stinking failure), I’m starting to suspect that getting it all to fit in a small-size painting isn’t the same as getting the scale to work picturally. Something to work on here, Adam.

Château de Biron

30 x 40 cm. Oil on panel.

One of the exceptional things about the South West is the sheer density of history. You go out for a drive, and not too infrequently when you turn around a corner, you see a huge chateau or a crumbling medieval church or a house built into a cliff face.
Château de Biron is gigantesque. You can see it looming above the horizon line from miles away. Here I’ve painted it from about two miles away, as it sticks above the tree line. It is set amidst a baronial hunting forest, mixed oak & pine.


12 Figure (61 x50 cm) Oil on Canvas. Ask for price. 2004.

This is an oil from 2004, done from the hill in my commmune, looking towards Biron. You can just about make out the chateau on the horizon line, in the middle of the canvas. I tought I’d post it to give you an idea of just how far away you can see the chateau. Biron is twenty six kilometres from the spot where I painted this.

L’Orée du Bois

30 x 40 cm. Oil on panel.

Back in the green Dordogne. Hot day. Much photosynthesis. High grass, the farmers all busy with the cutting of hay.

Avec Yvés (aux pieds des Baux de Provence)

Watercolour. Quarter sheet Arches.

The view in landscape painting

Just carrying on with my rambling musings about ‘THE VIEW’ and previous painters…

Same view, again from September last, this time in a different medium. Walk the hills with my ‘confrérès’, other fellow artists who have painted the same landscape, the same paths & the same hills. Before me. Same view. Different vision? Well, up on the hill top, in Les Baux, I had visited le Musée ‘Yvés Brayer’ in the morning & so this is something of a hommage to another of my favourite painters. Those who have walked on this ground before me, who have made a path, their hearts & their hopes blowing in the wind, high above the hills, with the eagles.

Can we see the view without seeing previous artist’s paintings of the same view?

Yvés = Yvés Brayer