French Market Places 16 : ‘Amigo’

‘Amigo 1’
Graphite
A5 sketchbook
© the artist
NFS

‘Amigo 2’
Bistre
medium size drawing – A3
© adam cope
make me an offer, LOL – kill me with silence & whine about the price of art… OK… then  go buy your  70 euros lunch in a restaurant then… hhehheeee.. i’ll eat the radishes & the leaves keft over from the market, no problem.. it’s called poverty. but i’m rich in lovely life.

French Market Places 16 : ‘Amigo’

Isn’t it funny the situations that we find ourselves in? Modern life sometimes throws us in incongruous & haphazard circumstances.This ‘veille paysanne’ in Bergerac market with her six or seven cabbages, a roll or two of leeks & two or three salades as well…. Not much in comparison to the huge supermarkets with their lorry loads of fruit & veg, most of which at this time of the year is ‘long circuit’ rather than ‘short circuit’ . That’s to say, not produced locally but probably in the glass houses of southern Spain. Produced in mass. Consummed in mass. Probably picked by exploited & underpayed illegal immigrants suffering fromno health cover. Distributed & dictated by large & powerful finances of the supermarkets.

Irony of irony, this ‘veille paysanne’ sat baracaded behind a wall (in the finest Republican tradition 😉 of cartons, one of which had the slogan ‘AMIGO’. Surely once this was the box of fruit & veg from Southern Spain…

As an artist, I find myself in something of a simular situation as this old farmer. Individual, small scale and with  pathetically small financial means of production/distribution. I don’t even have enough money to print a postcard or a poster… we make do, smile & try our best … barracaded behind our inadequate defenses, C’est la vie, Amigo.

New Label : French Market Places

Graphite
A5 sketchbook
© The Artist.

‘Un producteur’ of traditional pork, reared in the fresh air. Cruelty free. Said his pigs were a bit muddy at the moment but that I could come & draw them in spring time. I ordered a ham for Christmas Day breakfast. There was anglo-french carol singing, beautiful to hear, even if my quick scribble looks a bit miserable. How to represent music? Most of all singing? That round open mouth risks looking ridiculous. I think of some of those beautiful Renaissnace angels with their singing mouths wide open, with that special expression that sometimes comes over singers.


Graphite
A5 sketchbook
© The Artist.

OK, the new category label ‘French Market Places’ is now in place. Sketches. No large paintings yet. Feeling my way into a new subject matter. Still plein-air, sur la vif. Not from photos (as of yet). The time has come to develop these into finished works. But how?

Off an tangent? Again…oh la la! I kind of do really do think feel about that thing that a landscape is as much about the people that live & shape it as the actual elements, the trees, the buildings, etc.

Painter paint.

‘Conserves – Marché de Villeréal’

‘Vendeur de Poissons’

‘Le Garde Champêtre de Bergerac, Périgord’
graphite
A5 sketchbook
© The Artist.

OK, new category title ‘FRENCH MARKET PLACES’, which I must update the previous posts in this blog as some of the buskers play in the market places & soome of the portraits are of local farmers selling their wares. So to simplify those pesky labels, I’m going ditch the ‘SKETCHBOOK’ label but keep the ‘DRAWING’ category, more as a headcount rather than as a precise label.

Le garde champêtre

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garde_champêtre

Le garde champêtre est un fonctionnaire ayant pour mission la protection de la campagne.Selon le pays, le garde champêtre peut être un agent de police, un militaire, un gendarme, ou un garde forestier.

OK did you get that? A garde Chamêtre is a civil servent who has the mission of guarding the countryside. Depending on the region, he may be a police agent, a soldier, a gendarme or a forest guard.

This splendid chap is the Guard Champêtre of Périgord ( the ancient name for the Dordogne region including some of Lot & Garonne). I drew him in Bergerac market place, even though he was moving about. Two minute pose, which I worked up later. He told me that he doubles up as the Town Crier & , shoosh, don’t tell anyone, he has some appearances in a red & white custom this Xmas.

Good drummer too so I’m labelling him ‘MUSIC’ as well.

Detail

‘Vendeur des Pantoufles’
graphite
doublespread A5 sketchbook
©The Artist.

This bedroom slipper salesman caught my eye in the market today. Am I going mad? Has the winter wet & grey season driven out my plein-airist, colourist poetic landscape urges?Slippers have the same connotations in France as elsewhere. Someone who is ‘Pantouflé’, speaking familarly, is someone who behaves like a house-bound retired person, shuffling around in slippers.

Figure in a landscape. ‘Pays’ et ‘Paysan’ (Occitan doesn’t distinguish between inhabitant & region, the person & the place are the same). Market places in SW France. Seller & product. Here in the little rural markets, sometimes the seller is also the maker, ‘le producteur’ & not the reseller, ‘le revendeur’.

I felt a bit naughty drawing this. Sure the venduer was a good fellow. I had a joke with him. But it’s not much of an art subject is it? Slippers?

Unconventional subject matter for landscape painting

What does it matter the mental-roads, the curious byways of thought & reflection that an artist takes? It’s the end result that counts…. isn’t it? OK the drawing itself isn’t fabulous, not one of my best. But what do you think about the subject matter? Tell me, am I going nuts?

Recently, my internet buddy & talented pastelist CASEY KLAHN & myself had an interesting exchange about whether a barn is worthy of a painting & if so, why.

ADAM : I haven’t thought it through 100 PERCENT but I have feeling that maybe artists who work with images of rurality have two basic directions. One is make it picaresque & pardiscal, for example like a pretty Kincaid, a beautiful Claude Lorrain or a formalist abstraction. Or go the other direction, which is basically that of the realist programme, where one actually paints what is there, the realities of unadorned everyday life, without making it an asethetic entity. Without dressing it up, as it were.

Casey : I feel that the architecture in that old Gambrel barn is something wonderful. On the other hand, when I paint a whole farmstead, I have to hide or obscure the tin sheds.

I have posted recently about our local star, Rachel Maxi, who does realist garbage containers, called “dumpsters”. It’s a contemporary and unified theme.

‘Sechoir à Tabac’
Oil on Panel
30 x 40 cm
2007
© adam cope

To paint rubbish bins or not?? The Realist program in painting vs. must be beautiful program

I love Casey’s answer. To paint rubbish bins or not?? Is that the question? The Realist programme (Courbet, Manet, Sickert, Hopper, Warhol, etc) in painting advocates that modern, contemporary life should be the subject matter & not standard ‘art’ subjects. A lot things are edited out of the picture when most people come to paint a rural landscape. They are considered not ‘art’ subjects. No previous model nor example. No precedent. The normal riposte to the Realist programme is that is UGLY. Not beautiful. Rubbish bins are ugly, they smell & there’s something offense in waste. But do you remember the film ‘American Beauty’? The scene at the end, where the young man is entranced by a shopping bag flying around in the wind. Under the spell of rubbish.

Right, stop. Before I go completely off on a tangent. A road to nowhere.

more pantoufles, more slippers…

Anyway, here’s some more slippers from last year. I like them. They make me happy. They are personal & intimate to me.


What do you think about ‘French Market Places’ as a label for this type of genre? Actually in my computer I classify them under the title of drawings>streets.

Marché d’Issigeac en Dordogne

‘Venduer des Chanterelles Jaunes’
A5 sketchbook – graphite
© adam cope

‘Téléthon … Allez les Crêpes’
A5 sketchbook – graphite
© adam cope

Marché d’Issigeac en Dordogne

Fund raising event in Issigeac. Crêpes on a cold & frosty morning. A man selling yellow mushroooms from the Landes, by the sea where it has not frosted. Market morose. Still, despite the economic hardtimes, the good-will of a few fund raisers. Kindness & generousity.

Hardtimes in Rural French Markets

‘Vendeur du Miel’
Graphite
A5 sketchbook
© adam cope

Poverty & not spending in Rural French Markets

Freezing morning in Castillonnès market. Drew this (cold) seller of honey. The writting says ‘Tarif’. Hand-made products in rural French markets can be pricey. Nobody was buying his honey. When I finished sketching him, I went over to see his honey. He was a ‘producteur’ newly installed in the area, just setting up. He actually turned out to be smiley & friendly. He laughed when I translated ‘Like a Lead Balloon’. I’ve been there too, doing shows when nothing sells…like a lead ballon. Anyway, his sunflower honey was delicious…& reasonably priced.

Here’s another post about rural French markets ‘Cantal Cheese at 43,95 Euros le Kilo’ (!!!! daylight robbery)
” in these hardtimes, it is not just artists who worry about money”

‘Cantal 43,95 €uros le Kilo’
2008
A5
pencil
© adam cope
[CANTAL43-95-A5-detail.jpg]

I was thinking that my categories or labels are all up the spout – Sketchbook isn’t a very descriptive label is it? What do you think about ‘streets’? For the people type of scribbles that I like doing… any ideas? ‘Food’ is that any good?

Quatorze Juillet en Dordogne

14 Juillet en Dordogne…parties & fireworks. Hoping to get out painting tonight (teaching tomorrow) as it is a good paint. Next post is about the English in Dordogne & house prices… & here’s an expert from last year’s bloggy Jour de la Republique…

TONALITY : ’14 Juilliet – Fête de la Republique’

‘Quatorze Juillet, Beaumont, Dordogne’
28 x 38 cm (15″ x 11″)
Toutes Droits Reservés© The Artist.

“…Then later on, when the crowd had thinned out, white plastic cups & on-lookers & a few adolescents still eager to play the flirting, mating game. The white tressle tables & black silouhettes making a good tonal subject.”

 

The historic roots of provincial France

Anyone wanting to better understand the historic roots of provincial France outside of cosmopolitan Paris should read Graham Robb’s The Discovery of France, which is a critical view of ‘La Patrie, La France, La Republique’ aka central government from Paris. For instance, Robb cites that, during the call-up for the Franco-Prussian War in the 1870’s, many men from remote farming hamlets in the Dordogne, didn’t even know their own surname, only their first name…they never had the need for their surname as they never left their hamlet of seven or eight houses… this is very different from the tragic First-World War memorials in every single village where whole families’ names are listed, annihilated by tragic war.

Exhibiting in Paris? Ecomonic Recession?

cartoon of old french man with their hands in pockets
‘Mains dans les Poches’
A4 sketch pencil
©adam cope
(To have one’s hands in one’s pockets in colloquial french means to be NOT spending…)

Exhibiting in Paris?

I’m off to Paris for a week or so , so no blogging , no computers for a bit.

Intend to speak to the gallery close to the Pompidou Centre which is interested in exhibiting my work. (though I suspect that maybe I’ve gone to ‘traditional’ / ‘rural’ for the owner’s taste?)

Exhibiting in the big towns again? Maybe I can’t be bothered to leave my wilderness here in the Dordogne? Big towns often equals big headaches as far as getting a show up is concerned.

Maybe it is not the time to go for me to go back into the big town galleries? Ecomonic recession… Anyway, any show won’t be for this year & probably not 2009 either, so maybe the bust will be edging back to boom by then.

Must confess to having much enjoyed NOT exhibiting in London these last five years, where I used to show at the Richmond Hill Gallery & the Studio Gallery. Haven’t put in for any national competitions either these last five years either, either in France or UK. Deep rural isolation ( & it feels good).

Anyway, Paris is lovely. Nice to have a walk about. Despite the recession… so here’s a cartoon to lightened up dark thoughts of recession. To have one’s hands in one’s pockets in colloquial french means to be NOT spending…nor throwing one’s ‘boules’ away carelessly 😉

 

post script 2013 : the hands are even further buried in the pockets now, the recession rolls on, people are spending less on art

Markets in Dordogne – Inflation in France

‘Cantal 43,95 €uros le Kilo’
2008
A5
pencil
© The Artist.

Markets in Dordogne

Cold morning in Issigeac marché, everyone dressed up against the chilly wind. Hats ‘de rigor’. This market stall owner dresssed up with a ‘chimney-stack’ type hat & ‘handle bar’ moustache. Smiling. These winter off-season markets are friendly events 🙂

Inflation in France

No doubt his cheese is delicious but it is also very expensive. I’ve seen more expensive however. Up to 70 €uros le kilo in Sarlat in summertime markets. Maybe it wasn’t the humble Cantal, maybe it was gold or something? It is of course a scam foor cheating careless tourist, but it only goes to solidify a bad reputation…

Of course, not all cantal retails at this price. In a supermarket, you’d expect to pay somewhere around 12 euros le kilo, for something good though it doubtless won’t be as good as a hand-made cheese.

In France, now during these difficult economic times (though most of us live better than one hundred years ago), it isn’t just ‘les artistes’ who worry about money.

busker – les artistes de la rue en Dordogne

‘Patrice’ #1
2008
ink
A5
© adam cope

‘Patrice’ #2
2008
ink
A5
© adam cope
don’t he look like bob dylan? sounds just like him too…  hhhhhhahahahahhahahaaaaaaaaaaaa

Hey mister tamborine man

Hey mister tamborine man play a song for me i ain’t going no where & it all seems the same to me…
in the jingle jangle morningggggggggggg……..

cold morning in Issigeac market, the winter wind whistling in the narrow streets. Patrice tells me that he can’t make any money playing his own songs but that the public like to hear a tune that they can instantly ‘click into’, recognise. he plays brillantly & the odd euro goes into the hat.

 

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