Dordogne at Badefols

‘La Dordogne à Badefols’
Quater sheet Arches (28 x 38cm ; 15 x 11inches)
© The Artist.
Click on image to enlarge (& see without the blur).

250 € / 100 £ UK / 200 US dollars.
Click here to buy this painting.

This was a demonstration painting done for the June painting workshop here in the Dordogne.

I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
– Chinese Proverb

Alot of painting tutors shy away from demonstrations. Certainly there are good reasons why they aren’t always the best teaching technique to use. There’s the risk of the teacher showing off & pulling virtusio slick-tricks. Also they risk encouraging imitation in the students and inhibiting the evolution of a natural style of painting. Yes all these are real risks. And then there’s the problem of a lack of a long enough concentration span in the students themselves. Yes, yes, yes, all this is true.

But what I feel to be the greater truth is that … to see someone actually paint is worth a thousand words or a million bulletin points on a blog. The relation between theory & practice. Remember a painting is made with the hands, and to see just how hands with more experience play with the painting, deal the work-flow as it unfolds. This is the magic & the learning of a good demonstration.

It’s always a bit bizarre to present a finished ‘demo’ painting, as the learning is the real product. Last week there was a talented photographer on the course who photographed the demo. I hope to get copies of his photos & post them here (or use them in my upcoming how-to-paint book).

Demos fit in well into a week long course but maybe might be a bit boring for night classes.

More abouts demos & teaching at what makes a good painting workshop tutor?

I wrote some more about the good energy of a painting demo at:

 ‘Avec Nostradamus ( La Nuit de Temps commencant à la Fontaine de St Rémy)’
Watercolour, Arches, quarter ‘jesuit’ sheet.
© The Artist.
300 euros

I didn’t paint this watercolour last week, as I was very busy teaching one of my Painting Holidays au Chateau de Lanquais, France

night-time plein air

This watercolour was another of my night-time plein air pieces. St Rémy de Provence is the birth place of Nostradamus; there’s a little fontaine erected to honour this visionary. The night of time, the flowing out of water, the passing of time, Janus-like, we strive to see into the future, understand the past & … live in the present.

tonality & ‘notan’

The reason why I post this as it continues on with the recent theme of tonality & ‘notan’ that I’ve been thinking about out loud here in this blog. One of the interesting concepts behind the japanese idea of notan is that black & white can be used as a design tool rather than a strict ‘draw what you see’ policy. Tonality is crucial for watercolour, probably even more so than for opaque mediums such as oils. Diluting, painting with beautiful transparent washes of clear water…. A precision of tone much finer & far more subtle than anything that can be achieved with buttery oil paint, with all that business of adding of white.
To prove the point, see what happens when I strip the colour out the above jpeg. The design decisions that I consciously & deliberately made become more apparent.

greyscale via PS elements


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