It is January 9th, and I find myself wondering what I am going to write for this blog. I am lying under the beautiful cerulean sky of Provence, in a pocket of delicious warm sunshine, whilst the wind whistles close through the almond trees.
I’d like to tell you excitedly about my upcoming trips, but caution holds me back. Everything is still so uncertain. I am still doing my painting trips as long as all goes well, but instead of talking about my trips and the romantic beckonings of Provence and all she has to offer you, I thought I would write about the magic of brush strokes.
I am in the middle of writing an online, one to one, painting course. It should be ready quite soon. There is so much to go over and make sure that I have put everything in that is important for a beginner in watercolours to learn. I am not sure why I thought of brush strokes for today’s blog. There is so much emotion on how you draw or paint a line, whether or not it is calm and soft or harsh and aggressive, if you want to conjure up a stormy sky or an angry sea. A balmy sunny day, rolling hills and a tranquil lake. The sun piercing through the spring green leaves of the oak trees casting flickering shadows on the rippeling river below. How do you convey all of this as an artist? So much of the artist themselves is put into their art, the influence of their contemporaries and of the great masters that have gone before.
Whilst looking at the sky, I thought about impressive brush strokes and in a way Van Gogh’s are for me the most remarkable, he was self taught. He determined that to be a great painter he had to master drawing first. He drew his paintings with lines and colour. I have been lucky enough to see his work in London, New York and Amsterdam. But seeing his work at the Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux, his striking individualist brush strokes became quite astounding.
There was such a huge push forward with art in the 19th and 20th Centuries. There were so many extra-ordinary artists, it is hard to single just a few out.
Andre Derain and Matisse were leaders of a short lived movement called Fauvism “Wild Beasts.” Bright, forceful and colourful brushstrokes, impressionistic, simple and almost abstract. Although brief I think it was an important movement moving forward for contemporary painting. As a colourist I just love the bright bold colourful brushmarks. They were influenced by Van Gogh and Matisse by his teacher and Mentor John Russell who had in fact taught Van Gogh previously.
Brushtrokes are full of emotion and can express an artist’s innermost feelings.
I thought I might end this post with a few paintings of my own, showing different brush works.
For my next post I shall paint a large painting using different brushes, different brush strokes and watercolour techniques. It is such fun!
|Tess Baker has been painting professionally in Provence for 30 years. She offers small-group painting holidays at her farmhouse in the Var, in other areas of Provence, and in other special European locations. Her week-long workshops include painting sessions in spectacular settings, personal instruction, and amazing meals. |
The countryside is stunning, and Tess loves sharing her joy and her work with others, inspired by the surroundings and the changing seasons.
To learn more about Tess and her tours, see www.paintprovencewithtess
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.