Everyone owes it to themselves to visit the South of France, especially the Provence and Louberon areas. There’s something different about the place, and not just the architecture and scenery: even the light is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. When you see artwork as painted by Cezanne and Van Gogh, you look at the light and think that the golden tint that diffuses the scenery is unrealistic or even fake, but it isn’t — it really does look like that. (It’s best visited in summer, by the way: winter has a different light altogether, as I discovered when I toured the area with Longtime Friend Knob a couple years back.)
Anyway, all that is to introduce an artist I’ve never seen before (introduced to me by New Wife, by the way), who apparently specializes in painting scenes from the Midi: Laurent Parcelier is his name, and here’s an example:
This one serves as the wallpaper on my laptop as we speak.
Yes, that’s exactly what the sunlight looks like in Provence — I’ve seen several places that could be carbon copies of the above.
You can find some of Parcelier’s other works over here. Unusually (for me), I like just about every single one of them.
Enjoy browsing. And the website, WOoarts.com, has some other interesting artists as well.
My oldest son and his wife honeymooned there last year and they say the same thing about the light.
Plus they raved about the food and booze.
I gotta go, but the rat-bastard politicos have banned travel.
Peter Mayle’s amusing books about moving from the grey, rainy UK to the Luberon are worth a read.
It’s lovely in the spring; if only it weren’t so hot in the summer.
In my younger days, when the Annenberg Impressionist collection came to town, I read about how the painters tried to “Paint the light”, and I did not understand this as we were marched through the museum exhibit almost exactly four feet from the paintings, which I discovered was barely far enough away to recognize some objects depicted. Other museums, not wanting to miss out on the sudden interest in art made their own exhibits, and the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California had one on California Impressionists, which as it turned out was about California locations, not artists.
When I was there, the place was deserted, with perhaps three other people besides the four I drove down with. I was free to observe the paintings from a foot away, from across the room, and through the doors from another room. I was amazed at how what was just odd-colored brush strokes became, at six feet, people and recognizable objects, and when I looked from twenty feet away, the paintings became something miraculous, as I could see the fog and mist, or whatever effect the light gave to the scene.
The Museum also had a “Station” at which they explained how the salt spray from the coast gave a unique quality to the light, even far inland, as the prevailing winds carried it high into the atmosphere.
I’ve never looked at the mountain-, plain-, desert- and seascapes quite the same since. Even photos and bookplates of the paintings can’t do justice to the real thing.
Thanks for the posting about the South of France. When the Left decide we’ve learned our lesson and we can travel again, I have to see the place.
Way back during the Clinton Administration
Erk. Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a bit.
Way back during the Clinton Administration, BigCorpDallas (think: calculators) sent me to Villaneuve-Loubet (a suburb of Nice) to work for three months. They bought me an apartment overlooking the Mediterranean, attached to a nice marina with lots of cool shops and wonderful restaurants.
It was lovely. I got lost going to and returning from work every morning and every evening for the first week, and my initial attempt at finding my apartment took me nearly to Cannes before I got turned around by a helpful tollbooth attendant, but once I got the hang of things I was fine. The beach sucked (it was large pebbles, not sand, and although it was a topless beach it was, curiously, NOT populated by supermodels but rather by ordinary people I didn’t really find all that appealing). And Frenchmen and French children seemed comfortable urinating and even (the children) defecating pretty much anywhere they liked. And the dogs…. I don’t think any French person has ever heard of a poop bag.
But nobody was rude to me, despite my fears. Except one overworked infoclerk at Orly, and they’re universally rude, even, I suspect, in Minnesota.
The food. The food was amazing. I never had a bad meal there. Even at pedestrian restaurants. Oh my god, the food.
BigCorpDallas worked me to death, though, and I had only two weekends free to drive into Provence. That.Was.Amazing. Wineries, even better restaurants, and even a bullfight in Arles (I loved Arles, didn’t care much for the bullfight and left after the first one).
I would absolutely go back the next time I get the chance. If only the CCP virus would go the fuck away!
I just got back from wandering through WOoarts.com, and there are many skilled and imaginative artists who possess an eye for beauty featured there. Now I just have to get more wall space.
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