When I was planning my trip to Provence, I always had in mind the kind of imagined utopia, where Dominik and I would walk, carefree, into lavender fields and poppy fields, he taking a rest amongst the sweet smelling flowers, and me setting out my sketch book and paint box, beckoning the Provençal muse to meet my embrace, inspiring me to transfer the glory of Provence to the blank pages of the sketch book before me. In this sense I suppose I am similar to so many artists who have gone before me; such as Van Gogh, who was so driven by the concept of establishing an artistic community in the region that he painted some of his best works just as decoration for the house which would be at the centre of that movement.
While Van Gogh’s dream was sadly never realised, my own artistic imaginings have, happily, come closer to fruition. After 6 days on the trip, I had already completed two works. As for my vision of utopia, well, Dominik had already found rest in amongst a Poppy field (as the photo below aptly demonstrates!), while in Saint-Rémy, we finally found the opportunity to stroll through lavender fields and olive groves, having got no closer to lavender in both Avignon and Arles than the bags of dried stuff littering up the souvenir shops.
But once Les Baux entered the equation, my artistic stirrings really began to take another stir, as with one glance at some of the most stunning mountain scenery in all of France, I became involuntarily, but very willingly sucked into another hypnosis of creative motivation, as the sweet-smelling lavender-haired Provence Muse took my hand in hers, and led me to a third page of my sketchbook to complete yet another ode to this paradise.
As I described yesterday, Les Baux-de-Provence could not help but inspire artists such as Yves Brayer to manifest the exquisite village and surroundings in paint, but then again Saint-Rémy’s impressive surroundings are surely worth their weight in inspirational gold also. So for my third painting, another of my freely-conceived “compositions” series, I couldn’t help but paint the limestone chateau-topped spur of Les Baux, its stunning surroundings of patchwork-quilt fields, and, in the distance, the ruins of St Remy’s great archaeological site, the Roman town of Glanum.
So there you have it: Composition No. 4 (Beau Les Baux). An undulating patchwork landscape, rocky citadel, blue skies and all topped off with a picnic of baguette, cheese, saucisson and of course a little wine. Ah…La Bonne Vie. I hope you enjoy it.
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- Provence Odyssey | Les Baux: Day 7 – The Belle of the Alpilles (daily-norm.com)
- Provence Odyssey | Avignon – A room with a view (daily-norm.com)
- Provence Odyssey | My Journey in Paintings: From Avignon to Arles (avec le petit dejeuner) (daily-norm.com)