Gouaches were not the only art medium which came with me in my suitcase to the French Riviera. Anticipating the ripening of artistic inspiration as soon as I entered the artists’ favourite haunt of St-Paul de Vence, I ensured that I always had a sketchbook to hand. And it was within the first 24 hours that I opened that very same sketchbook, as we once again settled next to the pool of the La Colombe d’Or hotel. With Alexander Calder’s amazing mobile swinging idly just before me, and with the old hotel building ahead bursting with its cover of foliage, I could not resist this beautiful view, and set to work. And here is the result… all conceived in my trusty Staedtler pens. Who needs a pencil?
Poolside at La Colombe d’Or (2015, pen on paper © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)
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On Wednesday I told you all about the earthly paradise that is La Colombe d’Or, and yesterday I shared my first artwork inspired by this epicentre of the arts. And yet I would do La Colombe an injustice if I stopped there. For combine my relentless enthusiasm for all things Mediterranean, with my love of art, and my complete obsession with the effect of light on water, and ripples, and you will be unsurprised that during our stay at that little Provençal Inn, I fell head over heels in love with the swimming pool which languishes at the centre of the hotel.
Surrounded on three sides by the old stone residences which make up the charming accommodation of La Colombe, and on the other with a spectacular view of the rolling hills around St-Paul de Vence, the swimming pool benefits from lush planting, cypress trees clipped into perfectly curvaceous almost anthropomorphic forms, ancient ceramic pots overflowing with palms and flowers, and quaint wooden loungers each fitted with a distinctive apricot cushion for the ultimate in comfort.
But above all of the charms of this magical pool is the original art which surrounds it. On the one side, a dark contemplative piece by contemporary geometric artist Sean Scully sounds all wrong on paper, but the dark colours perfectly complement the zing of orange of the sun loungers lined up against it. Opposite, the bird mosaic by Georges Braque fits perfectly harmoniously with the lush vegetation surrounding it, peeking out from behind the cypress trees as though wary of the tourists taking their places alongside the pool. And best of all – that stunning Alexander Calder mobile, whose fast metal arms swing slowly and silently in the still Riviera air, and whose base stands majestically on the water’s edge.
All combined like the colours mixed on an artist’s palette in ripples moving across the delicate green waters whose depths were punctuated with light manifested in every shade of cerulean blue and forest green. I became fascinated, dazzled by the interplay of colour on the water, and took so many photos that a post dedicated to this phenomenon of La Colombe d’Or was a must.
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