Thursday, June 16, 2011

Following Van Gogh’s footsteps to St Remy

We painted along the paths were Van Gogh used to walk during the year he spent at the old monastery Mausole of St Paul in St Remy near the end of his life. He created 150 paintings here and 21 of them are displayed as reproductions on sign posts on the property.

We posed for our group photo with one of the sign posts featuring a Van Gogh reproduction.

Wow poppies! They were finished blooming and mowed when I last visited Mausole of St Paul in 2005 so this was quite a surprise! I took many photos hoping to paint them when I get the chance. I started an ink sketch of them on the airplane on the flights home, I will post it when it is completed.

Linda A, the color co-ordinated photographer!

Jan, our most serious photographer.

The courtyard of Mausole of St Paul

St Remy September 2005

Here is how it looked in 2005, or at least how I sketched it in my watercolor journal back then.

Margaret measuring to get the proportion correct.

Here are the olive trees Van Gogh painted.

You can see the same tree on the left in his painting.

We liked this tree in the same olive grove.

Linda C’s wonderful sepia ink sketch of the big olive tree.

Here is Linda with another sketch of the olive trees.

Barbara and Linda A. at work sketching the olive trees.

It rained a few drops and was cold for a couple of hours that day. Then the sun returned….nothing like what was happening at home back in California! I got an email from Burke that said, “Hail, rain, thunder, tornado warnings, just another spring day in California!”

Jan found a comfortable seat to sketch in the van.

As teacher, I try to spend my time helping students so if I do get a sketch done it is a quickly. I did the ink sketch of this tree in less than 10 minutes, added the watercolor in about a half an hour. I thought it was kind of a comical tree with its huge twisted trunk and just a few small sprouts for limbs at the top.

St Remy, Bonnie's tree

I did not see this little sketch Bonnie did that day until I read her blog. It is so free, gestural and perfectly captures the twisted shapes of these trees.

Bonnie enjoys creative writing as well as painting so she spent part of her day here writing. When she returned home she posted her story about St Remy and painting in France on her blog. She is a wonderful writer, I urge you to click on this link and read her blog

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