Sunday, November 08, 2009


I just got back from a trip to revisit my old haunts in the south of France. I stayed with my good friend Uli who's living in Nice while working on various projects. He has a great pad above the port-here's the view from the balcony.

We toured around the Riviera sketching along the way. Here are two views of the great walled village St Paul de Vence.

I spent a day in Cannes-outside the high season & the film festival it's quite a quiet, relaxing town.

The Palais des Festivals and the Old Town from the Croisette

A blustery day in St. Tropez

I showed Uli as many of the places that I'd discovered while living in the south as possible. At St.Paul de Vence we visited the Miro exhibition at the Fondation Maeght. In Provence we hot-footed around the citadelle of Les Baux before a whistle-stop tour of the Luberon taking in Gordes, Roussillon & Bonnieux. Off the Vallee du Var we stopped at Gilette, Roquesteron, Sigale, LaPenne and Entrevaux.

Uli only draws at 'magic hour' when the rays of the setting sun flood his apartment, glancing off his spectacles & burning wonderful drawings onto the paper.

In normal daylight he just doesn't know what to do!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Cathedrale d'Images

Whilst motoring around Provence Uli & I visited the impressive Cathedrale d'Images close to Les Baux. The old limestone quarries are these days used as a unique location for special projected 'art shows'. This year's spectacle is based on Picasso's work. It was quite thrilling to see the paintings blown up & projected at such a huge scale. The images were cleverly matched to the facets of the rock face so the cubist work took on a further dimension.

Classical music plays while the images whirl around & dissolve on & off the stone. The Guernica section is nightmarish as elements of the painting:-hands, tormented faces, the horse in agony- surround one 'in' the painting as it all builds to a cacophonous climax.

It's a fascinating location and was used by Cocteau to shoot 'Le Testament d'Orphee' in which Picasso took part.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Atelier Louis

Uli's found the best life drawing class I've ever been to! Local Nice artist Louis Dolle runs regular classes in his tiny studio near to the Russian Cathedral. It's a typically French affair-music is played in the background, the models chat with Louis & the other artists as they pose and wine is served up during the break!



The model made really interesting poses



Rapid warm-up poses between 10-20 seconds.





'Top of the cranium' angles are a challenge to draw.

Again, tricky perspective here-organizing the overlap of the forms was paramount.

This was fun-we attended a sculpture class just to do more drawing. The model was posed on a turntable so after 2 hours we had a whole 'turnaround' series of studies.