I have just spent a week in Provence. I was very kindly invited to stay in a beautiful appartment in St Saturnin d’Apt by a member of my art classes.The last time I visited Provence was 25 years ago and I don’t remember it being quite so spectacular but perhaps that was because my children were still toddlers and we all came down with a stomach bug! This time there were four of us – all grown-ups – and we spent our days sketching, sight-seeing, browsing colourful market stalls and drinking copious amounts of wine in breathtaking surroundings.
One of the highlights was visiting Cezanne’s studio. To see his painting jackets hanging on the wall close enough to touch (I didn’t!), familiar objects from his still-life paintings such as jugs, bottles and the white statue of Putto sitting on shelves was magical. I lingered long enough to let the inspiration soak in. Mont St Victoire didn’t let us down either with a display of blood-red poppies and wild flowers in the fields at it’s base.
The urge to paint landscapes doesn’t happen often to me and when it does it’s usually in the form of water – tethered boats in harbours, atlantic waves crashing onto ancient rocks or rushing salmon-filled rivers – there needs to be some kind of emotional connection for me to want to capture – so I was happy to sketch buildings and people and make notes on the mediterranean light and palette.