Painting en-plein-air: The First Day at Mt. St. Victoire

The sun is very bright in the south of France. For someone who is obsessed with sunscreen and adequate shade, the intensity of the light in Aix took some adjusting to. Now imagine me outside for three hours, standing in the middle of a field, squinting without my sunglasses because it’ll mess up my color perception, at this mountain that is considered the mecca for Impressionists and the spot where Picasso chose to build his mansion on. If it wasn’t for the status of this dang field, you know I’ll be scrambling for shade in five minutes flat.

I wasn’t ambitious enough to try painting on the first day, but I did squeeze in two pencil sketches and two color mock-ups in those two hours. Tomorrow, we paint!

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Excited band of artists

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That’s an unedited picture of the sky, that is.

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I hear the man who lives in this house is particular about his privacy. But come on, he’s airing out his laundry. That’s basically begging people like me with a special place in their heart for quaint, Provencal, dated stuff to draw it.

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Julia braves the wind and sun to paint.

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Finally, snails. Snails as far as the eye can see. At first I thought nothing of all the little white specks literally everywhere. Flowers? Dandelion fluff? But then three of the little guys decided to attach themselves to my sketchbook that I left on the ground for a few hours. They left wet splotches… Don’t worry Charlie, I carefully flicked them off and they curled back in their shells. No snails were harmed in the making of this photo.

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