Escape to Provence! A Step by Step Demo

Over Christmas break as everything was pretty brown and exceedingly soggy outside, I decided to mine my many photos of sunnier times from my trips abroad. I will never forget my trip to Lourmarin, painting and eating my way through this beautiful part of Provence. I still long to go back, and am determined to do so, hopefully this time sharing it’s magic with my daughter. In the meantime I can always revisit the experience through paintings. So let’s get started, shall we?

“Le Printemps, Temple de Lourmarin”, Oil on linen, 24x30” ©Jennifer E Young

“Le Printemps, Temple de Lourmarin”, Oil on linen, 24x30” ©Jennifer E Young

Above is the completed work, photographed outside for correct color and no glare! This Protestant Church, Le Temple de Lourmarin, is simple and austere on the inside but it has a wonderful exterior and adds a sense of history and tradition as it sits like a sentry at the edge of town. Click through on the final image to read more or purchase this piece.

Irons in the Fire

It's been a busy week here at the Young/Webb household and I have lots of irons in the fire. I've been hustling this week to provide work for an interior design project, as well as finalizing a commission and framing and shipping for the upcoming Coral Bay Club show at City Art Gallery in Greenville, NC. (One of the paintings I'm sending is featured below.)

"Sunny Provence", Oil on linen, 12x12" ©Jennifer E Young

"Sunny Provence", Oil on linen, 12x12" ©Jennifer E Young

In addition, my most exciting news of the week is that we are in the drawing/planning stage of building a new art studio on our Ashland property! Hurrah! After operating my art business out of closets and storage sheds and the garage, plus a small rented work space, it will be so, SO nice to have all of my art stuff under one roof!

Right now the plan is to start breaking ground in August, but if you've ever had anything built, you know how that goes. Meanwhile I have to get all of my ducks in a row to identify and order fixtures, figure out the flooring and lighting, windows, etc. etc. So today is a bit of a #TBT as I find myself mining my own research, beginning with the all-important question of studio lighting. This post, written at the inception of my last studio build, is a good starting point for consideration, though I have a few more options to throw in the mix this time around. 

Back in the day I had a lot more time on my hands than I do currently, so I doubt I will be able to journal in a manner that is quite so in-depth. But rest assured I will be just as obsessed inside, and  I will be sure to post as best I can about the progress as things unfold.

Charmed in Beynac

Well school's out for summer, so we are all transitioning into  a new schedule. I was able to get into the studio a bit last week, and finished up the little French village painting I had started on in my previous post:

"Charmed in Beynac", Oil on linen, 11x14" ©Jennifer Young

"Charmed in Beynac", Oil on linen, 11x14" ©Jennifer Young

I am having a good time experimenting with some new Gamblin paint colors on my palette. My favorites right now are some from their "Radiant"  line and the "Brown-Pink" I seemed to be hearing about everywhere I turn. All I can say is, Brown-Pink, where have you been all my life?

This little painting brings back  a most memorable visit to the village of Beynac. I traveled with a group during this trip, and on this particular day I was to meet the others for a tour of the chateau. The Chateau de Beynac sits at the very top of a rather steep climb through the town, which basically is plopped onto the side of a cliff. 

I wasn't very popular on that day because I lagged behind. Hey, was it my fault the town was so utterly charming? I did end up making it to the tour of the chateau on time, but barely, and not without some exasperated looks darting my way. Oh well, in my tardiness I got some great pictures, so for me it was totally worth it. 

French village work in progress

The weather's been great here lately, but I haven't had much of a chance to do any plein air painting because I've been working on a large commission. I'm not sharing that today because I want to "unveil" it to the client first, but I'm doing a happy dance that it has reached a state of completion that I am satisfied enough with to present it. 

All clients are special, but this particular client commissioned me to create a commemorative piece in memory of a beloved family member. This client is a lovely lady and so very sweet and kind, and the sense of pressure I felt for "getting it right" has been all mine. 

Often times  when I have labored over a large or involved project, there is no better palette cleanser than painting a new small canvas, fast and fresh, of a completely unrelated subject. 

beynacvillagewip_jenniferyoung
beynacvillagewip_jenniferyoung

I almost always seem to forget to photograph the painting after I paint the shadow patterns, but before adding the sunlit areas. Oh well, this is close. I didn't have time to finish yesterday because it was getting late when I started it and I had to pick up my daughter. I like this stage though, because if you get the majority of the shadow areas down in the beginning, you really see the potential and the armature it provides to the design.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year (almost)! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and looks forward to a great 2015. I took a little time off over the holidays to be with my family. Now that my daughter is 4 1/2 years old, Christmas time is really so much fun and I wanted to enjoy and cherish every minute of it. Even so, I did manage to "sneak in" one more painting before ringing in a brand new year.

"Mist in the Valley" Oil on Canvas, 12x16" © Jennifer E Young

"Mist in the Valley" Oil on Canvas, 12x16" ©Jennifer E Young

This painting is based on a combination of photos and a plein air study I did while I was in the Lot Valley a few years ago. If you have been reading my blog a while, you may recall that I tackled similar subject matter before, and will likely explore compositional variations again. I have a lot of reference photos from that morning and it was probably one of the most memorable plein air sessions from the trip. It's also both fun and challenging painting such a close range of values and all of those soft edges.

P.S. Did you know 2015 is the year of the sheep in the Chinese astrology? I'm not really superstitious or into astrology and didn't realize it when I started working on this piece. But it's pretty coincidental, don't you think?