Slideshow demo: Provence cafe painting start to finish

While I diligently documented the progress of my latest Provence painting, I was remiss in posting about it here on the blog. So to make up for it, here is a short demo that shows the development. The painting is of an al fresco lunchtime scene in the lovely French village of Roussillon. To see a the slideshow (with captions), click here:

 French cafe scene provence painting

"Dejeuner a Roussillon", Oil on Canvas, 36x24". Click here for details about the painting.

On the easel- Provence outdoor cafe painting WIP

After spending so much time painting small pieces, it is nice to be working on something large again. This is the beginning stage of a 36x24" oil painting of an outdoor cafe in the Provencial village of Rousillon. I painted a small study of this scene some time ago and I have been wanting to create a larger version for a while.

Provence painting work in progress

Even as a full time, near daily painter, it's always a little scary posting a work-in-progress because I don't exactly know how it will turn out. I have a pretty good idea, but from time to time  a painting may not come into fruition in the way that I expect. But, that's all part of making art, I suppose-- a little trial and error, and a lot of practice.

It might be a little hard to tell what's going on at this stage, but what I'm painting is a village square with lunchtime diners seated at umbrella-covered cafe tables. I've started in my typical manner of putting down my design with a light wash of ultramarine blue and cad. red light or permanent alizarin, thinned way down with mineral spirits. I'm drawing with brushes, but also just with a rag, wiping in and rubbing out as I develop the composition.

While I'm still keeping it pretty light and loose, with architectural scenes I do a bit more drawing and shading than I might with pure landscape. This does not mean that my compositional decisions are done, however. Sometimes I will make changes, shift, add or subtract things as I am further along in the painting process. But I've gotten a good start and I'm ready to jump in!

*UPDATE: See the progression of this painting demonstration from start to finish here!

"Summer Vineyard", Provence watercolor vignette

Last minute Christmas shoppers have kept me incredibly busy (and thankful) this week at the gallery, so I am finding little time to blog and do much needed computer work. But I do have a new little Provence watercolor painting to share.

provence painting watercolor by Jennifer Young

"Summer Vineyard" Watercolor/Pen & Ink on Paper sold

It might not be quite "season appropriate," but if you're like me, there's never a bad time to dream of summertime in Provence.

"Wash Day" mini Provence painting

 Some of my favorite painting subjects are the windows and doors of Provence:

Provence painting doorway village scene "Wash Day" Oil on Canvas, 7"x5" sold

For me, the charm of Provence is in every day life. I love the Provencal colors-- the gorgeous combination of the buildings' earthy hues contrasted by bright  and cheerfully painted shutters and doors.  And most of all I enjoyed the people. By American standards they might seem a little reserved, but they are but warm and lovely. They possess an aesthetic that really appeals to me; taking care to fill their homes (and doors and windows!) with touches of simple beauty, rich with color, texture and quality.

A few gallery snaps from the "Small Stuff" show

Don't let anyone tell you that hanging a show for a bunch of small works is an easy task. But after it was all in place, we were very happy with the results, and I'm glad to report that my husband and I are still married. ;-) Here are a few shots from the show, on view now through Jan. 30th: When we were looking at this space for the gallery, one of the first things I noticed was this cute built-in. It's a perfect display for my minis and my new line of watercolor/pen and inks. Here I've decorated it with some lights and mistle toe:

miniature landscape paintings

A close-up that shows some of the ornaments--I like the little silver and gold Christmas balls along the bottom shelf:

miniature landscape paintings in a group

On the opposite wall are the landscape paintings of Venice and Lake Como:

landscape paintings of Venice and Lake Como

Close-up shot of the mantlepiece decorated with paintings. To the left of the large Venetian landscape are a series of little square 6x6" Lake Como paintings. Anyone who has read my blog for a while, or my squidoo lens on hanging art must know I'm a fan of grouping big and small paintings together like this. I'd love to do something similar over my fireplace mantle at home.

paintings of Lake Como and Venice

A small grouping from the next room of some of my more local autumn scenes:

paintings of autumn landscapes by Jennifer Young

I  guess that's really all I had time for, photography-wise. I may share a few more snaps and I will definitely share more info on some of the individual pieces in the show very soon.

Miniature landscape painting of the Tuscany sunset

This painting sold last night at my gallery exhibition preview, but it's still on view tonight for the First Fridays downtown art walk. It is a companion to another Tuscany painting I blogged about a couple of days ago:

Tuscany landscape painting sunset

"Lingering Light, Tuscany II" Oil on linen, about 3.5" x 7.75" sold

If you're doing the downtown art walk tonight in Richmond, come by Jennifer Young Studio & Gallery and see all of the "Small Stuff" -- miniature paintings and prints --on display for the holiday season. The gallery is located at 16 East Main Street between 1st and Foushee.

If you're not in Richmond, I am continually uploading new paintings to my web gallery, or you can see them offered first here, on the blog. I'm also offering free shipping (with some restrictions) until the end of the year, for holiday shopping convenience.

Useful links:

Ideas for hanging "small stuff" How I pack paintings for shipping My purchasing FAQ's My gallery information (and virtual tour)

New painting details uploaded to the website

It took me a while but I finally got around to uploading some of the plein air paintings I've blogged about in recent months:

Maryland Eastern shore plein air painting tilghman island  Eastern shore landscape painting St Michaels Maryland  autumn plein air painting fall colors

Details and purchasing info for these smaller paintings  of the Eastern Shore of Maryland are in my gallery of Mini Paintings, as is the recent little autumn scene. In another section of my website, I've uploaded these two Eastern Shore plein air paintings in my gallery of water-related scenes: 

plein air painting of oxford maryland eastern shore harbor  plein air painting tugboat st michaels maryland eastern shore

 And finally, I mentioned yesterday that I was considering doing a touch more to the little lavender watercolor. Well, I didn't do much but I couldn't resist a tweak, and you can see the final image in the Vignettes section of my website. As with my other Vignettes, this one  may be purchased online  via Paypal. Update: This painting has sold!

Now that I'm getting caught up, I have some new work to upload...stay tuned!

A Provence Watercolor Vignette and a Newsflash

 watercolor painting of provence by Jennifer Young


It has been a busy week tending to other things, so not much blogging. Above is a little watercolor vignette of one of my favorite subjects--the Provincial countryside! I may go back and add a little detail to the lavender rows...not sure. This is a small piece, a 4x6" image on 5x7" paper, so I kind of like the simplicity and freshess right now.

I've decided to change the "Art Sketches" category of my website to "Vignettes". The above image details and the change to the site are not yet live, but that's part of what I am working on this week. I think Vignettes is more appropriate and encompases both watercolors and other media in small format. I will be doing a lot more of these in the coming weeks as I prepare for my next opening in early December, entitled "Small Stuff".

Speaking of small stuff, here's the other thing I've been working on: I'll be releasing a series of mini-prints soon. These are archival prints of a selection of images in mini format, sizes ranging from 2.5" x 3.5", to 8 x 10". They'll be offered matted with acid-free materials, and they are soooo cute! I've been color correcting and proofing all week, sometimes tearing my hair out, but I expect to launch this line by the beginning of next week. Let's hope I'm not completely bald by then!

Do you Squidoo? My new lens on hanging artwork.

According to Wikipedia,

"Squidoo is a network of user-generated lenses --single pages that highlights one person's point of view, recommendations, or expertise."

According to me, it's pretty addictive! I've really been enjoying surfing it, and I've also created a couple of lenses of my own. My most recent lens is: Hanging Artwork and Caring for Your Art Collection. While I've blogged some of this information before, I've included new content on my lens that I hope will be of interest to art lovers and art collectors. I've also just updated my other lens on landscape painting with new content, so check them out! And if you enjoy my lenses, please consider leaving a star rating for them at the top of the screen.

Art Sketch- May in the Luberon

Today I present a watercolor/ pen and ink sketch I've done in preparation for a larger oil painting. This scene shows a small stone structure alongside a poppy-lined path leading to a Provincial farmhouse in the heart of Provence. The stone structure is one of many I saw while traveling through the Luberon valley. It looked to be a mini-borie. A borie is a stone hut commonly used in agricultural areas for storage or shelter. Some in this region date far back in history, but they have also been built in modern times. I don't know what use this mini-borie would possibly have held other than decoration, or even if it is technically considered a borie, but it did have the same kind of honeycomb or igloo structure:

Provence poppy landscape watercolor

"May in the Luberon" Watercolor and Pen & Ink on Paper Image size 6x8"

Little Shop on the Corner

Here is a recent inquiry I received from a fellow artist: "I, like you, have been lucky enough to be in Provence  during Lavender season, and i have been back several times. My question  is....that color of "blue" on the shutters and doors you see everywhere...what color is that, and how can I mix it.  William Alexander  got me hooked on painting several years ago, and I even have my own Mt  Ste. Victoire hanging in my house.  Any help you have with this color is  greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance. -JH"

To which I replied:

"Hi JH- could you be more specific? I've seen a particular blue/gray and also a more vivid blue in the shutters. But both are a challenge to mix. If you use pure local color, the shutters tend to look too bright and candy-like. However, I've had some success with mixing combinations of Rembrandt's Sevres Blue + Cobalt Blue + white and a *touch* of cadmium orange to gray it down as needed. How much of each in the combination depends on the value and hue of the shutter. Try that and see what you think."

...And here's my own bit of experimenting with just that very challenge:

Painting of Provence village

"The Little Shop on the Corner" Roussillon, Provence, France Oil on Canvas, 16x20" sold

Rose Garden in Provence

Fresh off the studio easel is a new painting of a beautiful rose garden I saw while visiting the area around Lourmarin.

 Provence painting rose garden

 This painting measures 24x24" and is oil on gallery wrapped canvas. The painting continues around all four sides so it is ready to hang and no extra framing is needed:

Provence painting of gardens

The roses are blooming here in Virginia also, and I'll head out this weekend and part of next week to capture some of them en plein air.

For more information about the painting featured, please click on either image above, or contact me.

Painting lavender

Here is an exerpt of a recent email I received from a student of painting, inquiring about painting lavender:  "I just cannot get the lavender/periwinkle  color  figured out. How did you make it? Do you recall? Thanks again. I've much enjoyed reading your blog and your artist's  tips.

 Cheers,  T. J."

Dear T.J.,

Well, color mixing is a very ingrained habit that happens when I'm "in the zone" so to speak. Typically for lavender what I'll most often use is Ultramarine Blue (deep) mixed with Permanent Rose (W&N) and white. Distant lavender looks cooler, so I might use a bit more blue Cerulean or ultramarine, and less rose. It just takes a lot of experimenting, but after a while color mixing becomes pretty intuitive. -Jennifer *** 

Painting lavender is so much fun, and I feel so fortunate to have traveled to Provence during lavender season. One thing that struck me was the way that lavender changes color temperature. Sometimes it looked like a deep blue jewel, other times a violent purple, and still other times the red tones would come out so that it looked more heather.

Painting of Provence lavender by Jennifer Young "First Light", oil on canvas, 16x20" Price:$1175.00 framed

As with anything in landscape painting, the color temperature of your subject is very much dependant on the light. Morning light appears warm until you compare it to light in the evenings. At high noon, the light is directly overhead, so your subject looks flatter and devoid of shadow areas. To get the best understanding of the effects of light on a subject, it is imperative (for me) to go out in nature and paint what I see. I paint from photos all of the time, but only after I have done a considerable amount of painting, sketching and observing of the subject at hand on location. Photographs are a great resource, but they can lie! It is fine to paint from photographs and study them and the work of others while you are learning. But painting from nature can be the best teacher of all.

Jasmine shadows

Whenever I travel, I often find myself painting and photographing windows and doors. To me they suggest a both a kind of intimacy and a bit of mystery. In France and Italy many people take great care in dressing their windows and doorways with pots of beautiful flowers. Shutters and doors are often painted a lovely bright color, which over time fades and mellows from exposure to the elements. This little window lives somewhere in the tiny French Provincial village of Ansouis.

provence painting of window


How nice it must be to enjoy the heady smell of jasmine each time you open a window! This painting measures 6x6 inches. It is done on a gallery wrapped canvas, and the edges are finished off in a color that compliments the painting:

New giclee print offerings

Here are two paintings I completed recently that I am having reproduced as limited edition giclee prints:

"Off The Beaten Path II"

Painting of Provence

"Along the Route to Dieulefit"

 Provence lavender painting

My giclee prints are offered in limited editions in a selection of sizes from small to quite large. They are perfect for home decor as well as corporate art, art for hospitals and art for hotels. I expect the prints to be released in January 2007. Please contact me if you would like to be notified when they become available, or if you would like any additional information about the prints. To see my current print offerings, please visit this link.  For more information about the original oils shown here, please click on the images above.

New Gallery Photos

I thought I'd post some photos of the new gallery space, which officialy opened last Friday night. We were swamped the entire night so I did not get ONE picture of the actual event! It turned out well--hectic but fun. We're both still recovering from total exhaustion, but at least we made it through "phase one". Phase two is still to come--moving my art studio part into the building. We hope to have that accomplished by mid January at the latest. Front room:

This is the wall to the right as you walk in the front door. The flowers on the table are from our new landlord!

Jennifer Young Studio & Gallery

This is the left wall of the same room--A great spot for the paintings in my mini collection:

Jennifer Young artist studio & gallery

This is a view of the right hand wall as you continue on into the middle room.

Jennifer Young artist studio & gallery

Here's a shot of the same wall looking back into the front room:

Paintings by Jennifer Young

Here is the opposite wall in the second room. The picture to the far left is an original oil painting of Tuscany. The pictures to the right are canvas prints on the walls, and paper prints in the rack. People were amazed at the quality of the canvas prints, which looked so much like paintings that I had to tell them they were prints and not originals.


Art prints by Jennifer Young

Heading out from the 2nd room and into the third room. This is where the band played opening night:


Jennifer Young paintings

Rounding the corner into this third room, here is my wall of Key West paintings:


Key West paintings by Jennifer Young

   Key West painting by Jennifer YoungI had these paintings framed differently from the usual gold because I felt like the solid gold was too formal for this subject matter. I like the linen liner and the platinum colored frame with the bamboo motif for these sunny Key West pieces.

   This last room will undergo some changes. The front two rooms with the hardwood floors will remain gallery space, but we'll use this area more for work space (to be determined), though we'll still hang some art here. Down that hallway is a fourth small room and a bathroom with a utility sink.

   Jennifer Young Studio & Gallery is located at 16 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA, 23219. Currently we are open from 6 to 9 p.m. during the First Fridays Art walks, and other times by appointment. Please call 804-254-1008 (1-877-DIAL-ART toll free) to visit the gallery or to inquire about the paintings you see on the website.

Coquelicots du Lubéron

Provence painting of poppies

Oil on Canvas, 16x20"

This is a painting I just finished in preparation for one of my upcoming shows. Can you tell that red is one of my favorite colors? There is an abundance of it in the springtime in Provence and also in Tuscany. This is a scene off of a country road outside of Lourmarin. Lourmarin is a small village located in the Lubéron region of Provence. My husband Dave and I explored all around this area a couple of years ago, and had a spectaular time visiting the area at the height of spring.

To see more of my paintings of Provence, click here.

Tags: art painting landscape painting artist French landscape paintings

Lone Tree and Lavender

Gray skies today and yesterday, so I have been in the studio. I'm not sure if this is the beginnings of storms Ernesto and John making their way up the east coast, but predictions are that we'll have rain at least through Friday. Here is another square format painting I just completed. (I told you I was getting hooked on the squares!) This one is a larger gallery wrapped painting, measuring 24"x 24".

A lot of times I tend to include architectural elements in my landscapes, but I like the tranquility of this lone tree that serves as my center of interest. I saw many such scenes while traveling the backroads of Provence. When the lavender is in bloom the air is heady with the scent of it. The rows of lavender in this piece lead the eye in to the tree. For more information about this painting, click on the image:

lavender painting

Here is a side view, showing the finished edge:

lavender painting

To see more of my paintings of Provence, click here.

painting artist Provence landscape painting


Personal faves

There are times when I paint something and I am just like, "Wow! I love this!" I imagine of course that everyone else will just love it too, as I do. And yet, just as often, it is not the personal favorite that gets the great response. It may be some other painting that I've done.

When my husband comes to the studio, I grab him and say, "Honey, look at THIS!" 

"That's nice," he says, and then walks over to another painting I've done. "But THIS is great!"  (It is?)  .....So I can never tell what is going to connect. I just paint what connects with me, and hope that it connects with others.

This little painting is one that I just loved. I loved making it and I loved it when it was done because it had such fond memories attached to it. I am not one to paint a lot of cute puppies, but this little guy was one that I actually met when we were staying in the Provincial village of Lourmarin. He lived above a fabulous bakery, and he stared in his most menacing demeanor down at us from his upper window perch.

When Dave saw the painting, he said, "That's an unusual perspective. No one is going to know what to make of that sign." But, (in my most menacing demeanor,) I said, "Well, I'm leaving it as is!" So, while the sign, "Arts Pluriels," may not mean much to anyone but me, I know it is a shop sign hanging above the bakery (and now you do too!) And I will always look at this painting and think of the fabulous bread that we bought for our picnic, inspite of the fierce guard dog that threatened our mission.

I call this painting "Chien de Garde" (watch dog or guard dog). It is 12x9", oil on canvas. Click on the image for more info.