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FRANCE PAINTING GALLERY

Here is a collection of paintings from travels in France (outside Paris). I've been especially struck by how the broad-leafed trees and flowers, and dappled light through the trees, are conducive to the patchy, short brush strokes that Impressionist painters used..

 

    

743 -- Mont St. Michel: Gardens and Ramparts. Mont St. Michel: Gardens and Ramparts. The painting shows part of the famous monastery/abbey atop a small island accessible by low tide, off the coast of Normandy, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Abbey constructions started in the A.D. 700s, and the present structure, designed by an Italian architect in the 1000s, is a combination of fortress (lower parts) and Romanesque cathedral (upper parts). It’s been a destination for religious pilgrims since the 1200s. The slanting walls mark walkways up to summit. My visit occurred during a tour arranged as part of a planetary science conference in 2011, and after a group lunch in a restaurant I had only 2½ hours to pick a site and paint as the rest of the party explored the island. I got most of it done, but at that point it seemed to me a failure, but as I looked at it later, it began to grow on me; I’ve tinkered with details later in my studio. (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

742.   Nantes, France. Park created around a 1582 Castle. The painting was made on a Sunday before an international planetary science meeting in Nantes. The "castle," a bastion in the days of wars between Catholics and Protestants, is a landmark near the town center, and, in good French fashion, it's been turned into a public park. Some years before this painting, Nantes was named by various media as the greenest city in France (L'Express 2003) and the most liveable city in Europe (Time Magazine, 2004). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

707 -- Vosges Forest, eastern France. Effect of Rainy Weather: The painting was made on site during a bus tour operated out of a Meteoritical Society Meeting in the eastern France town of Nancy. Following the French impressionists' lead, I tried to capture the specific effect of the soft, subdued light on a walking path, during this drizzly day. (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

676 -- Fontainebleu Forest, France. This area was made famous by Paris impressionist painters after train service was introduced in the 1800s, allowing easy travel to the picturesque area.  The views shows a typical meadow of birches and heather, which lie among pines.   (2007). (Copyright William K. Hartmann)

657 -- Frankel’s family home, Binic, Brittany. The motif is the garden doorway of a home in the coastal French town of Binic. 2006; see #655). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

655 -- Sandstones and Heather at Cap d'Erquy, Brittany. The view is looking inland at a marvelous natural Zen garden on a windy clifftop along the French Atlantic coast.  The ocean was immediately behind me. The site was shown to me during a group stroll led by French writer, Charles Frankel (2006). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

632.2 -- Ruins of a Roman Theater in Lyon. Lyon, in southern France, was a well-known city in Roman and early Christian times. The ruins of this theater are on a hillside overlooking the city, whose modern office buildings, stark by contrast, can be glimpsed in the distance. (2005). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

579 -- Spring on the Promenade at Nice. It's fun to paint in France, because passersby treat you as if you are doing something reasonable, and possibly even valuable to society. I parked myself on a wall adjacent to the sidewalk. Various strollers nodded approvingly, and one painter invited me to stop by his studio. (Alas, I didn't have time to accept.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann)

356.5 -- Fayence, France. Fayence is a small hilltop village not far inland from Cannes. This springtime view is from fields below the town. Coming from a desert, I was impressed: the flowering trees are just as the Impressionists painted them! (1992). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

54 -- Valle sur Issire, near Lyon. Painted after a scientific meeting in Lyon, this shows fields in the Alpine area of southern France. (1976). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

 


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