Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why go to the south of France?

If you're not going to paint the landscape, why go to the south of France?

Everyone talks about the south of France as though it is a heaven for artists. Not everyone who comes here paints the landscape. So why not Paris, there are surely a lot more galleries?

The reason that artists and art collectors both rave about the south of france is the light, the people and the history, the space it gives you to think and the changing seasons and colours. The best time to come to the south is not the summer. Despite that, tourists and artists alike flock here at that time. For those who live here, the summer is the least attractive season because of the heat & it's getting hotter of course.

We are in spring now and it's almost as green and rich looking as Ireland. The iris' are in bloom and trees are showing off their rich colours. Blossom is everywhere and plants I've never seen before are showing pink, white, purple & mauve. The light is gentle, yet bright. It's not hot, there is a cool breeze today.

The landscape varies from flat to hilly to mountainous very quickly. It's a human scaled landscape. Most structures are built from local stone. As people can travel so easily now, there are a lot more visitors by car during holiday seasons and land is more valuable to sell for housing than to farm. Despite this, farmers work and cultivate the land, producing the best wines and incredible vegetables. The quality of the food alone is a good reason to live here and always has been.

In the winter the light is perfect and there is no searing heat. Photographs rarely capture the magic of the more simple aspects of the landscape. Yet the artists eye is very impressed by even these parts because of the surprising sense of distance and perspective. The easily perceived definition on everything. The landscapes shines. It fills you up with a new sense of colour and an appreciation for values of light which will help you no matter what you are painting.

When you come here you have to grow into the land as well. We can't have the benefits of the city while enjoying contact with nature. Nature can't survive that. When you come here, be a farmer, an artist or a writer for a while & leave the TV behind.

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