Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Panic, frustration, amusement

Checking over my website today, I was horrified to see a large naked Lucien Freud style man on my More Watercolour Portraits of Children page. I realised that I had named and uploaded a life drawing study using the file name of a little boy I had painted, so had unwittingly replaced the image. It has taken me the better part of an afternoon to find another copy of the original portrait, change the file name, and upload it. I am really too old for this website stuff and have been sweating bloody bullets correcting my site! At least the drawing is relatively discreet.

Price tags...

Last night my local town, Gramat, had a marché nocturne for several invited artists and artisans. The old covered market hall was swept clean of vegetable debris and tables were set up. The weather, after several overcast and chilly days, blessed us with a golden late summer evening. It was the first event of its kind in Gramat, and we were all suprised by the large number of people wandering the square and town, including many lively children. Dramatic sparks blazed as an ironworker constructed a sculpture of objets trouvés, a wood turner produced delicate bowls and mustard spoons, while next to me a bookbinder sewed pages together on an old wooden apparatus. We had all been asked to demonstrate our various crafts, so I painted impromptu watercolour coqs, butterflies, cats, cows, goats and even a crocodile dragon at the request of small (and even not so small) children on cut card bookmarks.

I sold a few children's books and posters, but no art. There was a fair amount of muttering over my prices. This is always a difficult decision for artists, and I price my work fairly intuitively. If I think a painting or drawing is special, I want to be sure that the purchaser values the work as much as I do, so I make them stretch themselves a bit financially to obtain it. If I don't have a special attachment to a piece, I am ready to let it go fairly cheaply. I find the painting of the church, which I did in one of my classes last year as a demonstration, rather pedestrian so was willing to let it go for 125 euros. The drawing of the man, however, is much more interesting, so I priced it at 275 euros. They are about the same size.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Virtual Summer

Not much of a summer for me this year. I am working flat out. So Lucy Willis beach scenes are especially appealing. She is one of my favourite watercolourists- very carefully observed and sensitively painted records of international travel as well as portraiture, architecture, figures and still lives. Have a look at her website: www.lucywillis.com

Friday, August 15, 2008

A call from the past...

Phone rang early this morning. It was Annie, who lived with my family in New Orleans as our jeune fille au pair. Annie and her husband live in New Caledonia, but are in France for the summer and were passing through. I tracked Annie down through the Protestant Church in Perpignan about ten years ago, where her dad was the pastor. Annie was supposed to revive my French- I had been fluent as a little girl in Paris. I remember being pretty resistant and must have been a terrible charge, but something must have rubbed off on me because here I am living in Rignac, and talking a blue French streak.


On the way home from collecting my pictures from the exhibition in St Yrieix, I stopped to visit Marqueyssac, the magical gardens spread over a limestone bluff above the Dordogne. From here one takes in the whole fabulous panorama of the Dordogne river, the castles of Beynac and Castelnau, and the villages of Domme and La Roque Gageac. As the light faded, the full moon was aided by thousands of candles lining the convoluted paths of this Italian inspired garden. A group of musicians strummed Jango Reinhart compilations on the grassy promenade, and near the pavilion, an organ grinder with a rich voice filled the night with his sad songs of failed love.

Marqueyssac will definitely be on the itinerary next year for a painting workshop.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Launching of the Virtual Gallery

I am finally beginning to upload some work from my Barn Gallery to my Virtual Gallery, starting with the Boudoir Haiku (life drawing studies) because they are what interest me most at the moment.

More to follow on a regular basis.

The art is all for sale and prices range between 125 and 750 euros.

Here is the webpage: http://www.catherinestock.com/gallery.html

And here are photos from the Real Gallery.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Humble Pie

The day dawned grey and cloudy, but I was excited as I packed up my paints and brushes and set off for Thegra, a local village that was having a painting day. This is a common event in rural France. Several of us paid our 8 euro registration fee at the table in front of the church and then separated to various parts of the village to set up our easels. I chose a view of the town from the middle of a field. We gathered together for a communal lunch at one, and then hurried back to our oevres: we had to finish by 4:30! I hadn't counted on the sun breaking through the clouds and by four pm I was epuissée, but relatively happy with my day's work. After the local children seranaded us with songs, the speeches started and finally prizes were awarded. We all got a prize: 1st prize down to 8th prize. Then came Most Original, Most Popular, Youngest Painter, Oldest Painter, and finally Honorable Mention- which was awarded to me along with a pass to the local labyrinth. Champagne was handed out to all present, which made the humble pie a little easier to swallow.

Friday, August 01, 2008

2008 Wisconsin Tour

Eugene, aka Monsieur Monmouton, signs his name with a flourish, after penning flattering comments about American ladies and their charming anatomies, before the painting group lines up for a last shot in front of the barn/studio. The farmers back in Wisconsin will have to polish up their silver tongues to hold on to these ladies after a week with the likes of Eugene...