I’m working on a large marine painting (30″ x 40″ = 762x1016mm), marine ish that is, of the Bay of Antibes at sunset viewed from Cap Antibes near the lighthouse.
I’ve been struggling to find the lighting effect in the sky and land that I have in my vision.
To my surprise a visiting friend who used to help run the renowned Painting School of Montmiral said “Stop!”
Don’t do any more, it has the feel of a Bonnard but more modern…
This seemed like too, err tooooooo much praise to me, parts like a Bonnard; although I admit some very generous comparisons have been made in the past few years with many of my paintings and works by older masters, Montague Dawson, Norman Wilkinson to name but two who have been named.
At first I was puzzled.
After a bit of a discussion I began to see what she meant.
We have some sunny days coming so I’ll photograph the Bay of Antibes painting and show you later this week so you can have a say if you would like too.
The “Bay of Antibes” is a view sweeping the coast with the old city “Remparts” and old town, port with superyachts on Millionaires Quay, the fort and coast into the middle distance towards Nice.
I felt I had the sky and mountains with the distant Alps to yellow; maybe not?
On the other hand I realised I had been working in a manner similar to Bonnard, partly from a 5 hour ‘sketch’ made on the location, partly from memory and applying the paint much as he and also Van Gough used to but using a more modern approach to colour and composition.
My friend (Helene) said the painting has a beautiful balance and harmony.
Dark green trees in the fore ground on Cap Antibes with a hint of sky colour contrasting and helping create a huge instinctive sense of space, warmth and distance with the mountains behind Antibes and the yellowish ‘Bonnard’ Sky.
I thought the painting maybe too unfinished.
Then again I was seeing my vision which it had not reached, not the same thing at all that Helene was seeing as a reality in the studio.
Helene said she liked the lack of fine detail, the tower blocks shown as little more than cubes and the very loose treatment of the old town of Antibes and the port.
Some one said they prefered radio to TV because the pictures are better.
Works some times for paintings too and at least one does not have to suffer “it looks like a photograph“.
Start another she said.
Thus today a lovely mild day, I was cutting and preparing a new canvas for a second version.
Still chasing my elusive vision and while I was at it I prepared a canvas for the next major marine painting which will also be a “French” scene from the voyage of the explorer La Perouse (or Laperouse , not one seems sure which, please don’t let me forget to check that with the Laperouse Society in Albi).