Art Holiday Accommodation in SW France Details

Friday 27 March 2009



Yes, beware, this is a blatent commercial to sell a painting done in a Pop Art style.

Anyway, here goes...

Pop Art it is probably the best loved art movement after Impressionism. But many people are not aware of this.
Perhaps simply because the influence of Pop Art is EVERYWHERE. In the twenty first century we're virtually surrounded by it, and it's become part of our psyche.

But whereas in the beginning Pop Art fed off advertising (and the media) - this has now become symbiotic - and these days advertising feeds off Pop Art.

Unfortunately some people think of Pop artists as minor players. Even more unfortunately, they're wrong.

Let me give you just one example of how I think Pop Art has had such an effect on us.

Take Andy Warhol.

In my opinion Warhol is a great artist, despite some of the rubbish he produced. But ask yourself the question: what comes to mind when you hear or read something about Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, Chairman Mao, Marilyn Monroe or Lisa Minelli? In most cases it's an Andy Warhol image. In other words, his silkscreens of famous people are etched on our memories. And we can conjure up how Warhol saw them more easily than anything else we can remember. No mean feat, I'd say.

And his electric chair series are no less powerful.

Anyway, back to the "Special K" painting. It's the result of a session I had with the Mezin Ladies Art Group. I set up a group of packs, bottles and other contempory items as the subject for a pop still life afternoon.
And I think it would look great in a kitchen or dining room. It's acrylic on canvas and it measures 800x800 cms. "Special K" could be in your hands within a few days. For 200 Euros I'll post it to you in a sturdy cardboard tube anywhere in the world - postage and packing included.

If you have any questions please contact me.

Thursday 19 March 2009


John Brice in Armagnac Heaven


The medieval village of Mézin, where we live, is famous for three things:

1. Armand Fallieres, a former President of France, was born here.
2. It was once France’s biggest cork manufacturing centre.
3. The locals produce the best Armagnac in the world. (More about Armagnac later).

Although very few of the villagers speak English, Mézin was once an English village. For almost three centuries during the Middle Ages, Mezin belonged to England. This was because Eleanor of Aquitaine gave the whole region to the English King Henry II as a wedding present.

Our art courses in Mezin cater for all ages and levels, and I firmly believes that everyone can learn to paint and draw. Most people who come to La Petite Galerie for art holidays want the best of both worlds. They want the painting and drawing component, but they also want to find out more about the area. So we usually fit in one or two painting sessions every day and on most days we paint en plein air in Mézin or a nearby village. Then, after a picnic lunch, we explore the area. And with eighteen hours of daylight in the summer, there’s normally time for a wine tasting, a trip to a nearby market, a swim in the municipal pool, or a short walk amongst the vines, in the forest, or along the canal.

Our transition from Downunder to France has been a wonderful experience. Every day’s an adventure and there’s a surprise around every corner.
And the best thing about living in this little known corner of France is that, after seven years, the villagers have finally accepted us. We now call Mézin home. And that’s it.

But oh yes, what about that Armagnac?

Well, it’s the world’s most HEAVENLY after dinner liqueur. So finally, here’s a great dessert recipe using Armagnac.


My wife Lynne is a much better cook than me, and when I prepare this pud, she says it’s cheating - because it’s so quick and easy I suppose. But it never fails to impress.
1. Use your favourite recipe to make plain vanilla ice cream for six. (Cheats can simply pop into a supermarket and buy a tub of quality commercial vanilla ice cream).
2. Coarsely chop eight Pruneaux d’Agen. (Cheats can use any old prunes).
3. Soak them in Armagnac for a few hours. (Cheats may choose to just use brandy).
4. Mix all ingredients together and freeze.
To serve: Drizzle some Armagnac over two scoops in each bowl.
(When serving, cheats make sure they get the biggest helping - three or more scoops - and plenty of drizzled Armagnac ).

Simply tasting the dessert with genuine ingredients guarantees direct entry to Food Paradise.

The cheat’s version is simply WONDERFUL!

Sunday 15 March 2009



Many, many, many years ago, when I was young and innocent, I first saw Fancis Bacon's work at the Tate in London.
(Which Tate? There was only one Tate in 1962).
It consisted of a range of paintings based on various interpretations of Velasquez's Pope Innocent X.
It was like getting hit on the head with a brick. I'd never seen anything like them. I was overawed. And I've remained in that state ever since, whenever I see a Bacon painting.

Anyway, because we missed the Bacon exhibition at the Tate last year (and now that there are two, I mean the Tate Modern) we decided to go to Madrid, (which is much closer for us than London) to see the exhibition at the Prado.
Nothing much has changed as far as his paintings are concerned. Almost everyone these days knows Bacon's work and most people have seen photographs of his paintings. But when I see them, it's still just like getting hit on the head with a brick.

The ink and wash sketch above is of Lynne in the Prado contemplating the triptych "Three Figures in a Room". The left hand panel shows a nude man sitting on a toilet. It was completed in 1964. And it still has overwhelming impact.

Please email me if you disagree.


Tower at Poudenas - Watercolour.

Arch at Vianne - Watercolour.

The River at Nerac - Watercolour.

The Entrance to Larresengle - Watercolour


Please note that this posting is a blatant commercial. You may want to go onto another posting- one that's not so obviously selling paintings. Now's your chance.

This one shows a few of my works that I'm offering at special prices.
One of the problems an artist has is that getting rid of paintings is like getting rid of your children - it's a bitter-sweet experience. But I've decided that it's better for me to sell them at a discount price - so that someone can enjoy them - rather than have them gathering dust in my studio.

So here are a few for you to consider. All prices include postage and packing in a stout cardboard tube. All three are watercolour on paper. All sizes are approximate (but reasonably accurate).
"Tower at Poudenas" 320 x 400 cms - 150 Euros.
"Arch at Vianne" 205 x 310 cms - 130 Euros.
"River at Nerac" 220 x 320 cms 110 Euros.
"Entrance to Larresingle" 205 x 310 cms - 130 Euros.
Please email me if you have any queries.

Tuesday 10 March 2009



In April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, German bombers, allies of Franco's Nationialists, attacked the defenceless Basque city of Guernica. Hundreds of people, including many women and children were killed, and well over a thousand were injured.
Picasso painted his "Guernica" to commemorate the atrocity, and it was first exhibited at the Paris World's Fair. This huge painting has subsequently become a potent and international anti war statement.

For most of us, our main access to world art is via pictures in a book or images on the internet.
Every now and again, when I've been lucky enough to see certain original paintings in a gallery, I've been amazed to find that the size of one or other of the well-known works is nothing like I had imagined it to be.
For example, for some reason or other, I had always imagined that "The Garden of Earthly Delights", the triptych by Hieronymus Bosch, was enormous. But when I saw it in the Prado a few years ago, I was surprised to see that it measures only 220 cms x 389 cms.

On the other hand I could never imagine the size of "Guernica", and it's rare to see a photo of the painting that includes anything to help one to deduce the scale. (Like a figure looking at it, for example).
During his lifetime, Picasso insisted that "Guernica" could be displayed in Spain only once Franco had been ousted and freedom was restored to the country. The painting is now at the wonderful Reina Sophia in Madrid. It measures an enormous 3.5 metres by 7.8 metres, and in the above sketch of Lynne standing at one of the entrances to the special room where it's on display, I've tried to give an idea of its impressive size.