Art Holiday Accommodation in SW France Details

Thursday 26 August 2010


Jules is a Pied-noir. That means he's a Frenchman from Algeria, but he's lived in Mezin so long that he's now considered Mezinais.
You will find him watching petanque almost every day of the week.
He sits with a group of friends who form what is called the gallerie.
They know everything there is to know about petanque. All the rules, all the strategies, all the tactics. They consider themselves experts on every aspect of the game. They make comments, usually very loudly, at every possible point in the play.
Needless to say, they rarely actually get down from their ivory towers to play.

Wednesday 25 August 2010


This is Patrick from the Bar du Commerce in Mézin.
He speaks good English, which is not that common around here.
I took the photograph on the terrace of the bar just as Parick was finishing work. Hence the broad smile, probably.
He's number ten (or thereabouts) in the Portrait of a Village series I'm working on.

Tuesday 24 August 2010


No prizes for guessing his birthday.
His wife, Jacqui, commissioned the portrait.
He wasn't so sure he wanted it done.
But he relented when I told him even the Queen has had her portrait done by an Australian.


This is Mario. He has a fabulous memory for numbers, and he can remember the birthdays of everyone in the village.
Mario lives at a CAT residence in Mezin.
His portrait will be one of the thirty or so that I hope to have for my exhibition "Mezinaise et autres Portraits".

Monday 23 August 2010


This is Nicole.
She runs a small bar in Mézin. It's called Le Bon Coin.
Her ex husband is often there in the morning playing belote with his mates. I've painted his portrait too.
I was fascinated by the shadows of her very elegant glasses on her very elegant face.
She was very gracious about me taking her photo so that I could do her portrait.
So here it is.

Sunday 15 August 2010


This is a protrait of Jean-Claude, one of the village wags.
It's fresh off the easel, and still wet in parts. (Now that's impetuous for you.)
He is divorced, retired, a grandfather and an excellent petanqueur or boules player.
He also gets on very well with his ex-wife and, when he's not playing petanque, he's in her bar playing belote with his mates.
As part of my village characters series (exhibition details in due course), I was attracted by his rugged good looks and mischievous smile.
I am happy with the portrait I did from a photo I took in the square. And I even like the drips, although almost no one else does. They're there in an attempt to show that:
1. Although striving for a likeness, I am always aware that it is paint I'm using.
2. They demonstrate that chance plays an important role in painting. (Not an original idea, I'm afraid - Francis Bacon said it many, many times.)
Sorry for the lecture, but quite a few people have asked.

For more information on painting portraits, please click on the following link and then go to 'Art Holidays':

Or you can use the La Petite Galerie link at top right.

Thursday 12 August 2010


This is a painting of our Maire.
In France the maire wears a "double casquette" (two hats) because he is an agent of l’Etat (the state) as well as being an agent of the commune.
So am I.
Best look it up on Wiki if you're really interested.
Anyway, I did the painting from a photograph in the local paper.

Wednesday 11 August 2010


This is a hard blog to write because it's a difficult painting to describe. The subject lives at the C.A.T. residence in Mezin, which will explain the situation quite clearly to anyone who knows France well or has lived here. He was very pleased when I took his photo. He stood to attention and smartened up his clothing by smoothing it out, something, I presume, that he's been taught to do. He used to lead a donkey around the nearby lake before he retired.
I hope he'll like his portrain when he sees it on the exhibition.

Monday 9 August 2010


This is Andrew.
He's collected paintings for years.
The painting behind him is Ben Hartley's 'Mrs Ali Baba's Whist Drive Hat' which he bought over thirty years ago.
Lynne is not sure about the drips.
"Not sure" is not exactly what she actually said, but, in case children ever read this blog, I've had to use a euphemism.
It's another example of a painting from a photograph, and it will go on show in my forthcoming exhibition - whenever that turns out to be.

P.S. After much badgering, I've now removed some of the drips. But not all of them, because I feel they symbolise the importance of chance - and the controlling of chance - in a painting.

Sunday 8 August 2010


Gilbert Chini looks as if he's from Central Casting. And he acts that way too. He's also the village 'ladies man.' Or he thinks he is.
I was surprised that he quite liked his portrait. Or he said he did. And he's not the type to mask his feelings.
Anyway, my course is set. I intend to have an exhibition of about thirty: "Mezinais - et autres portraits".
Well, I'm not sure, but watch this space.


Wednesday 4 August 2010


Some years ago, Lynne stated unequivocally that she was finished with sitting as my model. 'It's boring and time consuming and the results are never flattering,' she said, 'so find yourself another model. Or other models.'
Fortunately taking a snap is neither boring nor time consuming and I managed to get her to stand still for a few moments while I took her picture.
Then I painted her portrait from the photograph.
And I like the result.

Tuesday 3 August 2010


This is a portrait of Yvonne.
I painted it from a photo I took several years ago, and am quite pleased with the result.
Had I been able to show it to her, I hope she would have liked it too.