I am in Desenzano in northern Italy on the Lake Garda doing work for a proposed exhibition in the city of Antibes for 2019. I’ll be here for a month. The late season is calm with few tourists, warm in the day and chilly at night. I am in a country house and battle daily with hoards of mosquitoes and the smell of the cow dairy next door. I work with citronella candles below my easel in the small private garden.
I took July and August off from painting after my intense residency at Parc du Bagatelle in Paris, and used the time to reflect on my art path. I investigated and educated myself on what is going on in the contemporary painting world and the possibility of selling my work online. I visited all kinds of public exhibitions and here in Italy I continue to visit the trove of cultural sites. I was in the city of Mantova (Mantua) to see the mannerist frescoes of Mantegna at the Gonzague Ducal Palace.
Most importantly, I am exploring a new direction in the WAY I paint Nature, moving away from the realism towards what I hope is the core of nature that surrounds us. The American Abstract Impressionists were interested in the optical effects of spiritual states, according to Elaine de Kooning, an abstract expressionist and figurative expressionist painter in the post WWII era. I’m interested in exploring the optical effect of the essence of nature. I am looking forward to pursing this line of inquiry in my artwork.
The month of July was significant, as I had three exhibitions of my work simultaneously. My exhibition for The Chopin Festival with 12 paintings hung in the Orangerie of the Parc du Bagatelle literally brought the garden INTO the concert hall. The combination of art and music was a wonderful experience, the work seemed to flow with the notes.
The inaugural concert was a moment of grace with an exceptional concert by the pianist Marie-Ane Nguci. The garden was candlelit, and the champagne reception under a perfect summer evening sky was special. Many friends came to the concerts and to visit me in my studio during the eight weeks I painted at Bagatelle. My sincere thanks to Ariel and Antoine Paszkiewicz for accepting my idea to paint for the Société Chopin and to Eric Benoît, Head Gardener of Bagatelle for inviting me to paint as the first resident artist for the park.
I did an interview (in French with English subtitles) about the residency that you can watch here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTxdjYVRNHk) or click on the image above. My exhibit at Eilenroc Villa on the Cap d’Antibes continues, open every Wednesday afternoon. If you lucky enough to be on the Côte d’Azur this summer, try to see this outstanding site where I painted last fall. A good article with my artist statement came out in Nice Matin, you can read it here (https://gallery.mailchimp.com/62ea1351991ef0045e019d928/files/ebb9fb4b-62c3-448e-919f-9bdd2f9e051d/Expo_Eilenroc_Nice_Matin.pdf) .
Although the show has just concluded, I was fortunate to be a part or the Contemporary Art Project in Laguna Beach group show at City Hall, see the exhibition announcement here (http://www.caplaguna.org/banking.html) with a favorite pastel, shown below.
After Bagatelle, I was able to stay on in Paris for 2 weeks and visited some amazing art shows, which is always inspiring: Zao-Wou-Ki (http://www.mam.paris.fr/fr/expositions/exposition-zao-wou-ki) MuséeModerne (http://www.mam.paris.fr/fr/expositions/exposition-zao-wou-ki) The London Impressionists (https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-show-exhibition/182847/impressionists-london-petit-palais) (Petit Palais) Artists & Robots (https://www.grandpalais.fr/en/event/artists-robots) (GrandPalais) Mary Cassatt (https://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/fr/mary-cassatt) at the Jacquemart-Andre Corot (http://www.marmottan.fr/fr/Exposition_en_cours-musee-2576) at the Marmottan American Abstraction and the Last Monet (http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/fr/evenement/nympheas-labstraction-americaine-et-le-dernier-monet) at the Orangerie in the Tuilleries And finally the Nicholas de Stael (https://www.caumont-centredart.com/en/node/1503) expo in Aix-en-Provence
What a privilege to be able to delve into the great culture richness that France offers…not to mention sports with the French victory of the World Cup Soccer; Allez les Bleus! Next letter will be in September when I will be painting in Desenzano on the Lago di Garda in northern Italy. Until then, Wishing you all a restful and peaceful summer.