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Yesterday, I was invited to the home of an art collector. With her permission, I took a few quick iPhone images of the five paintings in the living and dining room. She has 10 of my paintings that she has acquired over a period of more than 10 years. Here is a photograph of "The Olive Tree" that comes from my time in Italy in 2014.

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Today's feature painting sits beside me in the loft studio while I enjoy a soft much-needed rain outside...

MORNING WITH CEZANNE’S MOUNTAIN 18 x 24 inch oil on canvas
Standing on the painters’ ground in the morning light I think of Cezanne and his mountain. A painting sketch leads to this later studio work after returning from Aix en Provence, France.

There is a sister painting to this one from the evening. More about both works can be found on my website at:

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From up on the hill in Avignon looking across the river to Villeneuve les Avignon in France. A favourite artist of mine is Camille Corot. I saw his landscape from Avignon called “Villeneuve-lez-Avignon La Tour Philippe le Bel” from 1843 at the Louvre. It struck a significant cord with me as I had stood in about the same place painting 171 years later. My time at the Louvre was in between gathering reference material in Avignon and returning to my home studio on the southwest coast of Canada. I like to think that he somehow influenced the final work.

Painting completed using plein air acrylic and photography sketches as references once I was back home in the studio.

Villeneuve lez Avignon France
24 x 36 inch oil on canvas

Details and purchase information at:


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Climbing up into the gardens to the westerly viewpoint in Avignon early on a June morning is magic and mystery. Across the way there is the Villeneuve lez Avignon with the broken Pont D’ Avignon below falling short of the reach across the Rhone River. The scene is not as easy to compose as I had initially thought. I move here and then there and then back to here and finally set up the easel and paint.

The light is changing quickly but there is still time for my eyes to rest on the scene. They do not. Fluttering across the landscape, with the same sweeping loops as the swallows above, I do not hover or allow my gaze to settle. I search for…. something and maybe nothing at all in the vast countryside – where last evening’s gypsy music and the chiming clink of hands moving to mouths along the narrow streets of the old-city still echoes in the sleeper passages of my consciousness.

(Artist's notes from June 2014)

Across the Way Villeneuve lez Avignon France 25 x 35 cm acrylic painting sketch

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The Pont d’Avignon or Pont Saint-Bénézet once had 22 arches. The bridge was eventually abandon as the arches took too much upkeep due to being damaged when the Rhone river would flood. The four remaining arches are believed to have been built around 1345. The bridge was the inspiration for the song Sur le pont d’Avignon.

The subject for this work began with a plein air sketch while I was standing on the riverbank on an early morning in June of 2014 in Avignon France which I shared with you yesterday. Happy Friday!

Morning by Pont d'Avignon 24 x36 inch oil on canvas
(in private collection)

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Nothing like an early morning done by Rhone River in Avignon, France in June - with brushes and paints...

June morning by Pont D' Avignon 25 x 35 cm acrylic plein air painting sketch. This later became part of the reference material for a larger studio work that is now in a private collection. But it is this quick sketch that most reminds me of that day.

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Ancient Lapidary Blocks Stacked in Our Lady of Lamourguier of Narbonne, France.

I like to reminisce about Narbonne, France from our visit in the spring of 2014 and its 2,500 years of history. Oh, not the medieval town itself so much but the rows of ruins stacked high in Our Lady of Lamourguier. Since 1868, the 11th century church has been used as a warehouse to hold various carved elements removed from Narbonne’s walls during demolition and it contains approximately 2000 ancient Roman lapidary blocks. Since cameras were allowed during my visit I can take us inside. Shall we go have a look?

The church completes her warehouse status with grit settled thickly on the grainy foundation and only an outer shell of her religious history remaining.

I am mesmerized by the pure abundance of carved blocks. They are all numbered but not necessarily stack in order. Possibly, they have even been moved for aesthetic pleasure. Or maybe it is just my artist and photographer’s eye that is doing the organizing?

Sometimes my attention settles on individual blocks. Other times, it is an oddity that catches my attention. What are these over-sized clay pots doing in here among the blocks? They seem out-of-place somehow.

Then there are the angels with their perfect child-like portioned bodies. If we watch closely they seem to move around and around the remains of this column, neither hurried nor stilled by time.

A guide book for a tour of the city states that the Romans arrived to Narbonne in 118 BC. The place that called Narbo Martius has been known as Rome’s first daughter ever since.

Walking the rows I begin to ponder.

What from this century might survive for the same period of time into the future? What structure might it be housed in?

Who will visit and will they know who we are?

Will they wonder what we ate? Or what it was that woke us on a Sunday morning? Or who it was that we loved? Did we live to be old, die in childbirth or in a protest against our government or sacking another city? Will a sword that tore through your heart remain all those years later with your DNA still on its blade?

If you could whisper one thing in the ear of a visitor hundreds of years from now as they walked pass an artifact that you had made or that you had used – what would you say to them?

Many more photographs that are part of this missive can be viewed on my Creative Potager blog at:



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Jardins del Turó del Putget Barcelona Spain
25 x 35 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch

There is one place where people let their shoulders rest easy and their stride loosens in Barcelona, Spain. It is in the Jardins del Turó del Putget. The people living near the gardens walk with their dogs, family and visit with friends on the benches sprinkled along the climb and at the top of the park. I walked here often.

I did not take my camera with me this particular time. Even though it feels safe in the park, I am unable to keep an adequate eye on its whereabouts while painting and it would interfere if I was to wear it. This time you will have to be content with just the finished painting sketch.

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Park Güell in Barcelona Spain

One of our most pressing reasons for coming to Barcelona in the spring of 2014 was to see Antoni Gaudi’s work in person. What we didn’t realize was how mainstream and popular his work had become with visitors. After we assessed the potential for crowds, lineups and disappointment we took a circular approach. This involved a few scouting trips before actually making a commitment to a more engaging visit to Park Güell.

At this time, I have no paintings from my visits in the park because Gaudi's work is so complete in itself. The photographs seem to be enough. Enjoy!

#BarcelonaSpain #travelblog #artists #travel #travelspain #travelphotography
8 Photos - View album

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Plein air painting in our small private courtyard in Barcelona Spain

Community and park spaces are extremely limited. Our neighbourhood playgrounds are on spears of land beside major thoroughfares. Our ground-floor apartment has a most prized private courtyard in the middle of tall apartment buildings. Its value did not register with me when we arrived but now I more fully appreciate its rare pleasure. One morning I set up my paints.

I want to capture courtyards private beauty and mystery. To do so means painting the spaces between the actual forms using light and colour to guide the construction of a meaningful composition. The results are an abstraction of sorts but the energy of the space after the morning rain remains.

Small Courtyard in Barcelona Spain

10 × 12 inch acrylic painting sketch on canvas board

#Barcelona #Spain #pleinair #art #painting
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