in the footsteps Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Bonnard

Long before I became a photographer I was a lover of art. The Impressionists were my first love and though I have expanded my list of favorites to include the renaissance and Dutch masters, modern expressionists and a number of great American painters, I continue to return to the vibrancy and searching feeling that I see in much of the Impressionist’s work.

Because of this it was a great pleasure for me to have several days in the South of France to take in the landscapes of Cezanne, Van Gogh, Bonnard, and many others. The artists were attracted to the light of Provence, but I think they must have been attracted to the shapes in the land. The fields in the valleys are covered in ancient gnarled olives and tiny, hardy grape vines. They mirror the twisted shapes of the olive trees in miniature. The miniature iris were blooming, hinting at the explosion of color to come. And the almonds were just coming out…the peach trees were in full bloom.

The weather here can be difficult; too hot, sometimes icy cold, often windy, ever changing. The wind comes from the north carrying moisture and cold, or from the south with a fierce heat, or from the East or from the West. Each of these Mistral (meaning ‘masterly’) winds has its own name. Basically, it’s windy. But the winds clear the atmosphere of dust and other matter and lend the luminous quality to the light. Think about what the light looks like on an early evening after a terrific afternoon thunderstorm. This is the light of Provence for much of the time.

I visited the Chapelle Saint Sixte (12th century) on a calm evening without a cloud in the sky. This area in and around Eygalieres was painted many times by Van Gogh. I was happy to know that I was walking the same ground as the Masters…seeing the same forms…and seeking to create my own vision of this storied landscape. But that night my vision was a darker, more nuanced one….so I created the images below.

8 Responses to “in the footsteps Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Bonnard”

  1. 3 honey
    March 20, 2014 at 11:09 am

    these darker images of textures and layers lead me to wonder about your personal project and the complexities you will evoke. you photograph as you are, and i am so glad.

    • March 20, 2014 at 11:10 am

      yes….I am thinking it is a holdover from my time in Eastern Europe for the last several weeks. Thank you for commenting but especially for ‘knowing’. Grateful for my friend and her seeing heart.

  2. March 21, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    As soon as I saw this photo my head started playing “Starry, Starry Night”. I wonder what Van Gogh would think of your use of the artists’ tools of 2014. I’m certain he’d be complemented, as well he should be.

    • March 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Jeri! You are so kind. My head was playing Starry, Starry Night when I was visiting there…and I carried that intent through my editing process. So glad you picked up on it!

  3. 7 4t4m4t4
    March 21, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Reblogged this on 4t4m4t4.

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