Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The studio of Paul Cezanne, Aix-en-Provence

I am back from the thrilling trip to France. And what a privilege it was.
A highlight of the journey was our visit to Aix-en-Provence in the south of France.
We visited the studio of Paul Cezanne, and then attended a workshop and lecture about the artist and his working methods. I was very interested in the lecture and then how the students would be instructed about painting in the style of Cezanne. We were all given a small canvas, some oil pastels, and a paper plate with acrylic blobs of red, yellow, blue, and white. I had tried to prepare our students beforehand about the importance of mixing secondary colors from the primaries and adding a touch of the color wheel opposites to those colors to make muted shades. Nevertheless, they were all worried about failure too soon. At the end, it seemed that all had enjoyed the experience, even those that had said they did not like art.
Above is my copy of a Cezanne landscape on the canvas provided at the workshop, produced with primary colors and in an hour's time!
After the tour we drove past the real mountain scene that Cezanne had painted many times in his life.
Below is the real Cezanne painting, and a quote that I found by him.
"May I repeat what I told you here: treat nature by means of the cylinder, the sphere, the cone, everything brought into proper perspective so that each side of an object or a plane is directed towards a central point. Lines parallel to the horizon give breadth... lines perpendicular to this horizon give depth. But nature for us men is more depth than surface, whence the need to introduce into our light vibrations, represented by the reds and yellows, a sufficient amount of blueness to give the feel of air." 
Paul C├ęzanne to Emile Bernard, 15 april 1904 

Road Before the Mountains, Montagne Sainte-Victoire 
Paul Cezanne 1900