Monday, 26 September 2011

What if... the sky was green

It is with this question that I started this painting of Malaga's cathedral: What if... the sky was green?

Malaga's cathedral (First state) - Oil on linen canvas

I will rework this painting, but I want to let some time go before I start again on it. I am not sure where this painting is going, but the "what if" approach is interesting if you want to get out of your habits.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Portrait of the painter Ingres by Charles Gounod

Charles Gounod, a French composer, won the Prix de Rome in 1839 and stayed at the Académie de France in Rome when Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres was its director.

Bust of Charles Gounod by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (Valenciennes 1827-Courbevoie 1875). Terracota, 1873. Fine art museum of Valenciennes (France) Source : Wikimedia

Gounod’s father, who was a painter, knew Ingres when he was young and Ingres probably took good care of Charles Gounod for that reason.
In his autobiography, Mémoires d’un artiste, Gounod contradicts the description of Ingres as an affected person:

“Who has not known intimately Mr. Ingres could only have about him an inaccurate and false idea. I saw him very closely, colloquially, often, for a long time, and I can say he had a simple nature, straight, open, candid and full of momentum and enthusiasm that sometimes lead him to eloquence. He had the tenderness of a child and an apostle’s indignation; he had a naive and touching tenderness and freshness of emotion which are not found in an affected person, as some said he was.”

Ingres invited the young mucisian in his studio and encouraged him to draw on tracing paper from prints of old masters’ paintings. Gounod recalled: “I did, at his side, nearly one hundred traced drawings.”

The book

"Mémoires d’un artiste" by Charles Gounod is available as a free ebook (in French) on Project Gutenberg.

Related articles

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Victoria & Albert museum

The Victoria & Albert museum (V&A) in London (England) claims to be “The world's greatest museum of art and design” and it is easy to believe it. It covers many areas of art, craft and design: sculptures, paintings, drawings, textile, glass, metalwork, ceramics, furniture, prints… The museum's works date from antiquities to modern times and come from all continents.

Courtyard inside the V&A

The National Art Library, located inside the museum is major public reference library.

A huge glass sculpture suspended in the main entrance

The painting gallery - in this room the paintings are still arranged in the way the Victorian did

L'immensite by Courbet

Morning by Corot

There are so many things to see that it is best to concentrate on a few sections rather than try to see everything at once and just skin over the collections. The V&A website is comprehensive and an excellent resource to make the most of your visit.

Practical information

The Victoria & Albert museum (V&A)
Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Opening times:

10.00 to 17.45 daily
10.00 to 22.00 Fridays
Admission: free

Monday, 19 September 2011

Pause cafe - oil painting

Pause cafe - Oil on canvas (14" x 18") by Benoit Philippe

I did this painting over the two week-ends of the Swindon Open Studios. This is an old Citroen van that was parked on the side of the Serpentine gallery.

Friday, 16 September 2011

My week-end at the Platform

I spent last week-end participating to the Swindon Open Studios 2011 at The Platform in Swindon (Wiltshire - England).

We were a group of 10 artists, showing in different media (painting, textile, etc.) and the display looked professional. There was also a very good and friendly atmosphere.

I also managed to paint an oil painting over the week-end. It’s not finished yet, but I will be able to show it to you soon.

I will be again at the Platform (Faringdon Road, SN1 5ED Swindon – England) next week-end from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Let the water do the work

In watercolour, the water plays a greater role than in other water-based media (like gouache or acrylic). The water is not only the solvent but influences the quality of the colour and the final effect and is therefore an integral part of the aesthetics.

With watercolour, you can let the water do the work (or at least some of it).

The following method was shown to me by a watercolour tutor years ago:

1) Draw lightly with a pencil on a dry watercolour paper the form you want to fill with colours;

2) Take a clean brush and load it with water;

3) “Paint” the whole form with the clean water;

4) Take some colour from your palette with a round brush;

5) Touch the centre of the form with the tip of the brush and see the colour spread and fill-in the form.

This technique works better if your watercolour pad is slightly tilted (30 degrees approximately) because it help the pigments go down. This technique is good for intricate forms, in particular if you want to have a smooth wash like in the wet on wet technique.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Swindon Open Studios 2011

This week-end and the next, I am taking part in the Swindon Open Studios at The Platform. We will be 10 artists in this space. 


The Platform (Ex railway museum),
Faringdon Road,
SN1 5ED Swindon

  • 10th  -11th September 2011, 11am to 5pm and
  • 17th - 18th September 2011, 11am to 5pm

Monday, 5 September 2011

Late roses

Late roses - Watercolour by Benoit Philippe