Monday, 27 August 2012

Summer tea

Summer tea - Oil on canvas panel (6" x 8") by Benoit Philippe

As strawberries in in season, I bought a basket to paint them. The great thing about painting them was that, when I was finished... I could eat them. Delicious!

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Hackpen White Horse

The Hackpen White Horse - Oil on canvas panel (6" x 8") by Benoit Philippe

This white horse has several name, probably because of the surrounding villages. It is named The Hackpen or Broad Hinton or Winterbourne Bassett white horse.

White horses are an ancient tradition in Wiltshire. There are made of chalk and you can see them from far away. You can read more on the subject on the Wiltshire White Horses website.

I did this painting on site last week-end, in the early afternoon of Sunday. I stopped the car on the side of the road and sat on an old tree trunk with my pochade box. The weather was splendid and I ended-up with sunburns on my forearms - noticeable incident considering the dreadful weather we had most of the summer in the UK.

I took a reference photo, just in case, but didn't use it.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Swindon Open Studios 2012

You are invited to visit me during Swindon Open Studio 2012 weekends.

Swindon Central Library
Regent Circus
Swindon, Wiltshire

I will be exhiting on the ground floor, in the former reference library.


Saturdays 8th/15th September: 10am-4pm and

Sundays 9th/16th September: 11am -3pm

I’ve been busy creating new paintings to exhibit during the open studios. I al so plan to bring my easel on paint during the weekend.

Related resources

Friday, 17 August 2012

Le Regal – Watercolour and ink

Last week, the whole family was in Ardeche in Le Regal, a hamlet near Antraigues-sur-Volane (France).

Le Regal - Watercolour and ink by Benoit Philippe (Click on the image to enlarge)

The access road to the house was so narrow that you could only cross another car at a few points. We had to reverse more than once…

The garden looked beautiful and I sat under a tree, at the beginning of the afternoon, to make this painting.

The process is different from the usual ink drawing with colour washes (that I also like to do). I followed this order:

  1. Pencil outline
  2. Masking fluid to reserve some areas
  3. Watercolour painting (on day one)
  4. Ink drawing on top of the watercolour (on day two)

This approach gives interesting results:

  • I don’t need to draw everything because the colours are already building the image. The ink drawing is more “open”, add some accents or bring out the focal point.

  • The ink drawing does not need to coincide precisely with the painting. I could add details with the ink drawing that were not in the watercolour painting, or even draw aside from the brush stroke, creating some interesting tension. A photograph of a detail (see below) will show you what I mean.

Le Regal - detail (Click on the image to enlarge)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Painting the beauty of the world

The banner in the photograph stands at the entrance of the Matisse museum in Le Cateau-Cambrésis. The caption indicates that the quotation is an extract from a message sent by Matisse to his birth town in November 1952.

«Révéler un peu de la fraîche beauté du monde.»

Henri Matisse

Which reads in English:

« Revealing a little of the fresh beauty of the world. »

Henri Matisse

This quotation is a perfect illustration of what Matisse intended with his work. He was aiming for a pure and peaceful sensation.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Sculpted tree trunk in Lille

Une maison pour tous (One house for everyone) by Christophe Cardon

This old ash tree has been sculpted by Christophe Cardon, a boat carpenter, in 2003 and 2005. The tree had been stricken by lighting and became dangerous.

The sculpture is in the Parc de la Citadelle in Lille (North of France).


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Joan Miró exhibition at the Musée bibliothèque Pierre André Benoit in Alès

“Miró and graphic arts”

“Miró and graphic arts” (“Miró et les arts graphiques”) at the Musée bibliothèque Pierre André Benoit (BAP Museum) of Alès presents, for the first time in France, a collection of engravings from the Miró Foundation in Barcelona.

This exhibition features 26 large engraving (1.20 metre by 1 metre) done between 1975 and 1978. They combine various techniques: etching, aquatint, scraping.
It was forbidden to take photographs inside the museum, but check the links in “Related resources” at the end of this post to watch some of the works.
Some of Miró’s engravings in books are also on show. Miró worked with the publisher Pierre-André Benoit from 1953 until the 1970’s, mainly for small books, printed in monochrome, and released only in few copies.
BAP Museum
The BAP Museum (Musée bibliothèque Pierre André Benoit) is a modern art museum located in Alès, France. The building is the castle of Rochebelle, beautifully done inside with white walls and hight ceilling. The property was bought by the city of Alès and is a museum since 1989.


Pierre-André Benoit (PAB) (1921-1993) was a printer, poet and sculptor. As a publisher, he worked with many artists, including Miró and Picasso. He donated his collection, now in the museum, to the city of Alès in 1986.

Practical information
Musée Pierre André BENOIT
52 Montée des Lauriers
30100 ALES
Tél. 04 66 86 98 68
Fax : 04 66 34 20 51
“ Miró and graphic arts ” (“Miró et les arts graphiques”) Exhibition
From 5 July until 16 September
Open everyday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Related resources

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Matisse’s gouache cut-outs

The first time Matisse used paper cut-outs was to compose the three panels of La Danse, a large composition he painted for the Barnes Foundation. He reworked it many times from 1930 to 1932. To avoid having to paint and remove the colour, Matisse had sheets of paper painted in the four colours he chose. He cut out forms and moved the pieces around until he reached the final composition. He then painted the coloured masses with oil on the canvas to replace the pieces of paper.

In this first experiment, paper cut-outs were just a tool to work out the colour harmony and composition of the final painting. A few years later, the paper cut-outs became artworks in their own right, even if some of them were then engraved by the publisher Tériade in 1947 for the book Jazz.

Matisse refined the technique of the gouache cut-outs. He said that cutting in the colours in this way reminded him of “the sculptor’s direct carving.” With one gesture the scissors he was defining the line and the volume.

His works with painted papers were infused with memories of a trip to Tahiti he did in 1930: pure colour, the emerald or turquoise water of the Pacific Ocean, corals glowing like sapphires, sponges, jellyfish, fabulous fishes and birds. He was so overwhelmed by the beauty of what he saw on the island that he was unable to paint. He did only a few bad photographs he disgarded soon because he feared they would dampen the strong impressions he felt and brought back in his heart.

Even when he was sick and stuck in bed, he would still cut the coloured papers with his scissors and tell Lydia Delectorskaya, his muse and assistant, where to pin the pieces on the wall. He would work the compositions over and over until he was satisfied with them, altering the forms with new pieces or masking some he had glued before.