Beautiful morning here so Jan and I walked to Vernon for the Saturday market. Between Giverny and Vernon is great scenery so it makes the walk very pleasant. Walking along and crossing over the Seine is also always quite a sight as well.
The market was everything that I hoped it would be and there was such a wonderful sense of community. It's really a shame that we don't have more of these things where I live back home. The fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and other items are mostly local and there are signs that say where they're harvested from. We got some really amazing strawberries that taste like candy, fresh cherries, tomatoes, melon, etc. I plan to go back as often as I can on either Wednesday or Saturday.
Before and after the market, we had a rest at a local cafe with great coffee and some croissant and pain au chocolat (which I incorrectly called a "chocolate croissant"--the crescent shape is what makes something a crescent). I sketched at the cafe and then we headed back along the Seine.
I'll be going out painting in a bit to make the most of my Saturday. I can't believe I've only been here for one week!
Beautiful sites between Giverny and Vernon
Fresh produce from the market
Tomorrow will be the end of my first week in Giverny so I decided to share the work that I've done so far. I've never felt so artistically satisfied in my life and I'm proud of the work that I'm doing. I've also been having a lot of realizations and it's given me a lot of confidence as an artist.
I've settled into a nice routine of getting up at 6:30, eating breakfast, entering the gardens at 7 to paint for 2 hours; I break for lunch to rest and do some sketching and maybe a watercolor in the afternoon. In the evening, after dinner, I paint again since the sun sets around 9:30/10.
Painting has been great, but I've also been drawing a lot. My sketchbook is acting like a visual journal for what I see around me. In the future, I know that I will really treasure these sketches and the memories they depict.
My next step is to plan some larger and more ambitious works. I'll need to do some sketches and maybe a color study in preparation. And I really want to do some portraits also! My motto: Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
As a Studio Ghibli fan, I really enjoy all the art books and extra materials that the studio has available. A series of books that I'm very fond of are the storyboard collections. This storyboard collection is from The Wind Rises, which is one of my favorite Ghibli films.
For anyone unfamiliar with the animation process: the director (in this case, Hayao Miyazaki) drew these storyboards in preparation for the film. The storyboards are the basis for the movie and it shows the major scenes and shots. It also includes camera instructions and additional notes to show the movement and backgrounds. Although the storyboards are a functional part of the film making process, they inspire me as a painter for purely artistic reasons.
Something to keep in mind for anyone looking to purchase these books is that the storyboards are all in Japanese; Although I don't know Japanese, I'm interested in the beautiful artwork. This storyboard collection is especially nice because it's mostly painted with watercolor. The book comes in a textured paper slipcase which is sturdy and keeps the book and pamphlet together. Every part of this book makes me really happy.
Hayao Miyazaki is one of my favorite artists and his artwork and films inspire me a lot. It's amazing to me that he draws all these beautiful scenes from his imagination with such clarity. I'm sure that he uses references for certain things like the planes and some scenery, but the design and composition of each shot is magical. The other thing I love about his drawings is his line work. Miyazaki sums up a whole scene with a few lines. Sargent is another artist who had the ability to simplify a whole scene with simple lines. I also see many parallels between these storyboards and the croquis (thumbnail sketches) of many 19th century artists. Bouguereau himself would do these sort of sketches in preparation for his large oil paintings.
Flipping through these storyboards really feels like watching the movie again but in a manga format. Miyazaki's artistry, imagination and storytelling ability all combine to create these great images. He's truly a master and I look forward to his next film which he's working on now. Check out the pictures and video below.
I love the action and animation of these three shots below
Anyone looking for more info about these storyboard books should check out this video:
Sketch Update - End of March 2023
As the weather begins to turn, I've been feeling more and more inspired. Classes are going really well and we've reached the half-way mark for the semester; next week is spring break so I'll be out painting and working on some upcoming projects. I've been sketching a lot and below is a small selection of my recent doodles.
Lately, I've been focusing more on my own personal aesthetic and the things that I want to say with my art. I think of my sketchbook like a laboratory where I can experiment with my visual ideas. This doesn't always relate to specific subject matter, but I also treat my sketchbook like a visual journal of my life so certain subjects and scenes reoccur.
Other things in my life: My 3 month residency in Giverny is rapidly approaching and I'm thinking of myself like an athlete who's getting into shape for a big game. I want to make sure that I hit the ground running so it's important to keep working and to stay focused before my departure.
Amidst my own painting, teaching and personal pursuits, I've also applied to some plein air competitions so I'm really entering into an exciting period in my life. I've put in a lot of work and I feel like my skills are reaching a new level. I've got to say that my passion for it all is only growing as I approach my 32nd birthday. Okay, back to work!