French Lessons - Part 2

IMG_3057Class started on Friday. I was glad to have had two days to acclimate to the time change and get to know the neighborhood. Class started off at a fast pace and only grew faster.

We began with finalizing the drawing that was pounced on our panels previously. Jean discussed the "Chromatic Link", a secret and ancient method of unifying all of the elements that will be painted within the canvas.  Actually its just toning the canvas.  No secrets. Then we added layers of glazes to create the look of limestone, the material in which the entire niche is constructed. After Jean demonstrated the technique, we laid in the foundation for the ornament above the niche and moved to the background color for the urn.  The marble panels at the bottom would come later, taught by Pierre. Then a discussion of how light affects shadows and how forms dictate their shape. IMG_3069


My buddy Jeannie from Long Island decided to make the trip last minute, and thank goodness, it wouldn't have been the same with out her.  Tre Drole! Lots of wine, baguettes, croissants, and many other French delicacies were shared. The class was full of students from around the world; Taiwan, France, Israel, US, (and California :)) a true "UN of painting!"

IMG_3600Wine at lunch!

Lunch was on our own and many people either brought food or went out and grabbed some to bring back.  One day, Maddie's husband Frank bought sandwiches for everyone! There was always goodies to be had that people would bring to share, croissants, chocolates, and treats. Great conversations around the lunch table.

2013-03-08_14-35-07_569Dinner at "Cafe Aux Crepes" with some students

2013-03-05_14-06-52_714Gates at Chateau

The third day we were guided by Pierre and Jean Luc on a tour of the Palace of Versailles which included the Chateau, the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, and the Queen's Hamlet. I believe the word is gobsmacked.  I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing. Beautiful gilding, marbles, trompe loeil... And surprisingly, a lot of the marbles were painted!  Even the King had a budget! Every last inch of the place was decorated.  We were treated to an unconventional tour where our "guides" pointed out details of the decorations that would not normally be on the tour.  You can read some of what we learned on Pierre Finkelstein's blog.


On our way to the Chateau

IMG_3108Pierre and Mikey, aka, the Crazy Frenchman and "le Stupide Américain"

IMG_3130 IMG_3242The famous Hall of Mirrors

IMG_3227The War Room

IMG_3234Amazing Trompe L'oeil (look closely at the gilded moldings.  Where the figure crosses the molding, the area is flat and has been painted and gilded to create the 3D effect.)

IMG_3315More beautiful marbles, marquetry, gilding, and murals.

IMG_3274The king's bedroom

IMG_3290Marie Antoinette's bedchamber


Some examples of faux marbre:

IMG_3335 IMG_3437 IMG_3448 IMG_3483

Moving on to the Grand Trianon...

IMG_3462 IMG_3434Grand Trianon

IMG_3455Rebecca, myself, and Jeannie

IMG_3442 IMG_3485Beautiful painted armoire holding china in the Petit Trianon

IMG_3516Marie Antoinette's bedroom in the Petit Trianon

IMG_3495 IMG_3500 IMG_3523Even the queen has to go sometimes!


View from the queen's bedroom at the Petit Trianon


Queen's dressing room.  The wall panels raise and lower for privacy.

IMG_3555 IMG_3548The group

IMG_3573Petit Trianon exterior

IMG_3561Interior of the Belvedere.  Look at those grottescas and ceiling!!


Belvedere and Grotto

IMG_3578Some of the sheep that reside on the grounds at Versailles.

I could go on and on!  Check out more images in my gallery on my facebook page

Up next, "French Lessons - Part 3: Mike's Adventures on the Bike"