Class 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.
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!"
Wine 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.
Dinner at "Cafe Aux Crepes" with some students
Gates 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
Pierre and Mikey, aka, the Crazy Frenchman and "le Stupide Américain"
The famous Hall of Mirrors
The War Room
Amazing 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.)
More beautiful marbles, marquetry, gilding, and murals.
The king's bedroom
Marie Antoinette's bedchamber
Some examples of faux marbre:
Rebecca, myself, and Jeannie
Beautiful painted armoire holding china in the Petit Trianon
Marie Antoinette's bedroom in the Petit Trianon
Even 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.
Petit Trianon exterior
Interior of the Belvedere. Look at those grottescas and ceiling!!
Belvedere and Grotto
Some 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"