New Home in France

I haven’t blogged here for a very, very long time. The reason is that my husband and I have been in the process of moving to France for a long while now. After years of planning and making many trips to France to explore various cities and towns, we finally arrived last fall and found a great apartment in the heart of our choice of cities – Aix-en-Provence. But it took two more trips back to our house in Austin to finish packing what stuff we wanted to bring with us and what stuff to have shipped, and then to get our house ready to sell.

In the meantime, I haven’t had much bandwidth to paint, nor have I had much in the way of art equipment and supplies. I’ve bought a few things here, but wow! – the cost of replacing a lot of the brushes, paints, and tools that I have been accumulating over the past approximately 4-5 decades seems astronomical compared to what I originally paid for things. I don’t know if that’s more related to time or to place.

On top of that, except for a couple of cameras, all the equipment I usually use for photographing my paintings is in our shipment, which is due to arrive – oh, maybe next month. Most of my office equipment isn’t here yet, either. And I need to buy a new easel for painting on canvas.

I have a good-sized room with a great balcony for my studio/office, and I did get a worktable, a desktop, some drawers, and a really nice chair – all from Ikea, which luckily delivers. I still need some shelves and storage equipment, but I’m planning on waiting until my art and photo stuff arrives so that I can try to make sure I get just the right configuration of furniture in which to organize my art stuff.

I left behind many of my paintings, drawings, and prints in Austin. A lot of them got re-homed during our estate sale, some are at Top Drawer Thrift in Austin (sales benefit Top Drawer, not me), and I do believe quite a few got thrown away. I packed most of my favorites, most of my smaller drawings, and my sketchbooks. I do hope French Customs doesn’t have a problem with that, as we have a lot of blank wall space waiting to be filled.

As I chose to come here on a retirement visa, I am not allowed to sell or give away any of my things for at least the first year after our things arrive. At present, I do not plan to change my visa to a Talent visa, which would allow me to practice my art professionally, but I do plan on continuing to paint, because…how could I not?

In the meantime, I have done some sketches and small works on paper, my favorite of which is this small painting inspired by Lee Bontecou’s sculptural ideas.

“Batterie Extraterrestre” – Watercolor pencils and watercolor on watercolor paper – 7.9″ x 7″

Three Recent Small Works on Paper

Exploring some squiggly lines in 12×12 inch watercolor paintings.

Mixed media on watercolor
12″ x 12″
© 2013 Marilyn Fenn
“Swoosh!” Watercolor with mixed media on watercolor paper 12″ x 12″ © 2013 Marilyn Fenn
“Bottleneck” Watercolor on watercolor paper 12″ x 12″ © 2013 Marilyn Fenn

“It’s Spring!”

"It's Spring!* Watercolor and ink on Portofino paper 6" x 6" © 2013 Marilyn Fenn
“It’s Spring!” Watercolor on Portofino paper 6″ x 6” © 2013 Marilyn Fenn

I usually consider that spring has arrived when our neighbor’s gorgeous saucer magnolia tree blooms, and that happened about February 7th this year — a bit early, I think.  That’s also usually the same time that the redbuds start to bloom, and they bloomed beautifully, but now the blooms are gone.  I didn’t even take any pictures of those this year, for no good reason(!).

But it has seemed to be cooler this spring than other years of late, and I know some of you have still been getting some snow!  So, in celebration of a gorgeous spring for everyone (in this hemisphere), here’s another new painting.

60th Painting of the Year

“Not-So-Daily Painting 2013-60” Watercolor on Portofino paper 6″ x 6” © 2013 Marilyn Fenn

OK, so most of them are small or very small little watercolors on paper.  I am trying to do one every day, but sometimes, the larger works (and life, too) consume me completely.  Still, I find doing one of these almost every day to be a very good exercise.  I have to keep finding new images, new arrangements, new palette choices to put on paper.  Invention happens.  🙂

New Watercolor: “Splat!”

"Splat!" Watercolor and gouache on Sennelier cold-press watercolor paper 12" x 12" © 2013 Marilyn Fenn
“Splat!” Watercolor and gouache on Sennelier cold-press watercolor paper 12″ x 12″ © 2013 Marilyn Fenn

I thought I’d try out the Sennelier watercolor block I discovered the other day buried in my studio.  Watercolor is a medium I’m not terribly familiar with.  I did maybe 10-12 large watercolor still lifes back in the late ’80s, but otherwise, I have mostly avoided it — except for small watercolor pencil drawings (paintings?) over the last few years — until just a few weeks ago.

This time, I soaked the paper pretty thoroughly, taped it down, and started to paint.  Hours later, the paper was still mostly wet, and the colors were still bleeding.  So, this is messier than I’m completely comfortable with, but there it is, FWIW.

They Can’t All Be Perfect

"Wheeeee!" - Watercolor and gouache on heavy Raffine paper - 5.25" x 5.5" - © 2013 Marilyn Fenn
“Wheeeee!” Watercolor and gouache on heavy Raffine paper 5.25″ x 5.5″ © 2013 Marilyn Fenn

From earlier this month — I almost had to throw this one away, but I think I more or less saved this watercolor with the judicious addition of a bit of gouache…and more stuff!