La Maison Rose

Upon returning from Paris, I decided my first painting from the trip would be the quaint pink house turned bistro at 2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir, Montmartre. I began the painting process in Mid-April and just finished up a couple of weeks ago, taking a hiatus to create the 5th grade promotion video for my sons’ class.

Because of the hilly nature of the Montmartre landscape, the perspective on this one was extremely difficult. From where I took the photograph, the bistro and street corner were slightly below me receding into the distance at a slight angle. Not one single point was straight!

While researching La Maison Rose, I learned that Picasso himself had frequented the place and that it was home of Germaine Pichot, a well known painting model and notorious femme fatale. Picasso and Carlos Casagemas, Picasso’s best friend, met Germaine when they first came to Paris in 1900. Carlos fell madly in love with Germaine, but the feelings were not mutual.

In 1901, in his grief and drunkenness, Carlos attempted to shoot Germaine. He missed his target and instead turned the gun on himself. Shocked and saddened by his friend’s death, Picasso fell into a depression. It was this tragic incident that provoked his Blue Period. Germaine was depicted in Picasso’s 1905 painting At the Lapin Agile shown below.

La Maison Rose, Montmartre, Parris, France.
La Maison Rose, Montmartre, Parris, France.

The Blind Man’s Meal] is one of Picasso’s most moving pictures from his Blue Period (autumn 1901–mid-1904). Most prevalent among his subjects were the old, the destitute, the blind, the homeless, and the otherwise underprivileged outcasts of society. The painting is not merely a portrait of a blind man; it is also Picasso’s commentary on human suffering in general. Additionally, the work elicits affinities to Picasso’s own situation at the time, when, impoverished and depressed, he closely identified with the unfortunates of society. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The destitute outcasts featured in Picasso’s Blue Period gave way, in 1905, to circus performers and harlequins in more colorful settings. The Lapin Agile was originally conceived to decorate a bar in Montmartre, the interior of which is depicted here. Standing at the counter is Picasso himself, dressed as the melancholy and gaunt Harlequin in a vivid diamond-patterned shirt and three-cornered hat. Behind him, in profile with heavy makeup and pouty lips, leans Germaine Pichot, wearing a gaudy orange dress, bead choker, boa, and feathered hat. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Church

Graphed Photo
Photograph of Church with Gridlines

A few months ago I discovered this incredible photograph of a beautiful church on line. I fell in love with the bright vibrant colors and knew I had to paint it.

The first step was to paint the blue background. Once that was dry it was time to tackle the drawing. Given the “ant” perspective, I knew it would be very tricky and would not look right if the drawing itself wasn’t correct.  Therefore, I drew a grid on the photograph composed of 1″ square blocks.

Charcoal Drawing
Charcoal on Canvas

Next, I  transferred the grid to the canvas using a 2:1 ratio. Using a charcoal pencil, I drew in the image.

Below is the finished painting. If anyone knows which church this is or its whereabouts, please let me know! Now that I have spent many hours with it, I would love to know the history!

Take Me to Church
9″x12″ oil on canvas adapted from photograph.

Venice

In between learning to paint with oils, I needed to create something in a familiar medium, to remind myself that I can do this! I came across this incredible picture of Venice, Italy on Facebook. My depiction doesn’t do Venice justice, but I like the overall feel, especially the water. This was also a great learning experience in perspective. It’s been since my Design days, about 20 years, that I have tackled perspective drawing. So, I had to dig deep in my memory bank to retrieve those lessons. It’s not perfect, but nothing ever is.