Amid all the visitors, he was hard not to notice.
Monsieur Lavande caught my eye immediately while we walked through the medieval fortress town of Saint Paul de Vence this August. It’s a charming place and definitely a draw for tons of visitors, so the narrow streets became uncomfortably crowded as the day wore on. We stuck to the less-traveled path that circled the perimeter of the town and that’s where I spotted this elegant gentleman. His lavender linen shirt and fedora was picture-perfect Côte d’Azur attire. I think he had the same idea as we did for avoiding the selfie-loving hoards on the main route. Was he a local or a visitor? I couldn’t tell.
My goal for this painting, and why I selected it to paint, was to capture the brilliance of his shirt, all while preserving the drama of sunlight and shadows. The light kicks around the folds of his clothes and even his grey hair and that was quite fun to paint. I preserved the white of the paper for him only; the tree and leaves received a few white highlights, while I allowed the rest of the image to settle back in larger, less detailed areas that could frame him dramatically. My only change would be that I wished he wore sandals instead of loafers, but if he was comfortable in the brutally hot French sun, then good for him. And thank you for letting me paint such an interesting subject.
Arches cold press, 300 lb, 14.25″ x 21.5″