Friday, February 16, 2007

After Van Gogh: Drawing the Languedoc Landscape

St Domenic's View from Fanjeaux
11" x 14" pen and ink on hot press paper
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Fanjeaux is located west of Carcassonne, in the French département of Aude, a part of the ancient Languedoc province and the present-day Languedoc-Roussillon région. I was told that St Dominic (Dominic De Guzmán ) saw a comet from the 'promenade' place in Fanjeaux where I sketched this view originally. This is the Google Map link for where I was and this is what the local Carcasonne Tourism Information website says
FANJEAUX : After taking the sighting of a comet as the sign of God, St Dominic decided to build a monastery for the cathar women returning to Catholicism.
Apparently he has been named as the Patron Saint of Astronomers - which is presumably connected.

Anyway back to drawing and Van Gogh! One of the key tenets of the Dominicans is to find truth whereever it lay - maybe a view that Van Gogh would have sympathy with?

My original sketch was done inside my hire car as the wind made doing anything outside virtually impossible. I think we were having a slightly early taste of the Mistral. (The orginal thumbnail sketch and colour sketch can be seen in my post on 15th February last year - More Mistral Sketching from the car). When I checked the colour sketch against the photograph I took at the same time I saw that I had distorted the perspective! This time I allowed myself to work from the photograph - albeit I still eyeballed it. I find perspective starts to fall into place as soon as I get a frame round a view - as Van Gogh may well have found with his perspective finder. Anyway, the latest version was drawn in pencil first (see below)


.....and then I started to ink in using what I thought were VG marks! On reflection, I was using a Roting Art Pen with an extra fine nib and I don't this helped particularly with achieving VG type marks. The pen and ink sketch at the top certainly looks more me than it does Van Gogh. However, his drawing style is in no way easy to emulate - it's very sophisticated, stylised and fluent. However it was interesting to try making more stylised marks and I'm going to get my reed pen out next time. When I finally get this drawing sorted it's destined for a place in my Views and Vistas Gallery on my website.

PS I thought I'd lost this post when my computer died. Fortunately since my blog, website and e-mail are all web-based it was less of a nightmare than it might have been! I'll tell you more later............

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