Watercolor – Villefranche sur Mer, France


I’d be amiss if I continued with the Watercolor series without mentioning the person who taught it to me. Carl Johnson (the artist, not the Olympic athlete) was our guide on the watercolor sketch trip through the French Riviera and Tuscany. You may notice that much of my style mimics his. My better attempts were those of a permanent ink hand sketch with accented color filling in between.

Each day we would find ourselves in a different locale and he would give us tips on the environment. We would all disperse and proceed with searching out our subject and completing the painting. Afterward we would rendez-vous and he would critique our work. At night we would meet up for a good supper and numerous beverages. The thing that made the trip so special was not only learning watercolor, but the interesting conversations and the adventure of traveling together. He was one of us discovering the place and enjoying the moment.

We have kept in touch after all these years. He sends us a Christmas card every year and we visited him a few times in Galena, IL while we lived in Chicago. We happened to be in his studio on our first wedding anniversary and he gave us a print of his painting of the Versailles Chateau. Very appropriate on a few levels and it proudly hangs in our dining room.

Here is another watercolor from the 1992 sketch trip. This was done during another day trip from Nice along the French Riviera. Villefranche sur Mer and the surrounding area is where they filmed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

You have got to love Google Maps (with the help of maporama). Using the two, I was able to locate the set up for this watercolor. The subject is to the right of the map and I was sitting at the left end of the beach that crosses the page. And here is a shot of the actual subject. It is on the left of the photo.

Hopefully, you can see a bit of progress from the previous one. The greenery is decent, but it keeps it from being framed and hung. Kudos to anyone who can figure out what was added at a later date and was still done incorrectly.

Here is the next installment in this series and the final installment.

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~ by Frank on January 1, 2006.

4 Responses to “Watercolor – Villefranche sur Mer, France”

  1. I’m still impressed with your perspective. If I had to guess what you added, I would say the tree on the far right. But I wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t said anything. Very good work, Frank! You have a real talent and a real eye for watercolors. I’ve got a real mindbender of a teacher for you if you ever want to pursue more of this. Well done! I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work.

  2. I love these little watercolors. They remind me of St-Exhupery’s illustrations for ‘The Little Prince’ or illustrations used for Wes Anderson’s ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’.

  3. Thanks both of you. The next one is in a different style, but it is still one of my favorites.

    The unfortunate thing is that it will probably be a while before I do some more of these. Though I’d love to. Either I’m too busy here at home with other things to do, or have too many other things I would like to see when we’re on trips. Taking a few minutes to take a good photo takes up less time. That’s what made that trip so special since the time was delegated for it. The last one I did was of Wrigley Field a few years ago for my Dad’s 50th. I’ll try to get a photo of it.

    Cathy, the next time you’re in Galena, drop by Carl’s gallery. It’s on Main Street and he is there part time. He’s the one with the scarf and he’ll talk your head off. Very special man.

  4. I will do that, Frank. It’s been awhile since we’ve been to Galena, but I’ve always loved it. It’s so hilly you wouldn’t know you’re in Illinois. My parents just recommended the new Irish B&B there too. They visited with Aunt Margo and Uncle Wayne. Maybe it’s time for a trip, and I may take my watercolors with me!

    I’m looking forward to your other watercolors!

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