By Julie Ferris. B.F.A. Painting, SCAD Savannah
My time here in Lacoste has been incredible to say the least! I have learned so much over the past seven weeks, and as this is the last week of my college career I find myself encountering bittersweet emotions as things come to an end. When classes first began I was excitedly anticipating what the weeks ahead would bring and as I look back, those weeks far outweighed my expectations. Thankfully, I could focus more intently because I was enrolled in only two classes this quarter. The Landscape Painting and Treasures of Provence courses really worked hand in hand as I travelled around the area for Treasures of Provence, which in turn helped me to learn more about the land Iwas painting and studying in my landscape class. My heart truly gravitated towards the Landscape class though, as my love is for painting, and I was surprised to see how I developed in the way I perceived the land around me. At first, I was overwhelmed because I felt the need to paint everything around me exactly how I saw it. I became frustrated by this, as it was an impossible task to take on, and there was no way I could do it. So I began to take smaller steps and focused on the things that can really make or break a Landscape painting like the palette choice, mark making decisions, color placement, and composition. I discovered that even a seemingly boring and uninteresting view could be made beautiful by making the right compositional decisions and creating a certain feel or mood within the piece. It was hard for me to step out of my box of limitations that I subconsciously make for myself, but as I purposely made decisions and tried new things, I continued to learn from my mistakes and successes.
In my Landscape painting class I focused on trying to paint in a range of different styles as well as painting to evoke certain moods and feelings about a place. Since my main focus as an artist is to paint works related to the equine, I explored different possibilities to incorporate my focus into some of my landscape pieces. In one sense, it was not very difficult because horses are usually found outside in some sort of landscape, but in another sense, very difficult because I strive to paint horses in a different perspective than what is typical. My goal is not to justpaint a horse into a landscape because I like them and think they are beautiful, but to really dissect other options and ways to portray the horse in its natural landscape that is different than the commonly found kitschy paintings of horses. One of the ways I do this is by incorporating an element of humor in the piece, which I decided to use in some of the horse paintings I worked on here in Lacoste. To find my models, I searched out a local barn that I ended up riding at a few times located in Bonnieux. It is called Ecurie de Meille and operated by Aurélien and Audrey Silvestre. If possible, I make a conscious effort to paint horses that I have connections with somehow. I was pleased that I had the opportunity to spend some time and make personal connections with these horses before I painted them. As an artist, I am always more connected to my paintings when I truly know the subjects that inspire me.
Photo credits: Julie Ferris