October 14 - The topic for today is
My impressions of Roussillon,
a hilltop village of color
After exploring Roussillon, an incredible village built out of ochre stones,
we all discovered why capturing the incredible earth tones of nature on canvas
or paper is every artist's dream. Artists can test their palettes and skills
of color mixing by trying to capture the atmosphere and natural beauty of
these cliffs of magnificent stone. There are at least seventeen different
variations of ochre in the village which really brings a challenge to painters
of all levels. The vibrant colors and dazzling structure of the cliffs bring
light throughout the entire village and the vast landscape of Provence.
You enter the village and glance over the edge. It is amazing. You are looking
straight down at a gigantic cliff. The red and yellow ochre colors are striking
yet very harmonious. You are filled with warmth and radiance; you're in the
presence of natural beauty and glowing color. You walk throughout the village
and discover the many color variations hidden inside and out of the houses
Then it is time to visit the quarry. Your family runs ahead but you tag on
behind them, searching for any colors you hadn't seen in other houses before.
You finally reach the quarry and step inside the red dirt. You look up and
are immediately stunned.
These were my exact feelings as I entered the village and quarry. I remember
feeling as if all of the beautiful cliffs around me were separating and leaving
a narrow passageway through the quarry
like Moses parting the red sea.
As a painter myself, I was inspired by all of the earth tones - from yellow
ochre to Indian Red and Burnt Sienna there is an amazing contrast of colors
in every corner of the village. I couldn't stop myself from picking up small
portions of dirt and sampling them to see how they differed from one another.
I was even mixing them together and found that it was pretty much the same
as mixing paint on a palette. The cliffs are tall and bold, and I was obsessed
with taking pictures of them looking through the many groves of gorgeous trees
stained red from the dirt. It was amazing to see all of the earth tones and
color contrasts I have to use in my paintings in the scenery around me.
Perhaps the most fascinating thought for me was that the beautiful blended
colors, enormous size of the cliffs, and breathtaking enclosed structure of
the quarry was all an act of nature. It seemed unnecessary for an artist to
have to study the stones and colors up close. The colors are so brilliant
it looks as if you could capture their beauty from several miles away. The
splendor of this village is shed in all directions through out the mountainous
landscape. We have been to many nice towns in Provence, but none quite like