Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nice, Day 14

"Rendezvous" by Hilary J. England
Oil on canvas, 22" x 28" x 1"
July, 2012
As I was doing my smaller en plein air paintings, I was tossing around ideas for my "signature" piece of artwork summarizing the essence of mood of my time here in the Riviera.  My assignment and task was to create an artwork that most totally expressed my weeks and experience here, both of the people, places, and culture, artwork in particular.  If I distilled all of that information down, weeding out the obvious images of the Riviera, which is quintessentially, the beach and ocean, and looked harder at the beautiful history, culture, and people that reside and pass through here, I felt an overwhelming urge to compose a painting infusing all of those elements.

I was particularly struck by a little place in Biot that was marked, "Vox Populi," or "voice of the people."  I saw many young, old, glamorous, and age-weathered people, but the Riviera is a beautiful place, known for its stylish abodes, clothes, and people, so I chose to focus on the glamour, beauty, and positive side of this paradise.

I thought this was a bit ironic when I saw a very lovely young girl chatting obliviously on her cell phone, under the writing of "Vox Populi."  To her, the history of this probably means nothing, because she seemed coquettishly arranging a "rendezvous" with a male admirer.  I thought it was intensely relevant and encapsulating to both the subject of my painting, and to life in general:  We should not take things in life from one extreme or another.  We cannot get so swept away in the negative to forget the happiness of living, like this young girl was doing, enjoying her romance and possible tryst, but we also cannot look in the other direction and forget the past, which this writing on the wall soberly reminds us.

I think this sentiment is important to all cultures, and as an American, I am particularly reminded of it today, Independence Day.

So, this is how I came to arrange this painting, "Rendezvous."  I worked faster than I have in a long time, for a painting of this size, but I desperately wanted to make sure it was done with time to dry before Saturday, so I can deliver it to the gallery. I did it, and rejoiced!  Now I can fritter away my last days here.  I am sad to not paint anymore (they certainly won't dry in time to make the journey), but maybe I'll squeak one more out tomorrow--I just can't help myself.

So, for my American friends, have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!!  To all else, God bless.

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