Tag Archives: Aix-en-Provence

A week in Provence

I had the privilege to teach a class in the beautiful south of France last week. There were an interesting mix of painters from Alaska, Texas and California as well as Israel and Norway!
The trip was organized by Jackie Grandchamps of French Escapade.  Jackie knows her stuff, she was a pleasure to deal with and did everything she could to accommodate us painters! I highly recommend French Escapade!

We lived and painted in Venasque, which lies in the mountains just east of Avignon, Provence.
We also did excursions to different painting locations like Isle-sur-la-Sorge, Gordes, and St.-Remy-de-Provence, where we painted in the garden of a famous hospital: the same one where Vincent van Gogh checked himself in so long ago. Remarkably, it is still a hospital today! Only the section where van Gogh lived is a museum.

Painting en plein air is hard work when it’s hot and we had very warm weather. Better than rain, that’s for sure, so nobody was complaining. There was always a nice and shady spot where we could hide from the heat! How does one deal with the heat when painting outside? Arguably, it might be better to switch to another medium but when painting watercolors, it is essential to bring a spray bottle to keep the washes wet. In dry conditions, every brushstroke dries in seconds! The sprayer helps to extend the drying time. I also make sure my painting and palette is never in full sun. Before I start my drawing I always spray my wells and close the palette so the pigments are ready when it’s painting time!

In other news: Yours truly will be featured in the October/November edition of Plein Air magazine! I was interviewed by Steve Doherty, the editor, and I am very grateful for being included! Here’s my painting philosophy as the magazine printed it:

“Painting should go deeper than copying nature as it is,” says watercolorist Frank Eber. “I want to find an interpretation of the thing that’s underneath — what gives it life. In essence, I am trying to paint what cannot be painted.”

Maybe I overdid it a bit, eh? …But seriously, wouldn’t that be something!!

The Space Gallery, San Pedro CA

Two for The Space Gallery at the San Pedro Arts Alliance:

le beffroi, 2011 by frankeber

Rue Paul Bert, 2011 ::: Watercolor on paper
Posted in the France gallery

low tide, 2011 by frankeber

Unpublished painting ::: NOT FOR SALE

These two paintings are exhibited at the Gallery at 6th and Pacific in San Pedro. It is quite an honor to be in the company of esteemed artists like Fealing Lin who is also in this exhibit!

The first painting is a scene from the south of France, i a town that is very dear to me as I have lived near there for more than two years. It is a street scene with a bell tower as a backdrop. Aix-en-Provence has mostly pinkish and butter-colored buildings and as the sun bounces off the houses, it creates a wonderful glow in the city streets! I tried capturing this special mood on a long paper format and it brings back many memories.

The second painting is a scene of a boat harbour at low tide with a distant hillside town. It invokes the feel of a typical, foggy English seaside location, although the scene is actually completely made up.

Workshop News: I am conducting an upcoming workshop in the beautiful seaside town of San Clemente, CA. It will be at the San Clemente Art Supply Store, Saturday and Sunday June 4&5. I’ll be teaching advanced watercolor techniques based on tonal values to create atmosphere, balance, and unity in painting.

For more information or to reserve a space, please click here or contact:
San Clemente Art Supply, 1531 N El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA, (949) 369-6603

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Rain shower, Provence

Rain shower, Provence 2010 by frankeber

Rain Shower, Provence, 2011 ::: 17″ tall x 12″ wide :  43cm tall x 32cm wide
Posted in the France gallery
Availability : purchase : pricing ::: Contact me

A typical French scene in this Provençal town, especially intriguing since there is a sunny background with a rain-soaked street as a foreground. There is a wide range of tonal values in this painting. Also interesting to notice is that the soft, receding background is composed of warm tones whereas the closer areas are all cool blues and grays. Quite the opposite of what supposedly works in painting: Cool colors recede and warm colors come forward.

I think this scene still works, even though I have broken the rules…

It’s all about braking rules!

Rain shower, Provence, Detail2 by frankeber

Rainy scenes with wet roads are probably where watercolor is at its best. The effect is easily accomplished by pre-wetting the area and dropping in pigment with the easel at the high angle—almost vertical—wet-on-wet.
There is just a suggestion of distant buildings and the tower with a fairly strong tonal foreground. Although the focal point is undoubtedly the person with the umbrella, I tried to keep him or her diffuse with no harsh edges, therefore blending into the scene.
Rain shower, Provence, Detail1 by frankeber

There is no Chinese white or gouache here; all the highlights are the white of the paper. The only body color I used was for the reflection of the car’s taillights; everything else is transparent, which gives it that glow that can only be achieved with the watercolor medium. There is nothing wrong with using opaque color, I just prefer to keep it transparent as much as I can. In my work I always strive to catch the way a place felt at the time I was there.
Details are not so important; shape and tone is.

Happy New Year!

Narrow European streets!

Bellfroix, Aix by Frank EberIf you’ve ever been to France or Europe in general, you’re probably familiar with those claustrophobic and tight streets and alleys in the towns.

Unsuspecting traveler beware: In such places there is actually a good chance a car will be zipping your way, leaving you just enough time to jump out of the way and cling to either side, feeling the draft and wondering out loud: I didn’t
think there’d be enough space here for a vehicle to go through!

I know!

As an artist, it is quite the challenge to paint narrow alleys. Especially when the top of your motif sees bright sunlight, while the bottom is in deep shadow… and all at the same time!

But I am, of course, completely taken by the charm of the scene, there’s no time think too much, you just go for it!