I often feel that when travelling in the South of France, it is a pilgrimage for those greats who have painted here before and sometimes think “How do you have the audacity to paint here?”
A few years a ago I got told off for sitting in Cezanne’s chair in his studio in Aix en Provence, we had climbed up to his studio, I was recovering from a smashed knee cap, a lady stood up from said chair so I sat down, the steward was not impressed “Le chaise de Cezanne!!” OOps!!! The studio is well worth a visit if you are in Provence, just don’t sit on the chair, and you can still see Mont St Victoire through the houses and on the road out of Aix.
Yesterday we went to Collioure, two hours along the coast near the Spanish border, I have just finished reading “On Montmartre” a fabulous book relating mainly to Picasso and Matisse their competition, and relationship with the Steins, up to 1910. I made this book last because I wanted to stay there with the painters and experiences.
We’ve been to Collioure before when it has been heaving with “toute le monde” later in the year, you can see more this time of year, there are no canopies or parasols on the harbour blocking the views.
We had a super lunch sitting watching the boats come and go, Paul didn’t fancy wine so I had quite a bit.
The sun had been quite strong in the morning it softened in the afternoon, I set up to paint looking towards the church on the port, spoke to many French people, with the gut feeling, I should not be painting here, someones looking over my shoulder and laughing. But really enjoying what I was doing, could it be the wine?
I was putting the final marks when, the yacht engine started and disappeared out to sea, timing is everything. I’d had a great hour painting in a beautiful place and had many compliments from passersby many who lived in Collioure and knew where Norfolk was?