While vacationing in Provence in 2008, I woke up while my 7 travel companions were still sleeping. The villa we rented was called "Pres du Lac", which means "near the lake". There was no lake visible in any direction. From the villa's name, I knew there must be one somewhere nearby, so I decided my early morning mission was to find the lake. I walked for about an hour deep into woods on a long dirt road and eventually came to this hill just as the sun was rising over "les Alpilles'. The landscape was instantly illuminated and it was a very spiritual moment. Moments later, I found the lake on the other side of the hill. The scene is forever in my memory and one of these days I will paint that lake. It was incredibly beautiful. The locals were very upset to learn an "outsider" had found their hidden gem. Their secret is safe with me. I did bring the others that evening and we left it prisitne as we found it. We may have enjoyed some good wine there on a few evenings watching the sun set over the lake. After returning home, I painted this scene while it was fresh in my mind. However, I never finished it until this week. My early start left me with all the information I needed about the scene, but 5 years ago I was transitioning from watercolor to oil painting and lacked the experience at the time to get the effect that I wanted. It felt great to finish it up this summer. It stirs up a desire return to Provence.
If you have looked through my paintings, by now you've discovered that I love to walk in the early morning and evening. I am captivated by the stunning light and color I am treated to by sunrise and sunset. The light reflecting on the water and earth brings a harmony to a scene that can leave me breathless. In creating the small 8x10 painting, I became so enamored of the scene I wanted to keep painting when I was done. I went into my studio and began working on a larger version. The different proportions of the 2 canvases meant some alterations, but that was just another challenge that made it fun. The large version is a gallery wrap; I find it easier to deal with edges when I do a smaller version first. I particularly was drawn to the blues and violets in the sand as darkness descended. I used the meandering storm fence to draw the viewer back into the distance at a slow, leisurely pace. The shapes of the houses silhouetted in the distance are meant to give enough information with only a suggestion rising up against the sky. My aim is to keep the scene quiet and the viewer transfixed on the transformation in nature.