Once upon a time I was living in Germany. It is a long story how I ended living up there, after having being born in the French Pyrenees and spending my youth in different parts of France. But it is thanks to an encounter in Spain with a German physics student that this could happen. Back to France after the Spanish holiday, I packed the most necessary things and escaped from Toulouse, the southern French town where I was studying at that time. I didn’t tell anybody, being much too scared that they would try to stop me. I was always a very impulsive person, especially where guys were involved, and nobody should cross my path when I’m making my move!
Anyway, this is how my life in Germany started, in the wonderful university town of Goettingen, where I studied maths and physics, without knowing one word of German. My God, when I think about myself sometimes, and the things I did, and still do, I really get dizzy… frankly I must have some balls somewhere!!!!
It is in Goettingen that I also took up art and writing again. Another guy, another long story…
There were other milestones in my German life, but before I definitively moved to Spain I lived in a lovely little town called Reute, next to Freiburg, in The Black Forest. I had just decided to dedicate myself entirely to art, giving up my mathematician career. In those days I spent much time sketching. Sketching everything: landscapes, people in the cafes, children in swimming pools, animals, stuff … my new artist’s eyes fell in love with everything I saw!
Unfortunately I have hardly anything left from the work I did at that time, I left everything back in Germany, auf niemals wiedersehen…. But recently, just before the Joe Bonamassa gig, we went to empty my house near Benidorm and luckily I found some of these sketches done in Germany there, around the year 2000. It was an in-between time where I spent half of the year in Germany, and the other half in Spain, before I moved to Spain for good. The painting above is one of them. It features the place next door to where I lived in Reute. In fact it is originally a black and white ink drawing, but I thought it might be nicer in colour, so I just water coloured it. Unfortunately I don’t remember the colours of the roofs, houses or the church there, so I went with my fantasy. As you can see, at this point the houses in my drawings were not dancing yet, as they used to do in my sketches of Portugal for example. Perhaps due to the fact that I hadn’t found out yet that houses can dance… or more probably that German houses don’t really like to dance! One should give them some beer, I guess
You can see a stork on the roof of the church. I loved the storks up there, directly in front of my atelier window. I spent much time watching them, listening to them and even sketching them. Here is a watercolour, based on one of these sketches
I know that some of my followers here love to see where exactly are the places I mention, so here is Reute on the Google map
As I said, I started sketching much outside in Germany. I had always a sketching book and a pen with me, wherever I went. Some of the sketches have annotations on them, stuff which happened to me while I was painting in the nature. Here is an example of words written on one of the sketches (in German though):
“An old lady saw me drawing and came to me. She smiled at me, and without looking in my book she asked
“Are you doing a lovely drawing?”
“Well, I am trying…”
Reading these words, I remember now how much I appreciated the German people … they were always very discreet when they saw me sketching. Never tried to have a look behind my back, always very polite and discreet, and staying at a respectable distance, not invading my private space. And so happy to see me painting their lovely landscapes, houses and storks!
So, I think it is enough for now. I will probably dedicate some more posts to my German time, having now some sketching material to publish. My next post should be about Cafe Life, in and around Reute… be prepared to see some big jugs of beer!
These artworks are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widget below to access my FAA Gallery