We loved the first day in Biarritz and there was so much stuff for me to sketch there, that we decided to stay longer. The next day was a Sunday, and the sun was shining brighter than ever… needless to say, the town was full of people! Not the ideal environment for me to work, as you will see…
This time I decided to stay in the little harbour, an amazing architecture of stone walls, boats, houses, castles and even cathedrals, so intertwined that everything seems to be everywhere at the same time. A great painting subject, complicated though…
By the following sketch, while I was drawing, I was imagining a whole story in which boats took on a life of their own and were marching into the town to take control of the humans… what a silly story! 🙂
After some sketches there, I decided to go somewhere else. On my way I was accosted by two guys, who were sitting there all the time, not very far away, watching me.
“I love people who draw!, the younger one said!
My normal way of reacting to people when I am out sketching is to say thanks, to give a big smile and to run away: the last thing I want is to get involved in a conversation, not about art and even less about myself. But this guy was somehow so cute in the choice of his words, that I decided to stop by, not sure though if it was not the beginning of a refined flirting process. French guys are good at that, at least they think they are…
He then wanted to see my sketches. I hesitated -I hate to show my work in the street- but again, he knew how to ask and I showed him the above sketches. In their raw state though, that is only as a pen drawing, without the water colours which I always add later on.
“Don’t tell me that you do all that directly on the paper with an ink pen?”
Well, yes I do sketch directly with an ink pen. I never did it differently, and never really thought about it, I guess sketching is such a spontaneous thing to me, that I don’t even envisage the possibility of erasing… in fact, I would hate it!
The guy was really amazed, and he looked at me as if I was the seventh wonder of the world. But again, this belongs to the French mens flirting tactic! Then he started asking me a lot of personal questions, and I knew the time had come to leave. To keep him happy, though, I gave him a leaflet from my gallery, and went away.
I found another great place, far from curious looks, but really close to where the two guys sat, only that they couldn’t see me. I heard them discussing the leaflet
:Oh look, these are trees… but somehow they look like womens bodies… woah!”
They were obviously looking at one of my Fantascapes,, I smiled within myself.
But the peace didn’t last long. I suddenly heard a voice behind me saying
“You should take your measurements!”
Well, yes perhaps I should, above all when what I am trying to draw is so huge and complicated, but I don’t, and I even hate it! With a smile I told the guy that it was not my style, that I love freedom, that taking measurements kills the spontaneity of my art, etc. In fact I was quite angry with myself for having reacted and again interrupted my work, above all as he kept repeating:
“Yes, I understand.. but still, you should take your measurements!”
I started feeling incredibly upset. The fact is too that I had just started a new sketch, that there was hardly any line on my paper, that it was the worst moment to interrupt me, and certainly not in telling me about the necessity of taking measurements. The first lines I put on the paper always decide what follows, if the sketch will be good or not.
I tried to keep patient, but after a while I couldn’t take it anymore, and my smile vanished. The guy then said:
“Ok then… you draw very well though… have a nice day!”
And he left. If I am not wrong, he was one of the painters who were selling their stuff outside in the harbour. Well, I don’t want to sound harsh, but I prefer not to take my measurements and paint how I do than to paint as he does…
A question of taste…
and of measurement I guess!
Here is the famous unmeasured piece… I saved what I could!