exercise one: quick sketches around the house
I live part of my week in the historic centre of Aix-en-Provence. The apartment is ancient, eccentric and crumbling, with scary cracks, falling plaster and balconies that can only hold the weight of one pigeon at a time. But it’s also beautiful and elegant, and crammed full of ghosts from Aix’s noble past.
The ceilings are incredibly high, windows are full length and mirrored doors divide rooms.
My favourite view is from the sofa looking up into the mantelpiece mirror and seeing the crazy chandelier and a further reflection in a mirrored door. This hasn’t come across here – it feels like an impossible feat of draughtsmanship to get that tunnel of mirrors onto a sketchbook page.
It’s been very tricky fitting floor to ceiling in one picture. I start out with good intentions and soon run out of room for my room. Focusing on one part seems to be the answer. I like the intrigue of this corner of the floor – it’s shouting out – “it’s there! can’t you see it? the thing is right there!”
Looking up in the same corner is less interesting. The lamp makes extravagant shadows but that’s about it. The doorway into the hall, sketched from a chair – I think this sketch worked quite well – there’s an intrigue – the door leads to a corridor with more doors – light floods out of them, the hall itself is dark. Who has opened the door?
The problem I’m having with this exercise is that I live between two places – I’m just getting into the rhythm of Aix and I go scuttling back to the countryside.
These three sketches are the same room, done perched on the back of the sofa. The armchair corner is my favourite spot in the house, but I think drawing a wall full of art will be problematic – I need to see how/if other artists have tackled this. My perspective on the bottom picture right wall has gone a bit awry…
The viewpoint with the guitar has become all about the guitar. Ceilings are high here too, I need to pull back to give the eye somewhere else to look. So I think the most successful of these is the view of stairs that lead off the room.