Watercolor: La Grande Rue, Venasque (& Art Festival dates)

La Grande Rue, Venasque 12.5×8 watercolor (Available here) (sold)

Re-Living Travel Moments

Here’s a little watercolor painted from a quick study made on a lovely afternoon sitting in a shady doorway in Venasque, France. I painted several street scenes to use as studies for larger paintings while on the trip I took in June. That’s my friend Angel, sketching on the lip of the fountain.

Hinting at sunlight in front of shadows, and cobble stone pavers…


I’ll be at the Thousand Oaks Arts Festival this weekend, so be sure to say hello if you’re in the area. I just posted a newsletter with the rest of my upcoming show dates, and you can see that here. (If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, you can do that over here.)

Street Painting Inspiration

Here’s an inspirational 12 minute video of Canadian artist Marc Taro Holmes doing a street scene in watercolor in Alvor, Portugal. There are some nice tips here in his comments, his set up and his sequential approach to painting, and his web site (click his name above) has all sorts of supply lists you may find useful too.



Adding people to the street scene, so it’s not too lonesome…

Make it Last

Painting from travel photos keeps vacations alive longer.  The practice of really looking at your collected imagery while you draw or paint seals the image in your memory even stronger than it did while you were on site.  I took a basic drawing class at Santa Barbara City College in the 80’s, and the instructor directed us to draw the window in our bedrooms from memory in the classroom.  He collected all the drawings, and as homework, instructed us to do 5 quick gestural drawings of our bedroom windows at home. In the next class, he asked us to draw our bedroom windows again from memory, and he hung the first drawings next to the new drawings to illustrate how much acquaintanceship there is in the act of art making. The second drawings were almost unrecognizably better than the first drawings. So, yeah, you really get to know a thing when you’re drawing or painting it directly in front of you. Pull out your travel photos, and go there again. 🙂


Almost finished; adjusting values in the shadows and the sky

Art as Brain Food

Have you visited a gallery recently? Did you hear about this University of Westminster study, documenting that a half-hour walk through a gallery or museum on a lunch break accelerated the drop of cortisol (called ‘the stress hormone’) 5 hours faster than the normal rate of decline?

Excerpt from the study:

  • We studied the impact of a brief lunchtime visit to an art gallery on city workers’ levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as self-report levels of stress and arousal.
  • Average levels of cortisol and self-report stress were significantly reduced by the visit, levels of arousal were unchanged.
  • On arrival at the gallery levels of cortisol were elevated relative to expected values. Following the gallery visit the cortisol concentrations had normalised to those expected for the time of day.
  • The observed drop in cortisol was rapid and substantial; under normal circumstances it would take about 5 hours of normal diurnal decline for cortisol levels to fall to this extent.
  • We conclude that the gallery visit caused rapid normalisation (recovery) from the consequences of high stress.

So, if you don’t have plans for your next lunch break, or you’re looking for a great way to kick off the weekend, email a friend with a date and time, and visit a gallery or a museum over lunch, or on a Friday after work to get relaxed and re-charged for the next task at hand.

Happy painting! See you in the next post!


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Gallery walls at the RISD Museum in Providence, Rhode Island

Art Quote
I think one’s art goes as far and as deep as one’s love goes. I see no reason for painting but that. If I have anything to offer, it is my emotional contact with the place where I live and the people I do. ~Andrew Wyeth

9 thoughts on “Watercolor: La Grande Rue, Venasque (& Art Festival dates)”

    1. Thanks for that, Bobbie – I wasn’t sure at first, and then decided to just plop them into the empty space above the street. So glad we were all there together! 🙂

  1. Belinda, how fun to know that I am directly behind the fountain, sketching it, although I faced to the right of Angel. Your wall is lovely, and the sunlit yellows! I should have explored that side of the rue. Because of our shared time there, it’s cool to realize that at least six of us will have strong memories of the same moments, the same fountain! Traveling with other artists is so much fun!

  2. La Grande Rue is superb – the eye takes it for granted because its so good – but that facing wall is wonderfully done, and if it was’t it would distract from the rest of the painting without you being quite aware what was ‘wrong.’

  3. Wow! Belinda, your painting is so beautiful!
    I loved the study about cortisol too.

    The Museum’s photo reminds me some rooms of the Galeria Degli Uffizi in Firenze! How I would like to come back there…

  4. I LOVE your painting – really captured that wonderful softness of afternoon light – Don’t know if you used Naples yellow (but suspect it was on your palette) – it’s becoming one of my favorite “sun” colors in acrylics. Love Marc’s video – he is one of the urban sketchers that I’ve been following.

    1. Hi Gayle! Thanks so much for your kind compliment. I don’t have naples yellow on my palette, but I use cad yellow, Yellow Ochre and aureolin yellow (also known as cobalt yellow).And yes, Marc is wonderful to watch, very talented and he’s articulate about his process which is a delight. Happy painting to you!

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