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Where were we? Oh, right. We were here:

Remember how I wanted to do a picture about my Obligatory Proustian Moment in the story of my most recent road trip in France (to be the subject of my next book, That Damn France Book)? It was about the time I was in a little town in the Loire Valley, having dinner in a cafe, and they had a radio on, and I heard a French pop song from the 1980s that I hadn’t heard in 30 years, and I was wooshed back into a reverie of romantical proportions, and how I wanted to do a picture of that moment?

So I painted this landscape(see above). But we all decided (well, me and Barbara who knows Azay-le-Rideau [in the Comments] decided– I appreciate the feedback!) that it looked better up-side down, like this:

Right. So here we are (see above, for the time being). I got the background of this illustration done, and now I’m ready for the close up.

When I’m undecided about where to go in a painting, I make a color copy of it. And then, on that color copy, I try out an idea — I make a rough painting of what I think might work. In this case, this is the idea that I dabbed onto that color copy of the Obligatory Proustian Moment background:

And I thought, well, that doesn’t look too horrible.

So the next step was to committ paint to the real O. P. M. background watercolor painting:

It’s OK. It’s meant to be dreamy, and non-literal. Proustian, in other words, in a Loire Valley setting. Which is a tad redundant: did you know that Proust’s Combray is in the Loire Valley?

But I cannot leave well enough alone. You see, in an illustrated book (and take note, art journalists) I also have to think about how this illustration will look with text — the text is as much a part of the page design as the art work. So now I’m playing with the idea that I want to break up this horizon with text — maybe in a box, maybe just super-imposed on it. It might look like this:

It’s still a work in progress. And I have to track down the copyright holder of that song lyric, and ask if I can re-print the words (maybe they’ll look kind of nifty in that text box!).

Your opinions are welcomed.

3 comments to Words to a Song.

  • Janet

    Yes, this is quite dreamy. The colors are soft and inviting. The addition of the trees provides welcome contrast. I get the mood of this. But what throws off my eye is the purple shadow on the left — let’s assume I don’t know this is a painting turned upside down or what the little watery dollop of purple once was intended to be. Yes, I get that it’s non-literal, but the jagged shape confuses me — everything else is soft and fuzzy, so I don’t know what to make of this out-of-context element. So that’s why I’d move the text box to the left to cover all or most of it, leaving the water’s edge more open and inviting. That would make me want to paddle my kayak into the imperceptible break in the trees, anticipating there is a tiny cove back there where a big flat rock juts into the water, a perfect place to sit and drink wine out of the bottle.

  • How about putting the chateau back in above the reflection? (instead of the trees) I know that’s not where it’s really situated though, so maybe that’s not a good idea. But who else will know it’s Azay-le-Rideau

  • Nadine

    Janet’s got a good point. How about adding other phantom shadows in the lake to emphasize it’s a dream? Isn’t Azay known for having trumpeter swans?

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