Hawaii and The South of France have long inspired artists with their intense colors and scenic landscapes. I touched on Mediterranean style in my last blog: “What Defines a Mediterranean Style Home?”
The sky and ocean in the Côte d’Azur are a specific color of vibrant blue in the summer months. What is called Mediterranean blue here ranges from a deep blue, actually called French Ultra Marine in oil painting, to a powdery cobalt blue. The difference with Hawaii is the absence of turquoise or pthalo blue in the Mediterranean.
The difference in color schemes is also an absence of black lava color in the Mediterranean. The rocky coastlines are composed of ochre and grey schist stone.
My swatches of colors in the South of France: bright yellows and ocres, sandy off white and grays like the pebbly beaches. Variations of Mediterranean blue in the ocean, skies, colored shutters and wooden boats. Luminous whites of the lime plaster. Natural driftwood colors. Terra cotta reds in the clay roofs. Lavender in the flowers. Olive green like the leaves of the fig trees and, well, olive trees. These are the colors that have inspired artists throughout the years in the South of France and are echoed in the architecture.
During the long summer days in France the sun sets at 10 pm allowing time for painting en plein air. Plein Air painting—literally painting outside in open air and observing the changing colors and light —originated in France with artists like Monet and then spread to California and now is popular on Maui with the fantastic Plein Air event in February.
I am inspired to paint the colorful fishing boats and traditional homes in the South of France but my favorite is the twisted pine and oak trees.
I wish I could capture the sound in these forests in my paintings — thousands of insects called Cigales (Cicada) chirp so loud in unison when it is hot, it feels like the trees are vibrating. This is something you can add to your bucket list: If you are traveling to the South of France, take a detour to our quaint fisherman’s village Le Brusc and go to the Île de Gaou and sit in the forest and listen to the deafening chirping in stereo.
If you are interested in purchasing or renovating a home in the South of France, contact me. I have reliable connections and am bilingual French…my husband is from here! I also know a couple of good places to rent nearby.