Tuesday 31 January 2017

February is coming . . .

The days are getting longer and after a long particularly cold spell the weather is warmer and damper which is all to the good after our winter drought and freeze.

It's long been clear to us that interesting subjects that make excellent editorial content are not generally suitable to simply enlarge, frame and put on the wall.  Somehow, like the standard 'mountain lake and pine forest with reflection', they pall by the end of the month.  There has to be something more graphic, perhaps more imaginative and more striking about a picture to turn it into a work of art that will live for a long time on a wall without becoming a part of the wallpaper.  Only a few subjects work of course and apart from the new subjects that we shoot with the intention of offering them as Fine Art Prints, there are a lot of images in our archive that we have a lot of fun and a certain amount of nostalgia experimenting with.

We used to go to Spain quite regularly both to work for clients and to shoot our own pictures for our archive as well, of course, for pleasure and those excellent wines.  One of the best aspects of being European is the tangible signs of history that we live amongst.  For those with a sense of history Spain is a goldmine with unspoiled towns and villages and an architectural heritage different from but comparable to the very best you can enjoy elsewhere.

Some years ago we visited Toledo and now we want to go back and have another look.  There is so much in Castile La Mancha but the Consuegra windmills and fortress are one of the most engaging rural scenes in the whole of the country.  It doesn't need a particularly vivid imagination to picture El Greco at his easel in Toledo or Don Quixote and Sancho Panza roaming the Cerro Calderico.

Until about seven years ago we lived in Provence near the medieval village of Seillans in the Haut Var.  The area is full of attractive perched villages built long ago for defence and now mostly given over to tourism and second homes.  The world has changed.  Here is another way of looking at Seillans.

Going back a few years again, we vividly remember one of the coldest days of our lives.  The temperature was not so much of a problem as the arctic wind driving ice crystals into our faces with a chill which took our breath away.  On this flank of The Jocou, which stands between the Isere and the Vercors Dromois, there are some stands of larches which are quite rare in this largely limestone countryside.  Larches look wonderful at any time of the year and these small coppices add a lot to the landscape.

A more recent winter scene, trees again, that we see from our kitchen and terrace, just over the neighbouring field, growing on the banks of the River Bez.  The Bez is a charming and sometimes quite impressive mountain stream/torrent, always audible from the house but somehow an infinitely more pleasing sound than an adjacent autoroute.  Perhaps it's the association of sounds that decides which one is soothing and which is intrusive.  The Bez is definitely soothing and these trees, a pair that has formed a mushroom shape, make a most satisfying view.

Thursday 19 January 2017

Chatillon-en-Diois - The Big Freeze

Whatever your opinion on global warming, no one can deny that there's
something unusual happening.  The summer of 2016 was one of the
hottest ever recorded here and the last few winters have been hardly winters
at all. There have been all sorts of unusual and largely undesirable effects
from these mild winters, especially an invasion of processional caterpillars that
have disfigured pine trees throughout the region.  This particularly nasty bug
is hard to kill.  Perhaps the current winter, with temperatures on our terrace in
the morning of -14C, will damp the ardour of the nasty bugs and plagues that
have proliferated in the milder weather.
At least, that's what we're hoping as there will be a downside, especially
after having recently planted a lot of small trees and shrubs.
Our home village of Chatillon-en-Diois is not easy to photograph which is frustrating given its spectacular location in the landscape at the foot of Glandasse,  a huge rocky buttress at the southern tip of the Vercors Plateau.  I was looking for a view with snow on Glandasse which adds a glow to an already spectacular mountain
and this is the first result.

Friday 13 January 2017

New Neighbours

To see a much larger collection of our work please click on: www.bowater.fr

Visit our collection on Saatchi Art 

Recently about 200 new neighbours took up residence in the field next door.
Neighbours, as we all know, can be a mixed bunch and we've been threatened with far worse.
This bunch was very welcome particularly as, for a change, we enjoyed their music.  There is something special about the sound of the bells that
sheep, goats and cattle carry in this region.  The bells in
the mountains are a sound of tranquility.
200 good looking woolly neighbours came to eat the remains of the
vegetation on the field and supply some fertiliser which they did quickly
and competently.  
The sole drawback was that they arrived with their
'bodyguards'  -  two enormous Patous or Pyrenean Mountain Dogs which
accompany the flocks hereabouts to protect them from the ever-growing
population of wolves.  We were limited to surreptitious photographs
over the fence as the dogs took a dim view of our interest in their
charges.  And, for obvious reasons, we didn't want to annoy them.
Unfortunately, the sheep didn't stay long but they were a very welcome 
taste of tradition here in La France Profonde and they enhanced the already
magnificent view of Glandasse from our garden.