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.

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