Sunday, June 12, 2016

"Place du Forum Nocturne", Arles, France

"Place du Forum Nocturne", Arles, France. 20x16 inches, oil on linen panel, $3500. I have been looking forward to painting this view for a long time. I was thinking I would paint it from a different angle than Van Gogh did, but when I got there I couldnt resist. I put my bag down in the crowded Place du Forum and began to set up my easel. I was immediatly approached and reproached by the manager of the restaurant. He told me I couldnt paint there. I asked why, isnt this a public space? He insisted I leave and said some nasty things in French that I didn't understand. Then he said he'd call the police and got on his phone. I have to say it got my blood moving as I didn't know the customs around here and wasn't totally sure he couldn't kick me out. I continued my set up. He came over again and told me to scram b/c I would be bothering his clients. I said I'm adding to the ambiance, as best I could in French. A group came to sit down just behind me and he shut up. I asked them if they minded if I painted in the street. They said they'd love it, so I asked them to tell that to the Monsieur. He acted like he was surprised and that he never asked me to leave. My wife the assertive Quebeqoise came and told him to stop bothering me. He knew not to mess with her. I was able to relax after a while and realized Van Gogh must have dealt with the same or more abrasiveness. It was like a right of passage. The experience of dealing with same problems social and painterly made me feel even closer to my idol. At 11:30 when I finished the guy was avoiding me so I stepped I his way and said in sincerity "Merci pour la bonne experience".

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