The Fantascapes

Painting The Trees and The Fantascapes

Here is the story of the Fantascapes. I have a wonderful sister-in-law called Isabelle. She is herself a painter, she lives in Paris and adores to come to Spain to paint our mountains and trees here. Last time we painted together was in January 2008, on the Costa Blanca, the almond trees were just blossoming, a real feast for the eyes! Day after day we went to the same place at the entrance of a charming village called “Altea La Vieja”, installed our tables and paints and brushes and pads, and started painting trees and mountains. Now, those who know me, know that I can paint trees and mountains with deep pleasure for a while, but not again and again and again!

Now Isabelle had arrived specifically from Paris to paint the blossoming almond trees, and I couldn’t let her down – but I had to find a way to curb my restlessness. One evening I spoke with an artist friend in the USA about that problem, and she advised me to try to see it differently and make something else out of the scenery. Next morning as I sat in front of the trees, I searched for an alternative reality switch in my brain… and I found it! Suddenly the trees started to look different, on the way to humanisation… Yes, suddenly the trees started to look like people… most of the time though like people in despair, or at least in a dramatic situation…

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… and I was so confused and also excited by all these weird people inhabiting the fields that I even forgot to paint their blossoms! I guess they would look less dramatic with them!

Anyway, these early days marked the start of an immense artistic adventure. For a while my brain was totally switched, I couldn’t look at a tree in nature without seeing people, and soon even all other natural elements started to look human, the rocks, the flowers… well, I started at some point that series called “The Fantascapes”, technical variations of the initial watercolour and pastel sketches of people-trees which was the start of many new series, which, I must say, brought me a lot of success and good money, not to be sniffed at! I often think how that adventure began, through boredom in fact, and I am so glad that my restless character, always in search of “the new”, does not allow me to stop too long… in fact, unlike the trees, I was never one to take roots somewhere, this might be the deeper reason!