This spring I've been in France. I went to Paris which was fantastique. I'd never been before. I stayed round the corner from Picasso's old studio in Montmartre.
There was this big Matisse exhibition at the Pompidou, which was amazing. His paintings are always smaller than I imagined, and the paper cuts were a lot bigger. There were a series of photos showing the progress of one painting over a year- what a worrier! I love Matisse, but the vibe of the exhibition was that of an old master, someone becoming antiquated. I'm excited for new pictures more than ever.
Then I travelled south and saw some real mind blowing stuff. Real out in the wop-wops France. I was in the Lot valley, which is the home of the truffle pig. My basic philosophy in life is that of the truffle pig, so I felt I was in good company.
It's where a lot of cavemen used to live. I saw some real cave paintings from 20 thousand years ago. There aren't many caves you can go and see anymore because they're trying to preserve the art. Across two walls were drawn in reds and blacks, mainly line, but some shapes, mammoths and horned animals layered on top of each other. Very spontaneous and vivid. Not stylised in any way, except in some drawings the contours of the cave depicted line and shape.
Also mind blowing was an 11 Century mural I saw in a church showing the 7 deadly sinners being led into the mouth of hell. I don't know how it's still there because it's just painted right there on the wall at head height. Really earthy palette. It was a beautiful thing, almost childlike, but the church was the ballast to keep it serious. Architecture has a lot to do with how you look at pictures.
Something else that really struck a chord with me were the textures of the buildings down there. I took a lot of photos of doors and wooden buildings. Lots of weathered materials. Really amazing colours.
Anyway, lots of fun was had. Ate a lot of nice food. Listened to a lot of Johnny Cash. Lots to do now. Moving house.
Stumps, mixed media on paper, 16"X20"