Painting from the White Room in Aix en Provence

Sometimes two means three and this is often the case with counting the floors is to a walk-up apartment in France. The ground floor with its entrance and coffee bar is frequently not considered the first floor. So up and then up again we go to our one room plus bathroom apartment in Aix en Provence that is a soft egg-white with two large opening shutter-clad windows to the streets – busy streets even though it is single-lane and heavy with foot traffic. Oh, did I mention motorcycles – lots and lots of motorcycles. But we grew to love this simple, clean and sparsely decorated space particularly after visiting the art museums and walking through the outdoor market. The lack of stimulus in this room gave our overloaded sensory systems a chance to rest.

On our first evening, exhausted from travel, we went to bed early and fell asleep even with the street noises thumping, banging, drumming, hollering and honking in the background. At 5:45 am I awoke to the smell of fresh croissants coming out of the oven in the café below us while safety-clad men with leaf-blowers bellowed ahead of two street cleaning machines with a group of twenty-something year olds staggered past munching large hamburgers and yelling in drunken good-natured French to each other. To add to the commotion there are these funny blackbird-like birds that sound like our flickers slapping out their good-morning song against this background of foreign confusion assaulting my sleepy senses. This is Aix en Provence, the cleanest streets anywhere and a cacophony of sounds and colours.

From the vantage point of this room I often stood and observed the interactions and comings and goings of locals and tourists as they passed on the street below. It was a delicious bird-like view where few looked up and noticed my prying inquires.

window to Le Forbin by Terrill Welch 2014_05_18 012

One afternoon while David was taking a long nap I set up my makeshift easel by the open window,

window of possibility by Terrill Welch 2014_05_18 029

pulled out some paint

daubs of paint by Terrill Welch 2014_05_18 046

and gave it my best effort to capture the full richness of this city.

plein air window in Aix en Provence by Terrill Welch 2014_05_18 062

I am happy with the results. The movement and vitality feels like Aix to me with its young university students mixed liberally with business people, city maintains workers and tourists.


25 X 35 cm acrylic painting sketch on archival 185lb paper

From the White Room Aix en Provence 25 x 35 cm acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_05_18 069

(Art Prints are available in my Redbubble Storefront HERE)

 If you were to sleep above a busy street on what city street corner would you like it to be?

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

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12 thoughts on “Painting from the White Room in Aix en Provence

  1. OMG Terrill, that is a GORGEOUS painting you did or as you would call a ‘painting sketch’. You have captured the energy of the city in your painting very well. i love the colours!!!!
    I think i would like to be in the heart of Morocco (though i have not been there… yet.) BUT France would be a close second! Thank you Terrill for sharing your amazing journey with us.
    Hugs to you both.
    :o) Nomad Barbara

  2. “From the vantage point of this room I often stood and observed the interactions and comings and goings of locals and tourists as they passed on the street below. It was a delicious bird-like view where few looked up and noticed my prying inquires.”

    Terrill — we are definitely cut from the same bolt of cloth. I have my desk situated in front of a multi-paned window (72 panes, but who’s counting), and can view the foot, bike, and street traffic without being seen as I’m hidden from plain view behind a Japanese Maple.

    I love the way you captured the scene — permanently — in paint.

  3. Well, paint isn’t really very permanent Laurie as is evident from all the paintings I have been viewing in museums. But 400 years or so isn’t too bad. And here we find another similarity between us virtual sisters. I like to think of you writing away behind that Japanese Maple while keeping an eye on the street. Jane Jacobs (an American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist best known for her influence on urban studies) felt that eyes on the street was one of the ways of ensuring a safe and healthy community. I think she was right.

    • Possibly Kathy, though it was verging on a nightmare this morning when I guessed wrong on my online bank security question and had to go find a public telephone and drop a significant numbers of coins in while getting through to the institution so that the account reset. One thing I am sure about is that the security system is strong and in place! And it really wasn’t more than a moment of panic and a smidgen of inconvenience. But even the simplest things like paying the monthly bills always take much more energy when traveling abroad. Next is to find a post office to mail a couple of letters. I am guessing they are hiding in plain view but I haven’t notice one yet.

    • Well, I am thinking Sam that this painting will stay in its sketch-like state. I don’t think I could really add anything further that would be meaningful. Bohemian – such an evocative word. Good choice!

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