Bagatelle, Spring 2018 - Gianne de Genevraye
Pavillion, Bagatelle Garden.jpg
I have finished my residency at Bagatelle where the subjects were infinite; the ponds, the formal and less formal rose gardens, the enclosed iris garden dedicated to Mr. Forestier who save the garden from destruction in the late 19th century. The difficulty was choosing the subjects! I had to learn new ways of working due to poor weather and lots of visitors. I worked from charcoal sketches, memory and in front of the subject.
The Société Chopin is celebrating their 35th annual concert series in the Orangerie of the garden from June 23 to July 14th.and I am honored to be able to show my paintings during the festival, a special thanks to Ariel Paszkiewicz, General Secretary and Antoine Paszkiewicz, President of the Chopin Society.  

Ariel Rose 2018 Huile sur lin 80x80cms

Ariel Rose  2018 Huile sur lin  80x80cms
Ariel Paszkiewicz, the General Secretary of the Chopin Society, has the honor to have a rose in the formal rose garden dedicated to her. My idea to paint in residency at Bagatelle with the paintings displayed for the 35th annual Chopin Festival was initiated in 2016 during a trip to Warsaw, Poland with members of the association visiting key Chopin sites and concerts. To thank Ariel for accepting my proposal, I painted her rose in deep pink clusters intertwined with an adjacent orange rose bush.  I finished this piece in a painting demonstration in front of the public during the Rose Festival at Bagatelle, adding the blue highlights to make an unexpected color combination of orange, bright hot pink and cold blue in masses of overall floating flowers.
Donation to Society Chopin

L’arbre de Judée et Genista 2018 Huile sur lin 70x100cms

L’arbre de Judée et Genista   2018  Huile sur lin ...
This painting was painted in the Mediterranean Garden part of Bagatelle. It was my first venture into what I call “Composite Composition”, meaning that I put two different sites into one painting because I couldn’t find the natural composition I wanted in the garden.  I moved the easel three times during the painting sessions, looking for different views of the two plants.  The result is a yellow bleeding background suggesting the Genista that hang in weightless grape-like forms against a bright light blue sky.  The flowering Judea Tree in magenta gave the perfect stark contrast cast over the floating aerial background.  I knew the subject would be ephemeral, but did not expect to see all the blooms disappear within three days!

Wisteria Floribunda 2018 90x70cms Huile sur lin

Wisteria Floribunda  2018 90x70cms Huile sur lin
There is a “tonnelle” meaning an armature in arc-form covered in wisteria on the path that leads to my studio pavilion.  The blue and white blooms are truly spectacular and tourists come from all over France to see them.  Bagatelle being a botanical garden, they are each carefully identified.  As this variety is Japanese and is particularly long, I painted it life-size. The branching that comes from the upper-right corner of the painting slightly leaning down under the weight of the floating wisteria gives an oriental feel to the piece.  The leaves are not at all rendered because I wanted to show only the color and wind that moves them creating an illusion of the mass of different greens.

Wall Garden at Bagatelle 2018 116x73cms Huile sur lin

Wall Garden at Bagatelle   2018 116x73cms Huile su...
This painting was painted in situ not far from my studio. I used the actual plants as a departure point, but as the piece progressed, it became more and more imaginary. The S composition, grounded by stiff linear leavings shooting downward juxtaposed with an evanescent background in the upper part of the canvas gives a bouquet-like impression, finishing with a thick branch of vermillion roses falling across the piece providing bold contrast.

Daylilies and Pond at Bagatelle 2018 89x130cms: Huile sur toile

Daylilies and Pond at Bagatelle 2018 89x130cms:  H...
The two head gardeners came to my studio to look at my work towards the end of my residency and commented that not all of the garden had been represented. I was missing the farthest part of the garden on the north side beyond the château where there is a romantic pond and grotto and water fall. This is one of my favorite parts of the garden, intimate with a more rustic landscape. It was also an opportunity for me to paint a water subject in one of the paintings and depict a lesser visited part of the park.  The result is a large piece with several perspectives; the orange daylilies in the foreground amongst the water lilies and reeds, a middle ground painted with a loose impression of blue water reflections, and finally the background of the pond in a harmonious palette of orange and yellow greens.

Yellow Peonies and Clematis Armandi 2018 100x80cm Huile sur toile

Yellow Peonies and Clematis Armandi    2018 100x80...
The roses were still not blooming, so I selected the herbaceous peonies along the garden path to my pavilion studio.  Once again using the composite composition, I painted the peonies first, then moved my easel about 50 meters and painted a clematis cascading down over the peonies.  I laid in the clematis using “negative space”, and it seems to encompass the yellow flowers that were so transparent that I had to paint them several times to capture the translucent light flowing through them.  This rare peony has a strong crimson accent at the base of each petal which I hesitated to paint fearing too much contrast, but finally acquiesced to nature, invariably perfect. That color provided the final balance to the painting.

Rosarie Paysage 2018 100x70cms Huile sur toile

Rosarie Paysage   2018 100x70cms Huile sur toile
This was the last painting of the series.  I wanted to capture the unique Landscape Rose garden at Bagatelle in the first days of summer.  This north-eastern part of the park is laid out for a promenade amongst low blooming rustic rose bushes which include specimens for the prestigious annual International Rose Competition. I wanted to do a piece with a dominant red palette, and to compliment that difficult color, the acid green grass was the perfect complementary color. There is very little detail with the exception of the foreground, but we know where we are. The result is a strong and bright painterly piece, suggesting an invitation for a warm afternoon stroll through the garden.

La Folie à Bagatelle 2018 100x50cms Huile sur toile

La Folie à Bagatelle  2018 100x50cms Huile sur toi...
I rarely paint architectural structures in my garden paintings, but wanted to capture at least one of these many gracious garden features at Bagatelle.  Rather than painting the whole structure, I chose a view looking up from the bottom of the short hill rising up to the formal roses from the Historical Rose Garden. From there, a wild mix of the multi colored roses covered the foreground with the Folly loosely painted in the middle part of the painting while the dark forest foliage rose towards the top of the painting.  The unusual format of my canvas
 lent itself perfectly to the composition. 

Iris at Bagatelle 2018 70x120cms Huile sur lin

Iris at Bagatelle  2018 70x120cms Huile sur lin
The Iris garden at Bagatelle is world famous for its variety of rare and brilliantly colored specimens.  The garden is enclosed by a high deep green hedge, a hidden, almost secret space separated from the rest of the garden. The irises were at the height of their bloom the day I decided to paint them from the far corner of the rectangular garden near the fountain. I painted fast and furiously as the clouds were threatening, completing the first “pass” in less than 3 hours.  The next day a violent hail storm destroyed the large majority of the irises, but I had captured them forever. 

Peonies and Wisteria (Pivoines roses arbustives) 2018 80x120cm Huile sur lin

Peonies and Wisteria (Pivoines roses arbustives)  ...
This was the first painting that I did in the park.  The roses were slow because it had been very cold winter in Paris, but the peonies were in full bloom. This plant was right outside of my studio, so I was able to capture it in its full splendor.  The flowers are painted life-size, and seem enormous, which is the unique quality of this shrub peony.  I left some of the immediate dripping of the painting and medium, choosing not to erase the traces of spontaneous painting while I was busy capturing the light and movement of both the subject and atmosphere.  The lower part of the painting should have been thick dark foliage as it was in situ, but I chose instead to give the piece “air”, by suggesting the foliage in light blue.
Artist Collection, not available

Clématite Viola 2018 80x80cms Huile sur toile

Clématite Viola 2018 80x80cms Huile sur toile
This part of the wall garden was just outside my studio, so I was able to paint in situ. The first day of painting, I laid in the negative space of the piece in the studio with the remnants of the previous day’s palette. The second day, I set up my easel outside in front of the subject and painted until the rain started to ‘pearl’ the paint on my palette, making it impossible to work.  I finished the piece a week later in studio, using a cutting of the purple Viola flower as a study.  The tight rendering of the deep violet clematis provides a velvety sensuality to the piece, one can almost touch them, while the white roses are only suggested by points of light in white and blue. The composition is rhythmed by the trellis structure and the elaborate intertwined branching of the clematis.

Lilacs at Bagatelle 2018 80x80cms Huile sur toile

Lilacs at Bagatelle   2018 80x80cms Huile sur toil...
The weather had been cold, misty and grey for several days and I dreamed of sunshine. There was a particularly beautiful deep violet lilac bush hidden along one of the many paths in the garden, so I asked a gardener for a cutting and took it back to my studio.  I painted a brilliant yellow color in negative space around where I thought I could place the leaved stem and lilac branch he had given me.  I composed the space organically, by simply moving the branch around in several positions on the canvas.  The next day I painted in the leaves quickly and laid in some violet, working purely on composition and placement. Day three, I finished it, an audacious yellow background piece with a strong graphic subject, using complimentary color to convey the overall sensation of brightness.