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"Luxembourg Gardens One" - Paris, France

In the mid 1980's my interest in chess resurfaced. In my travels, I sketched and photographed chess players in Paris, Hawaii, southern California and northern California. In 1986 my roommate was a chess master and journeyed to various states to compete as well as attending (as a spectator) the World Chess Championship in London, England.

When I finally started assembling pieces, I realized that I had some interesting sketches and photos, but no real plan of action. The chess games interested me and the chess players exuded some intrigue, but  I was quite unhappy with background settings.

I finally just dug in and started painting in hopes that ideas would flow. Success was limited and I ended up abandoning the project. This painting was in storage for more than twenty years. Then in 2011, I revamped the whole painting. In an attempt to use color and contrast to get the people to stand out more from the background, I ended up with what looked like photo cutouts of people pasted on a background. Disaster number two went back into storage.

Then in 2013, I decided that I really needed to utilize the entire work as an underpainting, a sketch of what I would really like to paint. Next, I used some of my original sketches and photos to try to remember what I originally felt and observed in the gardens. After that, I dug in and painted as if I were there, consciously applying color over the entire canvas, and creating a scene, as opposed to painting individual objects. I am pleased with the outcome and am finally finished with this canvas.

The Luxembourg Gardens are much frequented by residents of the area and loved in the past by the writers: Baudelaire, Lamartine, Musset, Verlaine, Victor Hugo, George Sand, Balzac, Hemingway and Sartre. No place is quite as popular with Parisian chess players as the chess area in the heart of the Jardin du Luxembourg, between rue Guynemer and rue de Vaugirard, a short distance from the Orangery. The park is known for the green metal chairs (which I changed to blue), and the dappled light, which I loved at the time.

                                       

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The dappled light turned out to be the main reason I abandoned the Luxembourg Park paintings. It caused the overall composition to be very cluttered. It was difficult to find the people in all of that mottled brightness and shadow.

                                                           

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The people were very interesting. There were a lot of older men, especially on weekdays, but younger men mixed in from time to time. At least in the 1980's, there were few women playing chess.

                                                            

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Below - closeup of the main subject

                                                           

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Below - The main focus of the scene

                                         

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Below - Detail of the background to show paint texture

                                         

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Below - These are the present photos of Luxembourg Gardens One.

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Luxembourg Gardens One                                            Luxembourg Gardens One

 

pricing Luxembourg One

 

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