Beginning in the spring of 2016 I started painting on canvas again. For the past several years I have been painting on wood in order to create figures in relief…I needed a rigid surface upon which to work. Over the years my work has been more and more concerned with surface texture, and the figures were not only textural, but intentionally in the third dimension. I suppose I had forgotten how great it is to work with the tooth of canvas. My way of applying paint was always fairly smooth and done with soft brushes. Over time, however, I’ve been building up the surface just with paint…without any prior treatment of the work in relief.

I live in Mussy-sur-Seine, a village with roots back to the Gallo-Roman period, but with remnants of Medieval and Renaissance architecture. Some buildings, alas, are in a state of neglect and are no longer occupied. At first glance, I suppose most people would find them uninviting, even threatening, because of their condition. After years of living here I have become more familiar with the building materials traditionally used in Mussy and elsewhere in the region. I started to appreciate not only the thought given to constructing door and window openings with heavy tailored limestone, but the way walls were built using roughhewn limestone quarried in the forests close by. The exterior walls were finished smooth with a kind of mortar made with ground limestone, sand, and local mud. This material is durable, up to a point. If it is properly applied and sealed with paint, it can repel the weather. However, if it is subjected to leaks from a roof, a window, or a doorway, it crumbles away. It is very common to see exterior walls, even in occupied and otherwise comfortable houses, with exposed stones…the old mortar having collapsed. Sometimes people never address the problem, sometimes they repair it with odd materials. The result is often curiously intriguing.

I am painting façades of buildings, usually only the door and an occasional window. I hope to evoke something that might be called le charme de délabrement. These buildings all have histories. They hold a thousand stories. Here are a few of them.

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20 rue Victor Hugo, Mussy

2016  Oil and sand on canvas, 70 x 50 cm.

 

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21 rue Victor Hugo, Mussy

2016  Oil and sand on canvas, 70 x 50 cm.

 

12-rue-victor-hugo

House built in 1776, Mussy

2016  Oil on canvas, 30 x 10 cm.

 

12-rue-charles-lambert

12 rue Charles Lambert, Mussy

2016  Oil and sand on canvas, 70 x 50 cm.

 

porte-de-grange

La Porte de Grange, Courteron

2016  Oil and sand on canvas, 70 x 50 cm.

 

courteron

Maison à Courteron

2016  Oil, sand, and wood on canvas, 50 x 70 x 1 cm.

 

15-rue-victor-hugo

15 rue Victor Hugo, Mussy

2017  Oil on canvas, 40 x 20 cm.

 

house-at-vix

Maison à Vix

2017  Oil, sand, and wheat filaments on canvas, 70 x 50 cm.

 

door at vix2

Porte à Vix

2017   Oil and sand on canvas  40 x 20 cm.

 

Autel

Autel  

2017  Oil, sand, and acrylic on canvas   70 x 50 x 1 cm.

 

porte à gommeville

Porte à Gomméville

2017  Oil on canvas  40 x 20 cm.

 

wall at gomméville

Mur à Gomméville

2017   Oil on canvas   70 x 50 cm.

 

porte de grange @ pothiéres2

Grange à Pothières

2017  Oil on canvas   30 x 40 cm.

 

porte sur la rue de canal

Porte sur la Rue du Vieux Moulin, Mussy

2017   Oil, sand, and acrylic on canvas   40 x 30 cm.

 

20 rue Boursault

20 rue Boursault, Mussy

2017   Oil, sand, acrylic, and paper on canvas   70 x 50 x 2 cm.

 

cracked lintel

Vielle Porte, Rue du Croissant, Mussy

2017   Oil, acrylic, sand, and wood on canvas   70 x 50 x 6 cm.

 

petite porte de grange

Petite Porte Délabrée

2017   Oil on canvas   18 x 13 cm.

 

20171209_100352

4 Rue Dessertenne

2017   Oil, sand, gravel, and paper on canvas   70 x 50 x 1 cm.

 

Porte Rue de l'Hôpital

Porte Elevée, Rue de l’Hôpital, Mussy

2017   Oil, acrylic, and sand on canvas, 70 x 50 x 1 cm.

 

IMG_20180211_154951

Porte sur le Quai Interrompu, Mussy

2018  Oil, acrylic, and sand on canvas, 60 x 60 x 1 cm.

 

20180218_124156

Portillon, Mussy

2018  Oil, sand, and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 20 cm.

 

Porte à Vix II

Porte à Vix II

2018  Oil, sand, and acrylic on canvas  100 x 50 cm.

 

37 rue Gambetta

37 rue Gambetta, Mussy

2018  Oil, sand, acrylic, and steel on canvas  40 x 20 x 1 cm

 

maison à gomméville

Maison à Gomméville 

2018  Oil, sand, and acrylic on canvas  70 x 50 x 2 cm.

 

la maison du chien mechant

La Maison du Chien Méchant

2018  Oil, sand, and acrylic on canvas  70 x 50 x 1 cm.

 

20180618_090907

Prison Ferme

2018  Oil, sand, acrylic, paper, and wood on canvas  70 x 50 x 2 cm.

 

Maison à Pothiéres

Maison à Pothières

2018  Oil, wire, and paper on canvas  70 x 50 cm.

 

l'Entrée Secrète à l'Enfer

l’Entrée Secrète à l’Enfer

2018  Oil and acrylic on canvas   40 x 20 cm.

 

sans adresse

Maison Sans Adresse, Rue Charles Lambert, Mussy

Oil, sand, acrylic, wood, wire, and paper on canvas  70 x 50 x 1 cm.

 

maison des chevaux

La Maison des Chevaux

Oil, sand, gravel, hammered copper and wire on canvas   40 x 20 x 1 cm.

 

anneaux à cheval

Porte Cassée avec les Anneaux à Cheval

Oil, sand, acrylic, and wire on canvas   70 x 50 x 1 cm.

 

Porte à Châtillon

Porte Délabrée à Châtillon

Oil, sand, acrylic, copper, and aluminium on canvas  100 X 50 X 10 cm.

 

porte ruelle a chatillon

Ancienne Porte: Ruelle à Châtillon-sur-Seine

Oil, sand, and acrylic on canvas  70 x 50 cm.

 

Vielle Porte, Ervy-le-Châtel

Vielle Porte, Ervy-le-Châtel

Oil, sand, and acrylic on canvas   70 x 50 cm.

 

maison abandonnée à ervy

Maison Abandonnée, Ervy-le-Châtel

Oil, sand, acrylic, foam core board, wood, aluminium, and cardboard on canvas

70 x 50 x 6 cm.


Prison Ferme II

Oil, sand, acrylic, gravel, and wood on canvas
40 x 20 x 1cm.