This past week we visited the exhibition of Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun ( French, 1755-1842) at the National Gallery of Canada which will end this September 11. She is a prominent 18th century painter with more than 600 portraits, 200 landscapes and this is her first retrospective. The Ottawa NGC gallery exhibition stated, “her talent, her extraordinary capacity for work and her social skills” were her outstanding qualities and we see this before our eyes as we walk through each room. Vigée Le Brun painted about thirty portraits of Marie Antoinette but with the start of the French Revolution ( 1789-99) she fled quickly from France. Her talent and gifted skills continued to give her a portait career in Italy, Austria, Russia and England. She returned to Paris when her name was struck from the list of enemy émigrés.
I received a gift of Caran d’Ache, Fancolor 15 from a friend and wholesale distributor of these products. The thin metal container is 11 cm by 28cm by 2.5 cm, is ultra light with a full range of pan water-soluble pigment: 14 in total plus a tube of white gouache, a nice mixing area and a small quality brush. I used it, as I do my regular watercolour pigments on a quarter sheet of Fabriano, cold press, traditional white, gsm 300. For myself, the small light size with a few larger brushes and water container make it an ideal plein air kit.
Here are some sketches completed during the summer at Linda Drewry’s favourite Tuesday plein air sketching group.