Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Will Paint for Provence!

When I worked in New York as an editor at Food Arts magazine, our art director Katie Kissane and I became great friends. Then Katie and her husband Paul Viola (an art director at our sister publication Wine Spectator), moved to Aspen and started Kissane Viola Design. That was 1998 and we've stayed close ever since.

So when Katie told me her sister Ann Engelhart and her family were coming to Provence--and could she reach out to me for some advice?--it was almost as nice as if Katie and Paul were coming themselves. I loved helping Ann before the trip and hanging out with her family during. That was a year ago April.  

Fast forward to this week, when Ann sent me these beautiful paintings she did based on sketches she made in Provence. Turns out that not only is she as cool and funny and smart as I would have expected any sister of Katie's to be, she's also extremely talented. I think her work is exquisite and I wanted to share it with you here.

Ann is a New York-based watercolor artist and illustrator who specializes in portraits, landscapes and still life. She has illustrated seven children’s books, creates promotional art for institutions and non-profits, and, for more than 30 years, has taught art and watercolor classes at the elementary, high school and college level. She has a B.A. in Fine Arts and an M.S. in Art Education and lives in Merrick, Long Island. She and her husband Paul have two adult children, Elisabeth and Thomas, who joined them on this trip.

Ann had traveled in France before but never to the Provence region...and says the whole experience moved her deeply. “It seems that beauty permeates every aspect of Provençal life," she told me, "in the architecture and colorful markets, the breathtaking mountain vistas and fields of flowers, in the exquisite food and fragrances, in the textiles and pottery and antiques and in the joyful culture. It’s no wonder that countless artists have been drawn to Provence, since the ancient Romans. I know that the inspiration for my paintings could never be exhausted here.”

And like so many other travelers who come to the South of France and fall totally head over heels, Ann has been plotting her return ever since. "I'd love to lead a painting workshop," she says, "for a day, a week or longer. Or join an ongoing workshop program as a guest instructor or perhaps teach some classes for kids. I'm open to all opportunities and ideas! Definitely will paint for Provence!" 

To see more of Ann's work, click over to her website and her Instagram. She sells original paintings and signed, limited-edition giclee prints; she also accepts commissions. "If you saw something you loved on your own trip to France or anything else for that matter," she says, "you can send me the photos and I'd be thrilled to paint it for you."

To contact Ann directly: annkengelhart@gmail.com, +1 516 987 8312.

Paintings from Top: (1) Ann's watercolor of the famous cheese course at Le Bistrot du Paradou, near Les Baux. "Not to be missed for a wonderful meal and experience!" she says. This happens to be one of my favorite restaurants in the region and I knew they would love it too. (2)  "We spent an exquisite week in St. Remy at the loveliest 18th-century hotel, the Château de Roussan," Ann wrote on Instagram about the watercolor above. "I painted this for my daughter, who has loved the sound and feeling of walking on a gravel path since she was a little girl." (3) A still life Ann calls "French Brocante," containing treasures discovered in the markets in Aix and an antique fair at L'Isle sur la Sorgue. (4) Lavender in the gardens of St. Paul de Mausole in St. Remy, the clinic where Vincent Van Gogh spent a year and painted roughly 150 canvasses. "St. Paul was the hospital that cared for Van Gogh during a troubled but prolific time in his life," Ann says. "It's an incredibly beautiful and moving place to visit in the heart of Provence." (5) Ann says the strawberries in this still life are Long Island local, but that the basket and the gorgeous Charvet Editions linen table runner were indeed brought home from France. "And the berries from the Aix and St. Remy markets were the most delicious I have ever tasted!" she adds. (6) The Engelhart family at the Hotel Pigonnet in Aix.