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The search Finding the locations was just one element of my search. Getting into these places, if they were private, was a whole other task and no less daunting. I had to find out whom owned the villa or chateau. Try to contact the owner and ask permission to visit. These are very private, wealthy people with large secluded properties. Thankfully, the admiration for Churchill and documenting history won them over, and I was kindly granted access. I visited Cassis, Lourmarin, Pont-du-Gard, Cap de Antibes and many other locations on my journey to follow in his footsteps. Discovering where Churchill painted the red rocks between Theoule and St Raphael was a special find, It’s really not that easy to find a specific rock among a coastline full of red rocks! Living the highlife There is no doubt that Churchill lived a grand life on the French Riviera. Not for him the life of poor, starving artist. His travels were replete with valets, Scotland Yard Detective bodyguards, secretaries and all manner of equipment to write and paint. Churchill was a Francophile and loved his trips to the Cote d’Azur, coming often and staying as long as was permissible. Though there was one occasion he ventured there alone. Winston, arriving at the glorious Chateau de l’Horizon and low on funds, tried the hazardous experiment of foregoing his valet. Greeted by his hostess, Maxine Elliott, he said “You have no idea how easy it is to travel without a servant. I came away from London alone and it was quite
simple.” Maxine replied “Winston, how brave of you.” Winston was enraptured by the French Riviera, the sun, the colours and abundant subject matter were irresistible to him and he longed to capture them on canvas. The Pol Roger, fine food and Casinos were also to be indulged in. The painter Churchill painted a possible 600 paintings in total during his lifetime, at least 150 of them were of the South of France. He only painted one canvas during the Second World War, in Marrakech, which he gifted to President Roosevelt. Considering his relatively limited time and output as a painter, one has to judge his work with this in mind. To me, he excelled as an amateur painter. The more I looked at the canvases and the locations, the more I came to respect him as an artist. He painted large canvases on site, in the elements. He would finish them off at his studio in Chartwell because of his busy schedule. If it was possible to return to the same location to continue or complete a canvas, he would. Churchill painted fast, a one and a half hour session could see the canvas covered. He was bold, attacked the canvas and did not shy away from a subject, colour or challenge. He adored colour and squeezed all the colours of the rainbow onto his palette. Some of his works tended to have somewhat garish colouring. His wife Clementine would encourage him to “cool your palette a la Nicholson” (Sir William Nicholson, friend and artist mentor).
Bonjour and welcome to the latest e
Contents Features 8 Spotlight on: A
Recipes Gastronomy 96 Travel with y
‘’Now I have been happy. Now I
“My god it’s beautiful” Napol
Veyrier-le-Lac just 5km from Annecy
Above: La Brasserie Irma Lunch: Mid
Seythenex at the food of the Bauges