Tom King's Sketchbook ENTRE DEUX RIVIERES

The Lot and the Aveyron, France
While living in the south west of France a few years ago I published an illustrated book of my travels in the region. It was published in English but later taken up by a French publisher who produced it in French. The English version is no longer available and until recently I had assumed the French had been discontinued. However, after a number of enquires here in Ireland about the book I discovered that the French version is still available and for sale, on-line direct from the publisher.
The book contains 96 pages with 90 watercolour illustrations in full colour and 8 black and white, most of which are taken from my sketchbook and all done en plein air. It was originally produced in a smaller hand-made version as a birthday gift for my daughter in Australia by way of introducing her to the area where we lived and later extended.  The text, in French, describes the experiences of my wife and I going to live in a foreign country, opening a gallery and trying to deal with the problems of living in a different culture. It also describes the beautiful area where we lived, its history and some of the wonderful people we met. It measures 26.5cm x 12.5cm.
Below is a translation of the introduction to 'Entre Deux Rivieres' by the translator Georges Lamoine.

" The book I had the pleasure to translate into French is the work of an artist in more than one sense of the term: Mr King can see, draw, paint, describe, and tell a tale. Beside the quality of the drawing and the fineness of the colours, the observations thus given go along with the evocation of nature in our beautiful region, its 2 rivers and its varied landscape, the people who live there, their work and their days. It might be rather classical if Mr King's narrative were not rather like a short novel, the reason for which is to be found in the last lines: the book was thought of as an anniversary gift to one of his daughters.  Travelling, moving and searching for a home, are interspersed with artistic episodes, the whole is rendered with a touch of inimitable Irish humour. From mechanical worries over an old car, cat and dog stories, to end up with observing or meeting the local fauna, we shall follow the trials of an English-speaking family who drive across France to settle down in the south-west. Nothing more refreshing for us than to be observed, painted and depicted with a precise sense of the detail, colour and shape under the brush and pen of Tom King! I wish all those who love nature and men in their environment will have the same pleasure as mine to wander between 'two rivers.' "

Sample of the original English text from page 40. 
To the east of Cahors the river meanders through a landscape of small vineyards, orchards, fruit farms, cereal crops and pasture. There is a sleepy, unhurried feel, and in summer the fields are punctuated only by the occasional couple working their land. Protected from the fierce heat of the day under straw hats, their skin aged a roasted brown, they move between the rows of crops often bent double for several hours. In the villages old women dressed in black talk or sit on balconies in the afternoon shade watching the world go by. Small groups of men cluster under a spreading tree in the public square or play boules on the dry, dusty earth. Long silences punctuate conversation, their movement is slow and the occasional chink of the metal balls is not enough to disturb the tranquillity of the moment. Small lizards scatter in a staccato motion over hot paving, stopping every few moments to lift one foot from the ground. The rustle of leaves, the drone of bees and from time to time, men in lycra, skin tight, streamlined and displaying all the colours of the rainbow, will sweep through the village like a comet: new-age travellers on two wheels with twelve gears - head down, pedalling hard and talking amongst themselves oblivious to their surroundings. The only other sound of their being is the smooth whisper of rubber rushing over wet tar: then they are gone – racing against time and leaving the old world where it was, to count the seconds that pass so slowly.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of Entre Deux Rivieres the following link will take you directly to the site: The website can be translated by clicking on the TRANSLATE button in the top right hand corner of the page. The name of the publisher is Bucerep and the ISBN No is: 2-9509754-8-8
Post published by Tomas King 26 - 09 - 2013

Oil Demonstration 2

I was asked by the Dublin Artist's Society to do an oil painting demonstration. They are always difficult things to do for a number of reasons: You are working to a time limit in an unfamiliar environment while trying to keep a dialogue going to a group of people, answer questions and paint at the same time. Because the demonstration was scheduled to be indoors I decided to take along one of my sketchbooks, in this case one from my time in France. I always think it interesting to show how an image created in one medium can be transposed into another, it adds an additional dimension to the demonstration  and
illustrates how sketchbooks can be a source of subject matter over many years. The sketch, a watercolour, shown here below, was produced in an A4 Sketchbook on cartridge paper and is of a farm in the Tarn et Garonne region of France. The farm was set in a very deep gorge in winter and the background is made up mostly of trees clinging to the side of the gorge with the sun reflecting on the dead leaves still cling to them.
The second image from the top is the painting as it was when I finished the demonstration, there was not much left to do. I had painted on a canvas which I had pre-prepared with an earth coloured background and this can clearly be seen in the top right hand corner and at various points throughout the painting. I took the painting home and the following morning, while it was still wet, set it up on an easel in my studio. I like to work on oil paintings while they are wet, I like to push the paint around and feel the tactile nature of the medium. I finished off the edges, softened the patch of sky in the top left hand corner, toned down the background between the trees and defined them a little. I added a few touches to the foreground and that was it. I liked the spontaneity of the painting as it was and the almost abstract treatment of the trees in the background. The finished painting can be seen in the image at the top.
Post published by Tomas King 20 - 09 - 2013      

Three Recent Oil Paintings

Continuing with my series of paintings produced during the summer, here are another three oils. 'Shadows on the Sand', (top) was painted during the early part of the summer and is not the sort of subject I would normally paint but I was attracted by the wild flowers scattered between the rocks and for once I looked down instead of up. It just goes to show you don't always have to look for the big picture to produce a painting. Despite the subject it is not a floral painting and I deliberately tried not to get too involved with the detail of the flowers. What I like about the painting is the sense of pattern in the sand created by the dried up seaweed.

'The day that was in it - Fanore' (middle) was done very recently in a wonderful and very unusual place called The Burren in the west of Ireland, County Clare. The day was just as it appears in the painting, very changeable and very windy. I battled the elements to produce this painting and it was very rewarding both for the result and the fact that I managed to produce something despite the buffeting of the wind coming off the Atlantic. The sound of the sea washing the shore was wonderful. The colour of the sand at Fanore is very unusual being a very warm yellow/orange against the blue haze of the Connemara mountains in the distance.

'River-Boats Graiguenamanagh' (bottom) is again, a recent painting. The sky was very flat and grey but the colours of the boats and the reflections in the water held the painting together.
Shadows on the Sand 40 x 40cm
The day that was in it - Fanore 45.5 x 61cm
River-Boats, Graiguenamanagh 40.5 x 50cm
Post Published by Tomas King 11-9-2013