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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Carousel Nocturne, Arles Fr. May 15, 2010

Steady rain fell in Arles so it looks like my plans of painting the Night Cafe were drenched. However, next door to the Hotel Julius Cesar was a 19th Century Carousel; all lit up and running in circles. Funny thing; no souls were riding it ! Fortunately for me I saw a large Band Stand near by which I felt would shelter me from the rain, so I grabbed my gear and sprinted in the rain to get to that dry place.

Once set up, I began to paint. It all seemed surreal, like something out of the Twilight Zone!
It was a huge challenge to paint it as it was constantly in motion, and I had to pick and choose the shapes of the various riderless animals.

Right in the middle of painting, while deep in concentration, I jumped when I heard a voice directly behind me say, "BOO!!" I nearly had a heart attack. I angrily reproached Eringer for creeping up on me and giving me a start. I know it was in gest, but I was already on the edge. (Guess what I was doing wasn't edgy enough?)

I was all good, (eventually), and it was a great way to touch in with the spirit of Van Gogh; I imagine very few artists in history have ever painted a nocturne of this particular Carousel in Arles. In fact, I may be the only one!

I was looking forward to driving to and painting Van Gogh's Asylum; Maison de Sante Saint-Paul in St Remy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hotel Julius Ceasar, Arles Fr. May 14, 2010

It continued to rain all afternoon, so Eringer and I hung out (or in) the Hotel, lounging with cigars and Armin yak. I needed to paint so I grabbed my easel and palette and painted this interior Lobby-sketch of the Hotel Julius Ceasar. The painting depicts Eringer in a secret meeting a few yards away. (They must have been using the cone of silence as I couldn't hear the conversation)

I am excited to say this painting has been missing for seven years; lost in my studio since 2003! It resurfaced a few weeks ago when I was searching for something else in a remote corner of my loft. It was the first of six I painted on this journey.

It was cold and rainy outside, but I came to paint! I needed to venture out in to Arles to paint a nocturne: what was I to do? I gave up the idea of painting the Cafe Vincent Van Gogh because there was no shelter from the storm.

Then I saw my motif; the Antique Carosel- all lit up and spinning around with nobody riding it. This was going to be a good night after all!

Lobby, Julius Ceasar
6x10 oil/board 2003

Collection of the Artist
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Searching for Clues, Arles Fr. May 13, 2010

Stepping outside the Hotel Julius Cesar the rain had stopped. Eringer and I strolled out into the hustle and bustle of pungent people perusing the boulevard and farmer's market. Eringer looked like a suave sleuth in his new A-2.

Except for cars, buses, and electrical wires, Arles still seemed in the 19th Century; the people and architecture make a timeless backdrop that makes it easy to imagine what it was like when Gauguin and Van Gogh sauntered up the streets with their easels and paints.

We visited the Hospital where Van Gogh recovered from his close shave and found it is like a time capsule; with placards showing where he painted his paintings when there. We noticed a carousel near the Hotel (which I remember seeing in the movie, "Lust for Life"). Nobody was riding it...

My thoughts:

More rain falling; I only have a little time left here.

What am I going to paint?

Photo: Robert Eringer, Arles, Winter 2003

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Van Gone-ville. May 12, 2010

In between rain showers Eringer and I ducked in to the, Cafe' de l'Alcazar searching for Van Gogh's Ghost. To our dismay, someone had rearranged the furniture, and the name. The bar of fame, (now "Cafe Vincent Van Gogh,") is like an amusing attraction at Knotts Berry farm.

Vincent is long gone.

It's tough to get the 'feel' for the place once frequented by the Master, when its been overly commercialized by the greedy. It's like they have built the stage for the Pageant of the Master, but the Van Gogh star of the show has left the building.

Walking around the ancient streets in the neighboring hood, it seemed every shop had some trinket or trash with a label or symbol referencing Van Gogh; all just to make a buck. The people of Arles had chummed the waters with Van Gogh lighters, Van Gogh tote bags, Van Gogh brand cheeses, even Van Gogh Toilet Paper!! It also didn't help the fact that the air in Arles had a pungent aroma of leeks and onions.


Holding our noses, we just walked around in the rain and saw the sights of antiquity, trying to find our sense of direction. Finally landing back at our Hotel, the Julius Cesar, my concern once again turned to weather the whether will allow me to paint.

Photo: by Robert Eringer

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Monaco Cool. May 10, 2010

Eringer was doing something covertly for Prince Albert of Monaco. I didn't know and didn't ask any specifics about this fact, when he asked me to paint the Grimaldi Family Crest on the right sleeve of his A-2. My Philosophy: I will know what I need to know, when I need to know it.

The painting process was the same for painting this crest as it was for the subrosa shield. The photo of the crest depicted here is current. One can see parts of the crest have worn off eloquently through miles of wear, giving the flight jacket much more authenticity and pizazz.

Eringer and I had our jackets, and now it was time for us to adventure to France, in the middle of winter and under the full moon. This would be our second trip in the Odyssey; reaching deeply into the search for creativity and madness.

This time we would seek out the spirit of Van Gogh in the places where he made his stand, and wind up holding his ear in his hand.

Monaco Cool: A nonfiction travelog by Robert Eringer

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Shield May 9, 2010

Eringer liked the flag on my jacket, but instead of an American flag he wanted something a shield. So I hunted down an image based the American Shield; and instead of painting a series of white stars in the upper blue part of the shield, Eringer requested I paint only one white star. (I thought the lone star may look like Captain America's shield, the Star on a Bonnie blue Flag, or the Lone Star Flag of Texas, but alas it looked solid and unique.

When the Shield was complete, Eringer had one final request: put "S-U-B-R-O-S-A" somewhere on the shield; so I painted it subtly on the red stripes. (I'd never heard of the term, and I was amused to oblige}

T'was quite unique indeed! I still didn't know the depth of my friend and patron. There were many things that were subrosa about him, (eight years sense and I still haven't completely figured him out). Sometimes it's best to just let things be.

I did know he had something to do with Prince Albert of Monaco, and we'd be visiting Monaco soon, but I didn't ask him any specifics.

Then, he chose to have me paint one more symbol on the right sleeve of his A-2...

The fun, and intrigue was just beginning!