One Summer’s day an artist sat at his creaking, oil-stained easel surrounded by buttercups. By his side were tubes and brushes, ahead of him a field of English wild grasses. Through the thick, hot air, hovered the buzz of flies, the occasional one of which would land on his primed board and stick to the paint, tacky in the sunlight.
Cows crunched the grass and gave him the odd sidelong glance, the munch of their ruminating the only other sound…..until now…..
A car engine hummed closer and the tyres spat gravel on the lane as it slowed. A window wound down and the artist looked up expectantly. He would enjoy sharing this idyllic moment with an interested passer-by, to both mutually appreciate the afternoon, the scenery and, talk to them about his work.
Crushed, he turned back to the painting on his wobbly stool and, promptly fell over sideways, face in a cow pat. The animals looked on with disdain.
The reaction when he sits and paints amongst the vines of the Languedoc however, is entirely different. Passers-by do stop to look and they do chat, with fascination. The landscape offers rich pickings, from trees to fields, lakes and mountains. There are other subjects that provide a visual feast as well as a literal one – foie gras, oysters, fresh sardines. There are treasures plucked from vide greniers and brocantes, objects with history and a story to tell through their patina and form. Some paintings actually use found objects as their canvas, for example, a grape picker’s hotte painted on to a 1950’s French school desk.
Paul Stafford is holding an exhibition of these works at the beautiful Chateau Cabezac. This space, apart from being impressive in its own right, is an appropriate venue for the pictures as they are run through with a love for the Languedoc, just as the wine from the Minervois runs through the region like ink through vellum.
As well as the paintings inspired by and created in the area, are some works of a different flavour, though still French in origin. They are a series ignited by vintage Parisian postcards of models in various poses designed to titivate and tease. To add to the nuance of sauciness, they are housed in old boxes and tins, into which the viewer must peak.
You are invited to join Paul Stafford, try the delicious Cabezac wine and, view his work at the Vernissage on the evening of July, 22nd. If you can’t make that evening, the exhibition will run until the end of August, so there is plenty of time to visit the chateau, surrounded by those inspirational vineyards………and not a cowpat in sight.
Photographs of both the exhibition and the vernissage will be posted after the opening night.