On a painting trip to Europe I visited the historic town of Honfleur with its picturesque harbor. The port is so enchanting that people often forget that it was originally built for trade. Claude Monet and his mentor Eugene Boudin painted in Honfleur and there is a museum devoted to Eugene Boudin's plein air paintings.
The heart of the port is surrounded by handsome row homes that were a status symbol in an earlier time and, today, it is not uncommon to see yachts where commercial ships and fishing boats used to dock. Cafe's line the walkway in front of the buildings, adding to the activity that inspires plein air painters. I still remember the Normandy sky that is so gorgeous with its ever moving cloud formations and that is where I started this painting with cerulean blue and lots of soft edges. The line of the rooftops with their brick chimneys was next followed by the tall narrow row homes - I loved the way they seemed to be squeezing against each other. These row homes were painted with the earth tones of burnt sienna and raw umber, along with mixtures of cobalt violet and raw sienna. I used a lot of broken and lost and found edges in the windows and doorways to make sure they fit in the painting without commanding to much attention. The ground level of these buildings is occupied by shops and restaurants and it was the perfect place to sample french wine and cuisine after a day of painting.
The activity along the walkway and the boats moving around in the harbor gave me the opportunity to use lots of rich pure colors in combination with pure white paper. There was a light breeze which broke up the reflections of the boats adding even more to the movement and rhythm that I was intent on capturing. Looking at this painting makes me realize that better times are ahead when travel to distant lands will again be possible. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton