“Night Study – l’Institut de France, Paris”
One of my favorite buildings in Paris is the one which houses l’ Institut de France on the banks of the Seine across the river from the Louvre. l’Institut de France is made up of five academies of arts & sciences, the most famous being the Académie Française which oversees the French language and its proper use. The building is in the style of the French Renaissance. The French are masters at lighting their buildings and monuments and this is certainly a dramatic sight to see at night.
As the title suggests, I painted “Night Study – l’Institut de France, Paris” – in the dark. This is one of several night paintings I’ve done and, as usual, the process was a lot of fun.
The lights of the building reflected enough light for me to see fairly well; I could not actually see the colors on the paper but I know all of the pigments and their positions on my palette so, I wasn’t totally in the dark….
What I could see quite well was the value pattern. It was almost as if I were painting in black & white. When I got the painting back to my studio, it was quite fun to see the hidden results – in color.
As I was well into the painting, a man walked by and asked what I was doing; I told him I was painting the building and he chuckled with delight: “Oh! This is a terrific idea!” He watched me for a few moments and then went on his way. I’m normally not concerned with onlookers but when you are sitting in the dark and not quite sure what will become of your efforts, a little outside enthusiasm can be a good thing!
Click here to see, “Consentito Solo”, another night painting I did.