France and Germany
France, the origins of Impressionism, an unavoidable magnet for every painter, drew me to Arles, Les Baux, St Rémy, to paint the dry heat of the Alpilles and the vineyards and olive groves all round, a parched and scorched landscape, particularly after a raging fire in the late 90’s. For some of these small sketches, I abandoned my watercolours, and took to oils, but I found it hard to resist using watecolour techniques. Back to watercolour, for views of Paris and Berlin.
Why Zagorsk? Where is it? Zagorsk grew in the 15th century to be one of the greatest of Russian monasteries. I first visited in 1959, when religion was banned, and it was deserted, with just a lonely babushka cowering in prayer in a corner of the Trinity Lavra, and chickens running through tne deserted churches. I returned to paint in the 90’s, by which time religion was again allowed, the churches largely restored, and visitors everywhere.