Gianne de Genevraye is an international painter and public artist, choosing to paint and exhibit only in public spaces around the world. She always donates a painting to the institutions that welcome her. To learn more about Gianne please visit her website, www.gianneharper.com.
I was in residence at the Hortense Miller Garden for two seasons; winter 2014 and spring 2015. The garden is now owned by the City of Laguna. This residency ended with an exposition of the 15 pieces painted on site at the Hortense Miller House. The unique Laguna seaside light is the primary focus of this body of work, as well as the sculptural aspect of many of the native plants that were planted by Hortense during her 40 years on the property. Each painting has a distinct atmosphere that reflects the season it was painted. During this residency, I conducted numerous art walks at the HMG, and spoke at the community center Susie Q about water wise plant issues. I have included six paintings from this residency in the LBSCA expo at 7 Degrees, as well as the donation painting to LBSCA.
I was “Artist in Residence for the City of Menton” for 2014/2015. Menton is known as the “Pearl of France,” and world famous for its public gardens. This city has a tradition of English residents and gardens, and most of the gardens there are formerly private homes. With an introduction through the LBSCA, the city gave me use of the central greenhouse as a studio atelier in the spectacular Serre de la Madone garden. I painted in the other gorgeous and lush municipal gardens: The Palais Carnolès, Maria Serena, and Rosa Fontana. In all, 16 paintings were completed in in Menton and all were exhibited in the greenhouse, in various stages of completion. For the LBSCA exposition at 7 Degrees, May 2016, I brought five paintings from Menton, at least one from each of the four gardens.
St. Ives, England
I was invited to St. Ives in November, 2015. I had the pleasure of meeting the Mayor, Linda Taylor on several occasions. Together, along with the local LBSCA members, we initiated the idea of the Artist Exchange Program with Laguna Beach. Although at the very western-most tip of England…truly land's end!...St. Ives has subtropical plantings along with traditional English gardens. It's a very interesting mix.
My residency there was a short two weeks. I discovered that most of the artists in this famous art colony in England paint the sea, so my focus on gardens was a novelty for them. There are several lovely municipal gardens in St. Ives. The most visited is the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden. I was only allowed to sketch, not paint there, so I instead collected Fall leaves from the garden and painted a bouquet in a traditional Cornish jug. The second painting was done in the Trewyn Garden, which has dense borders lining the central green. Finally, I painted the Memorial Garden, which had an old low palm tree with an interesting trunk, an indication of the subtropical climate.
San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
I was in San José for 3 weeks in February, 2016, where I was invited to stay in the home of Onagh and Bill Ash, who are major donors to the Cabo Hurricane fund. LBSCA also contributed a significant sum to the foundation to build new homes for the victims of this disaster.
I was invited to paint at the Wirikuta garden, which includes a nursery that supplies many of the building projects in San José del Cabo. The garden is a fascinating study in how native plants planted can be arrayed in patterned rows to make a highly sculptural and visual impact. The first thing that strikes the Wirikuta visitor is the massing of Barrel Cactus, which was the subject of my first painting. The cacti are planted in a sundial formation surrounding one of the four central rock formations. I painted bougainvillea close to the central pond in the garden, showing the soft violet mountains in the distance and the bright coral flowers in contrast. The other piece, Blue Palm Fruit, is a dramatic composition with the strong, dark fruit in the foreground and the palm garden in the distance.
While I was in Cabo, I had the opportunity to visit the desert near San Juan de los Planes and see a cactus forest with some specimens over 300 years old. The cactus trees were from another time and gave me a hint of the true nature of the Baja Peninsula in its rustic natural beauty.