By Catherine Rush Thompson
A picture is worth a thousand words and a beautiful painting is priceless. Ann Trusty and John Hulsey are local artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. They are both native Kansas Citians who create their masterpieces in their local art studio in Lawrence, Kansas, as well as during their travels around the world. These two artists capably capture the beauty around the world, including many French landscapes and cities.
John Hulsey is the recipient of numerous awards and his paintings are included in many corporate and private collections: The Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C.; The Hudson River Reference Collection, Garrison, New York; The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The United States Embassies in Australia and Jordan; and The Albrecht- Kemper Museum of Fine Art, St. Joseph, Missouri, to name a few. To see more of his fine art, visit: www.johnhulsey.com.
John is known for producing new work for exhibition and teaching national and international workshops. Constance Berdan Sherman, artist and faculty member of the State University of New York, describes John’s work: "After many years of living the landscape, so to speak, John has developed consummate skill in presenting its aspects on paper or canvas, and his generosity in imparting these skills in workshops and articles is widely known. Far beyond this, the scope of his gift to us in these works is difficult to describe. He seems to be not so much painting a picture for us as giving us the landscape in an almost literal sense. We are at the point of observation, not excluded by a frame nor witnesses to an event. We participate in the landscape, witnessing what we may always have known but rarely call to conscious thought. We know how those small waves break on the shore, how the sand shines and reflects for an instant, how the luster departs as the water sinks in. We have seen those patches of sunlight and shadow moving over the hills, and he reminds us that we know them. We know how those small rivers glow as they wind out in the sunset, although we may have forgotten in the traffic of living. John's paintings represent, re-present, give us back our presence in the landscape and our feeling of existing in it under the sky. This is a grand gift in all senses. We need to be reminded occasionally how the light embraces, and then moves on. There is some sort of magic in capturing the instant with this degree of perception." John has produced commissioned paintings for many of the major publishers including Random House, Readers Digest, and Time Magazine, which featured his watercolor portrait of Margaret Thatcher on the cover.
His wife, Ann Trusty, is equally gifted. Ann studied fine art at Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts; the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Kansas. In 1980 she moved to Garrison, New York and a studio in the former train station overlooking the Hudson River where she continued to develop and show her work for ten years.
She has exhibited her work in one and two-person exhibitions at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Fine Art, St. Joseph, Missouri; the Louise Jones Brown Gallery at Duke University; the Westchester Gallery at the State University of New York, White Plains; the Hemisphere Club, Rockefeller Center, New York; and the Alice and Hamilton Fish Library Gallery, Garrison, New York.
In addition, her work has been included in juried and group exhibitions at the Museum of San Diego History; the Islamic Arts Museum, Istanbul, Turkey; the Turkish American Society, Ankara, Turkey; the Union des Maisons des Metiers d'Art Francais, Paris, France; the Musee de l'Impression sur Etoffes, Mulhouse, France; the Musee-Chateau d'Annecy, Annecy, France; the Musee des Beaux Arts, Angers, France; the Galerie des Tanneurs, Tours, France; and the Gayle Willson Gallery, Southampton, New York.
Ms. Trusty's work has received the Merit Award from the American Craft Awards, New York, New York and has been featured in Decorative Design (Gakken Art Books, Tokyo, Japan). Ann’s work has been included in juried and group exhibitions around the world. A description of her work is captured by Patricia Malarcher, a textile artist and writer named honorary fellow in 2020 for her scholarship, research, and advocacy as a contributor of articles on craft to the New York Times and the editor of Surface Design Journal: “The distinctive character of Ms. Trusty's work lies in her fresh, energetic compositions . . . she creates abstract color fields enlivened by scraps of cloth that dance, fly and dynamically explode across the surfaces."
Both Ann and John have traveled the world, exhibiting their work and offering workshops. Their remarkable experiences and lessons are shared on their subscription educational website: The Artist’s Road (www.theartistsroad.net). A subscription may be required to read all articles on this site; however, some information is free. Topics that can be explored at their extensive site include: Oil Painting, Watercolor Painting, Pastel Painting, Step-by-Step Demonstrations, How-Tos, Demonstration Videos, Art History, Impressionism, The Perspectives Archive, Places (inspiring locations to paint), The Art of Beauty, Nocturnes, Voices of Experience, and Live On-Line Painting Workshops in Oil and Watercolor.
Francophiles can appreciate The Artist’s Road blogs about famous artists including Van Gogh and Cezanne, along with step-by-step painting demonstrations of treasured landscapes in Provence.
Featured stories include:
• In the Footsteps of Van Gogh – Part I and II
• In the Footsteps of Cezanne, Painting in Provence
• Step-by-Step watercolor plein air painting demonstration, Le Pont d'Avignon, by John Hulsey
• Through the Trees, Lourmarin,"Learn to Develop a Point of View"
• An Artist’s Tour of Provence – Parts I, II, III, and IV
• Ochre - The Color of Provence
• Poppy Fields near Ventabren
• Casein - An Overlooked Medium
• French Language Tips for Artists
You may also view their remarkable works of art at their website:
Do you feel inspired to explore your artistic abilities? This summer John and Ann are offering online workshops for those interested in capturing beauty:
www.the artists road.net
By Rebecca Smith
There is no shortage of beautiful chateaus dotting the French countryside. But one is known distinctly as the “Château des Dames”, the “Ladies’ Château”. It is the Château de Chenonceau located in the Loire Valley and is so called because it has been designed and owned predominantly by women, a remarkable feat, especially considering the times. The transitions have not always been smooth or managed with female solidarity, but women can herald it a glowing success story nonetheless.
An exquisite model of French Renaissance architecture, Chenonceau elegantly spans the River Cher and includes a moat-enclosed courtyard. Early in the 1500s it was but a dilapidated manor house and mill. Thomas Bohier bought it from the Lord of Marques and tore it down, leaving only the well and tower. Bohier’s wife, Catherine Briçonnet, then designed and commissioned the new structure. Of special note are the grande entrance and France’s first straight staircase.
Sold in 1535 by their wayward son to King François I, it was turned over to Diane of Poitiers, the young mistress of his son, Henri II. Diane expanded the estate adding formal gardens, a bridge across the river and a farm and vineyard, all of which turned a tidy profit.
When the king was killed in a tournament in 1559, Catherine de Medici, his widow, in, it is thought, a fit of spite, sent Diane packing and took control. She then revamped the landscaping and added new structures. Those included an elegant 60-meter long, 2-story gallery atop the bridge. It was at that time that Chenonceau became the site of numerous balls and galas and fireworks and became famous for its revelry and pomp.
That changed completely when the subsequent owner, Louise de Lorraine, took possession of it after the assassination of her husband, Henri III. She instilled an atmosphere of grief and sadness. She herself wore mourning white and had the ceilings painted white, as well. Indeed, she was known as the Reine Blanche.
Upon her death, the castle was bequeathed to her niece and, after that, was acquired by Farmer General Dupin, whose wife became its next ruler. Madame Dupin added a new intellectual touch. She initiated a salon of many of the most renowned minds of the time. She also was widely known and beloved for her charity work, which may have saved Chenonceau from being destroyed during the French Revolution.
In 1864 the chateau was bought by Madame Pelouze, who spared little expense in renovating and embellishing the property, rearranging statues and replenishing interior art and decorations.
Today thousands of visitors enjoy Chenonceau; it is one of the most photographed of all the chateaus. Attracting the photographers are a splendid 16th century fireplace and mantel, superb Flemish tapestries, stained glass windows in the chapel (replaced after being destroyed in WWII), glass cabinets with the signatures of past inhabitants, a library and Bureau Vert, paintings by Rubens and Mignard, and the glorious history-making straight staircase leading up to the Five Queens’ Bedroom. The gallery atop the bridge, which served as a hospital during WWII and as the symbolic boundary between Free and Occupied France, is certainly a highlight. As is the Wax Museum, which relates the long, intriguing history of the estate.
The Miller family are the current owners but undoubtedly the entire country, and women, in particular, feel a proud ownership of La Merveille du Val-de-Loire, the Wonder of the Loire Valley.
Chenonceau with historical guided tour - 3D: sketchfab.com/3d-models/chenonceau-with-historical-guided-tour-bab90b3131d74b699a428d0804d6e9c6
By Rebecca Smith
This mural is found in the town of Béziers at l’Ancienne Comedie (just behind the building where this fresco is painted). A plaque explains:
“Monsieur Poquelin and his troupe have had some setbacks. But the protection of the Duke of Orleans, brother of the king and governor of Languedoc, established very comfortably in Pézenas, allows Molière and his family to create, play, entertain and attract a growing public. Thus, in 1656, a year before definitively leaving Languedoc, Molière created in Bélziers a play in 5 acts, Le dépit amoureux.”
Le dépit amoureux, reportedly copied from an Italian comedy, l’interesse (Self-Interest), by Niccolo Secchi, is a comedy in verse and is the story of two young men courting the same young woman amidst a case of mistaken identity. It was first performed in Béziers in December 1656, debuted in Paris at the Théâtre du Petit-Bourbon in June 1659 and was revived in July 1679 with opening music by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. One of Molière’s best loved quotes, “You only die once and it’s for so long”, comes from the play.
The ancient southern French town of Béziers, located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, welcomes fewer tourists than its neighbors, even with the set of 17 murals, which include this Molière gem. Nearby Pézenas generally proves to be more popular. The town capitalizes on its association with Molière, with streets and businesses using Molière-themed names.
During his 14 years of touring the provinces, Molière returned periodically to Pézenas, because it was the home of the Prince de Conti, the company’s patron from 1653 to 1656, who hosted their performances at his chateau. The prince abruptly broke with the company in 1656 after he came under the influence of a Tartuffe-like director of conscience who turned him against theatre.
“Pézenas has the feel of a small town with plenty of charm. Take a walk around the back streets and you will wander through medieval alleyways and squares bordered by tall elegant individualized houses replete with charm. There is a beautifully preserved Jewish ghetto settlement dating back to the middle ages, and the town is famed for being the dwelling place of French writer Molière.”
“Pézenas sits on the plains between the Haut (“Upper”) Languedoc National Park and the Mediterranean coastline. It is a mere twenty minutes from the clean sandy beaches of the Hérault, half an hour from the beautiful rugged hill country inland and half an hour from what is surely one of the world’s most attractive cities – Montpellier. Add to that the charm of a beautifully preserved town centre with its narrow streets, individually stylised architecture, alleys and squares where Molière famously spent his days, and you begin to have the ingredients for a beautifully positioned location for that maison secondaire.”
Promotional material for Pézenas claims a number of writers live and work there. Will any reach the status and longevity of Molière?
Perhaps more murals will be added to the 17.
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