Saturdays mornings are special in Saumur, my town in the Loire Valley of France, when the beloved market spreads out through the town, offering a copious spread of essentials to fill stomachs and kitchens for much of the week to come. In France, a country still defined by proud agricultural traditions, markets offer gifts that define the taste of that month, that week, that season. The scene is repeated all over the country, but some markets are more special than others - Saumur has a great one. I'm getting new scenes ready for a show at a winery in early summer and knew I wanted to include this view of the market along with others from 2021.
Heaped tables of colorful seasonal produce always draw the eye (and cameras) but the constants - roast chicken hot of the spit with potatoes basted in the juices, local honeys and jams, fish and shellfish, sausages, candies, etc., are just as important. My scene focuses on two of these, a very popular patisserie stand (despite several fabulous, well-patronized boulangeries/patisseries in town), and a traveling rotisserie, steaming with rich aromas. The Loire region is famous for many good things - great wine of course, but also goat cheeses, and, especially in the area around Saumur, mushrooms, which benefit from the same caves in the hills that shelter the wines as they age. The local 'mushroom lady', (in her blue hat), is a popular vendor who totes her table and her baskets every week, dispensing her wares to long lines of eager shoppers from about 7 in the morning until the market closes at 1pm.
This was a complicated scene to finish, but fun to 'attend' the market even at a great distance and in the aftermath of an East Coast US snowstorm. You can see by the scarves and jackets that it was getting cooler in Saumur at the time I did the drawing, in late November just before I returned from a 3 month stay. What may not be obvious is that I did the drawing from a window in my house there. For us the market is not just a great weekly happening, it'ss a neighbor on the historic plaza where we live. It's always fun to say a quiet good night to the square on a Friday and wake up to find the market outside on Saturday morning, already bustling by 6 or 7am. My challenges for this scene involved the many colors - the heart and soul of this design - and conveying the range of people busy about their lives. Like most painters in any medium, I rough out my colors, fitting them to the lines in the original drawing, and then go back to refine and correct. Digital painting gives me a great deal of flexibility, but it requires organized thinking to remember, or at least figure out, all the different shades and variations I've used.
Marche St Pierre, Saumur (2022)
I hope you can believe that the finished scene, a riot of color and life, is as full of friendly people, good food, and great spirit as the Saumur Marche itself! I'd love to have comments - let me know what you think!
Artist/Designer/Illustrator - Drawing is my way to see and think about life in all its dimensions, color, meanings, and pleasures