Movie Amelie Inspires a Painter Searching for Great Color… Hello to Lautrec!

The Colors of Amelie, Portrait, 8 x 10", acrylic on textured acrylic paper, Karen Gillis Taylor. 200.00 available

The Colors of Amelie, Portrait, 8 x 10″, acrylic on textured acrylic paper, Karen Gillis Taylor. 475.00 available. Please enlarge for bigger view.

When searching for my second color palette in this January 2015 painting challenge I came across the film Amelie. Keeping my eyes open for color inspirations from France, (it’s now a theme!) I was entranced and amazed at the art direction for the beautiful, unusual and consistent color palette this film provided. (Note for those who haven’t see the movie: Amelie is a french film from 2001, a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, which won numerous awards.) Okay, I’m late in seeing this film, but hey, better late than never!

Amelie color study, Sunlit garden 1, acrylic, 5 x 7", Karen Gillis Taylor

Amelie color study, Sunlit garden 1, acrylic, 5 x 7″, Karen Gillis Taylor

I knew I had seen this color scheme before in one of my art books… Lautrec? YES!

At the Moulin Rouge, the Dance, Henri de Toulous Lautrec. 1890, Oil on canvas, 45 x 59"

At the Moulin Rouge, the Dance, Henri de Toulous Lautrec. 1890, Oil on canvas, 45 x 59″. You must click on this and see the bigger view! great textures and brush work. sigh.

If I ever get to Philadelphia, the art museum will be tops on my list to see, with this Lautrec painting in their collection. There is something magical about the blue/green pigment color of Veridian that goes so well with the accent color of a warm red, with supporting colors of black, gold and white. I’m CRAZY about this color palette!

Lautrec is painting the cabaret scene of Paris, away from the natural outdoor haunts frequented by his earlier French impressionist compatriots like Monet. He never abandons the color harmony lessons from nature, though. I am also fascinated with the contrasting characters in his scene. There is the focal point of the very active lady dancer with her contrasting white petticoats, and then the proper lady in the foreground, vying for equal importance in the scene. It’s a draw! Followed by all the gents and their customary top hats. What an observation about Lautrec’s society, summed up in his gorgeous painting. I’ve never made an exact copy of a work I loved, but if I ever did, this one would be it. I would then hang it in my green dining room! And eat in there much more often! It’s a big painting. Can’t wait to see it some day.

Flowering Plum Tree (after Hiroshige), (1887), oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Flowering Plum Tree (after Hiroshige), (1887), oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Vincent Van Gogh also made use of this same color palette in his Flowering Plum Tree painting made as a study after a Hiroshige print. Japanese prints were hugely popular in France at this time. I saw the Hiroshige print, and think Vincent’s warmer colors of the same subject are a great (and better) alternative, but that’s just me.

P.S.

I looked for some information on the Amelia film’s art director, and found this.

Volker Schäfer

Wish he was on Facebook. I’d like to see what he is working on again. What a talent! Chime in if you know anything about Mr. Schäfer

Or any comments on this broad theme… I would love to hear what you are thinking.

Thanks,

Karen

Sunlit Garden 2, detail, KGT

Sunlit Garden 2, detail, KGT

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4 Responses to “Movie Amelie Inspires a Painter Searching for Great Color… Hello to Lautrec!”

  1. Nancy Says:

    The Philadelphia Museum of Art is just a wonder. The last thing I did before moving from Philly was a day alone at the museum, saying goodbye to my favorites. Hope you get there some day!

    Like

    • karen Says:

      That will always be a memory for you, Nancy. I do hope to visit some day, and now I can remember that people like you have treasured this experience. All the more reason we should visit these special places when ever we can. Thanks, Nancy!

      Like

  2. Martine Paquet Says:

    I am a fan of le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain !
    You have painted the colors of this movie beautifully!

    Like

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