“In the kitchen, sunlight filtered through the movement in the leaves of the courtyard trees outside the window, rendering the white plaster walls inside diaphanous and transitory like fluttering muslin. A bright Christmassy scent of freshly peeled oranges was all around. I couldn’t think where it came from as we had only apples in the fruit bowl.”
From The Lantern
Julian Merrow-Smith is a classically-trained painter, and it shows in every brushstroke. In his small oil Citron de Nice, the lemon seems to glow from within while the light around is sombre. It has a timeless quality, like a beautiful detail from an Old Master.
Likewise, this clementine is so richly evoked that you can almost smell the zesty aroma released by the fruit as its peel is pulled away, and juice trembles on the membrane. Look at that pith, fluffed and exposed, and you can taste its distinctive bitterness. What a gift to be able to engage so many senses with paint on a flat surface!
I wrote about Julian in one of my very first posts on this blog, when I was getting about three visitors a day, and two of these almost certainly accidental. So for those who missed it first time round, here is the link to his Still Life with Figs.
Extraordinarily, he paints a picture of this calibre a day - normally from his studio near Crillon-le-Brave but sometimes from his wider travels. These encompass landscapes and, occasionally, portraits as well as still lives; they are then auctioned online.
So successful have these proved that 140 from the collection have been published as a treat of a book, Postcard from Provence, the dream-like countryside of southern
seen through the eyes of a contemporary yet very traditional artist. It is available here from Amazon, or from the painter’s website here, which also has details of the daily auction. France