Saturday, August 13, 2016


In this never ending series of cocktail paintings I've been doing  Pastis never crossed my mind.
Pastis is a French kissing cousin of the legendary drink de jour of French ( Post Impressionist) painters. Absinthe ( a killer drink..literally).
One spring day in Italy I had the pleasure of a studio visit from Peter B. and his wife, Sarah, who together own a house in Umbria. During their stay in Italy they often make a visit to Provence. After seeing an in-progress Martini painting leaning against the wall, he recommended Pastis as a subject matter. 
Who knew? And why not? But, what is it?

James Aponovich
oil on canvas, 10" x 8"

Naked, Pastisse is a clearish, golden color,,,,well, actually, it looks more like urine...albeit a really nice urine color. However, when water is added, it turns into a beautiful, pale aquamarine cloud that is the perfect refresher on these hot Provence summer days. So, since friends Jim, Debbie and Robbie were traveling to Provence, I requested they bring back some souvenir Pastis glasses, for as you know, each drink deserves it's own carrier. As I painted, a thought came into my mind of a one-time visitor to Provence who almost everyone knows.....

VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)

Vincent Van Gogh
Self Portrait 
Oil on canvas, 1889


Vincent wasn't the type of guy you would like to have over for dinner, way too intense, manic, bipolar and epileptic. He was only 37 when he shot himself and only really painted for 17 of those years. During his life he only sold one painting, but he was supported by his normal art dealer brother, Theo, dear Theo. He desperately wanted  companionship, but he drove away everybody he ever got close to, the ultimate bad body language guy. His own mother couldn't take him for God's sake!

 Vincent Van Gogh
oil on canvas, 1889

So, to tell the story, I have placed the Pastis glasses( only his is full) and water pitcher in front of a landscape from his Arles period. It was there, in Provence, that Vincent wanted to establish an art colony, but only succeeded in driving Gaughin away and cutting off his ear in a drunken fit. Oy!

Vinnie and Me
James Aponovich
oil on canvas, 15" x 12", 2016

Then, I attempted to translate Vinnie's vision into my own. After all, I've read all of his letter, know which paints were available, and painted a few Mediterranean landscapes myself. His painting sits on an outdoor easel in front of the French landscape he saw. His painting, palette and brushes sit as if he had just completed an afternoon's session. He has poured himself a glass os Pastis........
want to join him?

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