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A Selection of Currnet Work - Follow Prue Bishop through the Alps

Introduction
Section 1 - Grenoble and the Chartreuse
Section 2 - Lake Geneva
Section 3 - Mont Blanc - North Side
Section 4 - Aosta Valley
Section 5 - Maurienne Valley and Vanoise Massif
Section 6 - The Rhône Valley
Section 7 - Fribourg and Avenches
Section 8 - Basel
Section 9 - Bernese Oberland
Section 10 - Lucerne

INTRODUCTION

On this page, Prue Bishop takes us on a tour of the Alpine region of Europe through the medium of her Sculptural Watercolour® paintings.

Her technique draws on the bedrock of over 200 years of watercolour tradition, yet brings waterolour into the 21st century by her experiments with the latest pigments that she makes into her own paints.

A central aspect of her work is that the viewer should interact, drawing from his or her own imagination in order to arrive at what the painting is about.

None of these works is for sale.  They are being kept for future generations to enjoy as a complete collection and to provide interested artists with demonstrative examples of the broad potential of her genre.

SECTION 1 - Grenoble and the Chartreuse

[Please tap on an image to see a larger version]

Grenoble

Grenoble, France
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80cm x 6 cm

Left: Grenoble from one of the bridges over the River Isère. A storm has caught the artist by surprise.

On the left is part of the modern art gallery. On the right are some colourful older buildings undergoing renovation.

In 1064 St Bruno and 6 companions set up their place of contemplation and retreat that eventually became the Chartreuse Monastery - below. Access was guarded by narrow gorges. To cross the Guiers Mort river in those days, one would have taken advantage of natural features such as the one on the right, where a large rock spans the river.

The Ancient Crossing of Guiers Mort River

Natural Rock Crossing of the Guiers Mort River in the Chartreuse, France
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 50cm x 70cm x 5cm

Chartreuse Monastery Pont de la Petite Vache Pont Perent

Chartreuse Monastery - Even today, the monastery remains a quiet place of contemplation, and there is no public access. Here we catch a glimpse through a break in the surrounding forest trees. Note especially the colours.

The Ruined Petite Vache Bridge - This is all that is left of a bridge that once supported the main route through the guiers Mort Valley.

Pont Pérent: abandoned over 150 years ago, yet still in place today! In spring, the many shades of green and their reflextion in the water are a most notable feature.

SECTION 2. Lake Geneva

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inspired by 1841 Geneva Plan

Genève - Geneva
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 61 x 81 x 7 cm

Left: The source of inspiration for this Sculptural Watercolour® of Geneva is the extraordinary shape of the city’s fortifications that began to emerge in the mid-16th century alongside the development of co-ordinated artillery.

This artwork also contains a 21st Century message of support for those artists at the cutting-edge of experimentation; in this case with watercolour.

Right: Here is Geneva on a freezing cold winter's day with no people, no fountain and no boats, with the long curve of the flood-defence wall covered in a thick coating of glaze-ice leading us to buildings pink in the setting sun, with the misty Jura Mountains beyond. Note also just a hint of the old part of the city represented by the top of the Cathedral.

 

 

Dent d'Oche and Evian from Lutry

Frozen Geneva in the Depths of Winter
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 5 cm

 

Evian-les-Bains from Lutry - moonlight

The Léman (Lake Geneva) in Moonlight - The Dent d'Oche and Evian-les-Bain from Lutry
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 5 cm

Left: The artist tells us, "One early evening in summer we were relaxing by an artificially lit walkway in Lutry on the northern shore of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). As night fell, the lake became bathed in moonlight that etched out the peaks of the French and Swiss mountains to the south against a sky gently lit by the sun that had already set. On the other side of the lake, the lights of Evian-les-Bains and the surrounding villages began to twinkle. The foreground rocks were artificially lit"

Right: Our viewpoint is between Les Avents and Chernex looking down on the eastern edge of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) between Montreux and Villeneuve, with the flat area of the Rhône Valley covered in early-morning mist, and with the mountain range behind that includes the Tour d'Aï, a high point in the Leysin ski area.

The Head of Lake Geneva from near Les Avants
a Sculptural Watercolour® in a box frame
50cm x 70cm x 5cm

 

 

Lake Geneva from Les Avents

Chillon Castle Dungeon

Chillon Castle Dungeon, Lac Léman, Switzerland
A Sculptural Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 70 x 50 x 8 cm

Left: Chillon Castle is at the eastern end of Lake Geneva and is probably Switzerland's No. 1 tourist attraction. Nevertheless, it is large enough to absorb the crowds and is well worth seeing.

2016 marked the 200th anniversary of Lord Byron's visit there that led extremely quickly to his poetic myth called The Prisoner of Chillon.

The painting on the left draws together the essential elements of the dungeon where François Bonivard, the central character in the myth, was chained for 6 years from 1530.

 

 

SECTION 3 - The Mont Blanc - North Side - France

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Right: Towards the end of the 18th century, several artists recorded a spectacular cascading waterfall of the River Arve that could be crossed by a very flimsy bridge.

Even today, this part of the River Arve remains inhospitable and is seen by almost no-one, as it is such a dangerous place.

However, we may take this wonderful modern road bridge that 'flies' over this area, keeping us blissfully unaware of what is sometimes a raging torrent below.

The Viaduc des Egratz
Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 6 cm.

The Egratz Elevated Roadway in the Arve Valley

Mt Blanc from the Artist's Home just after Sunset

Left: The Mont Blanc Massif from the artist's home.

The sun has just set behind the viewer, but the mountains are still picking up the pink of the setting sun, as is also a distant layer of high cloud.

The Mont Blanc Massif after Sunset
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 5 cm

Right: On the road to Chamonix, the Glacier des Bossons is on the right and may be approached by chair lift. The peaks here are the Aiguille du Midi, and also Mont Maudit that is very close to the actual peak of Mt Blanc.

Even in recent decades this long glacier has receded alarmingly. Some years ago, the artist and her family used to visit a cavern in the ice, not far from the top of the chair lift. But today, all the ice there has gone and it is now a huge valley.

200 years ago, large blocks of ice almost reached the floor of the Chamonix Valley.  Today, one has to look way up the mountain to find these fascinating shapes of ice.

Glacier des Bossons

Glacier des Bossons, Mont Blanc Massif, France
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60cm x 80cm x 5cm

Sources of the Arveyron

Sources of the Arveyron - A Massive Gorge once Filled entirely by a Glacier
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a boxed frame 60cm x 80cm x 5cm

 

Left: The Mer de Glace once stretched almost to Chamonix. The melting glacier and the many mountain streams are the Sources of the River Arveyron, a tributary of the River Arve that eventually joins the Rhône at Geneva.

In the 19th Century, the long arc of the glacier was especially impressive, drawing an increasing number of visitors and being painted by many artists.

Today, the once famous white arc has gone completely. Here we see a section once entirely filled with ice that is now a massive gorge with a mountain stream racing through it.

Nevertheless, this radically changed view remains impressive.

Right: The view of the Mont Blanc Massif from the Aiguille du Midi covering France, Switzerland and Italy is spectacular. Luckily, we may reach this 3800m (almost 12500 ft) viewpoint by cable cars.

The rounded peak of Mont Blanc is towards the right of the picture.

The peaks left to right are Mt Blanc du Tacul, Mt Maudit, Mt Blanc and the Dôme du Goûter.

Mont Blanc from the Aiguille du Midi
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 5 cm

 

Mt Blanc from Aiguille du Midi

SECTION 4. Aosta Valley, Italy         Please tap on an image to see a larger version

Mont Bland from Pierre Taillée in the Aosta Valley

Mont Blanc from Pierre Taillée, Aosta Valley
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 5 cm

 

Left: Our viewpoint is from what is left of the old mule-track that travellers before about 1815 found particularly exciting, as there were steep drops into the river far below as it cut though this narrow gorge.

Even today this area remains dangerous as it is subject to frequent rockfalls.

Here we see a rock that features in Turner's "Battle of Fort Roch" watercolour, with the old mule route creeping underneath.

In the right-hand corner, down in the valley, is an abandoned section of a once main road that has been replaced by a tunnel. After the tunnel, a modern main road is seen heading straight towards the white of the Mont Blanc Massif.

 

SECTION 5. Maurienne Valley and Vanoise Massif, France 

Right: The Maurienne Valley has long been a vital route over the Mont Cenis Pass or now through the Frejus Tunnel linking France with Italy, or by the 147 year old railway tunnel that by 2026 will be supplemented by the 57km long Mont Cenis Base Tunnel: one of the longest in the world carrying a mind-blowing 1 million trucks and up to 50 million tonnes of goods a year.

Many remarkable mountains rise up on either side of this valley, among them those belonging to a line of peaks that includes the Grand Perron des Encombres in the Massif de la Vanoise: the third largest massif in the French Alps: the centre-piece of this Sculptural Watercolour®

St-Martin-de-la-Porte was once a busy staging centre for changing relay-horses. And it was probably during one of these breaks in the long journey between Grenoble and Turin that the famous English artist J M W Turner sketched these very mountains, clearly finding the jagged peaks on the right of this picture of special interest.

Today, the majority of travellers speed past on the Autoroute, missing almost everything that this region has to offer. However, cyclists head for these valleys, and those keen on walking may 'get away from it all' in the myriad of Alpine peaks in this area.

 

Please tap on the image to see a larger version with more information

St-Martin-de-la-Porte, French Alps

St-Martin-de-la-Porte
Maurienne Valley, French Alps

a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 5 cm

SECTION 6. The Rhône Valley, Switzerland         Please tap on an image to see a larger version

Martigny - La Bâtiaz Castle

La Bâtiaz Castle, Martigny, with the old houses below the rockface and the modern town expanding into the Rhône Valley.
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 50 x 70 x 5 cm

In the summer of 1818, Martigny suffered a catastrophic flood. The River Dranse that flows through the town had been blocked well above the town by a joining glacier that had slid across the valley forming a dam of ice-blocks and mud, and an ever-deepening lake behind. Men constructed a tunnel to drain the water, and initially this appeared to be solving the the problem.  But suddenly the entire dam gave way, completely destroying many villages and flattening Martigny.

In 1802 JMW Turner had stayed at The Swan Inn under La Bâtiaz Castle, and in the flood this inn was carried away and the landlord lost his life.  Turner then  painted a watercolour of how this part of Martigny had appeared when he had been there.

Today, Martigny is a mass of cranes and construction work as the town expands rapidly. This 'new town' is shown in the mists in the centre-left of the painting, whilse a few of the old buildings that escaped the 1818 flood are in the foreground.

The River Dranse is carefully monitored and managed, thereby obviating a further catastrophe that could otherwise sweep away both old and new towns.

SECTION 7. Fribourg and Avenches         Please tap on an image to see a larger version

Aventicum was once a very important Roman city. These pillars are what remain of a once huge and impressive palace.

The larger pillar once had a stork's nest on top that led to the present name.

The position of the present day town on a hill, together with its many old buildings, provides us with a most attractive skyline.

The nearby Roman Amphitheatre is an important cultural centre for open air events such as operas. The scene on the right hints at a stage setting, recalling this town's centuries old interest in such events.

Avenches-Aventicum 'La Cigognier'

Avenches (Aventicum) 'Le Cigognier'
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 50 x 70 x 5 cm

Fribourg in Switzerland is one of the artist's favourite small cities as its very undulating terrain together with so many old buildings offer a plethora of wonderful landscape views.

Here, she presents the new Poya Bridge with a backdrop of the madieval city. This architecturally splendid bridge was opened in 2014, and the painting was completed to mark this event.

Fribourg Switzerland - le Pont Poya

Fribourg and the Poya Bridge
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 5 cm

SECTION 8. Basel         Please tap on an image to see a larger version

Three Country Corner - Switzerland, France and Germany - from the Basel side

The point where Switzerland, Germany and France come together is marked on the Basel Swiss side by this unusual sculpture. This international region is united in operating as a conurbation.

Today's positive and close co-operation among three countries is in stark contrast with the 1940s when France and Germany were at war and Switzerland a nervous neutral neighbour.

 

Left: Dreiländereck (3-country Corner) Basel
Sculptural Watercolour® in a box frame 70 x 50 x 7 cm

SECTION 9. Bernese Oberland   - Jungfrau Region

Every year, thousands of visitors pass along the Lütschental on their way to and from the famous Swiss resort of Grindelwald, yet almost no-one pauses here here at Burglauenen.

The Wetterhorn is bathed in afternoon sunlight, whist the Schwarze-Lütschine River is almost covered in ice. This part of the valley receives no direct winter sunshine and so remains relatively cold.

Right: Grindelwald Switzerland - Schwarze-Lütschine River and the Wetterhorn from Burglauenen
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 5 cm

Grindelwald - The Wetterhorn and Schwarze-Lütschine from Burglauenen

Grindelwald - The Eiger from the East

We probably all have in mind a particular view of the Eiger from the North or North-West.  So its shape from the East may be a surprise, as from here we see that it is a piece of the Earth's crust fractured and tilted skywards.

The steep slope on the right of the picture is the North-East Face, with the even steeper and famous North Face just out of view.

The Eiger has a most unusual feature: a railway that has a curving tunnel through the mountain, with a station on the right-hand north side, then one on the left-hand south side. Should you ever take the train to what is called 'The Top of Europe' you should take a break at the south-side station and absorb the view of glaciers tumbling into the 'Ice Lake'.

 

Left: The Eiger from the East with the Mitteleggi Ridge and the Mitteleggi Hut
a Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 5 cm

 

The North Face of the Eiger is one of the most difficult challenges for mountaineers because in addition to being very steep, the climber has to endure a constant barrage of falling rocks, ice and water.

Ice-fields throw up special difficulties that must be overcome.

This Sculptural Watercolour® is a frozen waterfall where climbers must dig in ice-axes and crampons to cross the cold and slippery surface from one side to the other yet progress upwards.

The original of this work appears to be especially appreciated by those that see it.

It was most recently on display at the Château de Voltaire in the Auvergne-RhôneAlpes Region of France.

Please contact us if you would like to consider exhibiting it.

Eiger North Face Ice Flue

The Ice Chimney on the Eiger North Face
Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 80 x 60 x 8 cm

Upper Reichenbach - Prue Bishop

The Reichenbach Falls were much loved by artists many decades before they became associated with Sherlock Holmes at the end of the 19th century.

This particular Sculptural Watercolour was several years in gestation. The artist visited the location many times in all seasons in order to understand the nature and depth of the subject. In December 2015 the water was diverted elsewhere during work to improve the public viewing areas. She therefore took advantage of this unusual situation to closely inspect the area normally occupied by water, touching and feeling the rocks normally brushed by the passing torrent, and observing their colours. She then returned to her studio and began planning work on this subject.

The Upper Falls of the Reichenbach
Sculptural Watercolour®
in a box frame 80 x 60 x 8 cm

SECTION 10. Lucerne         Please tap on an image to see a larger version

Lake Lucerne: The Rigi from the Bürgenstock

Lake Lucerne: The Rigi from the Bürgenstock Cliff Walkway / Felsenweg Bürgenstock
Sculptural Watercolour® 2011
in a box frame 70 x 50 x 5 cm

Right: This Sculptural Watercolour® is a composite that brings together many of Lucerne's towers.

Right: The Towers of Lucerne / Les tours de Lucerne /
Die Türme von Luzern / Le torri di Lucerna

a Sculptural Watercolour® 2017
in a box frame 60 x 80 x 7 cm

Lucern Towers

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The above Sculptural Watercolours are retained for exhibition and not currently for sale.

All Sculptural Watercolours are available to view by appointment

All the Sculptural Watercolours are available for exhibition

Archive Quality Prints are available of all work.

Academic and student interest is welcome.

Press enquiries are welcome.

All images on this page © John Lumby = John & Prue Bishop

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This page was udated on February 11th, 2018

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© Prue and John Bishop 2002 - 2018
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