Painting Arolla and The Grand Hotel & Kurhaus
This painting diary is from my recent trip to Arolla. I’m stayed in a fantastic hotel surrounded by pine forest and snowy mountains. The start of the week consisted of skiing and walking about the region to discover the views and see what inspires me the most. It’s winter and very cold right now so ski touring equipment is the obvious choice here. I take a pencil and sketch book along with some small boards which I can paint postcard sized works on to test ideas and compositions.
The Hotel interior
Right from the first day I was inspired to also paint the lobby at the hotel. It looks over a balcony, through a beautiful forest made up of the famous Arolla pines. The spectacular backdrop behind the forest is made up of mountain peaks. My days consisted of painting inside the hotel most mornings (images below), followed by a ski tour up the mountain to paint landscapes. The two interior paintings you see below will form part of a future exhibition (for sale on request).
A member of the Swiss historic hotels, the Grand Hotel & Kurhaus, Arolla is situated 2,200m Altitude just above the small town of Arolla. Opened in 1896 by founder Mme Honorine Gaspoz and her husband Jean-Baptiste.This majestic hotel is constructed from stone carved from the mountains and a frame of wood hewn from surrounding Arolla trees.
After years planning and building together, Jean-Baptiste passed away before the Grand Hôtel & Kurhaus was complete. Honorine forged ahead and established a formidable business, the vision and spirit of which remain long after she too passed.
Here are a few cultural facts:
Little known to myself before arrival but since it was built the hotel has always been a place of culture. In fact Josephine Baker performed here in 1968 on Christmas Eve. It also hosts the International Mountain Book Fair at the beginning of July every year. The well-known comic artist Cosey found the inspiration for his book “A la recherche de Peter Pan” [In Search of Peter Pan] here.
The Surrounding nature
The surrounding peaks and mountains include, La Pigne d’Arolla, Aguille de la Tza, and Mont Collon. Mont Collon is an especially stunning mountain with a glacier perched on top. From a distance creating a sort of plateau. I ski toured from the Hotel and up, away from the ski pistes to find a little cluster of Swiss cabins and huts. The backdrop overlooking the valley and surrounding peaks was breath taking. An inspiring place, where you don’t know which way to look its all so stunning.
I made a series of 3 paintings from there during the two weeks stay. Each painting is a different composition, light and time of day. As I look toward the Mont Collon I wonder who were the first adventurers to conquer its faces. After checking wikipedia I see that still half of it remained un-climbed by the time the hotel was up and running so I wonder if any of them stayed in the grand hotel. If you want to discover this region for yourself I recommend starting with the tourism website for the Evolene region where you can find all the information you need.
The finished paintings of Arolla
Below are the finished landscape paintings in size order. These three works will go up for sale via the gallery (button below) Sunday 13th Feb 2022. To commission your own landscape painting you can visit the commissions page and/or Contact Daniel directly. A big thankyou to the very kind team at Hotel Kurhaus for the hospitality. Their service is excellent and very friendly, making it a real pleasure to stay there. Also thank you to Patricia who runs ‘YoupiTrip’ for the photos and information on the region.