Saturday, September 19, 2009

Avignon, Pont du Gard, Arles France

Bill and Sylvia and I have been soaking up the ambience of the Provence region of France.  We are becoming very European in that we are walking and walking and walking.  Glad I brought old comfortable shoes.  We have been doing a lot of photography, but not as much painting.  I have collected many photos like the one below that will make good paintings.   

Proivence 2009 033 

Here is a painting!

In Avignon, Bill and Sylvia went  on a quest to locate a serious cycling shop to purchase European cycling jerseys.  While they trekked to the shop they heard about, I sat in a little square, ordered a cappuccino because when you make a purchase at a European cafe you "own" the table until you ask for the bill.  The tables were empty accept for a few who were lingering over long finished lunches.  


Not knowing how much time I had, I chose one single window in the building across the square to paint in my watercolor journal.  The sun shown on the building so I figured it would  not be long before the occupant closed the shutter to block the sun from warming the apartment too much.  I quickly penciled in the main shapes and then mixed a gray and put in the shadow shapes.  Sure enough, a cute little old lady closed the shutter just as I finished the shadows.   But the pencil sketch and shadows gave me all I needed to add the rest of the color and the ink.  

On Tuesday we took the local train to Nimes, and then figured out how to take a local bus to Pont du Gard where these photos were taken.  The bus was a nice bus and cost us less than a euro.

Proivence 2009 008  
Pont du Gard is the largest Roman aqueduct known.  The largest arch is 80 feet across, making it the biggest known to have been built.  Construction began in 38 ad and continued to 52 ad and 1000 men worked on it.  You can walk across it, and there is a lighting system that lights it at night; probably a spectacular scene.  Just to imagine such a feat is difficult.  It was certainly worth the train trip to Nimes and bus ride out in the country to see it.  And now we know how to read the French bus schedules too!

Proivence 2009 012 

Note he cute woven sticks fence to line the path in this National Park.

Proivence 2009 015

The people on the aqueduct give you a feeling for its immense size.

Wednesday is market day in Arles, but we awoke to rain.  Oh well, that is why we have rain jackets.  We found the food section most interesting, and purchased a picnic.

Bill buys from the friendly Frenchmen, he has become a fan 0f French bread and patisseries. 

Proivence 2009 056

Back in our hotel we waited out the rain painting in the dining room.  Sylvia finished this painting she began in Damme, Belgium.


I did this ink drawing in Brugge last week on a cold windy morning.  I began the painting in my watercolor journal in ink thinking that we may end up quitting early and heading somewhere warm, and I could always add the color later if I had a good drawing.   We did quit early, but due to the cloudy sky my photos were not very exciting so I bought a postcard of the same scene taken on a sunny day.  Here is the painting, begun in Brugge and finished in the Hotel l Calendal in Arles using the postcard taken on a sunny day as my color reference. 

Proivence 2009 070

When the rain stopped we ventured out in Arles with our cameras looking for the garden in the hospital where Van Gogh was treated after the famous ear incident. 


Arles is an ancient town, and the locals work hard to preserve their past while at the same time making the town a nice place to live today.  The Romans built the arena and the ancient theater; both still in use today.   Most of the town seems to show its medieval past however, here are some photos of the medieval ramparts that still encircle the old town. 

A close up of this section of the medieval wall.

This shot is a good example of Arles today, on the left the remnants of the medieval wall, then a modern street with parking and modern apartment buildings and shops on the right.

And inside those old walls people live in charming little homes and apartments that they create in the old medieval buildings.

No comments: