Wednesday, May 25, 2011

French Escapade, Roussillon

Roussillon's ochre mines are famous the world over. No longer operating, they are now a tourist attraction bringing a boost to the local economy. The locals discovered that ocher, a blend of iron, sand and chalk, makes a permanent paint (think French cave paintings) and that was the beginning of mining here. They also used the ochre to paint their village creating a lovely "red" village loved by all who visit here.

This could be an abstract painting.

Bonnie and Linda stayed in the village while the rest of us took a trail through what was once the mine. It kind of reminds me of Bryce Canyon accept the shapes are man made instead of natural.

Here is the village of Roussillon. When the walls are in direct sun they look more of a greyish pink but in the shade they appear more redish. The last time I visited Roussillon was a couple of days after Katrina hit the US, with Sunny Reeves and her painting trip with instructor Susan Blackwood. I remember because a nice lady came out of her shop to inquire if we had families in New Orleans and were they all right, when she heard us speaking American accented English.
It rained that day and the entire village changed color, when the ochre paint gets wet it turned a much deeper red. No rain today, Jackie ordered up another perfectly sunny day.

Linda sitting looks so serious in this shot.

The other Linda and Margret perched on this narrow stairway up to the bell tower to paint. Many people snapped photos of them, but the interesting part was that most of the would be photographers asked for permission to take their picture in French. Even an American lady asked in French.

This lovely arched window was the subject of Linda's painting.

The last time I photographed this window it was raining, look at the lovely sun and shadows today.

Tourists come in all sizes and shapes, and in various states of dress and undress!

Love this tiny window in the stone wall.

Spandex reigns...everywhere we go we see people touring Provence on bicycles. These guys spoke English with a strong British accent.

old door, new lock

A quick watercolor sketch in my journal while enjoying a cold .drink and glace' under the shade of a cafe umbrella. The best part was the mister that came on every couple of minutes. Feels more like July in Provence than May.

Just another lovely day creating watercolor sketches in our journals.

Breakfast still life.

Our first day of painting will be here in Venasque. The ramparts will built in the eleventh century.

Only in France would a village post office have a trellis of iron work painted a lovely lavender and hanging baskets of flowers. Note the beautifully fashined iron sign announcing "La Poste".

The Venasque Boulangerie (bakery where you buy your bread and other baked goods). The village is too small to have a grocery store or a green grocer, but every village no matter how tiny has a boulangerie.

Bonnie painting the boulangerie.

Margret using her "go-figure" to measure an angle.

At the end of the first day everyone had created at least one painting and some were on their second one. No one offered there paintings to be photographed for the blog however.

We had critique along with aperitifs and then enjoyed a very tasty and filling dinner on the terrace again, then everyone crashed in bed for a good night's sleep.

French Escapade in Provence...continued...

Here we are having our first dinner on the terrace our first evening, we are: Jan, Barbara, Jackie, me, Bonnie, Linda, Linda and Margret. Jerome and Martine own La Maison aux Volets Bleus and Jerome is a fabulous French chef. We are eating well!

Martine is an artist, so everywhere you look there is a painting.

Bonnie in the doorway of her room.

The view from the terrace and all my students rooms, very inspiring!

I have been writing my blog off line as I always do in "Live Writer" but when I try to upload onto this blog it gets blocked. The error message is very long, so clearly something is not right. Because of my busy schedule, and the fact that I can only get on line in the living room, not always convenient, I am behind in sharing with all of you the fun we are having. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Follow along on our French Escapade

Jackie Grandchanps, owner of French Escapade, a small group tour conpany, picked my  students and I up in a new van called a "Jumpy" at the train station in Avignon France for my watercolor workshop in Provence on Sunday.  (Computer problems, only half corrected, did  not allow me to blog until now, so a bit behind here.)   Anwyay, we drove through Avignon out into the beautiful countryside awhile until a tiny village on top of a hill came into view.  The village is called Venasque and will be our home for the workshop.

La Maison aux Volets Bleus (house with the blue shutters) is the beautiful B and B that will be our home while we are here.

Have Paints Will Travel to Provence, France

My friend Bonnie and I arrived in Avignon, France a couple of days before my French Escapade Watercolor Workshop.  We stayed at le Colbert, a lovely little hotel recommended in Rick Steves "France" book. 

We found the patio of the le Colbert the perfect place to do some warm up paintings prior to my workshop.

While having lunch in the square I sketched this man having a smoke while watching the action in the le Corp Saint square below.

Almost everyone is here now, we are having dinner at an outcoor cafe on the main square in Avignon.  We are toasting to being in Paradise if the world ends (it is May 21st).  The French did not understand the reason behind our toast.  They must not have wacky preachers that predict the end of the world here, either that or the French media pays no attention to them.