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Monday, November 30, 2009

Goodbye to France

Sadly, the trip to France is coming to an end. "Au Depart" was done in ink and watercolors at the train station in Avignon. We had to return our rental car by 10am and our train wasn't leaving until 12:30. That gave me a bit of time to capture a few travelers passing through. It is hard to decide on who to start sketching, because they often leave before I'm done. It has taught me to sketch much faster than I used to sketch, and to watch for someone who looks like they'll stay a while. "Looking Back at Provence" was actually painted in route back to Paris. I would look out the window and find a small section of the landscape or a feature to sketch, look up and do another small section, and then another until my page was full. Then I added the color. I did paint again in Paris before leaving, but those paintings were included in the Paris paintings posted previously. I enjoyed my painting trip through France, and I hope you enjoyed it too.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lacoste & Bonnieux

These two little Provence towns apparently were at war with each other back in history. Each town can see the other one across the landscape. Lacoste is home to the exchange students from the Savannah School of Art and Design, and I met a few of them while I was painting in the town. "Lacoste Street" was painted in ink and watercolor while I tried to keep warm in the Mistral winds. It was fine when I was in the sunshine, but because the town streets are so narrow, as soon as the sun moved a bit I was in shade again. "Bonnieux Walkway" was also done in ink and watercolor. Both were really lovely towns.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Abbaye & Koi Pond

The first painting "L'Abbaye de Senaque" was done with a micron ink watercolor paper. I worked with the ink while it was still damp to make it bleed with my waterbrush, and then when the area was dry I used the ink for additional details. I'm not sure why I did the Abbaye in black and grey tones, but I think it had something to do with the fact that it was such a gorgeous spot, and I had just seen the photos inside of the Abbaye gift shop with all the rows of lavender in front of it. It looked breathtaking with all the color. (This spot is often photographed for calendars and postcards.) Of course I was there in October and the lavender is in bloom in August! For me the lavender banks were all just dirt banks. I guess I had to make it look different, and I like the effect I got with the ink. I was also there on a cloudy day, so it did look a bit somber. I would love to see it with the lavender in bloom. "Koi Pond" was painted on the property where we were staying in Rognonas. It had all kinds of hidden lovely spots. Both of these are 5 x 7.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Beaucaire & Gordes

The first painting, "Castle Beaucaire" was done from a parking lot below the castle. It looked so solid and huge from below, and I only captured a small part of it. "Gordes Corner" was done in a lovely town filled with beautiful stone buildings and lots of shutters. It had narrow streets and lots of charm. "Le Cuisines du Chateau, Gordes" was painted in the same town. This was one of the interesting restaurants there. Each town in Provence had such lovely spots to capture. All three of these are 5 x 7.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

25th World Wide Sketchcrawl

I'm interrupting my paintings of France to post my "sketches" for the 25th World Wide Sketchcrawl. My sister and I drove about 30 minutes north of her home to Sugar Loaf, NY which has some quaint little artsy stores. We never got into any of the stores because we were sidetracked by the eye-catching colorful train station and caboose as you entered the town. Of course these ended up being much more than just sketches by the time they were done. With the time spent traveling, looking for bathrooms (lol) and the daylight so much shorter at this time of year, we only had time for two outoor sketches. We stopped for coffee before heading back home, so I sketched what was on the table in front of us too. It is always fun to do the sketchcrawls, especially with my sister, Mickey along.

I'll post more of Provence tomorrow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eygalieres Plus

A restaurant owner suggested I check out a church that was nearby in the town of Eygalieres. It was a really tiny town, with some lovely views of the countryside. "Eygalieres Landscape" was painted with watercolors from an overlook outside of town. "St. Sixtie, Eygalieres" was painting in watercolor and ink. I was freezing while I was painting because I was in a shady spot and the Mistral winds were blowing and cold that day. "Provence Window Out" was done sitting in the kitchen of our rental apartment. I just had to capture the Provence designs and color while I was there. All the paintings are 5 x 7.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Charm of Provence

We took a drive down to the sea and stopped in Cassis. It was a lovely harbor with colorful buildings and lots of boats. "Cassis Harbor" was painted there. "Vaison La Romaine" was done in ink and watercolor in the Haute Ville, or older part of town. The buildings and arches were wonderful! "Seguret View" was painted in watercolors from a parking area looking out over the farmland. The countryside there is so lovely. All of these are 5 x 7.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rural Provence Scenes

There are such great views along the back roads in Provence...but often no place to pull over to take photos or paint. I did find a spot to pull off the road to paint "Le Vignoble" with the vineyard and the house behind it. "Chez Pauline Patio" was painted at our home base in Provence. Our bedroom was right through those doors. "Rural Road" was painted in another spot I was able to stop without driving into one of the famous ditches on the side of the French roads. I love capturing the countryside in plein air. All of these were done in my 5 x 7 watercolor journal.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Le Beaux & Roussillon

Staying at Mas Saint Antoine put us in a central location to drive to a lot of the beautiful towns in Provence. Le Beaux was a beautiful, rocky area up in the hills. I used the rental car front seat as a studio to paint "Le Beaux I" and "Le Beaux II." In order to see the area I really needed to be downhill from the town. Roussillon is one of the few colorful towns in Provence. They are known for their ochre quarries, so all the buildings are in shades of ochre and reds. It was a lovely town to walk around in with shops and galleries, but of course I was more interested in painting it. "Roussillon Village" was painted while sitting on some rocks across from it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mas Saint Antoine, Provence, France

This was the property where we stayed in Provence. It was just outside of Rognonas, France, and I loved it! The buildings had such character with the stone walls and the shutters. I could have painted each of the buildings. The first painting "Mas Saint Anoine" is 5 x 7 and shows the front of the building. " "Courtyard" is the patio to our 1 bedroom unit. "Chez Pauline" is the front entrance to our unit. There were pots of flowers and plants everywhere and the scent of rosemary growing. The apartments were well equipped...even your own gas grill. All of my Provence paintings are 5 x 7 and are in a separate watercolor journal.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Loire Valley - Part II

I awoke early in the Loire Valley so I painted the floral arrangement on the dining room table ("Le Fleur" 4 x 6 watercolor). Luckily I can paint anytime. The second painting was of a hotel in Amboise near the river. I loved the bright yellow stripes on the canopies ("Amboise Charm" 4 x 6 watercolor and ink). I just had to paint a castle while I was there, and although Chenonceau is considered a "chateau" it looked enough like a castle for me. I sat on a bench in the garden area with a view of the towers that blocked out the scaffolding that covered a big part of the outside because they are doing renovations...just my luck. lol ("Chateau Chenonceau" 4 x 6 watercolor and ink)
Katherine Tyrrell was in France at almost the same time as I was visiting. She has wonderful sketches, photos links, and video links on her two wonderful blogs. Check them out if you have the time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Loire Valley - Part I

We rented a car when we were leaving Paris and headed to the Loire Valley. Our accommodations were upgraded to Le Cardinal, a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house in Amboise. It was beautiful! The first painting "Le Porte Rouge"(4x6) is of the front of the house. I just loved the red door! Our first morning brought some rain, so I hunted up a few things to do a still life painting and "Le Bon Vie"(4x6) was created. When it stopped raining I found a spot on the other side of the Loire River with a view of Amboise. "Chateau du Amboise" (4 x 6) was painted from the front seat of my rental car. I did miss having a painting chair with me!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Painting Monet's Garden - Day 2

Since the trip was so easy to do, I left my husband back in Paris when I went back to Monet's Gardens alone. I figured I could paint more if I didn't feel guilty about him getting bored. The garden wasn't as crowded as the first day, but every so often big tour groups would come through. The day was beautiful and I was in my glory! There were just so many lovely spots to stand and paint. I made sure I painted another version of the view of Monet's House that I had sold the first day. A woman from Taiwan came over to look at the paintings. We started talking and I showed her all the work I had done there. She wanted to buy a painting too and had a hard time deciding between two of them. She searched through her bag, but apparently she had left some of her money with friends and only had enough to buy one of them (the first one posted of the water pond). She was so excited about buying it, and took a photo of me with the painting. I gave her my blog address so she could see the other paintings I've been doing, and my email address because she promised to send me a copy of the photo she too when she gets back home to Taiwan. She was at the beginning of her trip and was going to be gone for a month.
Painting at Monet's Gardens was really special and emotional for me. It definitely was the highlight of my trip, and lived up to everything I imagined about it.
Katherine Tyrrell was in France at almost the same time as I was there. Check out her sketches, photos, and videos of Monet's Garden on her two blogs.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Painting Monet's Garden - Day 1

Wanting to visit Monet's Gardens was the reason I started to plan our visit to France. It was going to be my birthday celebration (a big birthday). Monet's Gardens in Giverny is about a 45 minute train ride from Paris, so it was very easy to do. I wasn't sure if they would let people paint there, so I took along my postcard sized watercolor paper, my field kit of paints, watercolor pencils (just in case I couldn't use paints), my waterbrush, and micron pens. When I got there I was so emotional that I started to cry...it was just so perfect!!! My husband said it was his second favorite place to visit ever. The grounds were gorgeous, even that late in the season, and nobody stopped me from painting. There were a few people doing quick sketches, and then a class of teenagers came with their watercolor materials. They were all over...sitting on the bridges and on the paths. For most of the paintings that I posted here I was standing while I was painting. I did find a bench to sit on to paint the one of the house, and sat on the ground to do the last one of the flower beds leading to the house.

While I was painting a couple came over to talk to us and wanted to look at my painting. They were from Hawaii and asked if I had done any other paintings there. I showed them the ones that I completed earlier in the day. They wanted to buy one of them. I really didn't want to sell one since these were my souvineers of the trip, but they were very persistent. They were at the end of their trip and said they would rather buy something beautiful and original than something from the gift shop. They bought the one of Monet's house with the flowers in front of the windows. I felt like a real Parisian artist!!
Next I will post my paintings from my second day at Monet's Gardens.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Artists & Friends Gallery Show

Right before I left for France, I did a show at the BAFFA Gallery in Sayville, NY with a small group of local artists. Here are photos from the show. The first one is of myself in front of my wall of art. The other artists are Marion Marino, Lydia Peterson, Laurie Samara-Schlageter, Doug Broadhurst, Carol Musac, Carol Corbett, Alma Pancir and our fellow artist/organizer Marianne Thorvaldson.