Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Around Here

Sydney as Lady MacBeth, something about spots, you know.

Tyler is a one eared pirate

Harriet is Rasputin, the mad monk from Russia.

Amelia is Marie Antoinette, and you'd better not disagree with her about that.

Monday, August 12, 2013

More From France

I got all too used to waiting for the smell of coffee to waft up the top floor where my shared room with olive leaf wall paper lay nestled under the roof.  Our kitchen, as opposed to the working kitchen where the big meals were prepared, sported an assortment of crockery and handpainted cupboards. Although the coffe made was just a sort of everyday Arabica, after a 30 year hiatus I was in love again.

Early morning view from one of the bathrooms at La Masion Verte in Roujan.

Looking into the courtyard. Note the wrought iron railing,  the different sorts of railings on the houses were a study all their own.

A window in the "morning room" where we gathered for coffee and croissants.

Yes, I lived, for a time, in a house with chandeliers, it is true.

This dregs of a coffe drink is not from France but from the Heathrow Airport where the food and food choices are actually quite good and you can get free WiFi. 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Random Photos

Dessert the first night at a restuarant in Toulouse, it was futile to resist dessert after that. Every night at La Masion Verte dessert was served and every night seemed the surpass the offering of the preceding evening. I found myself wondering what would be for dessert half way through the meal. Now home I am completely uninterested in dessert, maybe becuase I would have to make it.

The houses in Roujan are mostly thick stone appartments, side by side, there is probably a proper word for that which I do not possess in my vocabularly. The domiciles are differentiated by their grill work, paint colors, door knockers and mail boxes.

This archy window was above the kitchen sink in the kitchen where we found our coffee every morning. I love this little cow, a cousin to the cave bison. Later for artistic purposes another tranisistory occupant moved said cow and replaced it with three small pitchers, which I would again move and replace with the cow every now and then.

Ah the Pyrenees barely two hours from Roujan, beautiful, for some reason like coming home, I wept, slightly, behind my glasses. In the Pyrenees is Cave Niaux which boasts fabulous cave paintings. Go there if you possibly can.

A town in the Pyrenees where you can really batten down the hatches.

The beach, the sky, one needs no more.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More Photos

One day we had a field trip to a paper mill, Le Moulin a Papier, accessible only by a narrow walking path next to a robustly rushing stream. 

Many of the interesting French plants had little signs next to them letting us know what their names were.

Part of our tour was making monotype prints on a big yellow press.

Of course I made a rabbit image which the French printmaker joked about eating.

There were many examples of how paper can be used in art.

Our fearless leader Diane Olivier whipped out a lovely drawing of one of the paper making machines.

We were throughly educated as regards the history and technique of paper making.

This is one of the machines used to make the pulp for the paper. Paper can be made out a variety of materials from elelphant dung to blue jeans.

We each made two pieces of paper, here our paper guide passes on the secrets of papermaking to the youngest member of our group.
Whether by design or mishap on the way back we drove by Carcasonne .

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Valmagne Abbey was noteworthy for being very much beautifully restored having had the luck to be left mostly intact by various rioting hoardes. Currently, it boasted a medieval herb garden which had me rather excited. However, as it turned out the garden needed a bit of love so rather than start weeding, as was my impulse, I traipsed back to the cloister and its cool pinky greens. Having spent time in the garden patting the plants I didn't have enough time to do a proper on-sight drawing so I made some quick sketches and took photos. Later in the studio I worked up a more finished drawing using pastels. On returning home I did a much larger version using the pastel drawing and photo for reference. For this larger version I used 300 lb Arches watercolor paper, Inktense blocks and  colored pencils.
The sketch

Photo, shows the walls and floor not quite level or perpendicular also the pinkness of it all.
Pastel, oh and some colored pencel I think, I fought with this one, well I kind of fight with them all if truth be told.

Big version stage one.

Stage two....

Done, in that I can't do anymore, of wait maybe just a little tinkering in the shadow, just over there.....

Friday, July 26, 2013

More From France

The church at Roujan the clouds were moving at an intersting speed that caused the illusion of being still and the building and statue moving, or it could have been the jet lag.

A mysterious door in the garden of La Masion Verte where we stayed for two weeks.

Our first day out in the field drawing. The French understand Plein Air, honking car horns enthusiastically when our little group of artists was sighted. Our leader said she's had many experiences where people brought her food or water and once a shade umbrella.

Another door at La Masion Verte, this one much larger and leading into the old wine cave now converted to an eating area.

From the Abbey Valmagne where the stone is softly pink and seems to sing.

Vinyard outside the Abbey, there are many tree lined roads, the shade tree being planted at the suggestion of Napoleon to ease and expedite the transport of goods (mostly wine).

You can see the problem with France is that everything looks like a painting.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Return

There is nothing so annoying as someone going off to a fabulous other land, having a great time and then having to look at their photos. I am assuming this is true because I went off to France and no one has asked to see my photos. Not one single person. That said all the bunnies survived under the care of my son for  the two weeks I was gone. Now before you get too jealous and snipe about people who just go off to France, let me just say that I've not had the sort of vacation that really was a vacation for almost 30 years. There have been other trips,yes, but they were work related or, in the case of going to Costa Rica with 8th graders, there was much responsibilty involved. Having for a time thought about going to Tibet with Acupuncturists Without Borders, I argued myself out of it becuase of the vast amount of vaccines involved. 180 turn about and in June for two weeks I took a Pastel Drawing workshop in Southern France. It was lead my two friends of mine from back in the day who I'd not spent much time with for a long time....Here are some photos from the first day.

We were picked up by car from the train station in Bezier and on the way to Roujan where our  big house was we had to stop at the blooming poppy field, usually by mid June the poppies are gone, but cooler weather left this blessing to be admired and later drawn. 

A graveyard across from the poppy field yeilded interesting images and textures.

Wandering around Roujan waiting for check in time, half drunk from an afternoon of  sipping the rose of the region everything seems wonderful.

Flat Amelia show off the view from my room.