Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Trip to Venasque and Modeling for Our Art Group

Friday morning we headed out to explore some smaller villages that are off the beaten path.  When driving in Provence, there are several things that you notice.  One is the huge number of bicyclists you see on the streets here.  They are everywhere!
Another thing is that the roads are very narrow.  Almost always.  Our first stop was La Roque Sur Pernes, which was no exception.  We decided to keep moving, but did spot this really interesting old wash area on the way out of town, where the women of the village once did their laundry.
We headed for our next stop of Le Beaucet, but had to stop at a spontaneous lavender sighting!  This field was full and lush.  We can already see the difference in the lavender since we got here.  A week of hot weather has really increased the blooming.
After everyone got their fill of lavender pictures, we continued on towards Le Beaucet, and could see it off in the distance.
Still not quite satisfied with the winding narrow roads at the top of the hill, we decided to keep it moving and finally ended up in the most glorious village, Venasque.  It was there that we settled in to sketch, paint, photograph and explore.

The first thing that caught my attention was the mailman.  The streets are so narrow that he backed up the street to deliver the mail, then drove back down when he finished.  Good backing skills required for his job!
The town has a charming square with a fountain, surrounded by cafes and shops.  There were cyclists in the town, and this one had the most interesting nickname.  Sexy Lexy.
This brings me to another thing I noticed in the villages.  I am shooting way more vertical shots than horizontal.  Usually it's the other way around for me.  Anyway, the further I walked into the little village, the more interesting it got.  I spotted another great fountain,
and a beautiful old church that I needed to explore.
Here are a few of the elements in the church.
It seems I get moved to tears every time I enter one of these old churches.  I sit down, have myself a little cry, and then photograph like a mad woman!  LOL.  Crazy artist.

Of course there was a spectacular view of the countryside from the village.
We ate our lunches in the village, and then returned to the chateau, where I posed for a portrait session.  This was my first time posing for a group.  The put a mark on the wall so I had a place to fix my gaze,
and I did a series of twenty minute poses.  Thanks to Belinda DelPesco for the great photo of me modeling, with Julie Snyder's work in progress in the foreground.  I think I look a little too serious here, but it was my first time, after all.  Would love to do it again.

This is Brenda's interpretation of me.  Love it and love the title.
Ended the day with another great home cooked dinner, and a nice Chardonnay and Voignier blend.  Then off to bed to write my blog!!
Bonne Nuit and Sweet Dreams, all.  Thanks for following.

Love, Linda

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Day of Art with Van Gogh and Chagall

Wednesday was a quiet day here at the Chateau, where we all either worked on a new painting, finished a work in progress, or caught up on posts and social media, (if you are me)!  Thursday we hit the ground running, with the first stop being the Saint Paul Asylum in Saint Remy, where Vincent Van Gogh lived and painted from May of 1889 to May of 1890.  Here I am with Vincent.
There he produced many works including "Starry Night", which he painted in June of 1889.  According to Wikipedia, it is one of his best known works, and one of the most recognized paintings in the history of Western culture.  It was based on the view of his garden from his second story asylum window, just before sunrise.
The grounds are a former monastery, 
and I entered the church
and sat down for a moment to take it all in.  As I was sitting there, a woman approached the altar and started softly chanting.  Chills ran down my spine and tears ran down my face as I listened to the soft, lilting melody.  I was in the same space that was once inhabited by Vincent Van Gogh.  It was a deeply spiritual moment.
Since we could roam the building and grounds freely, we set up in different spots to sketch and paint.  I chose the lavender field in the back, the same space that occupied the garden that Vincent used as his inspiration.
While I sat and sketched in the garden, various people would roam past, and I especially enjoyed listening to a small group of tourists who were speaking Italian.  I had fun listening to the melody of their language, trying to guess what they were saying.  I also had a delightful Japanese man, Takahashi from Tokyo, come and visit me three times as I progressed on my painting.  Here are Kathy, Julie and Brenda preparing for painting in the garden as well.
Just when it couldn't get much better, I had the first Mermaid sighting since I arrived in France, thanks to Belinda Del Pesco, who spotted one on the top of one of the ancient columns in the courtyard.
After we finished up our paintings, we ate our lunch on benches under the shade trees near the olive grove in the front, and then headed for our afternoon destination of Le Baux.

All I knew about this next stop is that we were going to a quarry, and it could be chilly inside so bring a sweater.  Was I in for a surprise!
It turned out that we were visiting the Chagall, Midsummer Night's Dream multi-media exhibition at Carrieres de Lumieres.  Huge moving images of Chagall's work are projected onto the stone quarry walls, set to music.
It was an amazing exhibit, and you can read more about it by clicking here.  Chagall was very prolific, and his images are mostly figurative, very colorful,  with a surreal quality.  And yes, he also painted some mermaids!  Two Mermaid spottings in one day.  Very lucky, indeed.

We finished the day with a dinner outing at Restaurant La Margelle.  A family owned restaurant with homestyle cooking, I had Poulet (chicken) in a blue cheese sauce that was to die for, with home made fries, fresh garlic green beans and more.  There were plenty of laughs, and glasses of Rose, and it was a perfect ending to a beautiful day with Workshops in France.
Again it's almost 1:30 am here, time for me to say Bonne Nuit and sweet dreams to all.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lavender and the Charming Village of Bonnieux

Tuesday was a full day for us, with our first chance to paint the lavender in Bonnieux.  Arriving at a lavender field, especially for the first time, literally takes your breath away.   The color, the scent, and the hum of the bees is intoxicating, so the first thing we all need to do with Workshops in France is  TAKE A PICTURE!

And poof!  Here I am in the lavender.
Next, we all spread out and find a spot to capture its beauty in our own way.  Here, among others, are  Brenda...
Mary Jo...

 And me!
 It's a very moving experience to realize you are in FRANCE making art!  And you never know who will be passing through while you are painting, to add to the aesthetics.  Wink wink.
Wrapping up the morning, we are all satisfied with a job well done, and head off into the village of Bonnieux to have some lunch.  And perhaps a beer, if you are me.  At the cafe, here's Brenda, Kathy, Your's Truly, Nathalie, MaryJo, Angel, Laura, Julie Aleex, and Bobbie, and thanks to Belinda for taking the pic.
We had a few hours to wander the town and meander through the winding streets of Antique Shops up to the top of the hill.

This ivy covered cottage reminded me of something straight out of Harry Potter.
Here's some more eye candy for the ladies to add to the aethestics.
And although the Antique Shops were closed in the early afternoon, it was still a lovely walk up a narrow street.

Antiques line the streets, even with the shops closed for lunch.
And there is beauty everywhere.  From the flowers...
to the curtains.
We headed out of Bonnieux and through the village of Gordes to the Abbey of Sennanque, which is a 12th Century Cistercian Monastery that sits in a valley surrounded by lavender fields.
Then home to a catered dinner of Quiche, potatoes, ratatouille and fresh fruit.  Fabulous!
It was a full day, and we all slept like babies.  Hope your day was beautiful too.  Thanks for following!