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.


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