Sunday, September 25, 2011

Life's a beach- back to Soulac-sur-Mer

This year I was a little more together with my packing than last year, but I hadn’t prepared for rain so much of my time in the beginning was spent huddling in my pup tent with the big hairy wet Thabo pup reading, and cooking under an umbrella strung up under some pine trees.

But there is something about living under primitive conditions next to the sea that releases my free spirits and I have really had a great time. Perhaps I exaggerate the conditions. The campsite does have wonderful hot showers for warming up after a swim and on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic about 300 meters away is a restaurant with a terrace where I regularly bid adieu to the sun with a fancy cocktail decorated with little umbrella pierced fruit and whatnot.

The sun and weekend brought the crowds back for a last hurrah which was a bit of a drag because Thabo tends to be such a nuisance on the beach. If I swim out too far he either tries to drag me in using teeth and claws or barks hysterically and relentlessly. For awhile I try to feign innocence but soon everyone catches on that I am responsible for the beast, and reluctantly have to push off.

I recognized a lovely Dutch couple who were my neighbours last summer, and was able to light my stove with their flame throwing gadget. French alumettes were useless in the damp. This evening my corkscrew broke and I was about to go over to borrow theirs when I remembered a trick about banging the bottom of the bottle with the heel of a shoe to dislodge the cork. It works.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A circle of beads

On September 3, 2010, I posted a bitter wail about a necklace of old blue beads I had bought in Nairobi that had disappeared.

Last week while brushing my teeth, I suddenly spied the necklace on the bathroom window sill behind some stuffed animals.

I don't think I will ever know where they were all this time but I am very pleased that they found their way home. Sometimes these little mysteries just need to remain unsolved, especially if they have happy endings.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Workshop with Françoise Utrel

Last week I attended a one day workshop with the artist Françoise Utrel. The idea was to bring in some work and discuss where and how we wanted to progress with it. Having spent my life as professional illustrator, I have struggled to create paintings with personal originality and depth. I always seem to skim along the surface.

The lunch alone that Michel, Françoise's huband, prepared was worth the price of admission. No messing about with stale sandwiches and a flask of coffee in this establishment.

I first showed Françoise some illustrative work, then some life drawings, where I think my strength lies. She suggested that I choose one drawing and repeat it to create a series. Here is the drawing and subsequent explorations. Françoise vigilantly kept watch, stopping me from over-defining any part. I found putting myself into someone else's hand for a day productive and rewarding and intend continuing the series.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Imagining a prehistoric sea

I happened to be in London last year in October, the month of The Big Draw, a national festival to encourage everyone to start drawing launched by The Campaign for Drawing. I determined to participate this year so my gallery is having a painting day for children of all ages on October 1st, between 10 am and 4 pm.

The theme is to paint the sea that covered this area 135 million years ago. I will supply fossils, images and materials.

Please swing by if you can.