Friday, October 18, 2013

Syria in more peaceful times...

One of my very favourite watercolourists is Lucy Willis:

Today's post brought this wonderful signed print of Aleppo that I snagged on the Oxfam site,

Lucy has donated several of her signed prints to raise money for Syrian refugees, so if you want to do a little bit for the refugees and a lot for your home, check out the Oxfam site, and then Lucy's site to see more of her fabulous work.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hold that pose!

  Had lovely house guests all summer.  Among the most adventurous and generous was this lovely lady who offered to model for my life drawing group when I couldn't get one of my regulars.

The best thing about renting my winter cottage is meeting all sorts of really interesting people

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A colourful harvest (at last)

 In May and June my potagĂ© or communal garden was a swamp. Then in July and August a brilliant hot sun dried it all into a cracked desert. I worked the soil and planted it up three times in vain, then finally at the end of August I opened and tossed out some packages of wildflower seeds in disgust.

Was thrilled to find these flowers two days ago, which I collected, brought home and painted. I really should try to do a picture every day.

Friday, October 04, 2013

A drizzly second week

This is the first year that we have had rain in the second week of the workshop when we plan to paint outdoors, so it's a real bummer.

We did manage to paint the interior of the 12th century Rignac church, a street scene in Gourdon, and a landscape, but much of the week was spent in the studio, where nevertheless some cheerful and bright work was produced.

Here is a sampling of the group's work.


Thursday, October 03, 2013

Workshop revamp

After teaching summer watercolour workshops now for about fifteen years, I have been seriously considering discontinuing them.  It's demanding work as I not only teach but make elaborate lunches, with all the shopping and cleaning up that that entails, and have to sort out endless problems like lost pajamas and passports, minor car accidents, medical issues that arise, etc. The most tiring thing of all is just assuring that everyone is having a good time whether it be having a comfortable bed or progressing artistically, as although my class is pretty reasonable pricewise, people often have paid exorbitant amounts of money to get here and I feel responsible for making the expense and effort to attend the workshop worthwhile.

Yesterday I drove down to Albi on an errand. It's quite a long drive so I left early, intending to visit a few lovely small towns in the Tarn en route. I took my paints and managed this quick watercolour of Cordes-sur-Ciel where I had spent a night with a friend recently. We had stayed in a room in the tall medieval tower on the right and awoke in bright sunshine above swirling mists in the valleys below, with distant island hills poking though. Absolutely magical so I was pleased to have the chance to go back so soon.

There are many beautiful small villages this part of southwest France which escaped the ravages of the two world wars: St Antonin-Val-Noble, Castelnau de Montmiral, Bruniquel, Puycelsi, Najac, Sauveterre, and Belcastel to name a few I have visited.

Suddenly I realised that perhaps I need to turn the second week of the workshop into a traveling adventure instead of painting, again, the beautiful but too familiar scenes in the Lot I have been doing for years.

Here are some photos I took this last week.

The real Cordes-sur-Ciel
St Antonin-Noble-Val, where last week we couldn't gain entry to the main square because Steven Spielberg was shooting a new movie called One Hundred Yard Journey. Charlotte Gray was also shot here, as well as Rignac, my village in the Lot.
Two more shots of St Antonin-Noble-Val
Two shots of the main square in Castelnau Montmiral

View from Castelnau Montmiral