Category Archives: French Trip

2013 to begin, 2012 to remember

Happy New Year to all the lovely readers of this blog.

Melbourne FireworksHerald Sun Website

Melbourne Fireworks
Herald Sun Website

This is the fireworks in Melbourne last night, I had the privileged position of being on the top of one of the south bank apartments in town, 28 floors up.  We were right in the midst of all these fireworks, an absolutely spell binding view.  We were literally on the roof which was a little scary, but worth it for the show.


My favourite paintings 2012

2012 was such a great year for me, I have restarted my art, which is so exciting in itself and this blog and the generous support of my readers, the comments, likes and views have been wonderful.  When I started I did not know if any one would see it and now I have over 70 followers.  It has kept me going, even when my energy levels have been low and I do not post as often as I would like, this blog and its supporters have made me get back on track so thank you. I still battle with Chronic Fatigue and sometimes I  do not have the energy to draw, paint or write.

I also had my wonderful trip to France which I shared with you, and again because of the blog I was committed to keeping a journal of the trip and it has been so fantastic on many levels.  I did some lovely, quick, loose drawings of the scenes that caught my eye, I have the best keep sake of the trip, I was able to share it with not only my friends and family, but with so many of you out there.  It enriched the whole trip so much more than I had thought.


I am excited for what 2013 could bring, I have a few things on my agenda for next year.  They include

  • Starting to exhibit my work, this is my major artistic goal, though I am not sure how to go about it,
  •  I will start an Etsy Store and see what that brings.
  • I am going to do some relief printing classes, so look out for some prints.
  • Just be grateful to be able to continue to create and share the results and the journey with you.
  • I might even finally figure out Facebook and get my work out on it.

As always I have a great many plans, we will see how the year and the energy goes, but I am hopeful and content with how things are improving.  So thank you for your support and my family who give unstintingly in their support and understanding of me.

Karen x


Picture Revisted for Christmas

Looking down on Sancerre

Looking down on Sancerre

Grace one of the lovely people I met on my trip to France earlier in the year asked me to paint a picture from my journal for her Mum (who I also met) for Christmas.  What an honour and what a lovely gift idea.

I wanted to do Looking down on Sancerre, as it was taken from a photo that Grace took after I had left.  I have never re-painted a picture before and I was nervous about it.  But I finally took the plunge and thought this would be a good occasion to use some of the paper I found in my oh so favourite French Art Shop Sennelier.  (Yes it has been sitting in the paper portfolio, waiting for a special occasion to be used, mostly it just get taken out, admired, petted and put back as being too special to use).

After much nervous waiting, thinking the picture had been lost in the post somewhere between Australia and Florida, when I got a lovely email from Tomi with a photo of my picture framed and hanging on her wall.  I can’t tell you how happy that made me, to see one of my paintings hanging on a friends wall so far away.  That bit of paper had travelled so far from its origins in Thailand, to France then to Australia and finally to America, it should get frequent flyer points.

Here is the original painting, I think I have captured its freshness, while giving it a little bit of polish.









Here is another street scene from Sancerre.  I just loved the tiny, narrow streets and the lovely stone houses with the shuttered windows.  It was the first time that I had seen shutters being used in a functional way.  Most shutters I have seen have been purely decoration and never moved.  I also loved the window boxes and pots that decorated the outside of these dwellings.  Our conditions are too harsh in Australia for window boxes to grow so well.  Out summers are too hot and the plants just get baked in the heat and are never as lush and abundant as these were, even in spring.

When I walked past this wisteria vine outside one of the wineries, I was fascinated by how it looped and twined around itself, with just a few flowers left and the leaves starting to sprout.

I have one more drawing to go.  I am trying to choose the photos and mementos that will fill up the rest of the journal and it will be done.  I am so excited about it, I have never had such a great reminder of a trip before.


Looking Down on Sancerre


This is a view from a tower in Sancerre down onto the town and out to the vineyards below and beyond.  Now I have cheated with this painting.  This is from a photo Grace and Tomi took from the tower at Sancerre.  (Thanks Grace for sharing this) I never got to the top of the tower so I am so happy to be able see the view through their eyes.

I love the way that you look down onto the houses and you get to see the shapes of the roofs.  These are not the straight roofs we get at home, but slightly wobbly, higgledy-piggledy roofs, cramped together roofs that have a much more organic feel.  These contrast nicely with the smoother fields beyond and the vault of sky above.

I feel I captured the roofs well and the fields beyond, but somehow I have lost the feel of the town being much higher than the fields below, I will need to ponder what is missing or if anyone could give me a clue I would be grateful.  I sure have pushed my boundaries on perspective work on this trip.



Tootling aroung the French Countryside

French Chateau

While I was in Sancerre we went for a drive on a beautiful sunny day.  We had no plans in the particular just followed the Loire River downstream.  This is what I call tootling, when you just jump in the car and start driving, stopping here and there to soak in the sites and take a few photos.  It is always fun, but so much more so in another country, for their everyday is so different.  It makes you more aware of the simple things around you and the beauty they hold.

We came across this vista on our way home and it was so perfect we had to make yet another stop.  I love the fact it shows the rolling countryside, the little fields, ( we have large paddocks in Australia), the lushness of spring and the unexpected site of this old Chateau.  I couldn’t figure out what the white flowers were in the foreground, I thought they might have been Queen Anne’s Lace but when I got a closer look it turned out to be Angelica.  I never would have thought to see that growing wild, but I am pretty sure that is what it was, it had the glossy leaves.

I painted this picture in the plane, and found that has some unique dangers.  Those of you who have flown more than me would know what I am talking about. The pressure in the plane does funny things to your pens.  My water brushes gushed water everywhere when I first used them as did one of my ink pens.  Luckily no harm done, but it was interesting learning experience.

I am getting over my jetlag and getting back to work, luckily I have still got work on my journal to do, it keeps my holiday alive for a little bit longer.