Happy New Year to all the lovely readers of this blog.
Happy New Year to all the lovely readers of this blog.
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.
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.
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.
I left early in the morning to drive from Sancerre to the Airport, it was going to be a lovely day though a bit of fog was still laying in the valleys. As I drove through the little villages, the fog lifted and the sun came through onto the field of barley and it had cornflowers and poppies all through it. It was stunning and I had wanted a picture of a barley field, so yet another u-turn.
So I have made another attempt at the meadow flower picture and am happier with this one, (ten more tries and I might nail it). I am so glad that I got to see the meadow flowers as this is not something that we have in such profusion in Australia through the crops. We have stunning wild flower displays which are beautiful bit it is always interesting to see the flowers that we nurture and cosset at home growing in the wild. Cornflowers are a particular favourite of mine.
I am sitting in the airport about to board the flight home, but I have managed to squeeze in another painting before I head home. This is the front steps of the home of a lovely, old lady in Sancerre, I went past her house on my way to the boulangerie every morning. I watched these young geraniums bloom during my stay. She did not want me to take a photo of them as the rain had battered them and they were not looking their best. The residents are so proud of their town and the way they present it. I have restored her flowers with the magic of the paintbrush to their full beauty.
I managed to catch up with all my new friends before I left last night, which was lovely, though bitter-sweet. They will all be staying until the end of the week, as will my traveling companion Sadhna, I can imagine their days as I make my way home. I will miss them all, particularly Sadhna, we have been together for three weeks now, she has become like a sister to me.
This is not the end of the pictures though, I still have four more to do, and have the reference photos, so I will stretch it out for a little longer and finish my journal. So pleased I managed to do so many paintings and quite proud of myself. When I get home I will fill the rest of the journal with photos that I have taken and will properly scan the pages for you all.
I apologies for the quality of the photos and I swear I will never travel again without a proper camera. The iPhone has done well, put my blog and its viewers deserve better.
Bye for now, I have 24 hours of flying to get through before I get home. The joys of living in Australia.
PS. I couldn’t get the airport wifi to work so I am posting this now that I have got home. A bit tired as you can imagine, so I am off to bed. Did two more paintings on the plane, but you will have to wait for those.