Sunday, May 26, 2013

Painting en Plein Air - Vaison-la-Romaine

Painting en plein air means painting outside on location.  Watercolor painting is easily done en plein air because the supplies are so easy to transport.  In a little bag you can carry your palette loaded with watercolor paints, a couple of brushes, a watercolor journal or loose watercolor paper and a drawing pencil.  That with a little container of water is all you need to paint on location - one of the many reasons why I love watercolor painting!
The weather may or may not cooperate!   This year France is experiencing a very cool spring.  So we drove to Vaison-la-Romaine prepared for wind and rain.  We were pleasantly surprised to have snippets of sunshine and not too much wind.  We were also warmly greeted by the owners of the extremely charming bed and breakfast, Les Tuilles d'Elise, who were so generous to let us paint in their gardens.  They have a magnificent view of the old hilltop village.

 We also got a tour of the B&B.  Each room was as charming as the rest! 

Ringo greeted us and was very curious to see what we were painting

Charming room in the B&B
This blue door was a great painting subject too!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Market Day in St. Remy de Provence

Accordion music fills the streets.   Booths of fresh olives, tablecloths, sunglasses, shoes, dresses, terracotta pots painted with local scenes, spoons carved from olive wood, goat cheeses, donkey soap, lavender soaps, pate de fois, herbs de Provence, lavender honey, Fleur de sel and colorful scarves are an overload of sensations! Wednesday is market day in St. Remy de Provence. Everything imaginable  fills the cobblestone streets of this charming town.  The strong Mistral wind has arrived and blows through the narrow streets creating a dance of swirling fabric and snippets of lavender smells. Our shopping bags are sagging with with local produce and goodies to take home as gifts for our loved ones back home. Hopefully it will all fit in our suitcases!
We return to our hotel to paint the color-filled sights we have seen today in the market and during our stay here.
Olives at the St. Remy Market
Little Baby Olive Trees

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunny Day in Provence!

It is hard to believe that after such a rainy couple days that we could have an incredible gorgeous day!  Maybe we are just so happy to see the sun that it seems like heaven on earth. And how lucky we are to find out that St. Remy de Provence is having a colorful festival today with people dressed in their traditional dress.  The six regions of Provence are represented, spanning an area from Spain to  Italy.  It is hard for us to find the time to paint in our journals but here we are during our happy hour  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away....

I have never seen it rain so much in Provence, let alone anywhere!  Rivers of water are running down the street and puddles are gathering.  The shop keepers tell me it has been raining since January!  This is very unusual for this normally sunny burnt sienna and Indian yellow with a touch of manganese blue kind of place.  Still we manage, armed with umbrellas, to walk to St. Paul de Mausole, a hospital for the insane and home of Vincent Van Gogh for one year.  Here he managed to paint over 160 paintings.  We see his bedroom and walk along the corridors where he once painted.  We sketch and paint on location.  The iris and red poppies are blooming.


Posing with a statue of Van Gogh

Beautiful Scene in the cloister gardens

Blue Iris Blooming

Marie takes advantage of some sunshine to do a drawing

Painting in the courtyard

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Greetings from France

It is always a long journey to get here but so wonderful to be back.  Marie and I started out with a 6 a.m. flight out of Oregon and arrived in Paris 18 hours later.   As our jet was flying low and beginning our landing, we were passing endless beautiful checker board fields of bright, lemony yellow, interspersed with green fields.  We decide that the yellow flowers blooming must be fields upon fields of mustard!  Wonderful French mustard!
We gather up one of my students at the train station and all took the same train down to Avignon.  After filling our little car with groceries for the upcoming workshop we headed down to St. Remy de Provence passing fields of red poppies blooming!  Even though it is raining, we take a evening stroll through one of my favorite towns in France.  The streets are deserted from the rain but the lighting is beautiful.   This is Sally's first time to Europe and it is so wonderful to hear her exclamations of joy about the charm and loveliness that we are surrounded by.  Her awe and delight reaffirms my love of Provence.  We peek in the shop windows, drooling over the colorful stacks of tablecloths and napkins from the region.

They have obviously been having lots of rain here as the rivers are high.  It has been raining hard since we got here.   The rain has brought more flowers this year than in the past and will give us colorful scenes to paint.  We may have to make up the shadows on our paintings if the sun is not out but that is part of fun of being artist!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Preparing for the Journey is Half the Fun!

I am leaving on a jet-plane tomorrow morning... my bags are packed.  I find that preparing my journals for an upcoming trip is so much fun!  Part of the Provence, France group came to my studio a couple weeks ago and we made very creative cover photos for our journals.  We used paintings that we had already painted and then made image transfers with a splash of mica powders to give them some pizzazz!
I also took my little watercolor journal apart, as I love to do, and added pages of painted black gesso and Strathmore drawing pages.  I have a Bind-it-all that I use to make the correct sizes for the hole punches.  


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Up and Running

***Artful Gathering Online Retreat is now open for registration   

People comment to me about how bright and colorful my paintings are.  Once I started using the color wheel to make a color plan my paintings became more vibrant.  I am offering an online color workshop to help you along with your color quest.  The workshop is called The Good, the Bad and the Beauty of Color.  It is offered through Artful Gathering Online Retreat.  It is fun how Zinnia has set this retreat up.  My workshop starts on July 16 and continues on until August 26, 2013.  During that time you have access to my classroom where we can chat, post photos, answer questions and make new friends.  You will be able to work on your color paintings at your own speed.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Getting Ready for Provence, France

I have been busy getting ready for our upcoming watercolor painting trip to Provence, France.  There will be 14 of us exploring the little hilltop villages.  I am looking forward to sketching these colorful, beautiful villages: Gordes, Roussillon, and Vaison la Romaine.