One of the most exciting things about traveling with a group of painters is that we can immerse ourselves in the local traditions. During our recent painting trip to Provence, France, we were lucky enough to be in St. Remy for La Fête de la Transhumance. This happens once a year, 50 days after Easter. This moving festival is dear to the hearts of the Provençal people and is without a doubt the most famous festival in the south of France. This is the day that celebrates the flocks of sheep being herded to their summer pastures. Historically, this journey could take up to 10 days by foot.
Over 3,500 sheep, lambs, goats and donkeys filled the streets of St. Remy on Monday, May 20, 2013. The whole event was made even more colorful by the local shepherds tending the sheep in their traditional costume with the help of their well trained dogs. As they passed by the sheep were stepping on my toes, parting their path in confusion and running through the crowds of people. The shepherds did not seem to mind as I reached out and petted their silky wool.I made this short video to show you how marvelous this day was. Then look below to see how some of my students used this inspiration to paint some fabulous pages in their watercolor journals.