"A Place for a Picnic"
watercolor on paper, 15" x 11"
"A Roll in the Hay"
(whaddya mean, 'corny?')
watercolor on paper, 11" x 15"
The Perigord, as it is called, is a region in the south west part of France along the Dordogne River. The area is a delight to any who would be interested in history ranging from Cro-Magnon man to the hundred years war to ancient markets, bizarre chateaus and citadels to the growing and harvesting of truffles, ducks, geese and other delights . . . . . . . not to mention some of the finest wine in the world.
I just returned from a stay in that region beginning with Bordeaux and its beautiful surroundings. Residing out in the countryside, near the small bastide village of Eymet, our mornings were filled with sights of enormous fields of sunflowers, rolling hills and lots and lots of vineyards laden with grapes waiting for the coming ‘crush.’ Each little village in the area reeked of history and age and was turned out with all the French charm anyone could hope for.
Armed with camera, sketch book, pochade box, watercolors and every art supply known to man, I chased the perfect painting for three weeks. Trekking about with a number of other artists and good friends we gobbled up the sights and tasted the repasts of the region as though we had been starving and deprived most of our lives. To say that the food was wonderful would be understating the obvious. To say there was just too much to absorb in the way of visual stimulation and historical information would also be an understatement. But we did it anyway!
Just outside the door to my quarters were fields of rolled hay set against more fields rife with sunflowers. The light changed as quickly as my wristwatch changed time. We had clouds and skies that were more than worthy as a singular subject to back up all the gorgeous rural scenery. I gotta say that it was really, really tuff to handle! (read with sarcasm).
Here are a few hurried attempts at watercolor plein air painting that represent the sort of ‘ugliness’ we had to endure. To make matters worse, our feeble efforts at attempting to harness the beauty there on canvas or paper were rewarded nightly with wine and dinners most people would sacrifice a family member in order to partake. Yup! It was fabulous!!! (Except, now I have to redouble my exercises to de-expand my svelte self, if you get my drift.)
More about it later, But for now take the glimpse of the few painting attempts I brought back and try to imagine yourself enduring this form of hideous torture. Life is just toooo good, sometimes, folks. And I really do mean too good!!!!
Labels: European Workshop, France, Plein Air