"Baran Poppies"
watercolor 15 x 20 inches

What's a Baran, you ask?   Actually, this "Baran" is the 'Domaine du Haut Baran' in Puy L' Eveque, France.

My wife and daughter and I just returned from there where I held a painting 'workshop.'   Actually, it was more of a painting retreat rather than a full on workshop.  This beautiful location is more than any photo or written description could possibly do justice.   It is a 300 year old, limestone French country Inn run by American owners who out do themselves every summer to welcome guests from around the world for art pursuits, cooking, horseback exploration, biking and all sorts of unnique and wonderful passtimes.

Our first trip was in 2012.   We returned this year with 12 wonderful people who were rollicking, laughing, painting and having a wonderful time for ten straight days!   I am so impressed with the hospitality here that I have booked dates two more years in advance:  2014 and 2015 . . . .and am seriously considering booking 2016, too!   Frankly, I don't think there could be any place more accomodating and more comfortable than this wonderful, relaxing spot.   The food is simply amazing.   And the surrounding countryside has so much to offer, starting with a history that goes back 25,000 years.   Neanderthal man leaving cave art, to medieval battles and citadels, open markets, and native people who will warm anyone's heart are the order of every day in this region.

Right at the edge of a gravel driveway, where no one would expect to find a painting subject grow these delightful poppies . . . . .I believe they are named "Coquelicot" . . . .and I may be spelling it wrong.   Just sprout out of the edge of the driveway, just like they are in the painting.   And, yes, they are this red!   I could not resist trying to capture them!   

After three weeks there, eating, drinking and absorbing the countryside, as well as trying to paint, I am exhausted and trying to get my body back to this time zone.   But I am not anxious to move my thoughts away from being there.   It is just too sweet, too precious, and too beautiful to want to forget.