Thursday, July 19, 2012

The First Trip to France

If I were allowed to keep only 1 journal, I think it would be the one from my first trip to France: Paris & Provence, 2003. 
I made this trip many years after I first experienced, in my youth, the longing to go to Paris. As they say, "life happened" inbetween.  
My French classes  at The Language Exchange, beginning in 2002, had been the spark that re-ignited the dream.
I have few words at the moment to describe the magnificence of this trip, but it's OK. I have the journal...
I'm glad to share a little bit of it here in this way. And I love the blogs I read here of the trips & homeplaces of others.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pizza Pierrot & His Van

"Pizza Pierrot: Artisanal Pizza",  April 15, St-Rémy-de-Provence. My first thought was, "Oh, No, not American fast food in traditional St Rémy!" Still, I was attracted to the little van which only comes several times a week, & compelled to sketch it. And then I was drawn to wander over. After a friendly set of "Hello's" in English with an Asian couple, I had a slice of the most delicious pizza I've ever had, ordered from the most handsome & good natured pizza man I've ever encountered. It's good to look beyond pre-conceived judgements, isn't it?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Penobscot Bay, Maine

Twelve years ago we "got away from the city" & spent a week at a cottage on Penobscot Bay.
For me it was a return to a beloved area from a "previous life", for J it was brand new.
 Sea breezes, clear days as well as beautiful fog...walking, kayaking, bike riding, watching birds & wildflowers... 
Seafood dinners by the picture window, nightime wood fires in the fireplace. And, of course, sketching...
A sort of imaginary bird's eye view of our adventures...
Lobster fishing boats & small spruce & granite islands...Changing light on the sea all day long...
Oh! the floating colors & reflections of sunrises & sunsets!!
Views from the cottage. Sometimes the fishing shack was completely shrouded in fog...
Fog rolling in & out of a cove is a marvel...How lovely to just sit & watch...
Lately I am being pulled back up that way. Yesterday I attended a French immersion class on humanist philosophy (formidable!!) at the Penobscot Center for Language Learning & International Exchange in Rockland.  
J visited the library, restaurants (Blueberry Pie!) & The Farnsworth Art Museum. 
In a week, I'm going back to Rockland & Owl's Head for a David Dewey watercolor class (learned about from Carol at Paris Breakfasts.) There will be new sketches &, I think, some new challenges in a favorite old place. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Paris Paper Dolls

Me, as I was getting ready to go to Paris one year...
I dream of going to Paris, I go to Paris, & I dream of going back to Paris...

So I play with Parisian images...A gentleman on his way to market...
A bientôt, Paris! See you soon, I hope & dream...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Being in Paris Without Being in Paris

Even though I didn't bring my camera on my last trip, I am lucky to have photos from other trips. I couldn't be in Paris sketching today, so I sketched from one of my photo images.

The Sketch Artists at Place Favier

A most delightful memory from my French Trip: One morning a tourist couple at my hotel invited me to ride down with them to Aix-en-Provence. Reluctantly, I said no, because I wanted to do more wandering in St. Rémy. I hadn't yet found a certain square & fountain that I'd remembered as being quite magical on a previous brief visit, & soon I'd be heading back to Paris. On this day I stumbled upon a postcard of the square, which I learned was Place Favier. I asked the shopkeeper where it was. She took me to the door & pointed: 
"C'est par-là!" Right there!
I set to sketching when all of a sudden I was aware of some people standing near me. As I glanced up, I saw one black Moleskine sketchbook, then another & another. It was a Travel Sketching class, "Croquis de voyage" from L'Académie Libre d'Aix-en-Provence!  
Aix had come to me!
We shared drawings & our books, discussed art, shared tips,compared pens & materials...My sketchbook & I were bursting with joy as we had been feeling a bit lonely. I was touched by these folks' warmth & excited by their drawings. And there was extra happiness because I was conversing in French, this language that I love so dearly & which I study back home, conversing on the subject of a shared passion! Eventually they dispersed to sketch in the square, while I stayed where I was, sketching them. 
 They invited me to go to a café afterward for hot herbal tea on a chilly April day (the mistral wind was blowing). We continued to sketch & to share, & the teacher gave a lesson on using color to fill backgrounds.  Un grand merci à la classe de Nicolas Doucedame!!

A description of the class: 
"Apprendre à voir, donc à dessiner, à croquer. Acquérir des bases suffisantes de croquis et d'aquarelle 
pour poursuivre son carnet de croquis en autonomie."