Thursday 27 March 2014

Back at Chateau Hambye

October 8, 2013
This was a very exciting day in our itinerary. Prior to departure Lin thought it would be a good idea and a way to save some money, to break the group into two cooking groups and each group would plan, shop and prepare our evening meal. Chris and Eleanor took on the job of kitchen chief. Our day began with Rob taking Bruce, Eleanor and my self off to the next town to shop. Eleanor was prepared with her list and we just did the running. I did stop long enough to buy a top to replace the one my marker marked the day before. I had my first piece of French clothing! I purchased it in the grocery store as I might have done at Zehrs in Stratford. This one was a George not a Joe. When I got home and Walmart opened in Stratford, I saw on their sign that they too sell George. Maybe my top is not so French.

Back at the Chateau with our shopping Eleanor directed the preparation of our evening meal. I washed dishes as the others in my group chopped and diced under her direction. It does take many hands to prepare a meal for a group our size. All the preparation was worth the effort. It is a special opportunity to prepare a meal in a kitchen such as the Chateau's and then share it with a group as special as this one.

While I was working in the kitchen the non-kitchen staff were out painting. I started this painting of the Chateau while I enjoyed some sun in the driveway. At each break from dishes I picked up my paints and headed back out. It was interesting to paint as it gave me an opportunity to really see the beautiful Chateau that was our home while in Hambye, Normandy, France. I didn't finish it but it is full of memories.


Sunday 16 March 2014

Urban Sketchers

Its official I am considered an Urban Sketcher! Check out their web site, they are painting the world.
Me too!

Friday 14 March 2014

Mont St. Michel, Normandy

October 7, 2013 

Today we headed to Mont St.Michel! We were going to paint so I packed my bag of sketching material and boarded the bus with all the other excited group members. I had done some research so knew a little about our destination. Our teacher, Lin Souliere had been there before and was looking forward to returning. It was her suggestion that we spend the day at this amazing location. 

I know why now!

This painting is by workshop participant, Beverly Morgan, on return from Normandy. You can see more of her paintings on her blog. 

Our bus (18 passenger)  travelled along quickly and it wasn’t long before we could see off in the distance a mountain, no a hill, no an island with a hill….there it was Mont St Michel (English translation - St. Michael's Mount) .

Parking then walking, take your walking shoes, you don’t get too close to the entrance so need to be prepared. You feel like you are entering a mid-evil fortress that is still the home of those who built it. Duck your head, turn left or maybe it was right, and you are in the village of Mont St. Michel. There is so much to see, so much to experience it is difficult to sit in one spot and paint. Sorry Lin, I know that was the idea.
We decided to climb while we still had the energy, all the way to the top. We walked by the shops, looked into the restaurants but kept walking up. Cameras at the ready but then you had to remember to push the button and it was hard to do that as you were so busy looking.

I wish I could share with you my paintings that I did in my mind as I climbed. When I get home from one of these trips I am supposed to head to my studio and paint. That is the idea, collect lots of information, do lots of sketches, feel the moment and return to paint.
I would love to call myself an artist but first I am a traveller. Painting as I travel is the best way to collect memories. Doing this blog helps me to prepare for printing my travel journal. I use photos and sketches along with what I have shared with you and I have what I feel is a very very personal memory.

On the way down we stopped in a small café for a glass of wine. Two painters sitting at a table paint brush in hand, spent a wonderful hour or so capturing the view. 

We had planned this day with time to stay at Mont St. Michel long enough to have our evening meal before heading back to Chateau Hambye at days end. We were to meet the bus in the parking lot at 8:00 PM. There seemed to be a problem that we hadn't expected.  All the restaurants at Mont St. Michel closed around 2:00PM and didn’t open again until around 7:00 PM. We wouldn’t have time to have our evening meal and we were too early to find our driver for the trip back to the Chateau. In France many restaurants serve meals and many restaurants, serve snacks. We found one of these snack places and had a relaxing meal. (crepes) Certainly not what we had in our minds for dinner as we were dreaming of a small café, overlooking the water, high up on the Mont where we could experience a fine French repas, while we watched the sunset. We must go back prepared to stay for this experience.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Little folk among the vines

We are still on day one and a new assignment has been given. Our time has been shortened. We are to find something in the garden that we would like to add to our sketch books. I couldn't resist this guy.
He was almost covered with the vines. His saucy face peaked out, just enough to let me know he was there and I should capture him in my memories.