Wednesday 23 April 2014


April 23, 2014
I am preparing for my watercolour workshop in Turkey with Atanur Dogan. After adding all the watercolour paper, brushes, paints etc. I am forced to take a carry on piece of luggage also. Not great for a traveller. I should be able to do 18 days, with just the carry on, but then .. I will be back here to finish the trip to France. In between, I am hoping to post while travelling in Turkey.
Till then!

I should have brought a chair!

October 10, 2013

The weather was co-operating today! Our instruction was to walk down the main street of Hambye past the shops and find a location that we would like to sketch.

I walked looking for someplace that I could sit as I didn't have a chair. At the end of the village was a sloping hill at one side of the road and at the other, a view of the countryside. It wasn't the view that caught my attention but the number of people coming and going from a house in the distance.
Old people, young people, driving, walking, carrying food! The sun was shining and it was a beautiful scene. I sat to paint. The small building across the road from where I was sitting caught my eye. I learned later that it had been the bread ovens for the village. As all things, in our changing world it was no longer in use.
The sun bounced off it's tiled roof and the hills behind were oh so green.

People heading to the gathering stopped, talked to me (in French ) smiled pointed at my work and tried to share with me something about what I was doing, or maybe where they were going. It was a special time. We seemed to understand each other in a simple way. We were all happy to be out in the sun and enjoying the day. I don't know why they were heading to the house down the road but decided because of all the smiles that there was a very happy occasion taking place. I will continue to feel that sunny day and the sunny feelings.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Five in one hour!

October 10, 2013, Chateau Hambye

When you are taking a workshop there is always something new that excites you and Lin's direction today was just that for me.
"Challenge: Paint/sketch 5 things in the Chateau that interest you, in one hour!"

Off we went. One hour is a very short time when you have to make a decision on what you feel would be a good addition to your memories and help you create great paintings back in the studio so there was no time to decide. Find a place where you could sit and get to work.

My first sketch was of Anna's (our host) liquor cabinet. It was in the corner of the formal dining room.
Covered with a purple and gold cloth and certainly had a feeling of the vintage of the house. I am wondering now how I managed to sketch five things in the house in the time allowed. I started in the dining room, moved to the kitchen where next to the huge cooking fire place hung the chestnut roasting pan and the fire place spit winder. I am not sure of the names of either of these two things but they both had the age of the house. There was so much to sketch but I wanted to experience more then the kitchen and the dining room so moved to the foyer.

In the foyer I found another of our group. I found a place to sit and settled down to sketch what I thought would be a very good reference of the house. As all the furniture had been found and placed by Anna and Rob when they renovated the door locks were there, and by the look of them had been added to as the necessity for more security came to Chateau Hambye by each owner and since the beginning. So many bolts, handles and latches!  I am not sure if each night they slide all the bolts but it certainly gave you a feeling that you were safe for the night if they did. I think it took me longer to sketch this lock set then anything else. Loved it!

I had four and needed five. Time was running out and so was the space on my page. I found a candle stick in a built in wall cupboard in the games room and quickly sketched it between the spit and the lock.

We now could look back at the history of the house, store our liquor, lock our door, turn the cooking spit in the kitchen fireplace, roast chestnuts and do it by candle light.

A great way to remember where you have been!

Over the fireplace was written:
What does that mean? I really can't tell you but it did add the age that we all were looking for to our beautiful home in Normandy.

Monday 7 April 2014

Dinan the French home of Harry Potter

October 9, 2013
If you are travelling in Normandy and have time to stop in Dinan, you certainly won't be disappointed. I was amazed at the feeling that we had arrived in Diagon Alley. It rained on and off all day but in between we enjoyed the architecture, the conical shaped sorting hats that top many of the buildings and the low slung over hang of the large beamed buildings all take you back to a time that would have been very comfortable with those who shopped in Diagon Alley.

This is very much a tourist destination but on our day to visit (probably because we were there in October) the number of tourists we had to share it with were very few.  I love it when you don't have to dodge large tour groups. Shopping was at its best here and the cafes and restaurants warm and cozy.

A downpour sent us quickly to a small cafe. Lunch is served until 2:00 and dinner is 7:00 - 9:00PM.

Painting is the object of this trip so a page in my journal was a must. We stopped in the Place Des Mercers, Creperie "Le Connetable" giving us a place to capture the square. Coffee was 3 Euros 50. We really needed hours in Dinan as there was so much to see so much to paint/sketch but then we didn't have hours so two sketches was quite an accomplishment for me. I did take many photos with the idea of returning to Canada and spending time adding more exciting memories to my journal. Always a dream but not something that I do.

Welcome to Dinan, Normandy, France.