The view from our home for the week, here in a small town in the Lot region of France. We share the house with another couple, and there are three or four other houses in the village which have been rented to a accommodate our plein air painting class. We arrived at various times through the afternoon and evening last night, met by our gracious instructors who had put together a potluck meal so that we could begin getting to know each other. We seem to be a compatible group, including the four non-painting partners who have accompanied us.
The meal was a very lively one, with everyone recounting the routes they had followed to get here, some having come from hiking in Italy's Dolomite Mountains, others regaling us with tales of a Paris fashion purchase unmade and regretted, yet others describing the serendipity of a charming auberge in just the right stopping point after a long day's drive. Then plans for the week were unrolled, and instructions given for today's grocery run (Pater's off on that adventure right now, while I rest with a cup of tea and chat with you).
And then this morning we met in the square just outside my window, loaded down with our tubes of watercolours, our bottles of water, our folding stools, our Arche watercolour blocks, an array of brushes, a mixture of excitement and just a bit of anxiety (for me, at least) . . . And we followed Alison and Kelley down the road out of the little village and into a nearby field which featured a wonderful drystone lambing hut, a cazelle.
Then we listened and we looked and we planned and we sketched and we looked and we squeezed and we mixed and we waited and we brushed and we listened and we looked and we painted . . . .And we broke for a 5-course ouvrier's lunch in the village Auberge . . .which somewhat impeded our energy levels for the first half hour back in the field, especially since the sun was finally directing some serious heat on our circle of enthusiastic painters. Finally, at somewhere around 4:30 or 5, we worked some shadows into a few corners of our sketches, just to practice a new technique.
Apparently, we will be having another session to complete these paintings, bringing more depth and life to them. But already, I'm surprised to say, I'm rather pleased with what I've accomplished. even more, I'm pleased with what I've learned. Those of you who have reaad my blog for a while know that one of mine and Pater's great pleasures, especially when travelling, is to visit art expositions. I feel as if I'm acquiring a new set of eyes with which to appreciate the paintings I see in museums and galleries.
But it's somewhat tiring to concentrate on absorbing new information and try to practise new techniques, so I'm going to stop now and call this a post. . . .when I find a minute, I'm going to head down to the steps of the Mairie and take advantage of the free Wifi to send this out to you. I'll be able to read any comments you've left as well, but forgive me if I don't linger long enough on those stairs to respond. One of our housemates has spent the afternoon creating a wonderful-smelling chicken soup out of last night's leftovers, and it's almost time to eat . . .