Saturday, June 30, 2012

We left Bonnieux very early for Paris today, arriving at our hotel very near the Eiffel tower by 2:00 pm.  A bus tour of the city's highlights prehotel check in.  Hotel internet here is free but very spotty for access and slow so uploads of email are taking forever.  I will try to send you a photo from Paris when I can.  Tonight will be an early one as we are tired.  Dinner first-and a brief walk around on our first evening here.

Au revior,


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Provence Plein Aire - Roussillion

View of Roussillion, France and it's Ocher  pigment in the mountain.

Yesterday was our trip to the perched town of  Roussillion, where the ocher pigments
My beginning for the view of Roussillion.
were mined, in all shades.  Finding the town which is only about 15 min. from Bonnieux was a little tedious as 2 of the roads were washed by mud slides.  So the third option 25 minutes later panned out.  Climbing in switchbacks the whole way up "Bubba" our new vehicle made the trip up smoothly.  Such a change from the vehicle I started out with.  Thank you Hertz!  
Lavender fields in many areas were out (not as much as farther south) and proved good photo ops.  As the driver I had to stay in the vehicle so I'm waiting for the copies my car mates ran out to get while I hung on to the edge of the road.  Look for them in follow up posts when I get back.  Being the designated driver has it's downfalls as I can't shoot so many of the quick shots of this wonderful landscape while driving, like my car mates can.  
As you can see my start for the view of the town was slow to develop.  The Mistral winds were at first a thankful gift for this hot day but soon became.a force to be reckoned with.  As the ochre colored sand and dust blew across the parking lot where I sat in the shade, I soon had more grit in my eyes and teeth than I could stand.   Here I'm working on a 5 X 7 piece of green ampersand pastel-board. laid out initially with 10 % french grey.  The drawing needs corrected some but the various little buildings are at varied angles which I observed first hand while in town.   This is as far as I got in about an hour and 15-20 minutes.  It was difficult to not loose your place while doing the sketch, while holding on to your supplies n the wind.   I hope to add some more to it from my photos.  More to come.  
Have a colorful day! Au revoir,
Le Clos du Buis's garden by the pool inspired this drawing as the Luberon hills an Mount Ventu beyond the inner hedge roll out beyond the outskirts of Bonnieux. This very large glazed urn filled with their version of red geranium (has very tiny blossoms)looks out on the pool level before the grounds fall away into the lower garden.  I worked o this two afternoons in my multimedia sketch book.  No wc cp under-painting 100% cp.

The day before we went to Arles (a 1.5 hour trip) to see the Van Gogh Museum and had lunch at the Cafe name after the painting he did of it at night.  I had the Van Gogh salad and it was as colorful as his paintings. The museum was closed and with the warning symbol written in French on the Peugeot I was driving (saying "Get your engine fixed now!") had us having a difficult day..  We located a Hertz office in Arles which had us driving to Neems airport (farther west) to exchange it for a brand spanking new Chevy Captiva.  Ya!!!!!! American!.  It drives so much better but is so much bigger that we named it Bubby.  I'm the largest car in our hotel parking lot..  Scary to drive these perched towns with when you meet a bus/truck or fast driving car in your lane but it handles the mountainous country roads so well with our foursome.  As the appointed driver I am the one who has to maneuver these roads but without Kathy our only French speaking artist navigating for us we might never get there.

Oh, and I am now along with my car mates working on finding the best sorbet in Provence.  So far the best has been here in Bonnieux with the tea shop down the street and at the La Flambe restaurant..  The tea shop has Lavender sorbet which pared with raspberry is lovely., La Flambe has Cassis (Kir liquer) flavor and paired with lemon or citron sorbet is the best palate cleanser after a meal.

There you go one post to catch you up and another one yet to come with yesterday's trip and drawing.  Have to charge both the battery on the notebook and by tummy.  Have a colorful day!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our Hotel/B&B "Le Clos du Buis" front view.  Today we recovered from several sleepless nights, jet lag and scoped out Bonnieux our temporary home town.  A hilltop village is so picturesque, friendly  and so  quintessentially French.  As typical, the streets are narrow and busy, but the pedestrian streets may offer some good set up areas for Plein Air painting tomorrow.  Or at least the quaint doorways along it were easy painting targets.  Lunch at a terraced brasserie was a salad with small crispy tomato pizza on top, looking over the Luberon valley below.

We were invited into a home with a rental apartment in it which was 12th century and part of the original ramparts of the walled town.  Most of the place was below street level (down 3 levels), the rooms were catacomb like and a cool earthen temperature.  The woman/owner had the cutest little Jack Russel terrier was very interested in our group of painters.  Her rear balcony overlooked the valley and the hill-town across named Lacoste.  A view to savor with a cup of morning cafe'.       

So there you have it my first full non travel day in Provence.  Dinner tonight is at the Hotel, family style with all 20 of us and the kitchen is smelling wonderful.  Garlicky yummy! Mmmmm.  I think my all day walking up hill has made for a good appetite.

Au revoir my followers,


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pre-Plein Air trip to France Carry Ons for a Colored Pencil Artist

Here's what my large carry on bag looks like packed with my takings for the Plein Air Painters trip to Provence, France.  And if you notice the time of this posting you'll realize I'm having one of those sleepless pre trip nights.  So I got right to starting my trip Blog with a "Here's what I'm taking for colored pencil art".

Carry On Luggage to France has to be an exact measurement (which I won't boar you with here) but suffice it to say, my laptop/camera backpack meets that and bags also can weigh no more than 26 lbs.  Fully loaded it is 18.8lbs. so far, but I will add my ziplock bag of liquids (via TSA requirements) and maybe an additional treat for the trip.  The laptop part holds my notebook easily and the padding protects my Prismacolors.  And since they can't be purchased in Europe I need them safe.

The camera is missing as I'm using it for the photo, but you'll see my hot pink camera bag with sd cards, extra battery with charger and a bigger lens next to it.  This all fits in the camera location of the bottom of the bag along with some power bars, Garmin (loaded with Europe Maps) and it's cords, card reader, and French power converter.

My Prismacolor CP pencils are in a 120 count leather organizer, and working clockwise around the table top is:
A few scrap sheets of UART in very small sizes;
Several 5 X 7 ampersand pastelboards and (2) 6  X 12 ones;
My little notebook (for blogging to you all and sending much needed responses to home that I'm doing fine);
A 5 X 8 multimedia sketch journal, with envelope glued to the back inside cover for ephemera from the trip;
A few loose sheets of watercolor scraps to use as a palette for the watercolor cp's;
In the black organizer, a set of 40 Caran d'Ache Supracolor wc cps (I'm trying these out since they wet nicely and also layer dry nicely too!);
Some dry cloths for blending;
Michelin map of Provence, France;
Small bundle of brushes for blending;
Extra Prismas in my favorite colors;
Battery eraser;
Extra batteries for my last Panasonic battery sharpener;
Scotch purple tape for lifting color and watercolor tape for taping down drawing paper;
Small kit with stumps, eraser, mounting putty and 2 Caran d'Ache Neocolor water soluble crayons; Garmin;
Bug wipes and Wetwipes and more Power bars.
Oh and a nifty little hat behind the green kit that stuffs into itself and can clip onto my pack.

If your wondering I have an assortment of papers and a small drawing board in my large check in bag.  I'll add sunscreen from my ziplock bag of liquids when we get there.
And for my personal items (see left hand upper corner) I'll carry my hip slung mini purse loaded with a watercolor cp mini set in the small pencil tin with water brush and larger travel brush for washes, mini journal book, sunglasses, passport, Intrn'l Driver's License, tissues and a few personal items.

In my Italian large bag (on the right) will fit my small mini purse, Paris travel book, hand sharpener so I don't wake sleeping passengers, ziplock bag for pencil shavings, vitamins, business cards ( you never want to miss a chance for a connection) purse size toothbrushes for a fresh mouth during the long 9 hour flight, mini hair clip and 4 X 6 multimedia journal for on plane journaling. 

There you have it, no kitchen sink but enough to keep me busy, drawing, and manageable.  I haven't shown you a few personal items in the big bag but then again a girl has to keep a few things to herself.

Until I sign on in France to tell you about our trips beginning, have a colorful day!

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