Thursday, June 30, 2011
On Monday, our model, Rozsa (that's the proper spelling), left us. What a sweetie. We miss her already. The rest of us worked in the studio from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Meg spent her last day with us also.
Tuesday, another long day in the studio. The students worked so diligently, they even preferred to decline a last excursion so they could spend more time in the studio. We planned a plein air session for the evening; Kippy packed a picnic dinner, with wine of course. Some of us went with Kippy in the van to scout out a good painting location, the rest followed with bikes as soon as they knew where to go. We found a charming little town 5 miles away, with sunflower fields in the distance. In case you non-artists don't know what plein air is, it's painting outside. 45 minutes after setting up our easels, 30 minutes after the bike-riders arrived, thunder and lightening sent us packing, and frantically peddling home, where we spread the picnic on the patio table. The storm followed us, and sent us packing again into the dining room, where we listened to the thunder and hail.
Wednesday, our Vernissage, or private exhibition. We finished painting in the studio around 4:00, cleaned up the studio, thumb-tacked our work onto foam-core, set a table with flowers, hors d'oeuvres and champagne, washed ourselves up a little, and waited for guests to arrive. Here are some pictures taken while we were setting up, before the guests arrived.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Another bike ride to the Seine, another lunch on the patio, another trip to Paris, another dinner on the patio, with conversation lasting till almost midnight. What a life.
I have to catch you up on the past few days. I don't know why this year it is so difficult to write; last year it seems I was able to do it every night.
On our way to the Musee D'Orsay on Sunday, we stopped at a little village's brocant (Kippy has an innate sense where they are--we were allowed a quick run-through, so we could get to Paris on time), and almost all of us found something to buy...Kippy an oil landscape and a couple of glass salieres, little pich-pots for salt and pepper; Alice, a hand-painted ceramic saliere from Normandy; and I found two original graphite drawings of French scenes from 1930. FOR 10 EUROS.
We made it to the Musee D'Orsay, for those new students in the class. We visited the Musee Marmottan to see Berthe Morrisot's work; we were surprised to discover a retrospective of brother artists Raoul and Jean Dufy--I was not familiar with their work, but loved the colorful show. Lunch at a nearby cafe, then (be still, my heart) the Paris Clignancourt flea market. In the states I spend untold hours haunting antique malls, always in search for some rare little treasure that I cannot live without. I now know why I come by these treasures so rarely. They're all over here. Booth after booth of silver, lighting, vintage clothing, fabric, art, hardware, tools... I was in heaven, while everyone I arrived with thought I was lost and spent 40 minutes looking for me. Here are my new drawings.
Friday, June 24, 2011
For some reason, I'm exhausted tonight. It could be because we worked from 9-7 today. Or it could be because we have been going practically nonstop since I arrived on the 10th. Whatever the reason, I crashed.
I was too busy today to take pictures but do have a few from the other day that I never mentioned.
After visiting Monet's garden and home the other day, we walked a few houses down the street and had lunch at the Restaurant Baudy. Only after eating did we realize the place had a history. Back in the late 1800's, during Monet's time, a straggly American artist arrived at Baudy's restaurant for a meal. Madam Baudy was initially afraid to serve him because he looked like a derelict. During conversation, the artist discovered that Monet lived a few doors away; he returned to Paris to tell all his artist friends. Soon Baudy's restaurant became a hangout for artists on weekends. Cézanne could be found wandering around the rose garden; several artists kept studios here. The garden and the studios are open for the public to meander through. And on the walls throughout the restaurant are small paintings by the artists of that time, many used as payment for Baudy's hospitality! Oh, to be a fly on the wall back then!
Roza, our wonderful model, has returned. Roza posed for us last week and we all fell in love with her. She exclaimed when she got out of the car today, "I'm home! "She carried with her a home-made Hungarian dish (pictured here) made with feta cheese and red peppers. You spread it on bread, top it with a slice of hard boiled egg, top it again with some capers (sp?) and red pepper. Yum. We devoured it before dinner tonight.
New students--Carey, another Katie (both from Atlanta), Susie (whom we're calling Suzanne this week), and Suzanne's husband Curtis (both from Chattanooga) will be in the class, along with Alice (New Jersey), who was here all last week and through Normandy, and Meg (expatriate American, living in Paris for 20 years), who was with my class last year (Meg wrote the article about my workshop at La Bonne Etoile last year for the February 2011 issue of Pastel Journal). And Kippy, of course (also from Georgia, but living happily in France).
Tonight we rode bikes throughout the French countryside while Kippy prepared dinner. We finished dinner at 9:00 and brought a bottle of wine up to the studio. The students sipped wine and watched as I sipped wine and demonstrated.
Bright and early tomorrow morning, 9:00, we're to get to work in the studio, and will work until dinner, breaking, of course, for salad fresh from a garden, ripe cheeses, french bread, and a little wine at lunch time.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I was doing something I never thought I'd see myself doing...walking through Monet's garden (and home!). It was raining that day, something that might distress some artists. But I was thrilled to see the visitors milling around with umbrellas in the garden, creating a virtual garden within a garden. I got practically giddy snapping photographs of the polka-dotted and plaid and brilliantly colored umbrellas bobbing through the perennials.
We were all to converge in the gift shop at 11:30 to head for lunch; I got there at 11:15, preoccupied with how I was going to paint my "Monet's Garden in the Rain" series, when Judith mentioned something about the lily pond. "The lily pond? I missed the lily pond! Where was it?" Judith pointed me toward the far end of the garden, and I raced with my umbrella, weaving through the groups of people who insisted on meandering slowly and pausing to take photos. I got there in time to snap a few inspiring photos and was back to meet up with our group by 11:31. With "Monet's Gardener Cleaning the Pond" series in my head.
While traveling through Normandy, internet connection has been sporadic, and uploading pictures has been even more difficult. I'm back now at La Bonne Etoile, Kippy and Jerome's home in Fontaine-Fourches, with a better connection. So here are a few more shots of our travels...Etretat, Honfleur, a thatch-roofed cottage, the Cathedral in Chartres...