Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Joy Davey

Joy Davey is from Oregon, and kept us amused continually with her demands for clean plates during our 5 course meals. Here's Joy's work...

Katie Keene

And here's Katie Keene's work. Katie's a nurse, living in Alabama, not far from the Georgia border. Katie, Alice and I roamed around France together the week before the workshop.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Alice Steinke

My magical trip to France ended almost 2 weeks ago, but I hit the ground running when I got home, and have been overwhelmed trying to catch up. Unfortunately I never got around to posting 3 students' work. They must have been seething, thinking I just didn't think it important enough. But I've been fretting about it the whole time. Here's Alice Steinke's gorgeous work. Alice teaches art at at private high school in New Jersey.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Judy Brown

Judy Brown's from Texas. I met her earlier this year at my workshop near Austin. Judy spent a week before our class here on a barge with her family and Kippy and Jerome, exploring the canals and little villages of France. Here's Judy's work from my class...

Semur en Auxios

We arrived in Semur en Auxios ( I want to live in Semur en Auxios), drove our van up winding narrow Medeival streets and tried to enter the parking lot of the hotel Cymaises, which was not designed for 21 st century vans, scraped our bumper trying to maneuver a sharp turn into the parking lot. After 20 minutes of shimmying back and forth, we finally decided to park at the bottom of the hill and carry our luggage uphill to the hotel. We felt Kippy deserved  a drink after our harrowing ordeal, so we settled ourselves in a rose garden and poured ourselves a couple of glasses of wine. Then we walked through the narrow 1000 year old winding streets and found a cozy restaurant. I'm sticking to salads after 2 weeks of excessive eating; I'm being good. Everybody else ordered desserts. But Kippy and I drank ours--Irish coffee for me. In a Medeival village in France? Seemed the right thing to do. After dinner, Kippy and I thought it was a good idea to continue our search for absinthe. We poked our heads into the little bars that were closing. No luck. Can't seem to find the stuff. Can't even seem to find anybody who believes it's legal.  Here's how the conversation always goes: "bonjour monsieur, avez-vous l'absinthe?" A puzzled expression ensues. Then, "Ah! Ab-santth! No!" Then somethng very French, very fast, which I have figured to mean that nobody sells it; it is illegal in France. Then we argue that no, it is legal; we've found bottles of it for sale at the liquor stores. but we just want to order a drink. Then we seem to get nowhere and we're off on our search again. Kippy promises I'll have some before I leave France. It really doesn't matter to me. I'm just enjoying the search.
I'm having a real disconnect here. I walk these cobblestone streets, peer into lace covered centuries old windows, wonder at the duration of the architecture, the simple beauty of every turn, incredulous. What's it like to live here? Where do they park their cars? What do they do for their livings? It's another world. Yet they're playing REM at our restaurant. Every place we go we hear American rock music. My simple mind can't seem to connect the two worlds -- Medeival Europe and 21st century America. I am in a quandary.
We visited Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, where Chocolat was filmed. Such a quiet town, we whispered as we explored the streets, fantasizing about buying a little home there, but were dissuaded when we considered how noisy we probably would be. Alice would want to have parties and dance to Aretha Franklin. She also entertains us regularly with songs from musicals we grew up with. We stopped for gallettes at a creperie, next door to the farm and home of Dominican Sisters. On our last night of the trip we stayed in a 1000 year old bed and breakfast in Noyers-sur-Serein (I want to live in Noyers). We left the village feeling as if we had been getting to know the locals--the pompous, maddening but amuzing owner/server of a restaurant from our previous night's dinner, the cocky, engaging server at lunch (different restaurant), the owner of our B&B, who surprised us at lunch by opening a window right next to our patio dining table. Reminded us all of the guard at the window in the Wizard of Oz. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. The whole trip was wonderful.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Auxerre, Vezelay, Beaune

SATURDAY Auxerre. I want to live in Auxerre.  We left Yael and Robin back at La Bonne Etoile with Jerome.  Yael flew home to Israel. Robin is taking some needed time off. We drove to Auxerre, parked the car and walked the twisting narrow 15th century roads, peering into windows, imagining what on earth it would be like to live in such charming surroundings, had lunch on a plaza, wandered throughout the walled city, dropped into antique shops, visited the abbey, and waited and worried about Kippy and Judy, who were 45 minutes late meeting us at the car (very uncharacteristic of them), while they we locked in a crypt (another story).
We continued our trek to Vezeley. I want to live in Vezelay. We checked into a charming chateau at the base of a steep hill, whose winding road led up to the Abbey of Mary Magdelene. We arrived in time to sit in the abbey and listen to the heavenly songs of the nuns and monks. Really. I haven't heard such beautiful music.  SUNDAY morning we woke to a brocante right at our doorstep. All the way up the steep winding road toward the abbey, venders set up their booths to sell antiques. I bought vintage posters and framable, lightweight, easy to travel with things  for people waiting for me at home. We checked out of our hotel at noon and headed north to Beaune. I want to live in Beaune. We visited the Hotel-Dieu, a magnificent hospital built for the poor  by Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor to the Duke of burgundy, and his wife in 1443, then back on the road toward our hotel in Semur en Auxios. We drove past fantastic villages, whose steeples dominated each landscape. Village after village, we passed beautiful family vegetable gardens, vineyards and hollyhock framed doorways. Sometimes it seems too beautiful to be real. 


FRIDAY we had our Vernissage. Our class is officially over and I am off the clock. Everyone's work looked wonderful displayed around the room, and a great crowd showed up! I remembered my first Vernissage here, 2 years ago, when I knew zero French. then I smiled a lot and had to rely on Kippy's translations. for the past two years I've been listening religiously to my Pimmsler French language CD's in my car. Last night I was amazed at how much I was able to understand and communicate. I did have to say 'an pieu longemont, sil vou ples' a lot though. When I get home I plan to purchase the next box of lessons, French 3, to study all this coming year. It's encouraging to know that my brain has not atrophied like the rest of me. RIGHT NOW AS I WRITE, the remaining 4 of us are riding in the van with Kippy to the Bourgogne region for more exploring, where we expect to encounter long times without wifi access. So I may be quiet for a while.

Robin Rogers

Robin is Kippy's sister and she helped facilitate my workshop. So some of her paintings are unfinished, as she had to regularly drop everything to rush to the kitchen to help prepare meals or set the table. She worked so hard, we were starting to call her Cinderella. For someone who has not done any art in 15 years, Robin has produced some beautiful work. Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos