I'm teaching in Europe again this spring (2 workshops: one in France, the other in Florence, Italy). If you've been fantasizing about joining me, now is a good time to reserve your space; my classes fill to capacity quickly. And airfare is cheaper when you purchase early.
I'll be returning for the 7th year to La Bonne Etoile in Fontaine-Fourches, France, a second home to me now. Kippy's and Jerome's beautiful 250 year old farmhouse can accommodate 10 of us. We are wined and dined to excess; the table is set beautifully for every meal, and there is laughter until the wee hours. But everyone is always wide awake and eager the next morning to get into the studio for a full day of painting with the model.
In the studio we set up a Degas-esque boudoir scene with an antique iron bed and lots of patterned fabrics. We will have photo sessions with a model, and work from our photos later in the week. If we do make it to the studio at night, Kippy sends up tray of wine glasses and munchies. You can paint in pastels or oils. Or both.
We take afternoon breaks to visit a nearby market, a gorgeous chateau or museum (more photos to paint from). We spend a day in Paris, wandering at leisure through the Musee d'Orsay, stopping for crepes, cafe au lait or expresso (I always go for the cafe creme). We go to brocantes on Sundays, vintage flea markets, in search of all sorts of wonderful things to stash in our suitcases. Each year I come home with something special from a brocante: beautiful original framed drawings from 1930, a small bronze sculpture, vintage French kitchen gadgets.
Our 2 week class and adventure culminate on our last night together with a vernissage, an intimate art exhibition, where friends and neighbors drop in and admire all the work we created.
The whole experience is crammed full of art and France. Not a minute is wasted. You will feel you have had a real taste of that beautiful country, you will return home with a lot of work to frame, and you will have made lifelong friends.
If you are thinking you may want to join me in France, you can register online here. If you're wanting to bring your spouse, that might be possible. Questions? Email Kippy. Here's a flyer with details.
Three days before my France workshop begins, we will be in Madrid. You can opt to join us there. I've never been to Madrid so I can't tell you what to expect. But I do know that the Sorolla Museum is there, and I've wanted to see his work close up for most of my life. We will do that. Details are here.
Occasionally, when I have a model pose for my classes, my students and I pay her extra for some photography time at the end of the class. Here's a sketch I did during class one day recently from a photo of Denise. It's a new pastel up for auction on Daily Paintworks.
"Denise with Striped Fabric" is a 12 x16 pastel on Pastelbord. You can go here to view auction. While you're viewing it, take a look at my other pieces still available.
Enniscorthy or 'Scorthy (Irish: Inis Córthaidh) is the second largest town in County Wexford. With a history going back to 465 it is said to be one of the longest continuously-occupied sites in Ireland. This image is from a plein air event I did in County Wexford, Ireland in 2013. I painted it recently in an oil painting class I'm taking from Jim Richards. It is a 12x9" oil on board, and is up for auction on Daily Paintworks. Click on title above or here to view auction.
Another thing... My one-day pastel workshop at The Red Cockerill Gallery in Austel GA, is this coming Saturday. There is still room if you want to join us. We will have a model for the first hour, whom we will photograph in various positions. Then we'll work from our photos for the rest of the day. You'll learn how to work with a live model, set up lighting for a photo shoot, and work from photos. Where: The Red Cockerill Gallery 2845 Cemetary Street, Austell, GA 30106 (a suburb of Atlanta) When: Saturday, October 10, 10:00-5:00 Cost: $105.00 Contact: Ann Cockerill, owner, 770.944.3160 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 678-520-4151 web: http://www.redcockerillgallery.com/Workshops.html
"Bathing Beauties" were 2 little girls playing in the water on Tybee Island this summer. It's an 8x10 pastel on Pastelbord available at auction on Daily Paintworks. Here's a link to view the auction: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/429618
I am home. It takes me a little while to acclimate to the eastern time zone, deal with the accumulated pile of bills and overgrown lawn, a horrific site when I got home (several neighbors came by to see if my lawnmower had been stolen). Yesterday I was busy from morning until evening trying to tame the jungle that appeared while I was gone, all the while intending to get onto the computer to thank everyone I spent the last two weeks with for an incredible time. I cranked out quite a few pastels during the workshop; I consider them demonstrations. So I'm putting them up on Daily Paintworks to auction off. Most of them, like this one, are 12x15 on Sennelier LaCarte pastel card. Bidding begins at $200. Click on the headline above or here to view the auction: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/427952
Now the difficult task at hand for me is getting into the habit of eating significantly less and losing all the weight I put on tasting every bit of cheese that passed my plate. I will, however, look forward to all that cheese when I return next year in May.
Last night, Thursday, there was a chill in the air. Jerome lit a fire. People are feeling a little sad. It's almost over.
It's Friday. Our last day here. Everybody has finished up their work. After lunch we will clean up the studio, move all the tables out of the way, vacuum, arrange our work on large boards propped up by easels around the perimeter of the studio, we'll set a table with champagne glasses, flowers, munchies, we'll clean ourselves up, and return to the studio to greet guests who arrive for the vernissage. As soon as I get photos of our evening, I'm packing away my computer.
Tomorrow we all depart. A shuttle will be outside the front gate at 7:00 a.m., 5 of us will pile on with our luggage and newly finished pastels; I will be among them. Two more shuttles will arrive throughout the day to retrieve the rest of the students, leaving Jerome and Kippy with a quiet house again. And a clean studio.
I think the vernissage is Kippy's way of getting everybody to clean her studio for her.
Au revoir, La Bonne Etoile, Jerome and Kippy. Thank you for two beautiful and memorable weeks.
It's 11 o'clockish in the evening right now. I have just made my way up the stairs to my room after a dinner full of laughter and the most amazing lamb stew I've ever had. What started out as strangers a week ago has become a cohesive group of friends. There is constant laughter--almost annoyingly so in the mornings while I'm skipping breakfasts to have an uninterrupted shower and some internet time. I hear them all laughing down on the patio where breakfast is served on sunny warm mornings. Who laughs in the morning?
I have not had time to write. Breakfast is served from 8:30-9:30. We're usually in the studio by 9:45. We break for lunch, then run back up to the studio. Lunch in the afternoon lasts a couple of hours. Back up to the studio until a little before dinner. We clean up a little, have a glass of wine, then sit for a couple of hours for dinner. We don't leave the dinner table until almost 11 some nights. By then, after several glasses of wine, I'm usually not in any shape to sit at the computer.
Saturday morning some of the group went to the outdoor market where the locals purchase their cheese, meat, olives, fish, breads for the week. They got lots of good photos to work from in the studio. The rest of us spent our morning in the studio.
Saturday evening there was an annual musical event here in Fontaine-Fourches (can't remember what it's called but I'm sure Kippy will refresh my memory when she reads this blog); Fontaine-Fourches has a population of about 500; it's a quiet, typical French village. Around 6:30 p.m. the locals congregated at the 150 year old church at the end of the street to hear a harpsichordist, 3 violinists, a cellist, and two tenors perform classical pieces. Of the 5 or 6 pieces they performed I was only able to recognize Handel--beautifully done, gave me chills. Afterwards we all, even the musicians, drove or walked several blocks to the community center to celebrate together with a dinner. The musicians continued to entertain us with operatic songs periodically. We were the only English speaking people there, and I think the rendition of "Hey Jude" was for our benefit. I'm showing you a picture of our appetizer, topped with half a crawfish. I can't eat that.
Sunday was brocant day again. We drove long distances through rolling hills of farmland to visit two small towns holding their brocants. Some dedicated artists stayed behind in the studio. The rest of us carried home our French trinkets.
Monday - we started our day with a photo-shoot. We recruited Vivienne and France to pose for us in the living room, knitting, playing the flute, reading sheet music. We got hundreds of lovely photos to work from.
Tuesday - in the studio again. Some of us took a break in the late afternoon to visit La Motte-Tilly Chateau, a 17th century chateau built on the banks of the Seine, 10 minute from our house. The most famous owner was Joseph-Marie Terray, Controller-General of Finances for King Louis XV in 1768.
Wednesday - in the studio again. Some of us took the afternoon off and visited Provins, the 12th century walled city about 20 minutes from here. I opted to take a nap because I have been to Provins 5 times and I was exhausted. Those who went got to see the raptor show, where hawks, eagles, owls, vultures, every sort of predatory bird flew over their heads, so closely they could feel the wind from the wings. It really is thrilling.
Right now, 8:30 Wednesday evening, we have just left the studio. There is a beautiful exhibition in the works. Everybody's pastels (and oils--Tracy is doing oils) are hanging from the wires overhead. On Friday we will have a vernissage--a private show--of all the work we've done. Neighbors and friends will arrive around 6:00 for champagne and to view all our work. Tomorrow is our last full day to paint for it. We are working frantically.
Dinner will be served momentarily. I've got to run.
If you want to join us next year, here's the link to contact Kippy.