Friday, September 30, 2011

First Projects

Up the blue stairs to the top floor our group of art students went each morning to work.



Below are the cards I made:

These are the first projects we did -- collaged cards to send home to family and friends.  It was my first attempt to duplicate the sample.  In my failure to do so I discovered how naturally my own artistic sensibility comes through.  And since I was so very pleased with my completed cards, I also learned I might, just maybe trust my artistic eye!

For my friend Jan
Art Reference Librarian
you will be sorely missed! 


Monday, September 26, 2011

La Cascade

Our heroine has found her camera and in looking at the photos finds herself reliving this grand  adventure.  Come along on the first stop:  the small village of Durfort, France.

La Cascade is named for this waterfall across from the garden.

I went to La Cascade to attend a week-long, residential art workshop taught by Anna Corba.  I had taken classes with her before and love her sensibility, artistic and otherwise!  The workshop was composed of seven students plus Anna and Susan - an artist in her own right, and Anna's assistant for the week.  The house is three stories and a back garden.  With the rain we didn't spend much time in the garden.  It rained a lot that week and we were grateful for the wood burning stove in the living room.  The fire was very cozy!  Also on the first floor is the spacious kitchen, and the dining room, where we took most of our meals.  

Next up our heroine discovers what she wants to be when she grows up!  It's not a chef, so you can stop laughing!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My France Adventure Begins

 On June 6, 2011 I started my month-long trip to France.
on June 6th when I flew from Boston Logan airport to Toulouse, France, arriving the next morning.

It has been a glorious trip!  Many adventures.  Diverse experiences.  Mishaps with shoes & feet, despite my attention to them -- or maybe because of it!  Wonderful food.  Beautiful scenery.  Great art.

I took over 500 photographs.  That stuns me, I don't usually take so many pics.  But  my subjects were Paris Rive Gauche; Marie Antoinette's garden at Versaille; Paris Disney (so familiar and yet so not); Carcassonne.  Collioure.  The small villages of Soreze, Durfort, Mirepoix, Montalieu.  Toulouse.  I was inspired by the beauty and the colors and the doors and iron grilles on the windows!  I even took photos of great haircuts for my stylist, who said she would like to go to Paris to see fabulous hair styles!

I took this blank book and made it into my most trusty guide!  
Here I added tabs for each leg of the trip, a list of art supplies, maps, my itinerary, notes to myself.
As this was an art trip, I treated my book as an art project that informed! I fell in love with washi tape and used it to add velum sheets and scrapbook paper!
I left blank pages to write what I did each day and hold ephemera.

My flight from Boston to Toulouse, France connected through London Heathrow Airport.  I was one of the lucky ones to be given a full body search.  You notice I don't say lucky in quotes?  I actually was lucky.  The woman who searched me was more like a masseuse and after the long overnight flight it felt amazingly good. 

The bus from Blagnac Airport to Matabiau Rail Station,
I arrive at the airport in Toulouse, collect my luggage, purchase a bus ticket and walk out to torrential rains!
Really, it was raining chiens et chats!
From here I get to the train station, walk to the bus station, buy a ticket to Revel and am on my way.  Planes & Trains & Automobiles.  Anna & Susan pick me up in Revel, introduce me to the joys of Intermarche, a Target-like store made most fascinating because everything is in French.  I fall in love with yogurt in glass containers, which later hold my colored pens and paintbrushes. Next it's Durfort, where the art workshop will delight me for a week. The other 6 participants arrive over the next hour or so, all as water logged as I, we settle into our rooms, ready for the art to begin, and the rain to stop?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost . . .

and Found!

When we last saw our heroine, she was agonizing about shoes and secretly worrying about not knowing French.  As it turned out, she had to deal with both issues and neither kept her from having a fabulous time!

I just finished Rachel Friedman's wonderful book, The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost, about discovering herself through travel.  It touched me in so many ways.  I've been to Ireland.  My trip to Australia was emotionally life-saving.  I studied South American cultures as an undergraduate and could pronounce the place names while reading.  Her book has inspired me finally to write about how I spent the month of June in France.

What did I learn in France?
*I want to be an artist when I grow up.
*The French are wonderfully polite people, it helps to know what is important and act accordingly.
*Most French people DO NOT speak English.  After all, why should they?  But if you use the magical phrases:  "Je ne parle pas Francais," followed by "Parlez-vous Anglais?" they will try to muddle through with you!
*Coca Cola in France tastes better than any Coke I have tasted in this country for 30 years (or whenever they decided to use high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar).  I drank a lot of it!
*Sometimes you just have to ignore fashion and wear the Reeboks.

We leave our heroine searching frantically for her camera.  When found, the posts on France will have lots of beautiful, colorful images!