Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Watercolours from Avignon, Sept 30

Haven't done too much today.  I walked up to Les Halles this morning and bought some lovely veggies for lunch and dinner and then have come back to our apartment and done a little sketch from one of the pics that I showed you yesterday.  This is taken in the Place Carnot which is situated almost in the centre of the walled city.

It's very close to Place Pie, where Les Halles is situated, and is just outside the pedestrian-only area. Well, it's not really just for pedestrians, because, you see, while they have these neat little cement block things at the entrance to the roadways, that prevent cars from entering the zone, if they (the drivers) have a magic pass card/key thing that makes the cement block things sink into the ground, then they (the drivers AND their cars) can drive into the pedestrian areas which kind of negates the whole idea of a pedestrian-only zone!!  (If you see what I'm saying.)  I guess it's for the store owners, people who are doing deliveries, etc. and for that cute little Baladine electric van that goes around the city.  And since the Baladine is electric it doesn't make any noise, so it is possible to be walking along in the pedestrian-only zone,  quite oblivious to the van driving along Right Behind You!!  Creepy!!

Anyway, I am also showing you the pear pic that I did yesterday.  As I mentioned yesterday, I have done several iterations of the same plate of fruit, but it's kind of fun because I am learning a bit more about the set-up and my paints at the same time.

Not quite sure what I'll be doing (again!!) tomorrow.
I'll be back.....

Monday, September 29, 2014

The end of September in Avignon

We have continued with our daily walks and it continues to be beautiful weather.  Today is overcast, but still warm.

The Pont Benezet (known to most of the world as the Pont d'Avignon) seen from one of the exits leading out of the walled city.  We were walking by, on the inside of the walls, and I slipped out to get this shot.  Not the best, but a variation.
This is one of a pair of ring-necked doves that live in the area.  This is part of the building we are in, in fact, that is taken out one of the windows in our living room, looking east.  The wall, in fact, is part of our apartment, where our bedroom is.
 And, because I'm not especially good at getting the order of things right, this is from our Sunday morning walk and I believe is in the place Carnot.
 This is another Sunday morning shot (notice that there are hardly any people about!) taken in the walking area as we were on our way to Les Halles to get some food fixin's.  Les Halles is open every morning except Mondays and is usually a pretty bustling place.  Sunday morning was no exception.  I'll try and get a shot of the inside before we leave.
This is another shot out the east facing window in our living room from early this morning.  The picture of the dove, a couple of shots above this one, was taken looking out the right hand side of the window, only looking more 'up' as it were, where the birds generally are!!!
And I have done a couple more pictures inspired by the fruit plate that I set up quite a few days ago (the fruit's long gone but the photo remains!!).  The most recent ones are on the bottom.  I haven't finished the one in the bottom middle...I'll show you that one when I've done some more to it.  It's quite fun to do the same picture a few times because I learn something new each time.  And I'm getting a bit more comfortable with my palette....but still such a long way to go.  It's fun (almost always!!).

The weather forecast is for rain tomorrow.  I'm on my own for a few days (sort of) as my guy is taking some time do to a meditation 'retreat'.  He will do this quite often at home and there is no reason that here should be any different.  It's quite handy that we have two bedrooms in the apartment here so I can come and go as I please and he can sit still, as he pleases!!!  It's all good!

It should mean that I'll spend a bit more time drawing, painting, printing, whatever, as I please!!  Hopefully I'll have more to show you next time.

I'll be back.....

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The longest and the best birthday ever!!

It's 8 o'clock on a Sunday morning and I can hear church bells and birds singing.  The sun is shining and it's going to be another beautiful day.  Yesterday we went out for a meal and a meander; it was one of those BIG birthdays and while I have celebrated the actual day here in Provence, it feels as if this whole trip is one giant birthday!!  I cannot believe how lucky I am!!!

(Hmmm, I notice that the date of this post is the 27th, which means that it's STILL my birthday.  Honestly, it just goes on and on!!!!)

 Walking down Rue Joseph Vernet again.  Maybe a painting out of this one???

The view across the street from our living room window.  Light and shadows and roses.  Lovely.

The view out our bedroom window.  Sigh.

Today we are going to walk up to Les Halles again and buy some dinner fixings.  Honestly, it can't get any better!!

I'll be back....

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Walking around Avignon, September 25, 2014

Today the weather has been lovely and fresh and we set out early this morning to walk up again to the Palais des Papes, but most specifically to visit the garden of the Rocher des Doms, up on a hill behind the Palais des Papes.

We set off down Rue Joseph Vernet and the sunlight on the buildings was gorgeous.  We stopped for coffee (no croissant, such restraint!!).

We then walked up to the gardens and enjoyed the views.

First we stopped so that I could get another quick shot of one of the towers of the Palais des Papes.  The sun was behind the building this time and I liked the light.
 This is a shot taken from the top of the Rocher des Doms looking east over some of Avignon's rooftops.  One of quite a few that I took.  The Rocher des Doms is the first inhabited site in Avignon.
 This is the famous 'Pont d'Avignon' made famous by the little song 'Sur le Pont' etc.  You can see the huge road that goes around the outside of the city walls and a little further to the west, just outside the left hand side of the picture, is the Pont Edouard Daladier that crosses over the Rhone and gives access to l'Ile de la Barthelasse and beyond that to Villeneuve lez Avignon and beyond that....well, where ever one might like to go.  L'Ile de la Barthelasse is over 700 hectares, 400 of which are cultivated, the Rhone flows on either side of it and it is the largest island delta in France.

This pic is looking toward Villeneuve lez Avignon, city of kings and cardinals although  I believe this is the Fort Saint Andre.  I will be sure to see this side of the river before I come home and I'll be able to give you a more accurate report!

I'm also including a couple of shots of work done yesterday using the Gelli Arts printing plate.  This time I used some of my own stencils that I brought with me.  I got interesting textures when I watered down the inks....not sure if it's my favourite texture, however.

I also spent a bit of time doing another version of the fruit plate, this time using watercolours.  I then decided that I prefer to use watercolours from a palette so I spent a bit of time squeezing out my colours onto a new palette that I had brought with me, empty and now quite full!  I'm leaving it out, waiting for the paint to dry, as it were!

Darn, I've gone and centred my typing again.....must learn how to get that right!!!  Anyway, I'm not terrifically pleased with this version, but I'm happy to be getting re-acquainted with my watercolours and will push on and do more with them.  Practice, practice, right??!!

 This is my new and very fresh palette, and I really have no excuse now, do I???!!!

But I'm having a lazy afternoon today,  Not sure if I'll get out the art supplies or not!  I'm also very much enjoying my kobo, and a snooze wouldn't go amiss!!

I'll be back.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Walking around Avignon Sept 23, 2014

Yesterday was a lot cooler and we set off early in the morning for one of three walks yesterday.  It was quite hot again in the afternoon, but our morning walks were SO lovely!!  The afternoon was warm, but at least not the 30 degrees we've been having lately.

In no particular order (because I've kind of lost track....we did walk all over the place yesterday!!)  This was our first glimpse this trip of the Palais des Papes.  We walked up a little flight of stairs leading off from Rue de la Balance and were struck with this view.

A few steps further on and we were able to see more of the Palais.  And not very many tourists!!! As I recall someone came up and asked us about the little train that does regular tours around the city (and that you can see in the bottom right) and he was wondering whether or not he would make the 5 o'clock tour, so I guess this one was from the end of the day!!  I seem to have got the order backwards!!
 This one I have added because I was struck by all the examples of contrasts of old and new.  Fun!

And this one is of the eastern end of the Rue des Teinturiers.  I think it's one of my favourite streets in Avignon.

We took the little electric bus, the Baladine, in the afternoon and tried to find the english bookstore and tea room that is up in the north-eastern end of they city.  (Unfortunately it is closed for holidays until next week...we'll try again!)  The little bus is fun to take and only seats 6 passengers.  It runs every 15 to 20 minutes on a circular route around the city, every day except Sunday, and fortunately for me, one of the streets on its route is just at the top of our block!!   (We are staying in the south-western part of the city.)

We spent so much time walking yesterday that all I had time for was a quick visit to the art store.  Oh, poor me!!!  I hope to get something done today...I'll show you later.

I'll be back.....

Monday, September 22, 2014

gelli plate printing

A super quiet day today.  Best part....discovered Netflix France (which just arrived a couple of days ago)!!! Yay!!! Oh, and I did a few prints using my Gelli Arts printing plate. I've only used this plate once before and it is different from the gelatin plate I made at home.  I brought it with me because I thought it might go through customs more easily than my home-made plate, but I don't have a lot of experience with it yet  In addition, of course, I couldn't bring all my colours so I am limited in my experimenting to those that I did bring.  I'm going to try it again in the next while using some stencils and see how that works  (I'll let you know.)

A couple of these are printed onto paper that I prepared the other day by painting gesso onto them (the close-up shown above, for instance).  I can't say I notice much of a difference between those pages and the ones without gesso so I think I'll save the gesso treated papers to paint onto with my watercolour paints and pencils.  (I believe these are all Canson mixed media papers.)  It was fun to play.  I also brought a huge sheet of plastic with me because of course I am setting up my materials on the kitchen table and I need to protect the surfaces.  There is a little bureau here in the sitting room into which I have put all my art supplies (how handy!) and it seems I actually brought quite a few with me!!!  No wonder my bags were so heavy!!  I'll play some more tomorrow.

I'll be back...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Derwent Inktense pencils on gesso followed by a Sunday morning walk

I cannot believe that we've been here for a week already!!! And I'm so glad that we're staying on. Our last trip we stayed in each spot for one week and then moved on.  That was fabulous also, but there is a different feeling, knowing that we can relax, walk slowly, look around and take our time.  We are marking a city map in red as we walk the different streets.  At the end of our stay I am hoping we will have marked nearly every street!!!

Here are a few shots from this morning's walk.  The best part is that it isn't quite as hot this morning. They are predicting 30 degrees again for this afternoon, but when we set of at 8:30 this morning it was really very pleasant.

 One of many  many and again many delightful spots to stop for morning coffee!

These two shots are from the bottom of Rue Respail, and are next to the Tourist Information Centre, shown at the right in the photo above.  The Information Centre fronts onto Rue de la Republique, or it could still be called Cours Jean Jaures at that point, I'll have to check. Just across the road from the Info Centre we got the most delicious coffee and croissant a couple of days ago.  We're finding our way around, in a croissant-directed way!!!  We're eating most of our meals in, but a walk and coffee do seem to go together.  And then, coffee and a croissant....well, you know.....

And I spent a bit of time yesterday and re-did the pear picture.  This time I drew it out on a piece of paper onto which I had put a layer of gesso.  I then used Derwent Inktense pencils to colour in the various parts before applying water to the piece.  It's fun to try different surfaces.

There was a flea market (marche aux puces) in Place des Carmes, so that was this morning's destination.  From there we wandered back into the Zone Pietonne, although some vehicles seem to be about early in the morning, making deliveries.  It's nice to have areas designated just for pedestrians, however, and makes window shopping much safer!!!  We stopped at Les Halles and bought some bread to have with lunch.  Ok, ok, and a pain aux raisins to have with coffee later.

Today is Journee de la Patrimoine and as we were walking back at 11 Rue de la Republique was blocked off and many cars were starting to flood into town.  Apparently today all the museums are free, including the Palas des Papes.  But it will be hot, and flooded with people as well....I'm happy to tuck in here and play with paper and colour.

I'll be back.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Daily Walk Sept 19

We went for a walk yesterday, as we are doing most days.  The skies were overcast and it was extremely muggy, not my favourite kind of weather because we are still around 30 degrees.  I start disintegrating around 25 so I'm definitely not at my best.  Ah well.  I'm in France, that part's the best!

This first shot is taken whilst walking up Rue Joseph Vernet.  Not terribly exciting but I confess I'm thinking of perspective here.  I'll have to get some better shots for you, but I'll have to be feeling more inspired and less per-spired, if you see what I mean.

And this one is taken of the sweet merry-go-round in Place de L'Horlage.  This pic is for my elder son who remembers the merry-go-round in one of the malls in Portland, Washington.  It's where we used to go and buy his Buster Brown shoes.....oh so long ago now!

And finally, this is a pencil rendition of the photo I showed you the other day.  Not terribly exciting, but at least I've got some of my art supplies out.  It was a nice way to while away an hour.

Not sure what's coming next, but I'll be back.....

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Les Halles, Avignon

Yesterday we went shopping at the large market Les Halles,  located in Place Pie, about a 15 minute saunter away from our apartment here in Avignon.  Lovely vegetables and fruits (and lots more of course, but let's start there!).  I came home and took some photos before devouring our purchases!

Our apartment is on the top floor of a renovated Chapel.  Our bedroom in fact is where the top of the bell tower used to be,...we climb a winding staircase to reach our apartment door!!  This pic was taken looking east....such a lovely spot to set the fruit for the photo!  And I have to be honest, it is pretty great to get here when there are still lots of figs around....oh yum!!  This might be a nice piece to paint.  But first a snooze....

I'll be back....


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Unscheduled absences!!

Yes, I'm still here!!! Such a busy summer....my younger son and his family have vacated the suite in my house and we have spent some time renovating and renting it.  (My son et al. have moved across the water to Vancouver where he will be spending a couple of years doing his Masters at UBC.  They have moved into family housing on campus....wow, it's lovely over there!!  But I miss them like crazy!)  BUT I am very lucky in that my elder son and his family still live in town so I can still get my children/grandchildren-fix!!  Whew!!!  But that took care of August!!

I sent my little quilt to Ontario for the Canadian Quilt Association's National Juried Show.  That was exciting!!  The pic below is the actual piece, but it's taken against a pinkish wall, so you'll have to ignore that part.  I've dyed all the fabric myself, and this is a rendition (in three parts, look again!!) of a picture I took in France in 2012.

And guess what!! Here I am again!!!  Oh, isn't retirement the best!!

 Landing in Paris!

Water wheel on the Rue des Tinturiers.

We are fortunate enough to be able to spend another six weeks in France and we have settled into a lovely little apartment in Avignon.  This time we are going to spend the whole time in one spot, getting to know the area and really savouring the lifestyle here.  Oh my gosh!! And here's a happy find.....there is an art store right across the road from our apartment!!!  Savour, savour!!!  Dangerous!!!  (I didn't know it was so close when I rented this apartment.    Honest!!)  I'm going to pop over there today to have a good look around....my guy and I went in the other day for a quick look, but you know how it is.....one needs time on one's own to really get to know the place!!! Don't you think!!

And here is my little studio assistant, trying to figure out just what I was doing with all those bags, and all that art stuff that I was packing into them!!  (I'm not showing you one of my guy's face when he had to pick it up!!! He is patience personified!!)

So that's it for now.  Unfortunately, I have come down with an awful cold and so am not doing too much in the art department for the moment.  I'm hoping to at least get things set up a bit today to see how it's all going to work out.

I'll be back.....