Thursday, April 27, 2006

84220 Roussillon-Provence

I work part-time in a pigment store in Soho, so getting to see where earth colors come from in Roussillon, was thrilling. Most artists have no idea where paint comes from. The art store? The factory of Winsor & Newton? Not so, at least for earth colors.
Roussillon is a Grand Canyon of Ochres, Siennas, Umbers. And the whole hill top town is painted in these warm colors. Where ever you walk on the Okhra grounds signs are posted "DO NOT PICK UP ANYTHING OFF THE GROUND!" The rust-colored pepples are potential paint. Don't look too carefully in the top picture...
France has an environmental association that protects earth colors!www.terresetcouleurs.com They publish little booklets you can pick up at the Louvre on Burnt Sienna. Did you know Burnt Sienna is basically cooked Raw Sienna. The pigmented rocks are stacked in a big oven-like room and roasted until they change color.
Making paint is a lot like cooking - a tablespoon of Burnt Sienna pigment, a teaspoon of honey, a bit of Gum Arabic sap from the Acacia tree (used in those candy red fishes too), + some distilled water. Et voilà watercolors!
More about the Roussillon café later...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Goult - Café de la Poste

Continuing on with my café adventures...since I was not allowed to stay behind and paint the breakfast leftovers and I did not want to paint Provence's pink houses, I made a plan for my week. I would find the local café in each village visited, order breakfast (again) and paint it on site. Café de la Poste is the only café in the beautiful town of Goult, as is often the case. You can buy lottery tickets, magazines, post cards, stamps within and outside sunbathe with your expresso on the terrasse. Nice multi-tasking. The menu @ slowtrav.com.
I learned on this trip that there's no need to ask for Evian or Badoit in a café. Just say (du l'eau) and you will get a handsome glass carafe of very drinkable local water. An antique shop in the Village Saint Paul, in Paris' 4th arrondissement, specializes in antique carafes and other bistro paraphrenalia. The owner (brocanteur) at LES VIRTUOSES DE LA RÉCLAME, on 5, rue Saint Paul, may be a little grumpy, but it's still well worth a look. Here's a site with pictures of other Village Saint Paul shops, even if you can't read Japanese...
The results of my efforts. Tasted very good too!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bon Voyage...Peut-etre

This entry is about whether I make the trip over to Typepad or stay put. I started out at Typepad & made no headway for 20 of the 30 days alloted free trial. After much tearing of hair & tears, I decided to give Blogger a try. I was up & running in 2 hours! Bravo!!! But there are a few bells & whistles missing over here & perhaps way too many at Typepad... Hmmm...
So I'm showing you my "desk top" littered with chewed chocolate, Blogging For Dummies book, favorite soothing music (not working today), Lucky Cats (also not working today) and...

A 2" high (2 3/4" when opened) sewing machine formerly a resident in my dollhouse long time ago. The little blue wheel actually drives the needle up & down!? No, the peddle does not work, nor does this sew anything. But it has survived as has it's owner. So I'm trying to stitch together this blog with the bits & pieces of my life...

This 1 1/4" garbage pail is another dollhouse remnant originally bought at Woolworths 5 & 10. It does say "GARBAGE" on the lid and the peddle used to work, but I lost an important metal pin in transit somewhere...So I'm going out to clear my head of pixels.

Cya :)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Natures Mortes @ Les Bassacs

I'm a lark so I would join David A. for the 6AM run to the boulangerie in Saint Saturnin-lès-Apt for the breakfast croissants. Petit dejéuner at the workshop is never petit! Home-made apricot confiture, local honey, country butter, fresh fruit, OJ, coffee, tea, cereal, chocolat chaud, yogurt, and those still warm croissants.
Eating this feast while sitting at the communal table, you can look through the open French doors to the swimming pool. And beyond, an impressive view of the Lubéron mountains.
At 9am we would go off each day to a different village to paint watercolors till noon.Then back for lunch time and more wonderful regional cuisine. Later,off again to another village.
I had to tear myself away from those breakfast still lifes. If only I could stay behind to paint the jam jars and croissants...If only they didn't have to clear away all the dishes to get ready for lunch. Not that anyone thought to leave me even a crumb for my imagined still lives.

Note the empty basket and devastated jam jars...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Provence Dans La Lumière

Provencal light is magical.
Luminous and atmospheric with soft, soft shadows.
Perfect for painters.
Ask Cézanne

Ask Van Gogh
These wild flowers came from outside my door at arts in provence The pomme is c/o the reknown Sunday marché, l'Isle sur la Sorgue in Vauclus
Everyday utilitarian objects are beautifully designed in France. You can find a glass OJ pitcher in any supermarket for just a few Euros. The white cup & saucer Barbara gave me the simple white cup in Paris. After a splendid birthday lunch. The pomegranete I bought in Paris in May (was it from Morocco?) and the huge bouquet of artichokes came from the l'Isle sur la Sorgue Sunday marché.

And then there is Alma's cat!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Les Routes de la Lavande

Running to Paris cafés morning, noon and night for 5 days, I just wasn't ready to spend the next 7 in the Lubéron Lavande. Hey I'm a New Yorker! I caught an early TGV (07h20) at the Gare de Lyon so I'd have at least 4 hours in my last urban center, Avignon until the workshop ended.
Then I could return to Paris to explore more cafés...
3 hours later - local art shops explored first and then the café. Over a steaming cup of hot chocolate, I parked myself on the terrasse of the Festival des Glaces. Situated by a pedestrian boulevard, Rue de la République and facing Place de l'Horloge, the central square, you don't miss a trick. At 2pm, the Atkinsons would take us off to the tiny hamlet of Les Bassacs for a week of Provençal painting and eating in a restored farmhouse.
Why did I feel like I was being abducted?

Paris Assignment

In May '05 I was given a mini assignment. While enroute to a watercolor workshop in Provence, I was to research as many Paris cafés as possible. Equipped with a Sennielier sketchbook, a non-digital camera and a Paris By Arrondissement map I set out.
Hundreds of photos and sketches later, I knew I was hooked.
After a week of 2-3 petit déjeuners every morning, afternoon snacks and evening apéros running from café to café, my head was turned around. I was not ready for pretty pink houses or the village perché of Provence.