Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Painting Carcassonne

A week of solid drawing in Carcassonne and I forgot how to PAINT WATERCOLORS! I've been brushing up since I got back.
Prof Jeremy had us draw with a single line the contour of the buildings. No fussing around with annoying perspective. Yay!
What a relief
Jeremy's sheet of exquiste drawings done on site in all sizes and shapes. He likes to make the tiniest thumbnails (timbres) too.
The towers are daunting at first. Maybe they never stopped being daunting. You feel like a peanut.

There are tourist shops selling armor and medieval gear in the town. No wonder.

The entrance to Carcassone, where we met every morning.
Much more crowded than shown here, but once you're inside, the structures are so monumental,the crowds appear to  thin out.
Tibetan monks, their straw cone hats provide perfect protection from the strong sun and match the tower rooftops.
In case you're planning on going to a workshop a few tips I picked up. Forget the tripod seat on the left.
Lise had a clear makeup case picked up on Amazon - perfect for carrying supplies. I found I had one at home from a gift makeup assortment.
Lise formed a deep attachment to my Art Advantage double cup water cups, also on Amazon but half the price at Hyatt art supplies.
We all coveted Matine's Maison de Chocolat long chocolate boxes - perfect for stashing your watercolor brushes.
Carcassonne has much in common with Mt Saint Michel. If you like one you should enjoy the other at least for an overnight.
Fortunately I stayed close by in 'plain Jane' Hotel Espace Cité. Espace is clean and simple, but with a fabulous array of fresh fruits in the morning petite dejeuner. Nary a single peach can be found inside the walled cité of Carcassonne. You have been warned. Same story at Mt Saint Michel by the way. Oh the pitfalls of travel. One thing there certainly is, is plenty of is Cassoulet. You have been warned.
Carcassone is definitely worth a visit. Just bring your own fruit and maybe steer clear of Cassoulat in the summer months.


  1. I love this recent work of yours..Fab Carol.

    Love all the tips and ideas too;)

  2. Love your Carcassonne water colors and do love cassoulet, but agree that it isn't a summer food. A very good cassoulet is to be had at Aux Anysettiers du Roy on Ile St Louis. If I lived where you do I'd be there a lot.

    1. Aux Anysetiers Du Roy
      Thanks Sukie,
      I never even heard of this place?! Come winter...
      61 rue St. Louis en Ile

  3. Allie1:06 AM

    I especially liked the piece with multiple reddish towers. Continuous contour lines have a kind of majesty, I think.

  4. Louise3:34 AM

    What beautiful work Carol !! I adore Carcassonne...have visited twice and loved it...You have captured the very essence of it.

  5. You did a beautiful job of capturing the majesty of the lices and towers. Did you know that the space between the lices (rampart walls) used to be filled with houses/hovels? As many as 3,000 people lived there. Carcassonne is the only fortified city with two sets of walls.
    As for fruit, no, the last groceries closed a few years ago. But there is a wonderful farmer's market on Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays in the lower town, la Bastide (which would be a famous destination itself if it weren't right next to something as amazing as la Cité). And the Bastide also has several "primeurs"--shops selling fresh produce. There's an excellent one right across the street from the art museum.
    Hope you come back!

    1. I had planned to visit the lower town. It looked so close on the map, but without a car and bus transport is sketchy...not so easy.

  6. Miranda7:31 AM

    Loving your advices...the peach 'pitfalls of travel'! Haha

  7. I'm salivating at your visit. To me, Carcassonne stands out as viollet-le-duc's greatest restoration work--or his greatest disaster, depending on your point of view.
    Le-duc was the great 19th c 'restorer' who today people see as someone who destroyed the authentically decayed & replaced it with the disney-fied re-constructed (Victorian version). Medieval work is not my forte but i love the structural purity of gothic cathedrals & ruggedness of medieval construction.

    i think it's terrific how yr're stretching your talent: architectural drawing in the open field, sketches of urban skyline---it's a real skill & u definitely have it.

  8. What a fascinating workshop that looked, Carol. And after the daunting single lines that you make look so easy, your fabulous watercolours! Wouah. They're beautiful. What a stunning place to show off your talents.

  9. I love the first painting where you got the great outline of the subject, emphasizing the arches by not putting anything under the two arches. Nice and compact, yet very free flowing.

    1. Thank you Richard!
      The last becomes the best.

  10. Love this post and your fab watercolors! Wow, a backpack with a chair? ��

  11. I just returned from my month long adventure in France.. this included an afternoon at Carcassonne… Your post is most appreciated today…

  12. The single line is a fun exercise and it looks to me as though you remembered very well indeed!

    1. You should see the stack of discards Jeanie!!!

  13. Carmen12:18 PM

    Thank you for this. I’m a recent empty nester and the daughter of a prolific and talented watercolorist. You are inspiring me to pick up my little habit again after many years.

  14. GwenEllyn2:59 PM

    Wow! I don't think there were hotels around when I was last there! We'd park the bus in a large field at the base and hike up to the bastide. I will definitely have to get back there!

  15. Clarity Artists12:02 AM

    We love your artwork...and thank you for the tips about the travel stool and the double Water cup. Loved the brush with that photo, too.
    Thank you so much for your entries.

  16. Love your paintings Carol! Looks like an amazing place to visit, I'll add it to my wish list.

  17. I have been fascinated with Carcassonne for a long time. I have never visited there, though, regretfully. I love your watercolors! All of them!

  18. Bonnie1:24 AM

    You are living the artisan's dream, my friend.
    Your adventures are so rich. Wonderful sights, experiences, art, food, and people.
    Love all of your work...

  19. MarilynS2:21 AM

    Love your work from your latest trip. You accomplished a lot.

  20. Great post, Carol - loaded with gorgeous sketches and watercolors - one of your best.

  21. Love this post and your fab watercolors!


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