Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Vincent at Auvers-sur-Oise and another watercolor print

A new watercolor print in my etsy shop reflecting my visit to the town of Auvers-sur-Oise last Saturday. Friends have been urging me to go for ages. Finally metro posters beckoned. It's just a 38-minute direct train ride (on the weekends upstairs at Gare du Nord from platform 36 with the Transilien line). And what a perfect town to paint. No wonder Pissarro, Corot, Cezanne, Daumier, Daubigny and of course Van Gogh immersed themselves here.
The Iris fete, 'L'amour au Jardin'was going on as well at Chateau d'Avers.
While the others headed off to the local tourist office i took the higher road
Up to the church famously painted by Van Gogh (pronounced Van Gog here by the way). There are no original paintings in Auvers, but 19 posters with captions help you recognize the sites he painted.
No crows flying on Saturday either as in Van gogh's last painting, but the open, waving wheat fields easily make you feel you've stepped into his painting. There was a touching (bi-lingual) letter at the cemetary written by an attendee at Van Gogh's funeral recounting his last days.
I can't honestly say I wasn't the biggest fan of Van Gogh though I've always loved his ink drawings in his letters to his brother, Theo, but visiting Auvers changed my point of view.
The undulating rooftops, green hilly lawns, bushy plane trees make it easier to see what Van Gogh saw and felt.
The town wasn't at all crowded with too many tourists on such a beautiful day.
'watch out for the cat' says it all.
Wonderfully colored iris line the town's curving lanes.
Van Gogh painted bunches of iris in gardens and in a white pitcher. He stayed in Auvers the last 70 days of his life and made a painting every single day.
Auberge Ravoux was his residence at 3,50 fr a day.
It's been carefully preserved.
Absolutely nothing remains of any of Van Gogh's possessions in his room yet it's a poignant experience to visit. You watch a short video of his life before entering his room.
Somehow I resisted the stunning auberge napkins and tablecloth.
But I would have killed for this extraordinary combo egg cup/coffee cup, but not for sale.
Off to the chateau for the garden soiree..
Why didn't I buy this little VG figurine? I missed visiting Dr Gachet's house and the Absinth museum.
The next day i was perfectly prepared to visit the two Van Gogh rooms at the musee d'Orsay(70,71).
And you will be too. Visiting the town of Avuers-sue-Oise
Is the perfect introduction to learning to love van Gogh if you aren't already a fan. 
I have quite a few maps of Auvers to send out with the watercolor print if you're so inclined. 
Don't miss this town either way if you're coming to Paris!! Heaveny.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Le Perigord à Montmartre

Last weekend in France was one of those 'bridge' weekends so the holiday ran over into Monday. It was also four gorgeous days of the annual May tasting the divine products of Perigord à Montmartre.
4 days of eating as many
Strawberries as possible
Even fresh strawberry juice made on the spot.
And the spot is right under Sacre Coeur in the 18th
Please take the funicular when you go up.
You will need every ounce of energy to taste everything on offer.
For the 10th edition there must have been over 40 stands of producteurs. Many have won prizes for their specialties. I bought a can of goose rillettes from this prize winner...note the red metal plaque. One taste and I couldn't say no. Course there isn't much I can say no to...ahem. My downfall.
I somehow resisted the honey
But I tasted plenty
I haven't used up my brew made in the Luxembourg gardens yet.
I did buy a cake of honey soap though...
Temptation again at the chestnut counter. The same Perigord fair takes place in winter. The chestnuts roasted on the spot are heaven.
I did buy a bag of shelled walnuts. Plus cepes, strawberries in the cup and in the box, the rillettes.
There's a very homey feel to the fete. This isn't la Grande Epicerie at all.
Much more fun.
Tasting, tasting. There is so much tasting at this fete. A rarity at Grande Epicerie.
I tasted but just admired the red caps.
No truffle tastes me thinks. Please mark your calendars for next May PBers. This is a don't-miss annual fair, usually 3-4 days long so you can return for more strawberries.
I did fall hook, line and sinker for this poster of Sarlat. Have you been? Do tell. I'm very tempted to go and paint there now that I got my feet wet in the Luberon. Should I go?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Watercolor Print-of-the-month and Goult 2

(Sorry to resend post. Links were wrong). I'm back in Paris but still thinking/dreaming of the Luberon. Goult is another small fortified hilltop village we visited.
The morning light was perfect for painting. The 'done' thing is to climb up to the old windmill (moulin) at the top and then paint the surrounding landscape. I got this far and turned back to visit the local grocery store...interest in local produce being the attraction.
OK I prefer shopping to heights. This is as close as. I got to the windmill. The small figurines are 'santons' made locally and a part of the Provençal Christmas celebration. I can't remember if 13 santons or 13 desserts are the tradition.
Note the wild boar figurine.
Boars adorn everything, not just your plate as sausage.
A charging boar plastered on a car window...the regional mascot.
The grocery store (the only game in town) has an annex across the street for fresh produce. You grab a basket, take what you want and cross over to pay.
Don't miss tasting local almonds. They're flatter, bigger, grown in the area and very tasty. 100 grams (3 ounces) should set you back 2,10€.
Small antique shops line Goult's main street, items spilling out into the street.
Cafe de la Poste is The place to lounge and grab a coffee. It may be the only place to do so in Goult.
Last time I was here in 2005 I painted my breakfast.
This visit I was feeling more ambitious. As kids my sister and I had to spit 3 times when passing a cemetary (we still don't walk under ladders or pass black cats). My father was adamant. I was reluctant to paint in Goult's unusual cemetery.
If only Ian Sidaway was here as a guide. He's a master of all manner of hedges among other things.
   Still I gave it a whirl leaving out all hints of the tombs.
The village buildings were more appealing.
Warm earthy colors.
I painted this melon/rust cottage against a cobalt blue sky.
Four Goult village buildings on one page - my brand new watercolor print-of-the-month available on Etsy.
The prints are on the same Arche paper I use to paint my watercolors so colors come out almost identical.
Ochre pigments from Provence were in art store, Sennelier's window this morning. Memories of last week's visit to Roussillon.
The Roussillon print is up too on Etsy with Provencal brochures added in the flat envelope. I may be visiting the US later this summer to paint in Maine. Lobster and cheese Danish beckon.