Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A French lady ... and me!

When I was at a fleamarket, in Paris, I purchased a painting of a beautiful French woman.  
It's done in black and white with just a touch of red.

The seller told me the story of the artist, who lived in Paris, and who has only painted one subject for his whole career...and that was always his wife.  AND....he only sees and paints her now as he remembers her, and as he sees her in his mind's eye....beautiful and young, although they've been married 50 years.  Isn't that precious!   

I just picked up the painting from having it framed and I remembered that my husband took picture of me, long ago when I was 18 yr. old...and printed it in black and white....and when I held it next to my French lady painting, we were both at the same angle...the same black and white....the same photo of a young woman in profile.  

My husband and I have been married 41 years now, so this photo was taken a long time ago....but I like to think that he still sees me, as the French artist views his bride and muse....
as the woman he fell in love with all those years ago.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Medieval Castle in France

The next morning we headed "tout droit"......
By late afternoon we found our next chateau....a true medieval castle out of a historical novel!
It was amazing!
Turrets and a working drawbridge, thick stone walls and small little slit windows for the archers to defend the castle from seige.
We were transported back hundreds of years when knights and their ladies crossed this ancient drawbridge.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Little Princess Mouse

I love this little mouse.  :)  Not something that I usually create.....
She was inspired by Angelina Ballerina and I made her for my daughter's children's store.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tout Droit Tout Droit Tout Droit!

We got lost everyday in France.  Phyllis drove and I studied the map...writing down all the turns and road names and directions to follow and then we would confidently head out.  Stopping for a freshly baked quiche or cookie, Edith Piaff singing her heart out...we would always get lost.  We would come to those wonderful "round abouts" and head around, and around, and around searching for the road that the map said we should be on...and weren't.  
But always....always....we would one moment be completely frustrated and confused and the next moment we would look up..or look to the side...or stop to stretch our legs and there, right in front of us would be a sign for our chateau..... or road..... or exactly what we needed to take us to the next destination.  Whenever we asked someone, they always said  "tout droit".  
tout droit tout droit tout droit!   That meant..."just keeping going the direction that you're heading."  And so we did just that...tout droit...and always found ourselves where we belonged. Having gotten lost again...we tout droit-ed our way right to our next Chateau.  
Chateau Mas de La Monet.  Wow!!  We were princesses again!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Whaa-La! piece is complete!

Here she experience of my trip to France.  
Joyful  carefree  uplifted  antiquity  architecture  history  inspiration!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Chateau de la Caze

We continued our drive along the Gourge de la Tarn and as we rounded a tight turn, our castle for the night came into view!  Amazing!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Whaa-La! update

She's emerging......almost done!   I wanted to have this piece speak of my experience of France.
When I visalize images of France, I think of the architecture...the metal work....the history....the inspiration.  So after using the handwritten letters from the 1880's that I found at the fleamarket for her petticoat, I decided to make her gown using grout to represent the buildings in Paris....I crackle glazed it and then added some fabulous metal leaves and flowers that I cut off of a wreath that was hanging on my door.   They were perfectly rusted and weathered. :)
The final touches will be the rhinestones that will add the inspiration that I felt as I discovered France.  
The photo of Amelie ( my fleamarket hand ) shows my box of rhinestones, ready to be applied.  Almost done......

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Brocante in Provence

This was the first Brocante (antique store) that we came to.  It was wonderful, but things were priced high.  Wonderful eye candy, though.  

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Les Tres Source, Bonnieux, France

Our next stay was one of my favorites.  One of the more simple places compared to the castles and chateaus that we experienced.  It was an old stone mas (farmhouse) and it's beauty was so "Provence."  The light, the stonework, the landscape with medieval towns and castles perched on the surrounding hilltops. 
It sat, surrounded by grape vines, rows of lavender and cherry trees in full fruit, just below the medieval town of Bonnieux.   It had been used, in the 1800s as a factory for silk worm production.
These photos are of a wall in the courtyard.....the stone stairs leading to our room....and finally my new french shoes!!   I LOVE these shoes!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Van Gogh exhibition in a rock quarry....

 It was the hottest day of our journey.... and the sun was high in the sky.  
A store owner in St. Remy had told us to be sure to stop by an exhibit of Van Gogh's work in an old limestone quarry and so, in search of some possible cool air, we headed down the road.


We bought our tickets and stepped inside....yes, the air felt cool and so welcome...but more than that.......projected onto the walls of this huge cavern space was a themed light show which used over 50 projectors and featured between 2000 and 3000 images of the art of Van Gogh, set to a specially written soundtrack of amazing music.  The sheer size of the images, and the originality of the setting made for an unusual experience, to say the least....and one where we were put at the center of the action ( literally ).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The ancient town of Les Baux, France

We left our gyspy wagon and headed for the ancient town of Les Baux.  
Built on a mountain top, Les Baux is ancestral family home of Grimaldi family of Monaco.
It dates back to the 12th century, with streets still intact and now shops where houses used to be.   I so wish we had been there for the show of equestrian falconry.  Can't you just imagine!

Coming together....the dance begins...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Head in Hand....

I've sculpted the head to my Whaa-Laa piece....and now I've painted it.
It's so fun to see it begin to come alive as I add paint.

That metal piece that I... for some reason.... felt drawn to put on the hand too, is a piece I found in France.  Very cool.  Part of a bell, I think.

I've decided to name my hand "Amelie".  
I just watched that movie again and I love the whole feeling of it.  
" A celebration of life, Amelie reminds us of the small wonders that abound around us...if only we paused to look."   That says it all....the purpose of my mannequin named Amelie.

A Gypsy Wagon outside of St Remy

They are called a Roulette...a gypsy wagon!   Can you even imagine a life lived within this space?
Cooking...sleeping...bathing.... traveling the dirt roads.

The name of the mas ( stone farm house ) where we stayed is Mas du Pastre.

It was wonderful!  There were fabulous stone buildings and rooms on manicured grounds, and out in the back was the little encampment of 3 roulettes of different sizes and ages.
They were painted and decorated in bright happy colors and while we sat at a little round table in the yard, enjoying our bread and cheese and a lovely glass of wine....and as we watched the full moon rise....we could just imagine life in a gypsy camp.....another time...another world.
The traveling crowns had landed.....