This dog looks distinctly Parisian. This is because it is, with the elegant spot and point of nose. This weblog is not about dogs, it is to announce the next France for Art lovers with Janet Ayliffe expedition, next year, being arranged by Walking Matilda director , Peter Kellett. And to describe a little how it was on the first Art tour in April this year. Never mind about the lovely students who came, I had a wonderful time. As I expected, I did spend a lot of time gasping with amazement and delight. Peter was a brilliant tour director , all the details of our journey arranged to perfection . Here is Peter , I think telling me where the nearest glacé parlour was.( An aside, I am wearing my hat made by Sarah A. The Best. ) Or maybe Peter is saying about the art supplies shops. Such as the Sennelier shop, here is some of what we saw inside.
<a The Sennelier shop, this is some of what we saw inside…
The pastel drawers,
Some of the paper shelves, then a real artist, must be by his deep intent.
We sat by the Seine, (sang songs , almost to ourselves) , painted the lee boarder boats , at moorings, which had sailed all the way from the Netherlands.
We sat in the Tuilleres gardens, mostly strategically to avoid birds and their bottoms , and painted the gardens..here I am being the teacher . Seconds before a bird got me.
Here is what I was painting , as before, but this time with bird additions. Lucky it was green.
Each day in Paris, walking to the galleries in the mornings, painting in the afternoons. Then back to our comfortable accommodation in the Latin quarter. Fortunately right next to a glacé parlour. I became addicted to Cassis glacé. Never mind. The Latin quarter was a fine place to be, I didn’t have much use for my limited Latin vocabulary , to speak about farmers and spears ( why did our studies get so stuck on spears and swords I think?) Back to our accom, very close to every thing we could possibly need, concerts at St Julien D Pauvre, St Chapelle, crepes, glace, galleries. To sleep hearing the bells of Notre Dame, gosh, again, never mind!
One day Peter arranged a visit to Giverney, as many know, the most exquisite of gardens, designed by Monet, to be as gardens can be, a living art work. In the evenings and early mornings, the gardeners dart around , keeping the beds of complementary and analogous colour arrangements perfect. We would have been Shocked to see anything out of place. ( not actually) We were totally happy, over the famous bridge, in and out the paths and walks.
I nearly fell in the lake at this point, looking to see the frogs who had croaks like walruses. Huge croaks that is. It was thrilling , they set up a chorus. The house was a delight, and for me, so too were the old chooks. The rooster dated back to when Claude was at home. To say , it was an ancient rooster, safely past all roast Sundays.
One last gallery visit, Peter escorted us through the streets to the Rodin Museum. Past phalanxes of gendarmes, in full defence uniforms, being in attendance as a loud, very Gallic demonstration was on. It was the evening before the bill for same sex marriage was presented in their parliament . Wisht I had a handy banner with me to cheer it on. The gendarmes were very serious, but a small phalanx (can’t resist using this old word) , asked me if I would swap my Sarah hat with theirs . All asked with French charm and smiles. I nearly did, the offer so nice. In my scratchy French, I declined as I said theirs were bolted on, not enough time. Here we are, with Rodin, and his thinker , thinking.
With great precision , Peter gets us all to the station, on the speedy train to the Dordogne. Not one person gets lost or left behind. Amazing. We arrive at our accomodation in the walnut growing area, near Castlenaud. Here is the castle, and the castle cat.
And the bakery, gosh , this is a very fine bakery!!
Our place to stay, luckily a kilometre or so walk from these patisseries is amongst the walnut trees, the iris and lily of the valley soon to flower . Here is our home for the next while, and one of our neighbours .
We dine in immense splendour , Peter and Ria making the best of meals, every night , three course dinners , French wines. Every night walks in the evening, exploring the paths and lanes. Hullo ing the ginger horse.
Ria and Peter , plating up!
Moira and Diwani set the tables, Ann’s folded serviette shoes point where to sit.
Sometimes , before dinner, when it is too windy outdoors, the table is covered with paints and paintings . Peter takes us out each day, to regions he knows well. The bastide towns, Domme, and Montpazier, we sit on steps and walls to draw and paint.
My painting from the bastide wall of Domme . Lucky I didn’t drop my pencil. Here we are at Montpazier . In the market square . Concentrating on perspective . I do get up to help people, but at this point nobody is in tears.
We are taken to Rocamadour, the Lascaux (2) caves. We sit on a wall at Rocamadour and paint the monastery .
We get to admire each others paintings, Jaye shows us her lovely study. After painting there, we walk down the winding paths of the ancient building, still used as a monastery . That is clear because there are survival glacé shops on the way down. It takes me three Cassis glacé to make the descent. I don’t have photographs of the caves, I didn’t and wouldn’t take them. It was very moving seeing those pictures. We paint more along the Dordogne , meet twins in pink . Ann peels oranges for these little fairy girls.
We gasp with more wonder at other landscapes, with their castles and long farmed valleys.
I admire the fences, of course I do. Our last visit is to Sarlat, where we will say farewell. First we dine, later walk in its streets, see the markets and a dog. Or several.
Train tickets and connections are sorted, we say goodbye to our friends, a last time to smell the Sarlat flowers …
This has been such a fine adventure, Thankyou to my students , Thankyou Peter and Ria. Here are the details for the 2014 art tour. Worked out to the minute. The next big question is what glacé, which dog or cat might I meet next year.