Thursday, June 30, 2011
Internet service does not work so blogging and emailing is not as easy as I had hoped. And then everything is in french so this is a challenge!
I am not sure how to begin. I may be in my own personal heaven. This is definitely a life changing experience and perhaps the most thrilling experience of my artistic life. My senses are filled to over flowing. The smells, the sounds, the light and of course the cheese!
All of the residents have been jolted out of their comfort zones a little. We all have experienced sensory overload to some degree. We are all moving around in the Abbey (L’abbaye St. Magloire) to find our work spaces. We have been given a cluster of skeleton keys that open all the doors and allowed to wander day or night and work wherever we want. This is an incredible honor. The Abbaye original foundation dates from the ninth century when six monks from Whales settled in the Rance Valley with a mission to evangelize the wild country of Armorica. Through invasions and the revolution it has been used for a variety of things and is currently being restored.
The main studio for artists is a good base for us to store things and make a mess but is a bit tight for 5 artists so we are spreading out as the first days of our residency begin. There are extensive wild gardens that are full of sun and ruins and every inch of the place is inspiring.
I have to say my emotions have been up and down these last couple of days. The unbelievable beauty and fairytale like environment I am in couple with meeting town officials and new artist, the program directors and settling in. The expectations and questions I have about my own abilities are a bit unsettling. I do indeed feel I am walking with the impressionists and it is an unbelievable and indescribable thing for me.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Our last morning in Chartres proved to be a spectacular start and the town is so beautiful. Little hilly streets and limestone walls and those wonderful medieval gardens tucked behind gates and corridors. We stumbled on to a show of Antonio Saint-Silvestre in a Romanesque church of collégiale Saint-Andre, which seem such a marvelous contrast to the barrels ceiling and holy nature of the space. The church must no longer be consecrated since the art was somewhat cutting edge and not something you would find in a church.
We spent the afternnon in Rennes to get last minute art supplies and a little more sleep. Sunday we drive to Léhon and settle in at the Residency location. Then my work begins.
It is 10 pm and if I were a plein air painter I could still be out painting. A very strange concept. The golden light just starting to soften and loose its edge. But I am not a plein air painter – I am a studio painter. Some people may wonder what is the difference? The difference is where you complete your paintings. I like to have a space in a studio where I can control my surroundings, the light, the climate, my privacy…So here I am I France with the fields of sunflowers passing by and the rolling wheat fields and I wonder if perhaps I will become plein air on during this adventure. Going on this journey with so much of the unknown is making me think I need to loose the control a little.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
I have already had a bit of an adventure even before I have left. A couple of months ago my Husband bought me a book , a memoir about a young woman traveling to France to paint in the 60’s. She rehabilitated a group of buildings called La Salle in Brittany and developed a close friendship with a peasant woman in the town. My husband read it first and said he thought I would like it. I loved it. So much so that I contacted the author/artist Marjorie Price by email to tell her why it struck a cord for me. Much to my surprise I heard back from her almost immediately. She had just returned from visiting La Salle which is now a B&B. I almost feel I know her having read the book and she sounds wonderful. My husband and I hope to slip away for a weekend and stay at La Salle. What a complete adventure that will be.