Friday, August 27, 2010

Quiet Places to Sit

Just a few photos, glimpses into gardens or patios, where one can imagine sitting & wiling away a dreamy afternoon.

The bright orange of these typical French table & chairs gives a punch of color to this shady spot.

In this tiny terrace, a profusion of potted plants creates an enchanting place to repose & reflect.

Old stone benches, like this one, can be found through out medieval towns. They offer, today, just as they did in the middle ages, a place to sit & watch the world go by.

And last but not least, my favorite place to sit, my table & chairs in front of my house. The photo was taken after coming back from the market with geraniums to plant.



Gates, like doors, are entryways into other worlds & with gates sometimes secret gardens.

What you can not really tell from the above photo, is that the sweet little gate pictured, is tiny, less than 2 feet high, bringing to mind a children's fairytale.

This has to be my favorite. Although the gate is no more than an old piece of board, it guards an enchanting garden planted within the walls of an old ruin.

Above is a typical French garden gate. The sun ray pattern is one that you will see repeated through out French design.

What you can't see in this photo, is that behind this weathered & lopsided gate is the most beautiful & immaculate vegetable garden.

New, beautifully crafted gates, open into a lovely courtyard, with flowers planted against an old stone wall.

Some gates are not so inviting. However, the mystery surrounding these entries, makes them all the more alluring.

Other gates are begging for you to enter, while still others make it most clear that what lies behind is strictly private.

No matter what type of gate one encounters, there is always the feeling that there is a story to be told.



I wanted to write a post about my yoga practice while here in France. I felt that I needed to have a photo to accompany the post, but was not sure what sort. Ideally I wanted one perfect photograph of one perfectly executed pose. How to achieve this? I was certainly too shy to ask someone to take the pictures, so I decided to try ( for the first time ), the self timer on my camera.

The results were anything, but what I had hoped for. The flash most often caught me in some state of movement.

There was the blur of action as I moved into a posture, but often I would manage the pose in the 10 seconds only to find that the angle of the camera cut off my head or caused a distorted view, as in the photo below.

Many poses just do not work as photographic subjects. If you do not practice yoga, you will most probably not be able to make heads or tails of the photo below.

The next one is steady, not really bad, but still not the perfect posture or the perfect photograph I was looking for. It certainly lacks drama.

I became a bit obsessed. I guess I wanted to look like someone in Yoga Journal. The pose below was the one I most wished to achieve on camera, but after numerous attempts, always with the feet in varying stages of movement, I gave up.

The photos, like yoga itself, are not about perfection but a learning process.
I am thankful for my yoga practice & what it brings to my life.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Little Still Life

I also worked on a very small still life in triptych. These canvases are just 8-10.

I enjoyed working small, with an emphasis on the white on white objects. Adding a splash of color with the flower & background.

The last one is the least successful individually , but seems to work in the group.

I could not get a larger image of the three, but at least you can see them as one (triptych).


Abstract Paintings

I have completed 3 abstract pieces this summer. Unfortunately the size of the photographs do not correspond to the size of the of the actual paintings. They are large canvases. The one below is the largest & is 30-40 ( 80-100 cm ).

This one, although largest as a photograph, is in fact the smallest of the paintings at 28-28 ( 70-70cm ).

This canvas is an odd size 37-28 ( 90- 73cm ). I have some working titles but have not committed to anything yet. If anyone has any ideas let me know.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Can There Really Be More Doors?

This is my last post on doors, I promise. In fact in this group I have focused on the door surround rather than the door it's self. In this photo you can see that the elaborate medieval surround is in danger of collapse.

The 1/2 column surround, below, could date as far back as the Romans.

This sweet little door is only about 4-5 feet high. It has a hodge-podge of brick & stone as a surround, which creates an interesting pattern. The bright color of the door & it's flowers completes this picturesque portal.

It is not uncommon to find very low doorways. Medieval entries were often not very high, even though elaborate in design.

While some doorways are low, there are certainly others that are quite high. I would guess this grand example to be about 9 feet in hight with a simple yet elegant surround.

Another rather tall door has a very elaborate surround. Note the sculptural relief of the crossed olive branches above the door.

Below is a good example of a very low doorway datong to the middle ages. The average person of today would have to stoup to enter this ancient abode.

Lastly, here is as simple a surround as could be found, enclosing a lovely old Victorian door.


A Storm

A little over a week ago, after days of steamy, hot weather, we had a huge electrical storm. There were intense lightening strikes & loud, violent claps of thunder. The skies were dark & ominous.

You could see the black clouds coming in from the distance. Their was an eerie beauty to the coming storm that the camera could not really capture.

After the storm was over the oppressive heat was gone & cooler days had arrived.

But when I went into St. Antonin, I learned that the storm had knocked out the wifi. Hence, I have been unable to post anything since then. I am guessing that if I have posted this, that I am back in business & the wifi has been repaired. Here's hoping!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Raspberry Lemonade

With all of the very hot weather we have been having, coming up with something cool to drink is imperative. After a little experimentation, I created my version of raspberry lemonade. I put the juice of two small lemons & sugar to taste in the bottom of a pitcher & let the sugar dissolve. Then wiz a 1/2 pint of raspberries in my magic bullet & add. You can strain for seeds but I prefer to find little bits of fruit in mine. Finally add cool water & ice for a most refreshing drink.

I have tried this with strawberries as well & it is equally as good. A perfect hot weather treat. Happy summer!

Bon Anniversaire, Jack!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Once Again

Well it's another Sunday & another market day. As the summer starts to wind down, for me, I begin to treasure these simple pleasures even more.

It's not just the wonderful produce that I love, although that is certainly something I will miss. Being an artist, it's all about the colors & shapes.

How could one not be struck with awe by the beauty of these roses. I love the old jugs & pots they are casually displayed in, as well.

Then home again with my spoils, to cook up something delicious for lunch. Happy Sunday everyone!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Doors with Heart

The heart shape is often found on medieval doors. Along with other simple shapes, like the triangles below, the heart is repeatedly seen on the old doors of St. Antonin.

I am not sure of the significance, other than the obvious, but if you look, you will soon find hearts everywhere.

Sometimes you will find them in the most unexpected places, like the door below, long forgotten.

The heart on this bright door is tiny & not easy to spot, but to me, the brilliant red color says it all.

In this detail, you can see the tiny hidden heart along with other striking hard wear.

On this door one finds a heart, & other medieval elements, on one side & on the other, a modern intercom system, as well as, a "No Pub" ( publicity ) sign. I love the little window just above the door.

The "hand" door knockers, which you also see many of, came later. You will often see an assortment of different locks, handles, & pulls on one door, each added at different historical junctures.

The door below boasts an up side down heart along with other interesting decorative additions.

It is hard not to be drawn to a door that invites you in with a heart. I am completely charmed by this medieval practice.