April 28, 2010

Looking to May

I almost forgot...

Just a reminder I will be back at the Arts Umbrella next week, so come ready to paint paint paint!  I've missed you all and the wonderful feeling of being around working artists!  See you soon!

Not much umph today...

Instead of visiting another castle today, my last, I decided to do something relaxing and peaceful before the flurry of travel begins again tomorrow.  Across the Loire river from my hotel is a lovely grassy bank, so I sat down with my sketch book and took it easy.

I'll see you on if a few days. xoxoxo

April 27, 2010

Getting a little travel weary...

Ok, someone upstairs is looking out for me because it has been the most amazing weather.  My friend Jo says she spent two weeks in the rain camping to see the castles.  Wish I could send some of the sun back in time so Jo could have seen some of the colors!

This morning I went to Chateau Amboise, what can I say, more beauty.

Then after a little nap, I headed for the chateau where Da Vinci spent the last three years of his life.  That one had me in tears too.  Later I'll show you his garden.

One more day of adventure, then coming home.  I'm ready to wake up in my very own bed and see familiar lovely faces!!!

April 26, 2010

Images from yesterday

There was some interesting things to see during the train ride north yesterday.  Little chateaux tucked in to hills, giant modern wind turbines, lots of grape crops, very rural very pretty. I didn't get many pictures, we were zipping by too quickly.

The building in the street shots are what I see out my window.  Cool, huh!

Some of you are anxious to see paintings made on the trip, unfortunately most of what I did was sketch.  I found it was much easier to carry a sketch book and  pencil that watercolors, brushes, water... you get the idea.  The little lady in the bottom sketch is from a statue at the Musee Augustins.  There was a group of them and they reminded me of some of James Christensens earlier works.  The funny thing is the little lady has the exact same face as the male statue next to her. Very interesting!  I wonder if they both look like the artist?

More later...

Made it to Amboise

No new images yet, I just got settled into my cute little hotel.  The room is quite plain but the owner is super nice and extremely helpful.  So tonight I rest up and tomorrow check out Chateau Amboise then the Chateau du Clos Luce, where Leonardo spent the last years of his life.  Man oh man!  On Wednesday I can take a bus for 2 euro to see Chenonceaux, which is supposed to be amazing.

I won't be skying tonight because my computer is almost out of batteries and since the cable connection has to be plugged into the only outlet in the room I can't charge batteries and be online at the same time.  Sooo, more tomorrow.


April 25, 2010

Monday April 26

This is where I'm headed today, Amboise. The goal is to spend the day in the castle tomorrow and maybe even Wednesday, we'll see.

That said, travel days are not my favorite.  I thought I was packing light, but now I know what Rick Steves means.  Next time, and yes there will be a next time, I'll take about half of what I have in my suitcase!!!

Ok, griping over with.  Now time to put my best foot forward and move.

Thanks Uschi! I'm looking forward to seeing the castle.

Thanks xoxox

This won't be my last post of the trip, there are still five more days.  But...

I wanted to say thank you to Ken, Ellie, Sam, Tara, Cindi, Jo, Patrice, Kathleen, Sarah, Christy, Elaine, Mom and Dad, Joan and Leon, Lynn, Rebbecca, and even some folks I'm connected to only on line, for being my commenting angels!  You all made the down moments much brighter.  It's been the trip I've dreamt of forever, an amazing mind bending experience made richer by all of you.

Love to you!

See you soon!

Only 2pm and it's already been a great day!

This is what was out my window when I opened the curtains.  Good omen!

My hubby is going to think I'm nuts since last night I said I would stay in Sarlat for the rest of the trip then go straight to Paris then home.  But I changed my mind. This morning I went down to the train station and bought tickets to Amboise.  It north of here and on the way to Paris AND has a super cool castle.  So one last adventure before I leave.  I'll be there Monday night til Thursday morning.

But back to today.  More walking of course, to the train station to buy tickets then back toward old town Sarlat.  On my way I found a little antique shop and bought a little antigue book with "gold" clasps and a cool pen.  From there I headed toward a super cute little toy store and got some more cool stuff for my still life paintings.  An amazingly great sandwhich and small but delicious ice cream cone later, I am back at my hotel, first blogging then washing a couple of shirts.  I miss my laundry room (never ever thought I would say that!)

April 24, 2010

What a day...

What a day!  I took 246 photos and am wiped out.  How cool to walk around in a castle.  The thing that always throws me off is scale.  Some things I expect to be gigantic like the Coloseum and this Castle aren't as big as I thought, but much more maze like.  The doorways and stairs are small and tight.  Super interesting! Castle Beynac sits on top of a high rock cliff and the village climbs up to meet it.  Twisty turning streets that are about five feet wide take you there.  I want to post everything but I've only barely made a dent processing the images.  Sketching was great and I actually drew a crowd a couple of times. Felt a little weird!  More tomorrow. Only four more days til I start on my way home.  Wow.

April 23, 2010

Couldn't sleep

Do you remember how it was when you were a kid and it was Christmas Eve, waking up when it was still dark and waiting until it was time to get up?  That was me this morning.  I found the picture on the web of Beynac, where I'm headed today.  It won't be sunny unfortunately but that will mean less people.  Besides what's a little drizzle to a girl from the NW.  Darn, I'll just have to buy a book while I'm there to get images with good light!  ( I LOVE BOOKS )

I'll post tonight if I'm not too tired.

It's Friday here

Had to give myself a little reality check this morning.  Feeling homesick and on edge.  Then it hit me, there are only a few more days left of this adventure, better kick it into gear and make the most of this amazing opportunity. 

Did a walk in the morning then spent the rest of the day sketching and doing a bit of laundry.  Later went and had a truly sinful dinner of lasagne and sketched some more!

The tour fell through so I hired a cab that will take me to Beynac in the morning. It's a hillside village with a castle, yes, I'm finally going to play in a castle!   Should be a great experience and a wonderful opportunity for many more photos.

We had rain today, the first time in about 3 weeks, amazing huh!

April 22, 2010

April 22

It was a little cloudy when I looked out this morning, but didn't rain like it forecasted!  Cool huh.

I spent most of the day walking and sketching.  The town is so picturesqe every corner you turn there is something to see.  It's very interesting here, the culture is quite different. People are very reserved, normally when I sketch in public there is always someone curious about what I'm doing.  Not here.  I don't know what to think of it.  It's not that they aren't caring and affectionate, they are to each other but definitely reserved with strangers.  It takes some getting used to.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow so maybe I'll go see Alice in Wonderland in french.  Could be fun.  Saturday I think I'll take a taxi to Beynac and check it out.  It's got a cool castle and hillside village.

 Good night Sam and Ellie, I miss you so much and can't wait to see you next week.

xoxox Ken, only one more week!

April 21, 2010

This morning I was all keyed up for a travel day.  It started out a little frustrating, took forever to find my seat on the train, but from then on it went very smoothly.  Unfortunately I remained a bundle of nerves, that is until I got on the bus to Sarlat.  All of the sudden I was feeling at home.  We drove through hills and woods and passed little village after village.  It reminded me of Skagit Valley, only instead of our old barns there are lots of old stone buildings.

Sarlat itself is a beautiful little medieval town.  Tiny little streets and alleys straight out of Harry Potter.  And guess what, even the french are relaxed and friendly here.

The only hiccup so far is the tour I was going to take has been cancelled.  But I'm not giving up!  I will find a way to see some castles!!!

The sketch was done during dinner tonight, the pigeons were waiting for us to finish so they could get to the crumbs.

Hooray, I made it!

Now this is more like it!!!  When we started driving into the hills and woods my whole body relaxed!  The next three days are going to be GREAT!

April 20, 2010


I just booked a day long tour of the Dordogne river valley.  I thought I was going to miss out because Ken isn't with me driving us around but I found a tour outfit that will take me to the places I wanted to go the most.  I'll get to climb around in some castles afterall!!!

Tuesday morning (day 20, I think...)

The pictures are from yesterday.  Today is taking care of business day.

First, thanks so much for the great comments, I look forward to them everyday.  It's strange being here on my own.  The pace is different, as is the language, manners, oh, everything.  It's very humbling to see the range of experiences and in a sence how similar we all are.

Sorry I missed our call this morning (evening your time) Ken, Sam and Ellie, my minutes ran out on wi-fi and I had to go get more after breakfast.  Everything is fine, can't wait to see you!!!

The next leg of the trip will be in Sarlat, a little medieval village just north of here.  I'll be there for four days then either head north to Paris if the volcano permits or south to Madrid if not.

Anyway that's what's up here.  I hope you are all well, enjoying the spring, staying healthy!!

Oh!  Anne, are you almost done with work? I bet you're ready for some rest!  Lunch when I get back?  

April 19, 2010

Another day of wonders

I'm getting the hang of this town.  Keeping out of the not so pleasant streets.  I went back to my favorite museum today and spent quite a bit of time sketching and taking photos.  From there it was off to St. Etiennes for some very interesting eclectic architecture, sculptures and paintings.  Then on to the  Jardin Royal.  My goodnes what a beautiful park in the middle of this city.  Flowers were blooming everywhere and the trees were sprouting all of their new leaves.  The weather has been just gorgeous for days and days, I can't believe my luck!
For this weeks assignment I'd like my students to either find a photo or go outside and do a drawing mixing architecture and nature.  It's very interesting the juxtapose the organic with hard edged man made.