I am currently packing for an exciting month to come! I’ll be teaching two back to back workshops over in southwest France through Lisa’s Gryphon Art & Travel. The hardest part of prepping for a trip is the packing! So much planning goes into this, from clothing, toiletries (hair, people!) and art supplies! Everything gets set out, then it’s a process of elimination. Which is then followed by zipping shut, and weighing, opening up, removing the thing I am most likely not to use, re-zipping and re-weighing, what a process. I try to get things down to the lightest bits. Yet it still feels like I have a load of bricks in there! I think the heaviest thing I bring is paper - this time lots of handouts for my students. I have always found that previously, the workshops I attended, where there were good notes provided (which I then wrote even more notes) were the most useful to me. They really helped me remember things once I got home!
I’ve been anticipating this trip for the last whole year. It’s been about six years since I was last in this area of France. I couldn’t wait any longer to return and share this wonderful place with my fellow painters! I’ve been prepping a nice little sketchbook to take on this trip. It’s the Pentalic Aqua Journal, just the right size for keeping things light, 5”x 8 1/4” with nice paper that I’m liking pretty well so far. It’s not cotton, but it for a 140lb paper in sketchbook form it’s really quite nice! I like this size for travel, when I don’t have a lot of room to spread out, and sometimes have to work in cramped spaces.
I’ve ‘upgraded’ the cover with some beautiful art paper applied with gel medium and finished with 2 coats of Mod-Podge. On the inside of the front cover I’ve put in some identifying information just Incase I misplace it or accidentally leave it somewhere. I’ve never done that, but I sure don’t ever want to have one of my sketchbooks go missing. This way there’s at least half a chance someone will contact me to get it back to me if I should absentmindedly leave it somewhere!
The cover page on the inside right, is a nod to illustrator Sara Midda, whose charming little paintings in “Sara Midda’s South of France” have always brought a smile to my face and the inspiration of making my own South of France sketchbook one day!
One of the sites I am greatly anticipating is our visit to the Pech Merle Cave, to see the cave paintings done there. The more I found online, the more excited I became about being able to see these up close! Beautiful beasts, horses, bison, all kinds of creatures. But even more fascinating are the hands….yes - paintings of human hands. They are rather small, so it is thought that they were women’s hands. Women painters have existed throughout history. Even if their names are lost to time, their work continues to amaze. I made a two page spread sketch of what I think I may see…horses and hands. Using a (new to me) Daniel Smith color called Burnt Bronzite Genuine, I laid in a rough wash to cover the two pages, dropped in a bit of French Ochre (also by Daniel Smith). The effect was very pleasing- some interesting granulation and actually sparkle from the Bronzite pigment. How fun, I’m not a ‘glitter painter’ type …..but this was certainly fun and different. It’s been a while since I’ve tried out some new paints, sticking to my old favorites. But Daniel Smith makes it hard to resist coming home with new colors - these pigments are just so incredibly gorgeous!
I do hope you’ll follow along our journey! I’ll try to keep you up to date with our travels as I’m able! Even though you’re not here in person, perhaps you would like to join our Paint and Travel journey to Tuscany in September of 2020. For more information on that trip - click this link for the early-bird discount now through June 15th!!