Thursday, 10 April 2014

From Lezele en Plouye

old mill at Pont Morvan
Well, I’ve finally made it to Lezele en Plouye, Brittany, France!  I’m finally ensconsed in my ancient/new, temporary abode where I hope to find inspiration and be able to paint.  If not the surrounding scenery, then other places within Brittany, while I explore; or further south, where I KNOW I feel the inspiration!  Getting here wasn’t easy....and has taken all I had in reserve,  as hidden expenses, unforeseen problems, and just  time got in the way.  I’m here now, and am already itching to get settled enough to begin to paint.  I have been reunited with my beloved mare, Dancer, after nearly 6 months, and am now exploring creative ways to get my cat, Ceilidh here with me. 

Incredibly, I had an easy drive, once I saw Dancer (who was in Wales temporarily), and headed on to Folkestone to catch the Eurotunnel in my car (no ferry this stormy time....) I found myself in the  beautiful, big skies of Normandy, and landed with a dear friend I’d not seen in years.  She generously made her little gite available for my first week in France.  The perfect place for me to settle, get my bearings, and get my head around this huge leap I’ve taken in my life – if even for 6 months!  As you might guess, I got out into the sun each day and explored more of the Normandy coast around LeBourg Dun – returned to Sottieville for more photos and sketching, and Vuelettes  sur Mer, which is like a mini Etretat (just a bit further West along the coast, unsurprisingly!) .  This part of France has always inspired me, and I’m not surprised to be beginning there with my sketching. 
I then landed with new friends at Kervalen Organic Farm ( , in Kervalen, by Plouye (just a mile up the road from Lezele), where I waited for Dancer to arrive a day later!  A week there settling my very patient horse, then moved to Lezele, where I will spend the next 5/6 months, while I explore this new world!  So far, its been rolling hills, sunlight, riding, and finally, a bit of inspiration at an old mill, still fairly intact – although the mill works have been removed and stored in a barn...  A nice gentle beginning. 
I’m actively marketing my sketches now, as a way of raising a bit of cash to keep me afloat in between painting sales. It IS a way for people who can’t afford the oil paintings, to have a Wendorf – and many love the immediacy of a quick sketch.  And to  add to the mix, I’ve met with a Scottish neighbour (yep, in France, I’ve got a Scottish neighbour... ), and he’s asked if I’d be interested in a little summer exhibition with himself and a few other local artists in a wonderful space in Huelgoat.  I said unequivably, “Yes!!”  At least a chance to get my work out!  In the meantime, I’m also putting one foot in front of the other, as I spoke about before, leaving no stone unturned, looking for ways to make up for the loss of “potential income” of those two cancelled summer exhibitions.   
But what I really need is to find my focus, my rhythm – which seems a bit hard won at the moment, with so much on my mind.  I need to find that quiet place inside me that sees and hears the need to paint something; that understands, trusts, and knows that all will be ok.  I’d not have had all the help to get here if I was going to fail!  I saw on Facebook the other day a quote from Georgia O’Keefe, who basically said she never had a day where she didn’t have to face fear in her artistic life.  I suddenly felt in grand company, normal, not so alone. 
I’m ending this missive, by posting a few of the new sketches – note, I’m a bit homesick for Scotland as well as New Mexico, thus two large Scottish sketches....if that isn’t a muddle, I don’t know what is!!

 Loch Shiel scketch, autumn 2013,  approx. 11 x 16 in., charcoal on paper £200
Mill at Pont Morvan, sketch  approx. 6 x 8 in., charcoal on paper £100

 Sottieville sketch, spring 2014,  approx. 6 x 8 in., charcoal on paper £100

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