Monday morning we were greeted by our elegant, charming, and oh-so-very French guide for the week, Laurence Minard-Amalou. On this first day she was taking us to Avignon; city of the French Popes, and after lunch to the first of our many wine tastings.
Unfortunately, as we left Bonnieux, I found my camera batteries were dead, so everyone but me has pictures
of the wonderful architecture of Avignon, the amazing rooms and art in the Pope's grand palace, our leisurely lunch, and the wine tastings in the afternoon. Such is the life, at times, of a forgetful tourist.
So we fast forward to the end of the day, and the beautiful garden behind our hotel, where I did a "Demo"
to introduce my students to my thought processes as I do a painting.
The light in the late afternoon was perfect for my mostly fledgling student/friends to tackle outdoor painting,
which is challenge enough for experienced painters. Wonderful shadow shapes, patches of golden lawn,
rock walls, a fountain and a variety of trees.
And a view of the town of LaCoste, on the distant hills of the Luberon Mountains.
After my demo everyone found a subject to paint...but first of all, I insisted they explore their subjects
to resolve compositional concerns by doing "Value Studies."
Here is the study by Jackie Lang, who loves the Impressionists, and had never drawn before, least of all
picked up a paint brush. A very good start.
By the time the sun had set behind LaCoste, and the castle of the Marquis de Sade, now owned by Pierre Chardin...
... we were ending our day dining in one of the many cozy restaurants in Bonnieux.
Here is a water color painted by me a few days earlier, again looking towards LaCoste.
Awaiting us on Tuesday: our visit to an organic vineyard, Russell Crowe, and serpents.
And a very private and raucous dinner.