Monday, April 26, 2010

Start Sketching!

I dropped the hint for my birthday that I wanted to have a book on sketching or journaling. I guess everyone took the bait, because I received three great books to add to the five I already own on the topic! I think I like to read about sketching even more than I like to do it. 

It is in description that the keeper of a diary becomes artist. All description is art, and in describing an event, an action or a being, you enter into the joy of art. You become its singer, the expresser of its glory. With a verbal description goes also sketching, the thumbnail sketch, the vague impression. There is no reason for being afraid of bad drawing in one's own personal travel diary. The main thing is that it be yours and have some relationship to the eyes and the thing seen.

~Stephen Graham from The Gentle Art of Tramping

I find all this to be very inspiring and I've many the half-finished journals to prove it. My problem seems to be with carry-through, or consistency. Is it a time-management problem? Certainly that is something I struggle with. For instance, I've been meaning to get to this blog post since last week, but have spent all my time in the studio instead, working on a couple of new and old plates. Maybe my problem is that I have a one-track mind and am only able to throw myself into one task at a time. What about you?

I would love to have some feed-back about your own activities. Do you keep a journal? Or has your blog become your sole form of self-expression? Do you handle both, (not to mention your job, your art and your family)? Leave me a comment, tell me how you do it!

Here are the wonderful books I added to my library last week. I recommend every one of them:
by Daniel Price


by Danny Gregory

by Danny Gregory

Friday, April 16, 2010


Because it was my birthday, my husband took me on an over-night adventure in the Loire Valley, just south of us. Being born in the spring was a very good choice! The trees were beginning to come into bloom in snowy white or heartbreak pink, the fields were brilliant green and the wild flowers in yellow, white and rose covered the hillsides and meadows. The weather was warm, but not hot. We had ideal days for strolling and driving through the countryside along the banks of the lazy Loire river.

Our final stop was Chinon, best known for it's pleasant light red wines and lovely old historic town.

Chinon was also the residence of Henry II Plantagenet of England (1133-1189) who ruled over his English and French domains from the enormous castle that dominates the town. Henry was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine and father to Richard the Lionheart. Eleanor had been the wife to Louis VII of France, but when Henry came to pay a visit to the French monarch, he took Eleanor away with him when he left! She took a huge hunk of what is now France with her. She was the sole heir to her father's massive lands (16,000 sq mi) in southwestern France. The story of Eleanor and Henry is portrayed in the 1968 movie The Lion in Winter with Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn.

The castle of Chinon is now a ruin, but it is one of the most imposing castle structures I have ever seen. It dominates the entire hillside above the city, which rests on the banks of la Loire.

The Loire River is the longest in France, about 630 miles. In Chinon, which is towards its terminus, where it flows into the Atlantic, the river is wide, calm and shallow. The banks of the Loire, all up and down the valley, are dotted with châteaus and vineyards.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Peek in the Cottage WIndow

We have a new shop on Etsy called the Cottage Window. In it we sell paper products for your crafts and creations & collages. In France we have access to lots of beautiful vintage postcards, books and other paper ephemera. We want to share these finds with you. We've started rather small, with a few items, but hope to bring you lots more. We very happily will look around for specific images or types of images if you happen to be looking for something specific.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Madeleine

I raised to my lips a spoonful of the cake . . . a shudder ran through my whole body and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place...

The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it.... but soon as I had recognized the taste of the piece of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me .... immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage... aunt would dip a little madeleine in the boiling infusion, whose taste of dead leaves or faded blossom she so relished, and hand me a piece when it was sufficiently soft.

Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

Proust's bed at aunt Léonie's house in Illiers-Combray