Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 34: Il Fait Beau!

Even a jumble of dishes looks magical in the golden morning light

Is it spring already? This was simply a glorious week, with the winter sun, low in the sky, streaming through every window and making days seem enchanted. The last of the rain clung to our skylight but the clear blue sky beyond set the tone for a very welcome respite from wintry weather.

The skylight in our bedroom looking out to the church steeple beyond

I spent an inordinate amount of time enjoying and recording the changing light. When I went out one morning to open the outer door to the studio, I was struck immobile for a moment by the way the morning sun caught the corners of buildings and painted the Place with golden patterns. In the evening the whole landscape and castle glow pink. Moments of pure visual pleasure.

In the house the light chooses corners to illuminate.

The stairway to the second floor

At the window in our living room

Interior doors leading into the studio

Second floor hallway

Door leading out to the terrace with peachy glow

Afternoon sun playing on the terrace


The week was quiet and I had lots of time in the studio. I never left Montmirail, even for shopping, as Rick took care of that. When I came downstairs to open up, the light streamed into the studio, even with the shutters closed, the room was bathed in light and very inviting. One afternoon I even flung the windows open. It was that balmy.

I was quite productive and got several things started.

In the studio

I finished a line drawing for an etching called "A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wine and Thou," and etched it onto a rather large copper plate. I will work out some color on a second plate which I will aquatint and then overprint, inking it á la poupée. I have not yet decided on the color scheme.

etching: A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wine and Thou

I also made the first illustration/etching for a group of seven I have planned. I would like to make a book with illustrations of dogs in various situations. It will be my lighthearted interpretation of The Seven Deadly Sins. This one is Pride

etching: Proud Poodle

I seem to have a lot more ideas than I do either time or patience...I began another project, and got only one illustration done for that. This project is a group I'm calling "Undocumented Moments of Historical Figures." This particular one is Napoleon Stubs His Toe.

etching: Napoleon Stubs His Toe

If that was not enough to keep me busy, I also did several oil paintings. The urge for some vibrant color came over me and I squeezed oils onto my palette and working quite loosely created some small paintings rather quickly. I enjoyed myself a lot. I didn't really have an idea of what I would paint until I started smearing the color around. Images suggested themselves.

A Bump in the Night

Sunday Morning

On the Wings of a Dove


Surprisingly we were almost full this weekend. There were two separate family gatherings in the area and three of our rooms were taken for Saturday night. The first year we were here we were virtually without clients all winter long. Last year was a bit more lively and this year not a month has gone by without some kind of activity.

The only unpredictable part of a bed and breakfast business is knowing exactly what time the clients will show up in the morning to take their morning meal. We often have to wait with everything posed and ready to prepare.

Rick is ready to fire up the coffee

Of course that's a lot better than people showing up early and having to dash about to get them all served. I don't complain.

The dining room was glowing by the time everyone arrived. We serve a nice but simple meal.

A bright and cheery Sunday morning

Breakfast by the window


I learned something interesting from Georges last week which I forgot to mention. In November UNESCO declared French lunch a "Cultural Treasure." I contemplate this as, in typical American fashion,  I wolf down a cold tuna sandwich in front of my computer.


Next week we spend several days in the big city. I'll have Quinn tales and Paris adventures to relate. For now I leave you with an image of a new product Rick's sister Betsy is concocting on her farm in Oregon. It cracks us up every time we look at it - Cranky Baby Picante Sauce. Could you resist purchasing a bottle with a label like this? Besides, it's absolutely delicious!


  1. So much to comment on...I just woke up and my coffee is brewing. Give me a minute....I'll be right back!
    Janet xox

  2. It seems you have been very productive those last days ! I love you new ideas and especially the proud dog and I am waiting for more (some are "dangerous" or more "provocative" I think ...) funy project indeed trying to draw about all. I do love also your painting "a bump in the night" and finally your shot of Rick waiting for firing up th coffee is both poetical and funny one to me. This cd have taken place in "To Be Shouted" as well.

  3. What a beautiful and inspiring post! I want to get into the atelier too!!

  4. What a great week you've had! I love the first etching and I'm looking forward to seeing it with colour. Your photos of the light as it falls around the Maison are beautiful. I'm very drawn to this type of imagery.
    I bet you are amazed by the number of people who skate into the dining room at 5 minutes to finishing time. We usually end up doing this when we stay at B&Bs (well waking up is a challenge for us). I always feel guilty, but Ian seems to feel it is fine!

  5. I forgot to come back!!!!!

    So sorry..I enjoyed my coffee and then got so involved in my kitchen cabinet painting project, that I forgot to come back to your blog.

    Where do I start? The many photos of the sun tip toeing around your lovely home are amazing.

    Your little oil paintings and prints are so wonderful to be so creative.

    I was visiting your other 'Family' website and it seems the apples do not fall far from the tree...a very talented bunch.

    Your hot sauce made me smile. My husband would love is a hotiholic (is that a word??)

    Enjoy the rest of your week,
    Janet xox