Monday, May 23, 2011

From Wreck to Retreat Location....

Did I mention that the house, where I teach in France, called La Cascade, was restored by the artist, Gwen Gibson? Gwen happened to visit this village house in the little town of Durfort, and decided to buy it and restore it with art retreats in mind. I am amazed at the vision she had when she saw this old abandoned home. I look at the photos and see a wreck. Gwen saw nooks for afternoon sketching, cozy corners for reading, 4 comfy bedrooms with feather comforters, 4 bathrooms and an incredible 3rd floor studio, where everyone can have their own desk! You can learn about La Cascade and the surrounding area in South Central France on Gwen Gibson's blog. Plus you can see some of Gwen's wonderful paintings and collages too.

When I am at La Cascade teaching, I encourage my students to do simple drawings and paintings and keep them in a journal held together with binder rings. This quick painting and drawing daily allows you to record what amazes and inspires you in the French countryside. The simple journal makes you realize that your pages are not too precious and encourages you to paint without your inner critic telling you your work must be perfect. .....its worked so far.

I think if you use a very special journal, leather or feather covered with pristine pages that are bound into it, you get a bit nervous about messing up its pages with your work. So I am happy with our imperfect journal style of painting and we do bring home actual journals full of paintings.

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