Sunday, June 26, 2011

May-June 2011 in the Limousin, France - Moleskine Drawings, Part 3 ~ In Limoges and at the Musée Municipal de l'Evêché

Here's Part 3 - the last weeks in the Limousin and the last of the drawings in my Travels in France Moleskine.

artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Objects in the Musée Municipal de l'Évêche
Limoges, France ~ June 2011
pen and ink with watercolors, in Moleskine sketchbook

Did you know angels had teeth? I didn't! In the collection of the Musée Municipal de l'Evêché (Municipal Museum of the Bishop), there were two sculpted granite heads of angels, both with teeth. Originally, these sculptures would have been high up over a medieval cathedral's entrance or possibly on a wall inside a cathedral - the viewer wouldn't be able to get that close to them. I suppose that's why I've never before seen teeth on angels. I'm taking my binoculors along with me next time I visit a Gothic or early medieval cathedral!

We took several trips up to Limoges, as it's only about a 30min. drive from Chateau-Chervix. Along with running some errands, we wanted to see the newly rennovated Musée Municipal, having not been able to see it in the past few years due to the museum being closed for rennovations.

You can take photos (without flash) inside the museum of the permanent collection, but my camera battery was running out of life. I couldn't keep directing my husband to "Shoot this", "Wait! shoot that", "Oh and shoot this", all the time. Going with me to a musuem full of  "stuff" can be dangerous, or as my husband says; "It's an Olympic event!" (several of my friends can attest to that truth). I have to look at everything, which can be a painful trip if you're not willing to indulge me ... heh heh. So, I drew some things that interested me while we were in the museum and painted them in, later on that evening, back at the rental house. See, I can be nice. ;o)

I made a photo mosaic of some of the other treasures in the Musée Municipal de l'Evêché...
all photos & mosaic copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Treasures in the Musée Municipal de l'Evêché
Limoges, France ~ June 2011
A panorama, shot by my husband, of the inner courtyard and the Musée Municipal ... (To move the panorama, scroll with your mouse.  If you are viewing this via a feed reader, you'll have to visit my blog in order to see the panorama).
Panorama and photos copyright Auke Nijholt. all rights reserved.
Inner courtyard and the Musée Municipal de l'Évêche
Limoges, France ~ June 2011

The building once was the home and offices of the Bishops of Limoges, which is why it is at the foot of the Saint Étienne Cathedral. It's a gloriously grand mansion inside, and now it belongs to the people of Limoges. :o) Entry to the permanent collection is free!

These are the last two drawings I did while in the Limousin and they are the last two in this Moleskine ...
artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Left: View of Restaurant Des Petits Ventres in the Butcher's Quarter
Right: Final Farewell at Tavern Au Bout de Monde
Limoges, France ~ June 2011
pen and ink with watercolors, in Moleskine sketchbook

Des Petits Ventres (the small stomachs) is, of course, a restaurant, but there is also a medieval butchers museum in the same building; during the middle ages, it was a functioning butchery. We've never been inside the restaurant or the museum ... maybe next trip.
The tavern, Au Bout de Monde (top of the world), is located a short walk away from the square of the St. Étienne cathedral. Part of the street is pedestrian traffic only and is lined with taverns, cafés, créperies and a few gift shops. It's a pleasent location to stop and enjoy the atmosphere and a great place for our "goodbye" beer & wine.

Me drawing the scene  ...
photo copyright Auke Nijholt. all rights reserved.
Judy draws at Au Bout de Monde
Limoges, France ~June 2011
And as always, my Kermits also toasted "farewell"!
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
The Kermits Enjoying Beverages at Au Bout de Monde
Limoges, France ~ June 2011

I had to push those Kermits out of the way,
so I could have a taste too! :o)))

We had a wonderfaul vacation and  now Volume 4, of my Travels in France Molekines, is completed ... time to start Volume 5. :o)
A last look...
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
View of Limoge's Saint Étienne Cathedral
Limoges, France ~June 2011

I've just found out, today, that we'll be returning
to the Limousin, in the fall of this year. 

tot ziens,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

May-June 2011 in the Limousin, France - Moleskine Drawings and Watercolors, Part 2 ~ In and around the Rental House (Gite).

These drawings/little paintings were done inside and around the gîte (rental house) at Chateau-Chervix, France. I kept myself occupied in the early mornings, drinking my coffee and drawing, while listening to the birds singing outside - then "Minette", the cat that owns the rental house, would come inside to see what I was doing and to ask for her "petit déjeuner" (breakfast). :o)

I'll start off with the drawings/watercolors that I did in the landscape formatted, Hahnemuhle, sketchbook/journal. I'm not terribly comfortable with the landscape format. Having to "jump the gutter", as an old photography professor of mine used to say (painting on both sides of the page divide), is sort of bugging me. I'll get used to it, I suppose, the more I use this sketch journal.

The cherries I picked on a rainy day and
brought inside the rental house, to keep myself busy!
artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Cherries at Chateau-Chervix, France ~ June, 2011
watercolors with pen & ink on paper (Hahnemuhle journal)

The original pic of me working on the cherries 
at the gite in France is, Here!

I don't know what the flower on the left is, but the middle one is
a Delphinium in bud and the one on the right is a Nigella flower.
artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Blue Flowers at Chateau-Chervix, France ~ June, 2011
watercolors with pen & ink on paper (Hahnemuhle journal)

My attempt to paint the daylilies at the rental house.
I tried the blossom twice on this spread, but
I don't think I was very successful ... either time. lol
artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Daylilies at Chateau-Chervix, France ~ May-June, 2011
watercolors with pen & ink on paper (Hahnemuhle journal)

The rest of these drawings were done in my regular Moleskine Sketchbook "Travels in France 2010-2011, vol. 4" . I prefer this format and the regular Moleskine Sketchbooks (not the watercolor paper Moleskine, I still don't like those). Many people find the paper in the regular Moleskine Sketchbooks annoying to use with transparent watercolors, but I've become used to how watercolors do, or don't, go down on this paper - it's no longer a problem for me. By the way, gouache also works quite well in these moleskines.

So many beautiful flowers are
planted around the gîte (rental house)
... there's never enough time to draw or paint them all.
artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Left: Valerian Plants at the Gîte
Right: The Lavendar Corner at the Gîte
Chateau-Chervix, France ~May-June 2011
watercolors with pen & ink in Moleskine sketchbook

Fuel for early morning painting/drawing ... ;o)
artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Assortiment de Biscuits
Chateau-Chervix, France ~ June 2011
watercolors with pen & ink in Moleskine sketchbook

The views from the large picture windows,
in the kitchen of the rental house, are amazing...
The Nigella pods were cut & brought inside to paint.
artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Left: Nigella Flower Seed Pods at the Gîte
Right: View from the Kitchen Window at the Gîte
Chateau-Chervix, France ~ May 2011
watercolors with pen & ink in Moleskine sketchbook
I became so intrigued by the Nigella flowers and seed pods, that I kept sketching or painting them all the time ... even on scraps of paper. I love the "other worldly" quality of both the flowers and the pods. Nigella is also commonly called "Love in the Mist". I'm going to try to grow some in our garden in Holland.

More fuel for early morning painting or drawing,
or even late night painting or drawing!
artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Bijoux Madeleines from St. Yreix le Perche, France
Chateau-Chervix, France ~ June 2011
watercolors with pen & ink in Moleskine sketchbook

Bijoux Madeleines are so addicting - this sort had tiny balls of sugar embedded in each Madeleine. Yum! Hey!, I was on vacation, and in France, all previous dietary rules are meant to be broken. It's a vacation law!!! :o)) Madeleines are little butter sponge cakes, baked in special baking tins shaped like seashells (scallop shell). Some sources say that the Madeleines are in honor of the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostella, hence the scallop shell shape.

And not to be forgotten, the cats of the gîte!
 The lovely, sweet, cuddly and sometimes demanding, Minette
(and me) ...
photo copyright Auke Nijholt. all rights reserved.
Judy & Minette at the Gîte
Chateau-Chervix, France ~ May-June 2011

And sweet, sweet, sweet Blanchette...
photo copyright Auke Nijholt. all rights reserved.
Blanchette Enjoys Her Petit Déjeuner
Chateau-Chervix, France ~ May-June 2011


tot de volgende keer!

Monday, June 20, 2011

May-June 2011 in the Limousin, France - Moleskine Drawings, Part 1 ~ Visiting Villages and Vide Greniers

I decided to do the posts of my moleskine drawings in parts, otherwise it would be too long of a post! This one post is already very long ... oops! So here's Part 1 ~ drawings done in some of the different towns and villages we visited while in the Limousin and one visit into the Perigord Vert area of the Dordogne.

Naves, France
drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Place de l'Église - Naves, France
May 2011 - Correze area of the Limousin

We like to go to French Vide Greniers (literally: sale attic (attic sales))! In the Netherlands, outdoor flea markets, car boot sales, rummage sales, etc., are few and far between - actually, home yard sales never happen in Holland except on Koninginnedag - pity! So we look forward to finding the vide greniers on our trips to France. I even bookmark an online site that lists the Vide Geniers, Fetes (festivals) and Foires (fairs) all over France.

We're never in search of anything specific, but you never know when you might happen upon that little something you just can't live without. Mostly we just find small things - like old bar/tabac ashtrays, drink glasses, sometimes old buttons, sometimes antique pieces of pottery, toys, old books... uhm, junk!

It was a fairly hot day in May when we visited the town of Naves, which is just north of the city of Tulle. There was a Donkey Fair and a Vide Grenier there, so, off we went. Didn't buy anything, but I did get to see the donkeys ... I'm crazy about donkeys. We had some cold drinks at a restaurant across from the church, where I did the drawing above. I was interested in the trees in front of the church - they had such unusual thick trunks with interesting patterns in the bark (I guess you'd call it bark) and they were trimmed in an interesting manner.

Me drawing the trees:
photo copyright Auke Nijholt

While my Kermits enjoyed the cold drinks:
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

Those Kermits are always begging to stop for a drink somewhere ... and we always oblige. ;o)


copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Restaurant/Bar "Le Champsac"
May 2011 - Champsac, France

Another trip for another vide grenier, and a village fete. We did buy a glass bar ashtray here - advertising Ricard Pastis which is an anisette flavored aperitif, common drink in France. There was a donkey at the fete as well, and it tried to kiss me - well ok, it tried to nip me, but I was quicker than the donkey!

It was also another really hot day in May and we sat at this restaurant/bar for colas! I did not have a Pastis, even if I am quite fond of them, lol! I thought the wall painting, of the figures in traditional costume, was interesting - though I think the figures represent the Alsace region of France and not the Limousin (the bar did advertise beers from the Alsace), but I could be wrong. Anyway, it was a fun day out and Champsac is a lovely village.

Oh yes, here's the nipping donkey:
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Donkey at Champsac, France ~ May 2011


drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Château Bonneval - from the parking lot
June 2011 ~ Coussac-Bonneval, France

We've never been inside this castle, although you can take a tour of the inside and this was our fifth vacation in this area of the Limousin. Why have we never been inside? Honestly, I don't know. I guess a tour has just never coincided with our plans for a day or we were too early or too late in the season for a visit.

OK, so why did I draw/paint Château Bonneval from the parking lot, you might ask? Well, my husband, the intrepid Dutch explorer, took me on a tour by car of the long and extended walk he took through the area where we were staying. He started at the gite in Chateau-Chervix and was supposed to only be gone for a couple of hours ... hmm.  Ah yes, the long and extended walk - as in: He Got Lost! If it weren't for the help of the owner of our rental house and his unbelievably good luck that she was home that day, he would have had to call a taxi from Coussac-Bonneval to bring him home. I don't drive. Yep, he had taken a wrong turn on his walk and ended up 13km away from the rental house walking in the opposite direction - gone well over 5 hours on this "walk" and it was beginning to storm and rain hard!  This parking lot now holds new meaning for both of us ... lol.

Église aux Bois and Perigueux

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Left: Gravestones at Église aux Bois - Correze area - Limousin
Right: Cutlery Shop Sign in Perigueux - Perigord Vert area - Dordogne
June 2011

Elgise aux Bois
This tiny little village sits high up in a clearing of the forest in the large Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches ,  located in the Corrèze department of the Limousin.
Many of the graves at the village church are in bad repair, such as the one I drew. The heart "remberance medallion" had fallen off the stone - it was rather poignant to me. The location of this church, and village, was so beautiful and so peaceful...a lovely spot to enjoy the vastness of the area.
photo copyright Auke Nijholt
Church at l'Église aux Bois - June 2011
We drove down into the top of the Dordogne region ( Perigord Vert) to visit the city of Perigueux. What an interesting city! We only spent a few hours there and have decided that the next time we're in the Limousin, ( maybe this coming fall), we'll do a one night stay-over in Perigueux. The medieval city center with its narrow, steep, cobbled streets was so enchanting to walk through and the hanging signs over many of the shops caught my eye! I loved the big scissors over the cutlery shop, so I stopped to draw it - I added the watercolor back at the rental house as I only had time to get the ink work down on site. There is also a musuem of the areas history (Roman settlement, artifacts, etc.), but it was a Sunday when we were there and the museum was closed - yet another reason to go back!

The domes of the Cathedral Saint Front of Perigueux:
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Saint Front Cathedral, Domed Roof
Perigueux, France ~ June 2011

Saint Front was built after ca.1120 (early 12th century). The reconstruction of the cathedral done in the 19th century, was designed by the same architect, Paul Abadie (a local of Perigueux) who later designed the Basilica of  the Sacré Cœur in Paris. Inside and out, you can see the similarites between the two famous cathedrals. Saint Front has 7 pineapple shaped domes (well, I counted 7). Some historians and locals, (a certain travel guide in particular, comes to my mind), don't like this church because of  its "additions" over the centuries, but I thought it was quite intriguing. The cathedral is also part of the World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.

So ends Part 1 of my early summer vacation in the Limousin - drawings in my "Travels in France" Moleskine, vol. 4.  On to Part 2 - Drawings around and in the Rental House in a couple of days ... these posts take me at least 2 days to put together... homework, at my age!!! :o))))
tot ziens,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Photo Friday - Gare de Limoges-Bénédictins

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Gare de Limoges-Bénédictins ~ Depart
Limoges Train Station and Clocktower
June 2011 ~ Limoges, France

Although we didn't take the train back to Holland, we've returned home and I'm missing Limoges already ... :o(

I did finish my latest volume of my Travel's in France moleskine, but have to scan the drawings. So, I'll post again in a couple of days...after I get over my "grief" of having had to leave France (especially the Limousin area) ... again. lol

tot ziens,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Painting Cherries in France & another Panorama.

What you do when it's raining outside on your vacation ...

Photo & Artwork copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. All rights reserved.
Painting Cherries at Chateau-Chervix, France
June 2011
Winsor-Newton watercolors in Hahnemühle sketchook/journal

It rained buckets yesterday, so we didn't venture out of the house much. Except, we did take the glass & plastic bottles to the village's recyle bins and then we got lost on a farm road driving back to the rental house , lol! It was another one of our  "unplanned adventures" in the wilds of the Limousin - and there are lots of places to get lost in the Limousin!!

I picked some cherries off the huge trees at the rental house and brought them inside, (obviously), to paint in one of my new travel sketchbook/journals. The cherries look to me like Rainier cherries, though I doubt it. I really do not know what kind they are - they're tiny, but sweet. 

The small travel journal/sketchbook is made by Hahnemühle Fine Art Papers (Germany) and the paper in this sketchbook/journal takes watercolors better than the Moleskines which I normally work with. I'm not accustomed to the landscape format of this sketchbook, but it's interesting to use and change can be a good thing. :o)

Oh!, here's another 360 panorama that my husband Auke shot in the center of the village of Chateau-Chervix. You can see the only remains, the donjon (tower), of the former 12th-13th century castle that the village is named after. (Turn panorama around, either way, with your mouse.)

Photos and Panorama copyright Auke Nijholt. All rights reserved.
Chateau-Chervix Centre
France ~ June 4, 2011

Next time I post, I'll probably be back in Holland, (unless I get another chance at a good WiFi signal) - so, "au revoir" for now.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nous sommes ici! We are here! ~ Chateau-Chervix, France

Although I'm still in France, and while I have a decent WiFi connection, I thought I'd show you where we are staying.

My husband, Auke, made a 360 panorama in front of the rental house using a cool tool developed by Microsoft - Photosynth.

Use your mouse to move the panorama around and your mouse wheel to zoom in or out - you might even see "Blanchette" (the little white cat that lives at the gite) as she's coming out of the building she lives in! :o)
Panorama copyright Auke Nijholt. All rights reserved.
Gite at Chateau-Chervix, France
May-June 2011

As always, we are enjoying every minute of our stay! The weather has been very kind to us this trip.
Photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. All rights reserved.
Front door to Gite  ~  Chateau-Chervix, France
Limousin ~ May - June, 2011

For more on how to make your own revolving, 360 panorama, click here: Photosynth . The program is free to download and there is also an app for iPhones/iPads.

Till the next time I can get a good WiFi connection ...
au bientot!


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