Waiting and sketching in Beaulieu

We arrived in Puy d’Arnac where we’ll be staying for the rest of the summer and longer. Still struggling with internet connection, we are using a GPRS mobile card, but reception is a nightmare;  I can feel myself aging while waiting for downloads. I suppose it only leaves me more time to paint and sketch…and work on the house. Forgive me for not visiting and commenting much, as images and large files are impossible to open without getting thrown off internet.  As it is,it took me 2 days to get this post on Africantapestry! We were promised by France telecom to have a fixed line connection by August. It remains to be seen. Life has to be accepted here as it is…nothing gets done today, for tomorrow is another day.

Dancing to the tune, I spent a morning at le marché in Beaulieu, waiting for Hartman who took off with the remorque to load building material. I bought fresh apricots and sweet cherries, du vin, saucisson and crusty baguette, which soon seduced me into nibbling. I sipped a coffee and took out my long-time-not-used-sketchbook. I felt quite productive.

…marché a beaulieu…

sketch in pen and watercolour in moleskine

beauilieu marche

With still no sign of Hartman and his remorque, I continued with my heavy load…and baguette…and sketchbook…onto la place de l’eglise where a busload of tourists arrived shortly after, pretending to listen to the babbling guide. He, Monsieur le guide, was so bedazzled by his own performance that he continually stepped onto my toes and my half eaten baguette in his effort to be theatrical.  I was sitting on the low wall, trying my best to capture the anitiquites opposite the church. We were obviously in each other’s way….I was there first though.

…antiquités…

sketch in pen and watercolour in moleskine

beauilieu centre ville

Sketching down the road

I was inspired to walk down the road earlier this evening to do some sketching, even if it could be only one.

My inspiration? Miguel from Free(k)hand. He’s been showing his sketchbooks lately and I love them all! The sizes appeal to me too, even though I prefer bigger sketchbooks.  Looking at his pocketsize, makes me want to try working smaller in sketching too. It makes for quicker sketching, carries easier, and is more subtle and  inobtrusive I think. Now if only I could get my sketches to look like Miguel’s… He is so nifty with his pen. Drop in at Free(k)hand and see his latest posts with his sketchbooks.

I only had time for one sketch down the road…a little chapel attached to an old house. Next time I’ll do the house.

…down the road…

old chapel quai albert bailletsketch in pen and watercolour, Fabriano watercolour sketchbook, CP, 20x14cm

Painting poppies

When the poppie came into bloom a few weeks ago, I was highly excited. Been counting 365 and a quarter days for them to reappear.

Las year they were spectacular! I spent days with my camera next to these fields, planning to take out the brush and sketchbook next,  but before I knew it, there were only a few late bloomers still standing…

Too late for a painting. Too late for a sketch. Next year is after all, another day.

…poppyfields of Vernou, 2008…

collage3

Next year showed up.

This time I had my act together. My easel was packed. My tubes were sqeezed. The oil was ready to swirl. Until I came to the poppy fields of last year. Not a poppy in sight! Instead, the wheat fields were covering every square inch as far as the eye could see. I drove around a whole morning in search of poppies to paint, heavily disappointed in myself for not taking an opportunity when it blatantly flashed itself to me!

I finally came upon a few poppies here and there, but nothing close to the spectacular drama I had seen last year. It was nonetheless an opportunity and I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice!

…poppie field in Vernou, 2009…

Among the poppies

I parked myself in the midst of the wheat field, in bright sun and delighted in capturing the even brighter burst of reds at the end of the field. My painting doesn’t really meet my expectations and I can’t even blame the poppies of 2009! Hopefully there is another year of poppies waiting for me; or even better, many years!

Life gave me a last reminder about opportunities and all those life – talking stuff, when I packed up and wanted to leave. I backed up into a ditch on the narrow farm road and it took me some thirty minutes and some broken and bent taillights connections… and wheely skidding… and exciting vocabulary to get the point.

…la matinée rouge…

oil on canvas, 41x33cm (16″x13″)

matinée rouge

…detail: click on image to enlarge

detail - matinée rouge-1

..

Sketches on a perfect Friday.

Today was a productive Friday, artwise. Early this morning I took off to paint the poppies plein air. Took the car to Midas for serice.  While Hartman saw to the oiling and fixing, I had 2 hours on my hand, so I walked to the art store to buy Liquin.

They weren’t open yet, so I continued walking to Biocoop, where I always buy my turps – pressed from orange peel. On my way there, I passed by a farm with some geese and remembered that this WALK could serve as my “Sketchercise” contribution  for this Friday.

…attitude…

geese

I usually carry a rotring pen and moleskine in my bag, as well as my compact watercolour palette and brush.

So. Took out the molekine and pen and asked the geese to hold still. They refused and left. Now my sketches look odd.

Sulking, I continued on to the Biocoop, just to find they were not open yet. Everything closes up between noon and 14:00 and sometimes even up until 14:30. The further south you go, the later the reopening in the afternoon…maybe 15:00, but most likely 16:00.

Anyway! I turned on my heels and walked all the way back to  the art store, passing the geese again. Being a bit more sensitive in my approach, I managed to squiggle a few lines before they noticed me and swaggled off.  I shrugged my houlders and turned to a wild rose/prickly rose.

…a second try…

geese2

With my art and bio stuff heavy on my arm and my feet burning from wearing light sandals not fit for walking, I limped off to the nearest bistro for a coffee and water. After a walk up en down of roughly 4 km, I met up with Hartman, plonked in the car, stopped off at the boucherie for a medium rare steak over hot coals for dinner tonight, and kicked off the sandals to let my sorry blisters breathe.

The sun was still invitingly high in the sky. Along with Hartman on our bikes, we set off in  search of a plein air painting spot by the Loire for tomorrow morning, since the sun had promised to be present this weekend. I stole a quick sketch of a fisherman with his back to me. He smiled at me, thinking I was sketching the Loire.

…an unsuspecting fisherman…

fisherman by Loire

I found my painting spot for tomorrow, we enjoyed our peach and Coke, I gave Liandri a lift home on my bike, we lit up the fire, opened a red wine and scorched our steak. A perfect day.

Sketching faces in bistro

With the rain falling non-stop for this whole week, I just couldn’t get to go painting the poppies in the fields like I’ve been burning to do! And now I fear by the time the rains tops, there will be no poppies left! Well, at least we have bistros with some faces to sketch…

Sketches done in rotring pen in moleskine

…faces, instead of poppies…

faces in bistro1

faces in bistro2

Promenade a Vernou

In April we joined a promenade with friends in Vernou, a quaint little town across the river. It was all about music and poetry and wine. An enthusiastic french crowd showed up – the French love their music and poetry, not to mention their wine;  poems and chorals were orchestrated by our own Mozart on corners of streets, a court jester with his wonky wheelbarrow made fools of life and himself all afternoon, we learnt about bio winemaking in the vineyards, and ended the day with food and wine… how else.

With us leaving for Coin Perdu soon after this promenade, I didn’t have time to post it. Now is as good a time as any.

I’m contributing it to Sketchercise… A Ning group started by Katherine, dedicated to walking/running/cycling, rowing outdoors and sketching!

I can now file this post for futur generations under “A memory of Gramma sketching and walking herself fit…ah, don’t forget the red wine !”

sketches done in moleskine with pen and wash

…le bouffon

vernou-ballade11

…on y va…

vernou-ballade2

…notre propre Mozart…

vernou-ballade3

…dans les vignobles…

vernou-ballade4

Scammed, (almost)…

See this as a WARNING post!

…scammed(almost)!

scammed

pencil on paper

I fell for a scam today…almost!

We have been thinking about getting a little Jack Russel, since we’ve read Jock of the Bushveld years ago, a Jack russell being an equally lively loyal dog. Only still thinking about it.

Two days ago we saw, quite by accident, an ad on the internet for a Jack Russel puppy who was to be given away, due to circumstances. What made us look closer, was that it was in Monceau sur Dordogne, which is just around the corner from Puy d’Arnac and we could easily drop in to have a look at Doggy. .

So we answered.

Got an email back from Almari Dubelle, saying how pleased she was to receive our interest. She went on lovingly to describe her circumstances and last night I replied back, asking some questions, demanding the little femelle, suggesting we will come and have a look next week when we are in Correze etc, etc, etc… ending off by saying how much we look forward to seeing the doggy and I even attached some photos to show that the doggy will live in cared- for surroundings, go hiking with us, play with our cats and goodness knows what fun more!! So, off the mail wnet to Almari Dubelle in Monceau sur Dordogne!

About 30 minutes later, I get an abrupt and rude email back, without a thank you or any decent manner, no answer to any of my qustions, only retorting that the dog is sort of already in transit! I STILL believed everything is cosher, even felt bad for probably making her assume we are taking the dog!

So I thought: “Oh, well, we DO want a doggy, Well accept it and love it, seeing she went through all the trouble, PAYING for the transit and all.”  I was just so grateful it wasn’t the  rude Almari Dubelle in transit I’d have to accept!

So. This morning EARLY I get an email from the transportservice:  airlinestransport@ymail.com, saying the dog will be delivered at our house this afternoon at 15:00, but they are waiting for the receipt of transfer of 85 euros to:a Hermann Gandaho in Porto novo, Benin and the dog would arrive from a Melanie Pieschot, somewhere in Togo, Africa. They even advised me to say the transfer is for a friend, which would make my  taxes cheaper!

“How very kind!” I thought!

By now you can start laughing, because I did indeed storm off to the post office , completed a mandat western union, paid the 85 euros and 13 euros postal taxes and the electronic transfer happened immediatelybefore my eyes.

And just there, clarity struck my mind as fierce as the lightning on late afternoons in Corréze. I immediately realized this was a hoax. There was NO Jack russel, or any other dog! It was all about getting that transfer money and I would be the  duck. In the course of a second everything flashed through my mind, much like I think your whole life would flash before your eyes in your last minute on earth..

Everything about this whole affaire suddenly made sense…the emails, the weird requests, the even weirder behaviour…everything fell into place.  I immediately asked my adorable agent at the post office to stop it. Too late. But because we were so quick on it, we were able to block it and OF COURSE I called back my extremely-friendly- dog- owner-donor at +22993057106, telling him to go ahead and deliver the puppy, we are anxiously waiting! So he demanded me to immediately scan and send the receipt, they need the account number to complet the paperwork? Really? We would then have our doggy by the afternoon. Really? (I can afford to be smirky now…I’m not stupid after all…sic)

I told him affectionately…we were good friends by now, remember….that I will personally hand the receipt to the agent dropping off doggy this afternoon. Mr Agent can even have a coffee, while we quickly  email the details, doggy can have a whee and if all is in order, Mr Agent can leave and doggy can stay behind at his/her new home and everybody will be happy!

Well. His stories got longer and the explanations complicated as to why it can’t work that way.  That was that. He didn’t get his money. We didn’t get Doggy.  Hartman took me for a coffee and I bought ink cartridges for the printer.

On arriving  home, I ran upstairs to check these emails of the last two days, not willing yet to let it go. Did some searching on the images and links of the so-called transport company  and found the images were somewhere downloaded from “Loisir et Sport” , the text and titles were taken from “liensutiles”(both of which you can google) and several other sites which were used in this “probably photoshopped document”.

I am very low this evening. Sad about nog having our Jack Russel, angry with myself for being SO gullible and stupid. But my biggest sadness and disappointmentare are in this world and the fact that people like this exist AND they get away with what they do. I almost let them get away with it.

So what does this all say about Internet? I ‘m not sure.

One thing is for sure. For me personally, this happened to make me more careful about how I use the Oh, so handy Internet! I was always careful and wary of it. But then, slowly and  surely I started loosening up and getting slack..

Well, I’m back to being the secret agent, keeping myself to myself and watching it with an inspective eye. .

My last word is one of warning. Laugh at me, mock me, ridicule me  for being SO gullible and naive and ignorant, but when you’re done….watch your step around the Internet!!