I love the bales of hay standing all around the countryside at this time of year, soon to be stored for the winter. The days are hot and the evenings linger long before the starry nights set in. Perfect summer days. Today was one of those days. The temperature stood a 41 degrees C(105 degrees F) when  I took my oil paints just down the hill to capture the hay balls before they’re stored away. I used an old flop painting and started painting over it. Don’t think I’ll do it again, I felt distracted by the already painted scene on the board.

…three bales of hay study

oil on board,

I have a new project this summer. I woke up one day a few weeks ago and decided I want a little gallery/atelier in Beaulieu. After searching and asking around, I came upon a tiny location, right in the medieval center of Beaulieu sur dordogne, opposite the beautiful old church. I hastened to get my things in order…what things?…drove up to Montlouis to fetch “stuff” to fill my gallery with, drove back 5 hours, offloaded, had a glass of champagne to celebrate this new”craze”, went to bed and unlocked my tiny gallery/atelier the next morning to welcome my first visitors..oh no sorry…clients? Lo and behold, I sold quite a few things!

Et voici mon gallerie/atelier.

…arrival and downloading…

Changes I’ve made: I have an olive tree in a big pot instead of the two small pots, because people nick my stones and use the pots as ash trays…imagine!!

…just finished offloading…

I have postcards made of my artwork and bookmarks and edition prints. People can also browse through watercolors and drawings…which sell very good. And most of all, people enjoy fiddling through the sketchbooks and many want to buy, but of course the sketchbooks aren’t for sale. Next thing that interest them, is to buy a sketchbook and some materials for themselves, because they are inspired by it all. That is so exciting and now I’m preparing small “sketch kits” that people can buy for their holiday or as a gift with my own small handmade sketchbooks.

..opening the first day…


Since taking these photos, I’ve made a lot of changes:

The kids’ corner is bigger with their own little gallery against the wall. they LOVE this and the gallery is already filled up with their dawings: the principle is that they do a drawing for me and they can choose a lollipop from Pierrot Gourmand(see photo below) I provide all the paper and crayons and aprons, all they have to do, is make a drawing/painting).

…kid’s corner..

My goal is probably not to get rich from this little gallery, but to make people aware of art and the fact that art doesn’t have to be expensive or for an exclusive part of the population. I want to show that a gallery doesn’t have to be boring, but can be fun and there can be something for everyone. I would like to have people feel the joy of buying a handmade postcard rather than a boring mass produced postcard from a tourist stall.  I work in the gallery while people are browsing and talking to me and asking questions and so far, it seems as though they are enjoying the ambiance and feel of my little gallery, me working there included. Many have made comments on the nice smells of the citrus solvent I use, they enjoy touching and picking up, looking from up close. they even enjoy my music, which is mostly Edith Piaf and the poems of George Brassens and Léo Ferré.


…working space…

I also have a theme each week or so, focusing on an artist, putting out books and info on this artist, what he did, images, reading material etc. This is still tough for people and most walk by, but there is the odd one who stops and reads.

Will I succeed in bringing art to the common man on the street?  If I can reach only one person, then yes, I’ve succeeded.


19 thoughts on “Two bales of hay in oil and a gallery.

  1. I love everything.. From the hay at the beginning to your beautiful gallery..
    It’s enchanting..I would stop for certain if I was visiting.I love that you put the painting of you having coffee..the kids corner is charming too.
    I think the array of things you are displaying..selling are perfect..the little sketch kits sound like treasures..
    What an adventure.

    Looks like an idyllic thing to me..
    Happy for you,tout est parfaitement charmant.

    Bravo.. and continued joy owning and operating this bijou.

  2. How enterprising you are! This looks like a lovely place and I would love to visit, someday.
    You mentioned that you had driven 5 hours. So, how far away is this little gallery from your home or summer home? You seem to have perpetual energy with all that you do. I find it very inspiring. So thank you for your blog.
    Ellen Brandin

  3. Such a charming little gallery. As Elllen says, you are putting out so much energy–is that five hours round-trip or one way? I love the idea of the children’s gallery and a place for them to try out some art. The sketchbooks and the kits to encourage folks to try keeping a sketchbook are wonderful–you have the soul of a teacher as well as an artist, Ronelle.
    Sounds like a happy time to me.

  4. What a beautiful little gallery! And the effort you’re putting into it will reap benefits for you in many ways. I can sense your excitement and delight and am thrilled for you.

    I wish I were there to stop by and see it all for myself. Best wishes for much success with it.

  5. Incredibly exciting, enterprising and inspiring Ronelle! Perhaps there are franchise possibilities..;) Love the sketchkits, postcards and sketchbook ideas as well as everything else – how I’d love to pop in to browse!

  6. How wonderfully exciting. How charming and inviting. You have some creative ideas that I’m sure will be a great hit. Best wishes for your newest adventure.

  7. How fabulous! Good luck with this project. I wish I could visit as it looks so nice. It is certainly approachable, so hopefully you will reach lots of people.

  8. Oh, how exciting!!! Your gallery is so charming. I love being about to peek inside the door through your photos. I wish I could come visit in person and have a coffee and chat. Maybe one day …ah…! Congratulations!! So happy for you.


  9. Oh, how exciting!!! Your gallery is so charming. I love being able to peek inside the door through your photos. I wish I could come visit in person and have a coffee and chat. Maybe one day …ah…! Congratulations!! So happy for you.


  10. Monique sent me 🙂 I didn’t know about your new gallery and hadn’t seen any new French Kitchen posts so haven’t visited. I’m glad I did! I am subscribing by email so I don’t miss anything.


  11. This is wonderful Ronelle! How exciting to have your own little gallery, so friendly and inviting. I love the kid’s corner..and of course, all your paintings of the bales of hay. So much talent in one person is impressive.

  12. You make it sound so easy!!! The place looks stunning! It feels like a place I would love to come and visit and stay for hours, chatting with you – or just to browse, and paint in a companionable silence. Je te souhaite beaucoup de succès dans cette entreprise.

  13. Ronell, what a true buzy bee you are, with so much going on! The gallery is a dream, and the kits such a lovely idea!

    About those hay-bales, they are like living creatures coming towards the viewer. Very effective. I am so glad I opened this blog of yours. You are very talented!

  14. Ronell, this is really inspirational! Your philosophy is wonderfully refreshing– I love that kids corner of yours — no wonder it’s popular. I’d love to stop by — maybe I will someday. : ))))) Best wishes to you!

Tthank you for your visit and comment, II appreciate it!

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