Wednesday 12 June 2013

Back from France

I've been quiet for a while because I've been on holiday. It's almost unheard of these days to take a day off so a whole week in France was a real treat. I hate to bore you with my holiday snaps but can't resist sharing a few with you.

We enjoyed a glass of wine on the deck of the ferry as Portsmouth harbour disappeared into the sunset.

It takes 12 and a half hours to sail overnight to St Malo but with a cosy cabin to look forward to no sooner have you gone to sleep than you are waking up in France. A short drive away, the old town of Dinan is very French! I didn't mean to photograph a man with a baguette as it's such a cliche but every other person seemed to be carrying one.

This is Vannes in Morbihan, Southern Brittany. I know it looks like something out of Hansel and Gretel but it's typical of the towns here.

We strolled down to the port and discovered it was hosting the world championship under 20 rugby tournament that week - I had noticed more than a fair share of big beefy young men around the town!

Of course I took a sketchbook, a few pencils and a watercolour palette. I was the one taking the pictures so you'll have to imagine me here under the parasol happily painting!

The cottage had a 5 acre garden full of inspiration but if you've been watching recent DMTV videos you'll know I've done a lot of work with Ivy. This is French Ivy growing on a rock face but you'd never know we weren't in England except for the basking lizards - we don't get those at home!

There was some time for culture. The eroded faces carved into this ancient fountain at St Nicodeme des Eaux intrigued me.

Now normally when I get home from a holiday it takes an age to get back into work mode. For some unknown reason I feel strangely reinvigorated this time. Today we taped a video and dealt with loads of email - a typical day for us. At the end of the working day I escaped to my workroom and finished my latest quilt - yippee! OK it's not quite finished - I still have to paint a few details and add the binding and sleeve but I shall enjoy that now the quilting is done.

With a few minutes to spare before dinner I stencilled some more ivy leaves across an open spread of my sketchbook using oil pastels. This page might get a wash of watercolour next.

It was early evening by now but there was still enough daylight left to plant up the marigolds. This is just one of many, many blue pots we have every year. We've had such a miserable spring that we are at least a month late with the summer planting.

And then, because a soul needs more sustenance than gardening and art I made bread. These will keep us going for the rest of the week. I call that a satisfying day! I don't suppose this level of productivity will continue - I'll probably be like a limp rag tomorrow but never mind - I'm happy to take it a day at a time.


  1. Well I think your holiday snaps are just lovely. And Portsmouth Rivera just disappearing into the sunset -divine! ( my home port as it were).

    That crossing to Brittany is just so civilised.

    If you returned enviro rated then you must have needed the break.

  2. Lovely pics and all that activity thats more than I do in a week!

  3. Glad you had such a lovely holiday. Your latest quilt looks quite brilliant. Just to add I am really enjoying DMTV, so glad I signed up, I'm learning loads and I have just got your Painted Quilts book which is amazing! Off now to stroke some fabric!

  4. I love the crow/raven quilt - very dramatic! Your vacation photos are gorgeous and yes, I see you under the umbrella painting happily what you have seen. The carved faces in the church are wonderful. I have a feeling we might be seeing them in your artwork. They remind me of the Roman faces from before. Enjoy the weekend!(I do love the cobalt blue planters. I have a small one and it is my favorite to pot up with fushia petunias, pale yellow pansies, and a shock of lime green potato vine.)

  5. The quilt is beautiful and I also like the stencilled ivy leaves - a technique to try, for me.

  6. Thank you all for taking the time to comment - I really appreciate it!

  7. You are more than welcome to bore me with the details of your trip to France. All of your pictures are so wonderful and I can only imagine what wonderful culture, history, and awesome food you were subject to.

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