Fashion at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France

Fashion at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France

As I waited for my train to Avignon, I attempted to absorb the reality that I was sitting on a bench in France.  The architecture of the airport delighted me, lines everywhere.  The woman in the black and white herringbone coat stepped into my frame just in time to plant the seed for a theme that recurred throughout the week, that of black and white stripes.  I couldn’t help but think of Alexis as I captured this image.

Mlle. Jane and I spent a couple of days in the village of Villeneuve before boarding the Viking Burgundy and beginning our trip up the Rhone River.  We had several hours on Sunday afternoon to ourselves prior to checking into our intimate cabin aboard ship.  Mlle. Jane led us to the Angledon Museum in Avignon, a relatively small collection of fabulous paintings including the one Van Gogh that remains in Southern France.   The visit rekindled my love for the paintings of Vuillard.

A new discovery was the work of Paul Jouve (1878 – 1973).  He illustrated Kipling’s Jungle Book.  One of his charcoal drawings of a lion was on exhibit, an extremely powerful drawing that took my breath away.

Tigre by Paul Jouve

Tigre by Paul Jouve

The theme of stripes continued …

In almost every town I discovered posters advertising products or events that wore the pattern of the jungle.  The stripes brought me back to my roots of inspiration, that of ribbons moving through space, dancing in the wind tunnels of my mind.

The contrast of values and the strength of the black and white image repeatedly reminded me of the important fundamentals of art.  I could hear the ghost of my mentor whispering to me, telling me to look, to observe, to process and to draw .. to draw .. to draw.

Advertisement for Orangina Beverage Advertisement in a window in France I spent the week drawing, taking notes and painting whenever possible.  I sketched on the boat, on the bus, on the train and as I walked along the cobblestone streets.  It’s a wonder I didn’t trip and fall.  One of my fellow travelers eventually asked me if I was writing a book. He never saw me without a pencil and pad in hand.

Three quarters of the way through the week, I had exhausted both of my camera batteries.  It was at that point that I found myself looking even more carefully and drawing with more abandon than when I had the back-up of a photographic image to rely on.

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