Quick Post Holiday Post.... Avignon
Seven years ago, my partner and our Mums had a weeks holiday (sounds insane right there I know but it works) in the city of Avignon. Home to Palais de Pape, Pont St Benezet and some amazing food and wine (region famous for Rose wines... beautiful). When the opportunity came up this year for a return visit of course we couldn't refuse...! This time we would have our 3 year old little boy with us and unfortunately my Mum wasn't available to come with so we knew it was going to be different, i.e. swap a couple of tourist attractions for play parks and the luxurious self catering apartment for a campsite you get the idea but of course it was still a totally wonderful week.
So of course we visited the Palais de Pape, this vast and imposing palace and fort, the papal residence in the 14th century and we visited the bridge and danced on the end singing ''Sur le Pont d'Avignon'' and we went on the tourist train, (literally a car dressed as a train with carriages for tourists) which all of us enjoyed, not just my little boy. But we also got to know the city in a whole new light this time; and now I not only have the major tourist attractions in my mind, but a knowledge and feel for the older parts of the city; the cobbled streets made up of stones from the bed of the River Rhone and the location of art galleries and studios that we took such delight in discovering. We visited play parks for Max and stopped for coffees and ice creams, we ambled around with a vague idea of direction but no sense of urgency. We found the living city that wasn't just about tourists and Popes (although I thoroughly recommend reading more about this fascinating time in European history) and I would seriously consider a return visit to find out more, although maybe next time with better French!
I've sprinkled a couple of images below that for me sum up the holiday, and glancing through my holiday photos there are already a few more standing out as inspiration for some painting ideas. Provence, or at least this part of it that we have explored, holds some key delights for me as an artist. Verdant green trees with strong forms, huge vistas sometimes backed with the looming lines of mountain ranges, clear air and warm and wonderful stone in the architecture (terracotta rooftiles!) again with interesting forms, geometric yet soft, set into overwhelmingly large landscapes. I have been doodling and drawing these components since I was little, majorly influenced by a couple of holidays in Spain surrounded by mountains and hilltop villas and villages.
So now my painting is a more frequent part of my life, it will be interesting to see how this informs my work, I have already started a painting... just to play... just to express... just to produce... oh my goodness it was good to get the paint out :-)