Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Cherries and pies

 Tomorrow evening we are off for a meal with our friends.  I have been making Cherry Frangipani today with a redcurrant and cherry topping  for desert.  I haven't made this before so before inflicting it on others I needed to try it,eat it.
The Frangipani has Armangnac and almonds.  The pastry base has some semolina for a more crunch and it was jolly good.

Cherries from the trees in the orchard. It's been a bumper year for cherries and they are ripe earlier than usual. It has confused the birds who are normally our prime raiders.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Tiny stitches

The reverse side of monograms sewn on linen sheets

Tiny cross stitch, always red traditionally found on bed linen and night shirts.I like to think these are cherries decorating the letters.

I bought a folding cafe table. It will be very useful for outdoor pondering with tea. I rarely see them around here and when I do they are a bit expensive. Often they have been repainted. I prefer my furniture with a bit of patina, rust, dings or loose paint.

I bought a round basket. I used it today picking cherries.

The table is a lovely fit with my chairs. These apparently came from the park centre which is where I bought the table from.

I also found a lettuce swinger and this coffee pot with a side handle, not the prettiest of finishes but still something that may well find it's way into a still life drawing. 

We are still having dry weather, very warm with barely any rain. Tonight I thought it might rain but so far it's just been unusually strong wind.

A pot planted decorated house. After I looked again, enlarged, I spotted a cat in the raised flower bed.

A view of the Brocante looking towards a building that was once a sanatorium for ill children to stay. St Honore Les Bains was once a fashionable spa town where people went to experience the 'beneficial curative' powers of water. I know all about this form living in Malvern, England. Malvern also a Victorian Spa town where the ill went for cold showers and other wonders for spring water. Strangely Morvan, where I live now is probably from the same Celtic root as Malvern was meaning 'black 'or 'bare hill'

I like the windy roads dotted with little cottages.
By the way I have tried to leave comments this week but it;s not been working for me so please thankyou for leaving your thoughts I really love to hear from people and I will try and be a bit more communicative when I work out what's going on.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Evening light

Larkspur. They have taken over a corner or my veg garden. I planted a packet of seeds here 2 years ago and now they seem to be happily self seeding.
Cardoon. This one managed it through the winter, and I now realise it is due to flower this year. Perhaps great thistle flowers. It's a reltive of artichoke. Here in France they are eaten as a delicacy, enjoyed  for the tender stalks or hearts.

We have vines all over the front of the house to provide shade and pleasure. The climate here has changed over the years.  20 years ago vines would  not withstand the harsh winter.

I love this group of buildings. I need to stop one day to take some photos for future paintings. There is a wonderful old-fashioned atmosphere, no concessions to modern life, or so it seems from my view of the outside of the buildings.(I am a passenger in a car, not driving. That would be difficult)

A lovely traditional hotel nearby.

This is a squash I am growing from a parcel of seeds I received from Dolly.

Shield bug, enjoying some evening sunshine. I love the bronze glint of this one.. 

Friday, 27 May 2011

Colourful Caterpillars

I had these last year on my Dill. I think they are Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars.

These ones are on my Mullein. Those great thick furry leaves seem to  feed a great sausage  of a creature.

Pointy Tomatoes

These are my ducks,  running home from the the pond. I think they may have been intimidated by a goose who thinks it's her pond.

We had a rain storm today, thankfully. The rain brought out some huge orange slugs by the pond. The ducks love them even though they are rather difficult to swallow; and all quite horrible to watch .(I have just had to dash out in the pouring rain to bring them in the house. They have a pen in the kitchen with hay to sleep on, until they are stronger)

This is one of my hollyhocks, grown from seed. As you know they don't flower in the first year??? so I am eagerly awaitng these beauties to flower for the first time. They are really deep dark mauve/black.

                       We have a bouncy white French Deux Chevaux, and a battered Dyane, which George bought for a bottle of wine. Both cars are covered in old cocoanut carpets, because we get dreadful hailstorms in summer that would tear the roofs.

Painting in progress. With oil-paints one has to build in layers, leaving days for the oilpaint to dry. I am toying with some white charolais cattle in the foreground.

Still have work to do on the trees, and then to define further the detail. This is a small painting, 55cms x 46cms.
I am influenced by Cezanne, Sisley,Pisarro, Corot, and, surprise!, Soutine!

My lovely partner, George, who retired from making television documentaries, to keep ducks!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Brocante Sunday

The lovely  'paysage' on the way.

Wheat field, oddly shaped, with an outline of hedge.

The village brocante was tiny, I prefer it like this. Small villages here are charming . I picked up a very strange pair of boots, made from a thin rubbery material with big heels and buttons up the calf. The guy on the stall said they were dancing shoes. Too small for my feet, alas. 

A mangel wurzel chopper

A metal tyre maker for carts given a new lease of life.

C12th church the village was once on a Roman  route.

Obligatory sit down for a p'tit 'cannon'. The wine was welcome. A quick glass for 1 euro with  the locals.

This garden was right beside the church. Silver foil hung on bits of string  from frames that may once have been  mangers.

Very neat potager. Even the watering cans are in lines.

The lovely blue 'home' hills

'Wreck of the week', or, if you have my sensibilities, 'weak at the knees'

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Painting progress and silly ducks

Painting the houses at dusk 

Cows in the meadow, very painterly white but attracting flies like nobodies.

We bought three but now wish we'd bought five.  Today the ducks were trying to get into their bowls of water with some enthusiasm. This encouraged us to take them to the pond. To our amusement after half an hour the ducks climbed out of the pond and headed back to their pen right through the orchard through a gate and up the yard. 

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Misty lake and outing across country to Fours

We had a big dip in temperature yesterday and with this the lake misted over.

Evening walk I was struck by the blues of the hills in the distance.

Maison Bourgeoise, looking a bit empty. The tower has windows all round, a lovely  place to sit
admiring the views, perhaps doing a spot of painting.


Typical scene, Walnut tree, cow and stacked wood, Oak or Chestnut.

I took a few photos out of the car so it's hit and miss with the framimg.

Our sheep in the landscape.

Cow Parsley is everywhere

I love Ox Eye Daises, they seem to float along the verges.