Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Heading Home Soon

I have been staying in Hulst the small city where my aunt lives, but unfortunately my aunt has been in UZ Gent hospital. The good news is that the stoma she received when she was critically ill  in August has been removed, and now, it is wait and see as to how well the remainder of her small intestine will function, to see what kind of food supplement she will need in the future.All  small steps, but she is a fighter and has all kinds of plans for the future and looks remarkably well given the ordeal she has been through- and frankly after hearing from my cousin about the difficulties, it is a testament to my aunts' will to live that she is here at all.

I arrived here last week on Thursday- taught one day of workshops in Belgium, unfortunately the second day did not go ahead, and I had a workshop in France cancel as well- it seems to be the sign of the times and it is making it more and more difficult to  survive- I really don't know how the next year will pan out.

Last week I visited Barbizon, a town where artists lived or stayed at the inn from the 1830-1860's, and known for the Barbizon School of Painting. The inn was a drawcard for  artists, most of whom were poor, as the proprietor, a gentleman by the name of Ganne was known to accept paintings in lieu of payment for lodgings or food- and that drawing on the walls could see the delivery of another bottle of wine. It was also the beginning of the movement away from the French Academy with its highbrow and serious neo-classical subject matter, and that the likes of Millet and Corot, who eventually lived in Barbizon, glorified in wonderful landscapes which further down the line saw the development of  Impressionism and inspired such artist as Van Gogh and Cezanne ( who also visited the town). However it was these first artists who went to Barbizon that changed the face of painting. The town is still lovely but like so many places which poor and often starving artists have made famous it is now a pretty bourgeois place where artists can only dream of living given the house prices.
 The image above is from the "inn" where many of the artists stayed and where some of the drawings still adorn the plaster walls and where every cupboard surface has been covered with paintings. The inn has become a little museum well worth visiting and the letter in the left corner is one written by Millet.
How could I resist walking past this tray of beefsteak tomatoes in their blue casing- aren't they wonderful and textured and their colour so gorgeous with the blue- who knew vegetable farmers/packers had such an eye for colour?

 The hotel where Robert Louis Stevenson  wrote Forest Notes, is still a drawcard for visitors with it's collombage exterior walls.
And well... it's impossible to walk past a small crate of pomegranates bedded in straw- they saw me coming and it was so tempting to just buy one to draw it!

I head home on Sunday from Bruxelles- I did try and get home earlier but as I am on an award flight  there were no award seats available. Tomorrow I will teach a workshop in Amsterdam at the DIY Textile School on linocutting and printing and then I will come back to Hulst and visit my aunt who will hopefully be in the rehabilitation centre by then. My aunt has been so very kind to me over the years, allowing me to stay, and even store some of my things with her so i don't have to lug them back and forth.

And on another note I do have some works  for sale, and I need to sell things so I can pay bills- unfortunately my land lord would not take to kindly to me painting all over his walls, nor is he inclined to swap a bottle of wine for printed fabric or a small stitched piece ;-).

 There are some of the  Poppy series- A3 size, which measures 42 cm x 30 cm ( 16.5 inches by 11.7 inches) with its  variations. Each piece is for sale for $85 AUS which includes postage. There are  larger pieces which you can see here. The longer panesl vary in price from $130 - $160AUS depending on actual length. The large poppy piece on the hand dyed background which measures 90 cm wide and 105 cm long is $750 AUS.

I was also reunited with some of my hand stitched sentinelles when I was in France. I have collaged the panels, but each panel is for sale for $150AUS- they are entirely hand stitched/embroidered and measure 15/18 cm  by 45 cm long.

And last but not least a small post card piece that I stitched last week of the half face of a Roman young man...


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