Art, Creativity, Photography, Travel, Writing

Posts tagged ‘France’

Travel theme: neutral

We get so used to seeing brightly coloured images wherever we look that it’s sometimes a pleasure to rest ones eyes on a more neutral palette. With that in mind, here are some of my neutral photos, taken in the south of France







travel theme: letters

posting a letter in Angouleme, France

a shop sign in St Paul de Vence, France

just the right wine to accompany the phrase ‘in vino veritas’, maybe. (Translated, the French means ‘grains of wisdom’

read the text from the beginning to the end and then read it backwards ….

street art in Bristol

This Shaun the lamb (helter skelter) is one of many to be found around Bristol this summer. The vividly decorated lambs will be auctioned to raise funds for Bristol Childrens Hospital

I wanted to buy all of these – spotted in Bristol’s Southville market

sharing letters with Ailsa

Travel photo Monday: postcards of my summer travels

So where I have been the last couple of months, you might ask. Well, I was, of course, travelling; a few days, a few days there as you will see: France, UK, Luxembourg and Austria.

H and C exhibition
A friend of mine, Heather Carroll, and I had a joint art exhibition, held in wine cellars in Ahn on the Moselle. I exhibited some of my textured photos and she exhibited some of her woven wall hangings inspired by the spirit of the sea

Photos from 20140807-Marie-Noelle Fontan exhibition
We visited an exhibition by Marie-Noelle Fontan who incorporates leaves, seeds, seed heads and twigs into her woven wall hangings

Photos from 20140724-France
In France nuits romanes were being celebrated in the Poitou Charente and the sunflowers were at their best

Photos from 2014_08_16-Milton Abbas-Okeford  Fitzpaine-2BA
Dorset is home to the beautiful Milton Abbey with its fabulous stained glass window, featuring a tree of Jesse, by Pugin

Photos from 2014_08_17-Clifton walk-2BA
Walking with my sister and her husband, over from the US, around Clifton Wood, Bristol, brought back memories of our childhood spent there

Photos from 2014_08_19-Salisbury-Mompesson
We drove down to Salisbury to visit Mompesson House where the Victorian artist Barbara Thompson lived and painted. There was an exhibition of contemporary works there which included a dress covered in leaves and butterflies exquisitely executed by Jane Hall.

Photos from 2014_08_19-Salisbury-cathedral
Salisbury cathedral rises above the beautiful cathedral close. The ‘walking Madonna’ is by Elizabeth Frink

Photos from 2014_08_20-Bath-2BA(1)
a few glimpses of Bath and its abbey

Photos from 20140809-Lux-street-art-animation
Luxembourg held its annual street art/animation festival where street performers from far afield come for a weekend to entertain thousands of visitors

Photos from 20140828-Wachau
Last, but not least, we visited friends in Austria, starting in the wine lands of Wachau

Photos from 20140829-Schafberg
followed by a train ride up to the Schafberspitze, from where you can see 7 lakes

Photos from 20140830-Hangar-7-Salzburg
Hangar 7, Salzburg, is home to the private collection of aeroplanes and racing cars belonging to the man who invented the Red Bull drink

Photos from 20140830-Salzburg
Salzburg in the rain – what better argument did we need to seek cover in the Stiegl brewery after looking round the castle and then demolishing a huge slice of Sachertorte in the famous Cafe Sacher. The fence on both sides of the bridge across the river had been adorned with thousands of padlocks, like votive offerings they are signs of love in modern times.

Photos from 20140901-03-Vienna-Schonbrunn-Belvedere
Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace was still beautiful in the rain. Hungry sparrows, starved for food because of the previous 2 days non-stop rain, hardly gave us a chance to eat our apple strudel in the cafe. The Upper Belvedere gave me the chance to see Klimt’s masterpiece “the kiss” in the flesh as it were. Unfortunately it was too wet to enjoy the gardens to the full although we did walk the length of them

Photos from 20140901-03-Vienna-city-visit
Inner Vienna – the only dry day we had – and a chance to see the inner city from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. The architect Loos, whose building the “Loos Haus” (now the Raiffeisen Bank) caused scandal in its time because of its simple lines, described the Viennese as being “pathologically addicted to ornament”. This was evident everywhere. Every facade had faces peeping from them and doors with colonnades on either side sported mythological creatures supporting them. Vienna was indeed a feast for the eyes for those with an interest in architecture.

As I write this the space available to me in my office diminishes daily as we pack up boxes and store them there in preparation for moving house. Breathing space is needed and a new adventure calls…..

travel theme: rivers



the river in Canterbury. I can imagine Ophelia drifting in the weeds here …

the prehistoric bridge known as Tarr Steps, north Devon, UK

the river Sorgue has its source at the Fontaine de Vaucluse in Provence

it then flows through the picturesque town of Isle sur la Sorgue on its way to the sea

As a child this was one of my favourite poems:

The Brook, by Alfred Lord Tennyson

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorps, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges….

Read the rest here

a river of poppies in a cornfield in Provence

If you were a river where would you like to rise and flow down to?

sharing with where’s my backpack

travel theme: gardens

This week Ailsa led us up the garden path.

the gazebo (*) at Sissinghurst, Kent


gazebo in the grounds of Holcombe House near Lynton, Devon

The Parc de Wesserling in Alsace, France, holds a garden festival each year. It’s situated in an old industrial complex that used to be a fabric mill. Its displays therefore are linked to fabric in some way. There are always a couple of “follies” (**) hidden away:

fabric hut based on a dream catcher

inside the garden shed of my dreams …

entrance to the grass house

The whole complex of La Scarzuola could be described as one large folly. See more of my pictures of this extraordinary place here.

Inspired by the idea of having a retreat of my own, In a corner of our garden I maintained an area that I called the wild patch and in it I constructed my ‘folly’, complete with an old iron grate in which I planted geraniums. Unfortunately our next door neighbours cut down some of the trees forming the boundary between our two properties thereby removing much of my privacy.

the basic construction

inside looking out

I added a candelabra

and decided to create a little magic….

(*) A gazebo is a pavilion structure, sometimes octagonal or turret-shaped, often built in a park, garden or spacious public area.
Gazebos are freestanding or attached to a garden wall, roofed, and open on all sides; they provide shade, shelter, ornamental features in a landscape, and a place to rest. Some gazebos in public parks are large enough to serve as bandstands or rain shelters.
Gazebos include pavilions, kiosks, alhambras, belvederes, follies, pergolas, and rotundas. Such structures are popular in warm and sunny climates. They are in the literature of China, Persia, and many other classical civilizations, going back to several millennia. Examples of such structures are the garden houses at Montacute House in Somerset, England.

(**) In architecture, a folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration, but either suggesting by its appearance some other purpose, or merely so extravagant that it transcends the normal range of garden ornaments or other class of building to which it belongs. In the original use of the word, these buildings had no other use, but from the 19th to 20th centuries the term was also applied to highly decorative buildings which had secondary practical functions such as housing, sheltering or business use.

18th century English gardens and French landscape gardening often featured Roman temples, which symbolized classical virtues or ideals. Other 18th-century garden follies represented Chinese temples, Egyptian pyramids, ruined abbeys, or Tatar tents, to represent different continents or historical eras. Sometimes they represented rustic villages, mills and cottages, to symbolize rural virtues. Many follies, particularly during famine, such as the Irish potato famine, were built as a form of poor relief, to provide employment for peasants and unemployed artisans. (Wikipedia).

I make no apologies for borrowing Ailsa’s wonderful garden quotes:

Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you. – Richard Brinsley Sheridan

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

a word a week challenge: reflect

Once a week Skinnywench’s dictionary falls open at a word. This week it’s fallen open at REFLECT. She readily admits that this theme has appeared before and elsewhere so she suggests we reflect on our year and post some photos and our reflections on them.

This year has seen us travelling in Sri Lanka, India, Turkey, Northern Cyprus, Luxembourg, France and the UK. Here are some of my favourite photos from the past year as well as some which may provide food for thought:

Sri Lanka
elephants bathing in the river at the Pinnewala elephant orphanage. If you didn’t know that this was a commercial enterprise you could be forgiven for thinking that this was a scene of elephants enjoying their natural habitat ….

reclining Buddha figure at Polonnaruwa

One of the Cloud maiden frescoes at Sigiriya

women carrying water

women carrying sugar cane, seemingly do all the work …..

Rajasthani mother and child






20130902_6624-Jeanette-Bremin copy
blank elephants were given to local artists to decorate as they chose. The decorated elephants were then displayed around the city and were subsequently auctioned in aid of charity. This elephant was painted in memory of the artist’s daughter who died of a rare form of cancer some years ago

20130902_6631-Luxembourg-elephant-parade copy

20130902_6661-Luxembourg-elephant-parade copy

20130902_6667-Luxembourg-elephant-parade copy

20130902_6759-Luxembourg-Schouberfouer copy

20130902_6792-Luxembourg-Schouberfouer copy
Luxembourg’s annual Schuberfouer, which has been taking place in August/September for approximately the last 450 years

20130821_6352-thistles copy

20130821_6515-Rodmarton-Manor copy

20130821_6505-Rodmarton-artichokes copy

20130821_6501-Rodmarton-Manor-bird-topiary copy

20130821_6463-Rodmarton-manor copy

20130823_6586-Cliftonwood copy

201308170120-Heartfelt-cafe-pink-cropped copy






Northern Cyprus
The beauty and peace of Bellapais abbey

the island of Cyprus is still deeply divided

the forbidden zone between the Turkish and Greek parts of Nicosia/Lefkosa

sculpture in Ledra street at the border crossing point in Nicosia/Lefkosa

and finally, a classic reflection photo

a word a week challenge: mountain

Once a week Skinnywench’s dictionary falls open at a word. The word this week is MOUNTAIN

Mount Batur in Bali

Mount Agung in Bali


mountains around St Ours in south eastern France near the Italian border


Swiss mountain scenery



mountain pastures

Switzerland, Lake Maloja


McLeodanj, home to the Dalai Lama in exile in northern India

the Dalai Lama’s monastery is right in the centre of the photo with what looks like tents on the top of it

mountain scenery in the Himanchal, India



en route to Kumbalgarh, Rajasthan


views from the top of Kumbalgarh fort



flying from the UK to Turkey over snow covered mountains

You can climb some more (virtual) mountains here

a year in my life: 2012

2012 saw us travelling again:

pink water lilies

and the white temple in Chiang Rai in Thailand in January.

Luang Prabang in Laos at the end of January

and the sunbirds nesting outside our window in Thailand produced 2 babies.

In March we went to Hamburg for our friends’ wedding, our first visit there – bitterly cold but we’d love to return

In April I took my parents, aged 88 and 91, on holiday for a week to Lynmouth in north Devon, in the UK

July saw us cat-sitting for friends in Germany and I took this photo of allium flowers in their garden. I used what I’d learned in one of Kim Klassen’s lessons in Beyond Layers to make this storyboard

In August we went on our trans-European trip passing through France, Italy and Germany. This photo was taken in the mountains above the tiny hamlet of St Ours near the Franco-Italian border.

In Italy we visited Pisa,


and Assisi, to name but a few of the wonderful sights we saw

In Alsace we found the virgin with the opening stomach.

Towards the end of the year I concentrated on creating more digital artwork using Photoshop Elements



and used some of these manipulated photos in my sketchbook project which I have now sent off to the Brooklyn Library for its 2013 project.

We will be travelling again in 2013 so there will be more photos and more stories, I hope.

Thank you for following my blog and I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.