Sunday, September 30, 2018

Provence♥ Watercolors etc..


Has proved to be such an affair of the heart for me.

We went in 2008..briefly..went back almost 10 yrs later ,last yr..

And it only reinforced what I had felt in 2008.

If I could have picked one place to live 45 yrs ago..

..With what I know now...

It would have been Provence.

Peter Mayle ...
Van Gogh..  and here ..  there is such a feeling of peace and serenity there..hard to explain..

Cézanne..Frédéric Mistral..Ernest Hemingway..James Joyce..

The list goes on and on..they chose Provence at one point.

I have not been to many places..but out of all of my places..
This is it. my Enchanted Cottage..only because we like to be on our own..and live a bit away from the madding crowd...this is my enchanted cottage.

If we were to build a house..this would be it.
If I was to start my gardens..(NO MAINTENANCE)
these would be them.
Of course finding an ancient quarry may be hard;)
And we are not moving God willing..and not building..

I love my Canada.I have great neighbours here.
Friendly people..cosmopolitan..the seasons..
First and foremost my family is here.

We came home to many many tomatoes..yay!!
Lots of zinnias..will cut shortly..
overgrown beds and long grass.

I have a load of laundry to go..
I loved hand washing my linen there and hanging it up to dry:)
Even lots of other things;)

Jacques liked the washing machine..hang to dry .
Things just feel so nice and fresh.

For this trip..I started packing .. my art supplies..priorities:)
And they changed..the first pic is what I had decided upon..

And then..I switched up the the 2 ready made  journals and went with my own.
And then switched it again.

We left Sept 6th and returned yesterday.

Our home base was St-Rémy..
St-Rémy is a great town to call home base..
Lively enough for lively people and quiet enough for quiter people.
I have to tell you..the last 5 was une Fete Foraine..!
The town takes on a whole different look..arcades and rides..Coney Island!
But more..Belmont

The old world charm  of that town is denaturalized in a heartbeat.
And streets have bars and cordons for bulls!

I filled my two journals ..when we would come home in the aft.I would make a small painting.
LOVED that.
I know I am a terrible plein air painter.Maybe if I sat somehwre for a long would be different..but..
With a photo..I am happy sitting at home..painting that way:)

Some turned out a bit better than others..this is not my fave..but it's in the book ..the book that fell apart..I had glue gunned the spine..I may leave it loose..Or I may Zutter it;)

Our trees are still green!Fall is not full on at all here yet!


  1. So awesome Monique! You've had a wonderful adventure once again!

    1. We did have an adventure..that is why I have been MIA..back to normal soon.!

  2. How wonderful you got to go back. I love your pictures and water colors.

    1. Penny I thought of you there..The grounds are simply amazing..but close to the home look at the patio area..just like you..I came home to overgrown gardens that are screaming for attention.
      If I had to build gardens at my age.They would be different.Love what you did.

  3. I love your pictures and the water colors are very beautiful.
    Have a great week, dearest Monique.

  4. Welcome Home Monique! It looks like you had a wonderful time based on your watercolors. The trees are just starting to turn some color here. My body is aching as I push myself to get the garden to bed. I have a riot of pink, purple colchicum in bloom and the roses that I have are sending out some last minute flowers. As I was coming into the house I looked and thought why had I not planted more shrubs and trees that would not have required all this work? Enjoy your zinnias and tomatoes before the frost comes.

    1. We are thinking the same thoughts!

      Terry if you want to start a few tomato seeds indoors next yr.. I would send you my faves;)That bumblebee is a gem...Took pics of my bowls;)

      It is still putting out bowlfuls..

      I came home to dahlias and calendulas and roses..but oh my gosh everything else..looks like it needs a not pretty in damp and cold.
      And our grass..which is 70% long;(

      My basil is still so so wonderful..I took pics today w/ my fingers cold..will show you.

      What were we thinking w/ all these fussy cottage gardens?

      Thinking of you...and me younger Gardenbuddies..full of vim and vigor;)

    2. I would love some. I bought garden bags with tomato supports this year and did not get any planted. So photos of your dahlias too. You are so good with getting things done.

    3. You will get my fave li'tomato cute..plump colorful and delish.
      You see me w/rose colored glasses.And I don't mind that:) I can make believe!:)

  5. I love the lighting in your photos! The golden hue is just beautiful. That patio ♥ How wonderful that you came home and painted each day - a perfect way to remember the beauty of where you were. Welcome home, Mon Amie ♥

    1. That patio..even the laundry stinkin' cute out the door as you would say.I love that saying..just sayin':)
      Thought of you know by now lol..
      I am so good at keepings things to myself..

      The golden hue is soooo true..I promise..but I did enhance too.

      If I could enhance myself..I why not photos?

      And these Provence pics outdoors were all Ipad..:(

      Bonne soirée! Oh's already tomorrow for me in France time..

  6. I love your paintings so much!!

  7. Really beautiful Provence and love yours paints !!

  8. The colors of Provence are so soothing and your rendition of them - lovely! So happy to hear that you went back. Hope you share more of your trip in the coming weeks. Peter Mayle books - I read and reread them. Mine are growing tattered. The temptation of a second home in the south of France is always on my mind - but then I come to my senses! Better just to visit.

    1. Oh it is simply stunning and I thought of you in St-Rémy as you had asked..they are really so welcoming and most people address peope in stores in English many Europeans..mainly German..many many many British..It really is your style.
      Jacques and I visited Charles Aznavour's small town..while there..just last week because we loved him..he passed away this AM.Jacques has all his music and songs playing.He loved Montreal.First time he came in '48..he stayed 2 yrs:)
      There is an old Olive Mill in his town..
      All your the South of France..the areas I have been to.

  9. Welcome back. I second Ry’s comment
    about more details as I leave for Provence in two weeks. I’ve never been there and I am so looking forward to it. We plan to drive from Nice and take a week driving the countryside. I have considered bringing my paints but as I am just a beginner, it may be too stressful. Any must sees would be so appreciated.

    1. might take a peek at my 2017 posts after Sept..I detailed towns we went to..I won't bore everyone again..but I can tell you..that Jacques and I like the smaller towns..

      Gordes..Bonnieux..Ménerbes..Isle Sur La Sorgue( go on market day and NON market day..2 different looks and vibes)I love both.Fontaine De Vaucluse..we stayed in St-Ré is lovely..Visit St Paul Mausolée..where Van Gogh spent a year of his moving..
      Les Baux..see Carrières Des Lumières..Exceptional visuals and sound..This year..Picasso..The Spanish Painters and Flower Power.Took my breath away..Do that! Les baux and that's all there:)
      If you need watercolor paper..St-Rémy the right of the store in a corner..paints and brushes also.
      Oh the markets! The cheese..saucissons..breads..In Mtl we are spoiled..but at the markets see the people who made the cheese..the olives..the oils..the soaps.

      Bring a small set of paints:) You never know when you will just feel like it..Take photos so you can paint at home..
      Egaliè calm and pretty..Hugh Grant just bought there:)
      I hope you love it.

    2. Monique, thank you so much for your warm and generous reply. I am definitely going to check out your previous posts and research every place in your current response. And you’re right, why not pack as small set of paints?!

    3. My pleasure!
      So many cute and good travel kits for painting..and a small limited palette works well.
      Have so much fun..and eat the pastries and the cheese☺️

  10. Welcome home! I've never been to Provence... bucket list... Your watercolors are wonderful... I can see that you are as OBSESSED with paints and paper as I am. I may have to get one of those book making tools. Can't wait to see more. xox

    1. That bookmaking tool is the bomb:) How's that for cool lingo?:):)
      There are other kinds..but I am happy w/ this one..waiting for my 1/2 inch spirals to arrive to try another.
      It's fun because I paint small never usually more than 4x6..5 by 7 is stretching it.
      You have a beautiful art studio..I am sure there is room for a little tool:)
      I think both you and Hugh would enjoy Provence so very much Gail.

  11. Also my favorite place in the world. Les Baux and Carrières Des Lumières, St. Paul Mausole and Isle Sur la Sorgue. Light show was amazing. Spent a week in an apartment in the middle of Isle Sur la Sorgue. Watched shop keepers sweeping their stoops from my second floor window every morning. Ahh Provence. I have recently fallen in love with Copenhagen, home to the happiest people in the world. So Hygge.

    1. Love your sense of adventure!And desire to see more.
      I never had the travel bug..and then it but me.
      Jacques has only ever dreamt of France younger so that's where we focused.
      Italy once.. a combined trip with France.
      We think our overseas travels are over.
      It 's a trek for J doing all the driving every trip we have taken..
      And we just don't seem to even want to travel en groupe ..
      So we're done at this time☺️

    2. I hear what you are saying. It has become difficult for us to walk great distances. I really don't like group tours either, but the one to Scandinavia was quite small (15) and was only a portion of our time there. Met lovely people from Australia, Hawaii, Oregon and Canada. All connections were taken care of. Loved that. Driving in Finland was easy. They are so much better drivers than here. I think we have at least two more trips in our future. Will see.

    3. Good for you:)!
      It's nice to have keeps things interesting.
      I love people..I love talking to the store owners..resto owners..we have so much to learn about the world and how each country lives.
      So far we are fine with walking and walking..J wears a fitbit(pas moi) and would say..12,000 today..or whatever.
      I must admit the days it was 100F..climbing up those medieval towns..I felt like I was hard gardening..but unlike here..I couldn't I had to get home..;)
      I don't know about groups still..we did one cruise.And that was enough for us..a short one 4 days even;)
      we did meet one young couple and kept in touch for yrs.. we could be their parents..from Kansas:) But ..after several yrs..we lost contact..
      I think J and I were meant to travel alone.Apart from family.
      Vive la différence right?:)

    4. Right! If it were up to me alone, I would be happy with travel for two. I'm basically shy and like our own company.

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  13. I love a peaceful adventure. This amazing place sounds fantastic and so perfect. Love all your beautiful watercolors - just beautiful. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving :)

    1. Thank is so soon this year..this Monday! My dear daughter is hosting..her husband is away so it will be a Fondue TG:)
      We did that last yr and it was great..:)

  14. really I enjoyed this post (well all yours posts) xo

  15. These are my absolute favorites of any paintings I've seen you do!!!! Wow wow! So glad you got to go back!! I was in Arles during the bull festivities, oh my, we hadn't known when we made the reservations. Still it was wonderful and a fascinating piece of culture. I'm glad you have found this heaven on earth...Please show more paintings, drawings, descriptions!!

    1. We never actually saw the bulls:) Early am when we are still having notre café at home:)
      It was so nice..You miss home at the end..and then when home miss France.Jacques is watching every reportgae re Charles Aznavour..longtime fan♥WE drove to his town last week..and then he passed ..His music has been playing here..a lot..Have a great weekend and Merci!

  16. Like you, I paint much better from photos. Not enough practice I guess! I love this watercolour journal of your holiday! So so so nice! You are so talented. I don't think you give yourself enough credit, but then again that is a part of why I like you so much, you are very humble. It is a great quality to have in a world filled with people who want to be pop stars. So pleased you had this lovely time away. I think we all have "dream" spots where we think we would like to live if only we could! Mine is Vermont. Like you, I prefer to holiday on our own without being in a crowd of people and following other's itineraries. I like to do my own thing. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your sweet family. May it be truly blessed! xoxo

    1. Thank you..I forgot to wish you a happy cdn TG:) I am sure you think of it..There's no place like home re travel..but yes so many things about there I love to bits.
      I am awful plein air..I read it is easier form photos because it is flat..nature is 3d..makes sense..I had romantic visions of me become a plein air painter.Well LOL on that;) Have a great weekend you thoughtful girl.

  17. Lovely paintings. You have truly captured Provence. I prefer much quieter places as well. That is why we live out in the country with 26 acres surrounding us. I definitely want to visit France again, along with Italy.

    1. You will love it all over again!!!❤️Thank you🙂

  18. Have a happy Sunday, dear Monique.
    Around here the sun shines!

  19. So dreamy... :) Glad you had a lovely time. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! xo

    1. Happy TG home away from home ♥♥Lovedd your pumpkin patch!

  20. Welcome home. I do believe that Provence has totally and completely stolen your heart. I love your sweet watercolors, they are the perfect way to remember your travels there.

    1. Always fun to look back too:) In a nostalgic way ..

  21. Dearest Monique,
    Welcome back home with one wonderful memory 'richer'.
    Both of us went on the Rocky Mountaineer and discovered some more of beautiful Western Canada. We worked in the Vancouver and Calgary area before, in the 90s that is. So finally back after 24 years and it was as Pieter put it: 'Our best vacation to date!' That is especially valuable for creating lasting memories of great times together... as a cushion for old age when we will no longer be together.
    It is kind of strange as we also made up our minds for next year, going back to the Provence, where we had such a lovely wedding in 2016, or something else. The something else did win it as there will be no driving involved for me. I've enjoyed this Canada experience so much, instead of doing it ALL... We all need to let go at times and indulge in real time off.
    Now there are lots of challenges, still tutoring a Belgian woman in English at our local Technical College, need to scan another load of letters from Mom and others (1984-1988) that came from the storage room under the front porch. As much as I treasure them, it is a LOT of work. Need to catch up on singing and dancing for my choir. Being out of country you cannot do such things...
    But oh so happy for being alive and let the fall begin with its charming colors.
    Sending you hugs and treasure those new memories!

    1. Your words are filled with wisdom:)
      As we age our perception of things changes so much..especially if one has been dealt with obstacles..issues..
      I tend to think deeply too:)
      Glad you had a nice trip..and love your so happy to be alive sentence:) Have a good week!

  22. Wonderful challange you gave yourself Monique! These are just lovely and the best souvenirs of your trip ❤️ 🎨

  23. It must be so rewarding to put colour to paper, and have your vision come to life....
    You are sooo so many ways Monique...
    So glad you and J enjoyed your wee cottage...we too like to be away from the hubbub...
    The sun is shining...and it is heating up out there...
    Costco run...and then cottage tomorrow...
    enjoy your week...
    Linda :o)

    1. Thank you!
      Did some putting to bed of one garden today but really uncomfortable..humid..unseasonably hot..but sun..I haven't see it in days..

      We are Costco habituals..I like cute shops J likes Costco:)

      So many excellent products there though..I must say.
      All our family shops there.. I do encourage locals also..
      but for many things..Costco the best.

      Have fun at your beautiful cottage:)!Take lots of pics!!

  24. I have never traveled to Provence, I imagine it is a lovely place as you describe.
    Lovely art work.

    1. Tank you Marisa..and it really is a very lovely palce:)

  25. Oh Monique! Everyone needs their special place and I'm so glad you have found yours. And grateful you can often return.

    I love your watercolors and of course you know how fun it was for me to see your supplies. I admire that you painted every day. I didn't do that on my travels but I did fill my journal with words! And a few drawings. And lots of photos to paint here at home. But to do what you did -- biggest sigh! And I love them. They are free and beautiful and filled with peace. Bravo, my friend!

    1. I can't wait to see your drawings..Really on trips you do not have time..this last Provence trip was fillde with light and down time after 4.30..still light enough to paint oustide..w/ a glass of wine;)
      I am not a plein air painter..I'll try next yr..I thought I would here this summer..never did.
      I too am glad you had your trip! I look forward to your posts!

  26. I know I'm a bit late in commenting, but for some reason I thought of you when we were planning our next trip. I am so pleased that you've fallen in love with Provence again and it was as you remembered it. Your paintings are so enchanting & definitely show your love and happiness there. I'm somewhat familiar with your cottage; have been there once, but it seems to be occupied each time we inquire. Actually that's how we ended up in Maillane... This year we've scheduled a trip in mid-September through mid-October after spending a few days in Paris on the way. It will be our first fall trip and not sure about the weather, as we're spoiled from Provence's lovely springs.

    Take care. It was wonderful to read your blog post. I think of you often.