another painting moment along the Canal du Midi. This is how it looks, it's bliss
During the summer, I have a month and a half off of cooking, we eat in restaurants or the street bars of towns and cities we pull into. It's a wonderful time of the year that I love to try to capture in oils if I can.
We pack up our little car - it looks as though it only has one more year of life in it, sniff - cross the channel, and head into France & Spain.
My plan is to paint, and my husband's is to perfect his swimming stroke.
One of the best destinations we've been to, was along the Canal du Midi in a little hire boat, very Rick Stein!
I can recommend it to anyone who is undecided. We used crown blue line, they were impeccable, but not all companies are as professional I'm told by the locals.
I felt so affected by it, I thought you might like to see the painting I had made as a gesture of that time.
The back parcel shelf is the area for my painting kit, plus stretchers and 10 canvas, it's tight, but we manage, inclusive of Tony's fins and snorkelling aids.
I get strange looks, but the first task is to build the stetchers/ frame up - el marco in Spanish I discover - and stretch that canvas 1/10 as tight as I physically can over the square framework.
I then prime it, so that the oil paints are fast, and don't rot the canvas material.
This particular painting of the canal du midi starts life as we step off our little barge boat at the marina of Colombiers, near Beziers.
We've navigated the excrutiating 7-lock stair system that is les écluses de Fonserrannes, so we rest the next day.
It's 40 deg and I'm under the sun umbrella with lashings of bottled water, starting my painting of the scene before me: 3 pretty boats.
I don't mind the interest it attracts & happily splash and dash.
The waiters from the local restaurant stand beside me for company, chatting whilst sucking at their well earned cigarettes.
It's then that I find that the 3 boats I'm painting, are the homes of said waiting staff at the Chez l'Eclusier restaurant we enjoyed so much the night before.
This is as far as I get, very simplistic, just covering the 1 yard X 1 yard canvas as a whole with the impression before me.
I take it off the stretchers the following morning, roll it up still wet & sticky - but I have no choice, until my return to the UK where I intend to build upon my thoughts of the place.
I'm not painting the boats, I'm painting the life, the canal, the still, the green, the sloth & the pride that the waiters expressed to me whilst watching me work.
It's a residue feeling in me, not a holiday snap shot.
I've still yet to frame it, that's the finishing flourish of my work, but can take months or years to get around to.