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Monday, October 21, 2013

A Weekend Away




Years ago, I dabbled in watercolor painting. I never took a class, learning instead from books. Taking a course has been something I've always wanted to do. This weekend, that desire was fulfilled.

I always keep a journal. Often, when we travel, I long to be able to do a quick sketch in my journal. When I read Materfamilias' post about the class she took, Keeping an Illustrated Journal, I put the class on my "list of things to do one day." 
 

This past weekend, I drove up to Nanaimo, boarded a ferry for Protection Island and spent two fun and challenging days of learning how to mix colors to get just the right shade, how to draw something quickly, to draw out the essentials of a scene and to apply color to sketches.

Four of us sat a table and at one point, discussed why we were taking the class. Each one expressed excitement at learning something new, but also a measure of guilt for doing something "just for me." Why is that, do you think?

Another delight was meeting Frances (and her husband Paul) of Materfamilias, who kindly offered to host me in her cozy guest cottage. 
    

Keeping an Illustrated Journal is taught by Alison Watt, who shares her knowledge in wonderfully encouraging style. The above sketch is a detail of the Pont du Gard, from a photo taken in 2007.

That day, Tim and I rented a motor scooter in Avignon and zoomed through the French countryside to the historic bridge. It was a hot day and we changed into our swim suits behind some bushes, then swam in the water below the bridge. I imagined the Roman soldiers who built the bridge might have done just the same thing 2000 years ago. On the return trip we decided to meander along smaller roads. The scents of Provence are what I remember, olive trees, lavender, the earth itself, all wafting on the wind. Tim and I talk of that day as the highlight of our trip. 

Memories like these are what photos and sketches evoke.

Have you ever thought of, or have taken a course of some kind, "just for you?"  

PS Don't forget to enter my little giveaway, here.

28 comments:

  1. That sounds like an amazing weekend! I'd love to take a class like that. I'm always taking academic classes but never classes that are for fueling my creativity. Hmmmm. Maybe my next one should be just for me. I don't think I'd feel guilty but would need to make sure I take a class when there are not deadlines that need my attention. Glad you had a great time!

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  2. While scuffling with that very conflict--doing something just for me--I signed up a few months ago for an evening of watercolor instruction at an art teacher's home, which is supposed to include dessert and the warmth of 5 other ladies also tackling their unartistic selves. I paid for it as soon as I could and made a carpool date, so I couldn't back out! So on the evening of your birthday, I'll be on my own little art retreat!
    Looking forward to seeing more of your scenes!

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  3. It sounds well worth while - I too wish I could draw and/or paint and so add to my notes in a journal. I think your class would be a bit too far to go though! Yes I have done various courses just for me and why not for as the L'Oreal ad says Because you're worth it!!

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  4. It was lovely to meet you and get a chance to visit over dinner. So glad you enjoyed Alison's class -- I think she's a wonderful teacher. Now you'll be thinking of doing a week in Espedaillac with her plein air class . . . ;-)

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  5. Sighing with a deep longing to do something similar, Lorrie. Love what you created and that you followed your desire to do this.

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  6. An illustrated journal really sounds like fun. I'm afraid mine would be a bit elementary. I like your illustrations!

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  7. Your weekend sound quite exciting! How fortunate you were to be able to meet and dine with mater and pater and stay in their guest cottage...it must be lovely waking up to the sea views on their wee island.
    The illustrated journal reminds me of the book The Diary of an Edwardian Lady...and perhaps you will find yourself in France painting sometime soon!

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  8. Oh how fun! What a great opportunity!

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  9. I'm glad you enjoyed the weekend. Your sketch is lovely.

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  10. It looks like a delightful experience and your artwork is really good. I took a tole painting class many years ago and have used the skills I learned many times over. But I would love to do something like you did. I've always wanted to keep an art journal. Thanks for this post and the link!

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  11. I took a sketching class one time at the local Junior College - it was very helpful, but after class one night a bunch of us were talking, and we all agreed that we could have learned a lot more if the teacher wasn't so hateful and self centered - what a shame. I'd love to take a good water color class - but I need a recommendation so I don't get caught the same way - paying for a poor teacher. Yours sounds fabulous and I love what you've painted.

    I don't have any trouble doing something for myself - and one person told me, "you've earned the privilege" - but I don't agree, I don't think we have to "earn" anything, treating ourselves nicely is as important as treating others nicely - I think the two go hand in hand very well.

    Keep on painting - I love your work.

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  12. A lovely little painting of a sweet memory of yours. I have thought of taking a photography course but keep putting it on the back burner. And also, going to Pilates or a gym just to get in better shape. Living outside of the city has it's drawbacks for traveling. Poor excuse I know. :)

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  13. Wow. You are talented. I took a genealogy course once just for me...sort of. =D

    I'll not be taking a watercolor course, but I'd like to take a cooking class...sort of.

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  14. Your painting sent me back to France!
    For me, a day of patchwork with other ladies is very fulfilling.

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  15. You are very clever. I often think I will take a sketching course but I can not even do stick figures justice.

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  16. When my kids were young I took a watercolor class and liked it very much. The cost of framing ..that was a deal breaker for me! I've taken a few classes in writing and odds and ends. Might be time to saddle up on a class again.

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  17. Way to go! You just did it...and did a fine job. The closest I have come to painting with watercolors is being a 'how to' book and some basic supplies...still unused in the cupboard.

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  18. How exciting! I really like that watercolor of the bridge! And thank you for sharing the story behind the art too. Even though I am an introvert, do like to take courses to learn. I'd love to learn how to do watercolors but can't find any kind of instruction in my area so far.

    I hope you continue with your studies and journaling! Banish that guilt, LOL.

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  19. Taking a watercolor class...sketching in a travel journal...sounds delicious! Your work is lovely. I can see you enjoying this for years to come. I hope you'll share some more with us.

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  20. What a treat, and why should anyone feel guilty about doing something that enlivens their life...go for it I say.

    I love the idea of a illustrated journal..just have never gotten around to doing it.

    Jen

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  21. I would love this class. It has been many years since I felt comfortable with a paint brush in my hands. In design school I adored the watercolors. I think so often about doing a illustration or two when traveling, but feel intimidated to do so. What a special treat you had for a whole weekend.

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  22. Doing something for yourself.....I like that. Me, a knitting class has been on the brain.

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  23. I wish I could have been there with you. Sounds like a brilliant weekend. I take a journal with me every time we travel, intending to draw, paint, glue, write -- and I never, ever do. Why? I used to draw and doodle all the time. I even carried watercolors with me to Malaysia but didn't even use them. I love that you are taking the time to do this for you. Fabulous! Best wishes, Tammy

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  24. An illustrated journal sounds fantastic. I have told myself that I will take some time to play with watercolours and even picked up some (inexpensive) ones to fiddle with at home. A friend and I took a class, but I felt a bit overwhelmed. I will pull them out and give them a go on my own and see what happens. I like your bridge painting, Lorrie.

    -Karen

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  25. Love those muted tones and then the hint of blue glass just makes it for me.

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  26. Beautiful! And good for you! It is hard to do something JUST for ourselves..... it's the female in us. Glad you went........ looking forward to more watercolor from you.

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  27. Lorrie--wonderful to meet you a couple of weeks ago! loved the paintings you did and enjoying your blog.

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  28. Lorrie
    it was great to meet you. Loved the paintings you did and enjoying your blog!

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