Sunday, 31 July 2011

Welcome Home

It is lovely to be away especially in France but we did miss home - son James said he even missed rain. I thought I did till I saw what it was doing to our studio back home

Here is what my darling husband has been coping with in my absence.....a drenched studio, buckets everywhere and everything stuffed anywhere where it won't get wet. The studio situation that has been dire for so long and is now not tolerable.....time to find a new studio.

There have always been problems associated with our studio and some have got worse over the years
  • it has always been a bit leaky
  • it is shared with our landlords so we have to clear the floor once a month for them to have a meeting
  • we have mad neighbours - they believe they own the road (they don't) and don't want anyone parking outside; they have thrown out items left at our door by clients; they block up the fire door; they need to get a life
  • the access isn't brilliant especially if you can't park outside, we have to walk through said neighbours garden

So why have we stayed there for 10's cheap

Poor Gibson was deeply depressed by the whole thing, desperately trying to paint in these conditions and no news of the new roof - although planning permission has at last come through we have decided to move and hope to have exciting news soon.

So coming home from France felt a bit flat and I had to try and remind myself of why I love home. It wasn't hard. Firstly I adore the light...there is nothing quite like the Scottish light and at this time of year it is so soft and mellow and with the cloud and mists it is heartmelting

Late afternoon


Low cloud on Craig Rossie
One of my favourite things about this time of year is to see the tall pink spikes of Willow Herb - the prettiest weed ever. It blushes our drive and all down the edges of the fields with it's delicate pink blossoms that will turn to white cotton wool fluff seed formations soon

our drive

up close
And the food in France is wonderful, all the lovely markets, the fresh bread and lovely cheeses but we do some pretty amazing food here too. We often forget what wonderful raw materials we have to work with and here is a seasonal best...our own Scotch Lamb

this was fresh, light and fabulous with just some garden Rosemary and Granny's Redcurrant jelly to serve


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Vicarious France 2 - Versailles and Painty Stuff

We had a brief but welcome break the last day we were in France after a lot of long hours working and we were grateful for a quick dash to the Palace of Versailles. The Palace is amazing but trust me ...don't visit on a Saturday afternoon early in July. There is too much to show you it all...but here is a touch of the painty stuff.

First off all every room has it's skirting boards marbled to match the fireplaces...nice touch

baseboards matching the fireplace below

I think this is Breche d'Alep Marble

There is the most beautiful room that is all painted in the most exquisite trompe l'oil....

James looking a tad glakit

jaw droppingly gorgeous

This is my favourite - the shell

lots of marbling...most of it stunning like this

and beautifully combined...nothing is overworked

OK so this is perhaps a little OTT for ...almost too much take in

my favourite bit of the mural painting was this central design
I have to say that  there is so much of everything you almost become inured to the beauty...after you have seen endless mural paintings it is the cartouche and the actual layout that starts to catch your eye

There is endless real marble (I will compile an album for my marbling mates) and much as I hate to say this but it does become start to think that these Palace dwellers got a job lot from their interior designer. So turning a corner and finding this fabulous raised and gilded ornamentation is really refreshing - and like everything else it is of exquisite quality.

I love this marbled ceiling
There are a few of these marbled ceilings and I LOVE them. They again are not overworked, the layout is simple and the marbling well composed. Any busier and it would look horribly false...and yet panels of Carrara marble would be impossible to put on a ceiling like this so it should FEEL false, but it doesn't.

Deliciously gilded doors
This look I saw in a few places, Paris Grey doors with gilded panel bead. It is so Parisian so chic...where oh where can I put it????

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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Vicarious France 1 - Food

I am so sorry I haven't been here for such an age.... so much has happened in the last month it will take me an age to catch up.
As many of you know James (son of 16 yrs) and I have been in France working. I took lots of wonderful pictures to share with you and then my laptop died. My client kindly lent me her laptop but the laptop spoke only French. It turns out I don't understand the French for "download to a file"......many of the photos are no more. However I have plenty others to share....I hope to give you a taste of our French trip.

It has taken an age for the laptop to be mended and for me to get all my info back onto it - this time it needed a whole new hard-drive - but finally I am back in Blogger and ready to share.

Before we left a friend said "I want to share France Vicariously" no paint in this post just Vicarious France concentrating on food.

A Cheese Dream
This cheese shop was my idea of heaven

Cheese and Wine - it gets better

Cheese Wine and Marble.....I could barely leave

I almost had to be restrained - the shop front was wood-grained

I love French food markets ...actually most French markets of any kind are good but the market in St Germaine en Laye was particularly gorgeous

Why does my son hate is it possible

The radish as an art-form

Our Pretty Boulangerie,

Every morning James would visit the Boulangerie that was only moments from our door and order our bread in his little used French accent and be bombarded with French from the Boulanger, and every day he would stiltingly try to explain that he didn't understand...I think eventually some of the chat became understandable. I think that was her plan. He is a lot less unnerved by being in a foreign country now.

We went to Versaille and there saw exquisite Macarons Parisien in the patisseries.......check these out

I could be temted away from cheese by these pretties
The back painted glass ceiling of the patisserie...fabulous

Macaron indulgent

Queen Marie Antoinette was dining frequently on these tasty sandwich cookies throughout the entirety of the new Sophia Copolla movie which presumably is why they are alllll over Versaille. The Marchionesse Mad tells us why this is historically incorrect and gives us a bit of histoire and information about the Macaron in this article titled - Food&History: Marie Antoinette and Macarons.

I don't care that she didn't really eat is just deliciously romantic to think she did.