23 October 2014

Gentle gardening



 I'm really wanting to get out in the garden with a spade in my hands .and make a start on creating the flower bed that went on hold last year. However I think I'm being a bit ambitious just yet. I did try to do a little but...Mr France and my body are telling me to hold on a bit and take things slowly and gently, So I listened and this is what I've been  doing this past week.

Something easy.

planting bulbs in baskets which later Mr France can hang on the terrace.

I did have big ideas of planting loads of bulbs in the bank I call the wild part of the garden.  

Now I'm thinking maybe later. I hope I don't run out of time before the frost comes.

These were bargain 2kg bags.
 63 Tulips and 65 Varied Daffodils

Which will have to stay in the trug for a little while longer

 I was able to tackle a bit of tidying up, which was easy, I pulled down
 a few branches of the Virginia Creeper and was about to dump it, then 
as I was pushing it into the wheelbarrow it started to
 automatically twist into itself making a rough garland,
so I instantly  rescued it, and look at these wreaths I made.
I'll put them on one side until I have gathered enough
bits of natural things to decorate them.

Even though I wasn't able to bend and dig, I was quite pleased
 with what I did achieve.

What do you think ?


à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

18 October 2014

Sketches of the Atlantic / Charente coast.

At last I've started to sketch in my Moleskine journal.
I don't know why I was hesitating. 
It's so lovely to paint in,
I'm  really enjoying dabbling at trying different techniques.
I wish I'd used it sooner.

Talmont was the village we stayed at.
 I knew I'd love painting these chocolate box style cottages.

I didn't see the sign not to pick the seeds.
Préserver notre site. 
Ne pas cueillir les fleurs et gralnes
Protect our site
Do not pick the flowers or seeds.
 until I'd slipped a few seed heads into my pocket.
To compensate for my
vraiment grave erreur / really bad mistake 

 I bought some postcards which two lovely elderly ladies 
had had the initiative to put the card in a see through bag
and add lots of the roses trémières / hollyhocks seeds
then embellish the bag with a pretty etiquette
Plaisir d'offrir  / The pleasure of giving .
How thoughtful is that.

We went further along the coast to Meshers, and walked along the cliff edge over looking the Atlantic, where we saw lots of  huts on stilts, some painted blue.They're called  Carrelets  and are used for fishing.They have large square nets with a sturdy frame, which are lowered into the shallow water to catch whatever fish might be passing.and then a crane like lifting device is used to lift the net which needs two or three men to operate as they are very heavy.

Les Grottes.

The caves originally carved by nature, later the holes were then enlarged by man to become
 the 19th C. real troglodytes.(some caves are still occupied today )


Be it at the bottom of these lost holes 
under those layers of fossils
that happiness is nesting

M. Brossard 
Naturel Scientist  1891


I hope you enjoyed seeing the Atlantic/Charente coast
through my sketches in a Moleskine - Carnet Aquarelle 21x13 cm.
Using a Micron /pigma 01 pen and painted with W & N water colour paints.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

17 October 2014

Autumn colours.

The Virginia creeper which climbs up the wall
of La Petite Maison, is always the first to turn to such lovely shades of crimson.

I managed to capture the beautiful shades of gold of the leaves
on the Canadian oaks planted in rows in a field near my home.

These tall trees I see near where my daughter lives.
Another favourite walk we love to take when passing.
Fortunately I had my pocket camera with me whilst walking there recently.

Ah! good, a bench to sit awhile and soak up the splendour of natures beautiful colours.

Who wouldn't want to sit and devour these beautiful colours.
 I keep telling myself I should try painting 'en plein air'

This picture is not my own and I'm sorry I can't give credit to the photographer.
as I saw it on a friends facebook page and recognised where it is.
It's the old part of Limoges city near where I live.
It the colours that made me want to show it in my autumn colours post.

These are a few bits of autumn I brought home from my walk
waiting for me to sketch in my Moleskine journal.

With all the beauty of autumn around me
I have so much to capture, so I'd better get painting.
Couldn't resist showing a few autumn stems in a simple jam jar


à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

06 October 2014

The Atlantic Coast.

My regular friends who follow my posts will know that I've had a miserable time this year.
I love where I live in the beautiful countryside of France and I'm happy just pottering in my garden.
This year I've not been able to do very much, but now I'm feeling so much better and the last of our summer visitors have now left, so Mr France suggested a short trip away to the coast.

Before we moved to the middle of nowhere in central France we'd always lived near the sea,
so like a flash I was searching on internet for somewhere to stay, nothing fancy, somewhere quiet, where we could take short walks and enjoy the sea air and that's just what we found.
This  is where we stayed.
It was a Perfect choice.

Talmont is on the coast of the estuary of 'La Gironde' 

On the edge of the cliff was this imposing12th C church.
Very bare inside.



Most of the houses are stone or painted white with blue shutters and doors and looked like this.

This pretty little village has narrow streets and
only the people who live there are allowed to drive their cars in.

So we saw lots of bicycles, I think some were there just for ornament .

These larger houses had just been renovated and were 'For Sale'
I would have loved to have a peep inside,
but this couple were with an agent and seemed like prospective buyers .

I'm always collecting seed heads from plants where ever I go !
I only saw this sign after I had my pockets full !
oops !

I loved this sign outside of a holiday rental house.

After our morning walking around the narrow streets, we drove up the coast a few miles
where there are three beautiful beaches. We chose this one to have our lunch.
As you can see hardly anyone around. This is definitely a summer seasonal place.
 I'm sure during the months of July and August this would be so crowded.
But we so enjoyed our time here.

After our lunch of fresh fish, the waiter suggested we went down onto the beach to relax,
 and have our coffee sitting under the beach parasols. He must have sensed our needs.

Then some youngsters came onto the beach for what looked like a sailing lesson.
So the view was constantly changing, first group green sails then the next blue.

Being thoroughly relaxed,
 we then walked from one end of the beach to the other, along the edge of the sea.

After spending the afternoon at the beach a little further up the coast
we arrived back to the village where we were staying to have a relaxing aperitif.

This was the 'plat du jour' menu
One course and a glass of wine or beer.
However we had already eaten our main meal at lunch time.
I was so happy to see at least one or two Roses Trémières / Hollyhocks still flowering.

 During the summer months the village is a mass of pink & red from 'Roses Trémières '
which grow along the edge of the walls of the houses.

I couldn't stop taking photos.

Back at our hotel room, each evening the family dog arrived
 for any tit-bits that might come his way.
Those adorable eyes staring at me, made me find something to give him.
He was still there, until we closed the shutters.
I hope you enjoyed seeing a hidden treasure of a place
in France you might never think of visiting.
You might be wondering what happened to the sketches
I was planning on doing during the time we were away.
Well I have a confession to make, I was so busy taking photos
and then relaxing.
I didn't find time to sketch 'en plein air'
so I'll be painting from photos.
Next time I'll show you some of the other places we visited.
à bientôt
Barbara Lilian