Monday, April 8, 2013

April Fools! Or are we just happy?

Today in France, people who are fooled on April 1 are called Poisson d'Avril, which literally means the "April Fish." What a fish has to do with April Fools' Day is not clear. Some believe that the fish is tied to Jesus Christ, who was often represented as a fish in early Christian times.

It's probably no coincidence that April Fools' Day is celebrated at the same time that two other similar holidays are celebrated. In ancient Rome, the festival of Hilaria was thrown to celebrate the resurrection of the god Attis. Hilaria is probably the base word for hilarity and hilarious, which mean great merriment. 

No wonder the word holiday is linked with happiness.  Check this out!

Holi - Festival of Colour
In India, the Holi festival celebrates the arrival of spring.  As a part of that festival, people play jokes and smear colours on each other.  Can you imagine being part of this!!!!

For me its always a special day as it was my fathers birthday and holds many (funny) memories of the dreadful jokes my brother and I played on him!

Exciting news!!!!!

We have another wonderful artist - Jane Minter - who has signed up with us to run a Watercolour workshop with us here at Bandouille.  Click here for more details of Jane and her work and the workshop.

Here is what Jean Haines  wrote for Janes first exhibition...

" Ever since I met Jane I have been impressed by her use of watercolour as a medium. She has a way of bringing subjects to life with gentle brushstrokes that tell a story via colour combined with a masterful technique. I am honoured to have been part of this artists journey in watercolour and feel they have a brilliant future in the world of art. " 

                                                            Jean Haines SWA
 Praise indeed!

Especially for those who love painting flowers and/or interesting objects for still life and wishing to achieve a looser style Jane is for you!  As always spaces are limited so be sure to book soon to guarantee a place.

We also have Joanne Boon Thomas, Eugen Chisnicean and Alison Cotton with paintbrushes at the ready to teach you all their secrets.
For details of all our other tutored groups in 2013 please click here..

There are a few publications out there showing our advert.  Please feel free to pass these amongst your art groups, friends and family.  The current Artists and Illustrator Magazine has our ad.  The magazine (Artists and Illustrator) also has us featured in an online article showing us as on of the   12 best Art Holiday's ....Yay! We have also re-produced our little "brochure".  Please click here to view.

I have been fairly busy the last couple of months finding ideas for the Watercolour Challenge on I Draw and Paint, which I have been running for the last couple of years. 

Since we last spoke I have painted a number of statues using the Brusho product that I love using at the moment, which was March's challenge and have caught up with February's challenge of portraits. I have learnt so much using Carrie Stuart Parks Book on watercolour portraits and by studying wonderful artists like Stephie Butler, Carole Massey and others found on the internet.

This month we have Spring has Sprung and that covers a multitude of subjects.  Contributors to this include Sharons lambs, Gary's ducks and Ann's geese.....all great Easter subjects.

If you didn't already know Art community websites are a wonderful place to belong to and the best learning platform ever (apart from our holidays that is!!!!).

I belong to a few I Draw and Paint which is mentioned above, The Painting Loft and Paint my Photo.  These are my main ones.  Others that I have tried failed to keep me interested or inspired and have therefore fallen by the wayside.  So if you are not member of any of these check them out.  You will find wonderful photos to paint from, a multitude of inspiration and plenty of advice from everyone that is on there.

Oh one last site I have just joined and I L O V E  in Pinterest.....hooked! This site should come with a health warning.......very absorbing!

I think that I will "draw" a line under that now (pardon the pun!!!) as I have promised to reduce the babble but post more often.

More next time about renovation and the garden.......

Please feel free to comment on anything that you have seen or read and see you again soon!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fabulous February!

Bandouille in winter

Not everyone's favourite time of year but for me, when the sun is out and there is a crisp frost on the ground, not many other months in the year can match its beauty.  The sun is strong in the sky and although cold, the air holds a promise of the year to come. The flowers sleepily raise their heads through the hard ground to take a peek for themselves to see if it is indeed safe to come out yet.  The loveliest of all of these flowers (in my opinion are the snowdrops) with their white freshness.

I aim to get the veg patch working for me this year and have already bought some exciting seeds to try out.  Last year I let it go as my hip would not allow me the luxury of working much in the garden, but hopefully by being sensible (ha!) this year and not over doing it I will get some work done there.

Back out there after this posting for more pruning and weeding.  What could be a more perfect task in this weather?

Happy New Year - again!!!!
No I am not going mad!…We have just celebrated the New Chinese Year – the Year of the Watersnake.  I know that this is not normal practice to celebrate this event in the Western world (unless you are of course Chinese) but the event always seems to spike an excuse to hold a Chinese evening so that people can exercise their culinary skills in cooking a Chinese meal or just an excuse to go eat wonderful Chinese food.

We, at AVF in Parthenay as an art group enjoy the challenge of coming up with a suitable painting of the animal that is being celebrated in the appropriate year and this year I have painted a Watersnake.  Not a favourite creature of mine, but fun to try and achieve the skin texture and overall was pleased with the result.  I used Brusho for this piece and is A4 in size.

Talking of Brusho - just a reminder to all that we have three fabulous workshops happening in 2013.  The first in line taking place is Joanne Boon Thomas’s Brusho/watercolour workshop, at the end of June.Brusho although its been around for a while its just now gaining recognition and is an exciting "ink" medium that produces some surpising results.

Eugen Chiscean's watercolour week is in August when he will demonstrate and teach his beautiful watercolour skills.

Alison Cottons Plein air watercolour workshop will be held in September. If you are a beginner I would totally recommend Alisons workshop as her approach is easy to follow and uses every opportunity to work in the fresh air (plein air).  Working principally in sketchbook format she will help you build a wonderful record of your stay at Bandouille and in France.

Jane Minter
There are still some places available so visit us on to find out more and book your art holiday for 2013.

I also have a few other artists interested in holding workshops with us this year and need to gauge interest from you.  So if you are interested in the work of Jane Minter and then please let me know as she would like to hold a workshop in September.

  I have also been in contact with Yevgenia Watts
a lady who does Batik Watercolour.  I found this delightful piece of work - named appropriately "French Windows". A fascinating process and one that I would like to explore here! Yevgenia also enjoys working on Yupo which is another area  I would like to investigate further.  Both great fun to watch and I am sure this would be a really exciting workhsop.  If you are interested in this, then please contact me for further information via email on

All the holidays are full board and include materials and we can even say now that for the health conscious we have a mini gym.  Special dietary requirements are also catered for.
I have not produced a lot of artwork recently as my energies have been geared towards the current bookings for the current year.  But creative things are never too far from my side and have found myself  knitting a lot which I haven't done for ages and enjoy doing during the winter months.   

The watercolour challenge on I draw and paint this month is principally portraits and this is an area that I would like to improve on and have been studying favourite artists of mine to see how they approach the complexities of facial techniques in watercolour. The portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge that was recently painted inspired this subject matter and wanted encourage all our members to give portraiture a go. Have a peek and see how everyone is getting on.  Very impressive so far!  This portrait of Katherine - Duchess of Cambridge was done by Meenakc and IDP member!

This weather evokes spur of moment decisions like dipping in your fishing rod into the water to see what you can get.  Especially when you see the amount of little fish that are jumping out of the way of Mr. Pike.

After 5 mins both Drew and I caught a lovely specimen of Pike and satisfied our curiosity to see if it really would be easy fishing!  It was!!!!  But this is not always the case....and of course we threw him back in!

Please feel free to comment on any of the posts and do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in any of our holidays.

See you next time!