Tuesday, 31 August 2010


I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, and was waiting for photos of menhirs and stuff, but I can't get hold of them so I'm publishing this very late, without changing anything.

The weather still isn't really summery, we have the occasional few hours of sunshine, but mostly it's a bit grey and cold. Yves was here for a week and we got out quite a lot considering. We took a picnic to the estuary of the Aulne at a place called Le Passage, near Trégarvan;  it was beautiful and very quiet.

We also went back to the Montagne St Michel to get another shot at the chapel, the scenery around there is so complex, so many greens.

Last Tuesday, we went for a walk with Ellie around the Anse St Laurent, near Concarneau, she loves that walk through the forest with all its smells, and I love it because you follow the sea most of the way. I took some good photos of mosses.

We also went to three exhibitions of paintings, there are lots around here at the moment. One was at Bénodet, of paintings by official Peintres de la Marine. Some were absolutely wonderful. And we went to the Musée des Beaux Arts in Quimper to see Meijer de Haan, a contemporary of Gauguin, who lived around here with him for a while. That was very good too. And on Tuesday afternoon, we went to the Manoir du Moustoir, about ten minutes from here, where there was an exhibition of Mathurin Méheut, and a contemporary painter called Bonnot, and a few others, wonderful stuff, all so different.

de Haan

We ate out several times, once by the sea at Kerity, Chez Emma (Le Doris), no surprises there, all good fresh fish and friendly service, and at Ty Coz on the northern edge of Quimper, which I had wanted to try for ages. Nice place, quiet, tables well spaced apart, a fairly short menu but good food. I had a feuilletée de petits gris and mushrooms with garlic butter and Yves had smoked trout with a millefeuille of tapenade and frothy pea mixture, then porcelet confit dans son jus pendant 7 heures, which was simply wonderful, with lots of veg for a change, and pièce de boeuf which was also declared very good.  And then profiteroles and crème brûlée. Menu at 29€. There were much more complicated menus. The drink was very expensive though. Apéritif was exorbitant, but we had a good Chinon.  The only fault to be found was that the carafe of tap water was strongly javelisé, they should invest in filter jugs!

We also went out hunting for prehistoric burial chambers, unsuccessfully at first, but later, having parked the car roughly where the plan said we should find one, we walked for ages along an ancient sunken track, and eventually, having asked an elderly local lady for directions, found it in a field of wheat. There are so many around Brittany, that the farmers don't pay them much notice, and often they are covered in brambles and surrounded with crops. Only the more important ones, or those standing in places that cannot be cultivated, are kept clear of vegetation.

I've done a teeny bit of work on the bathroom, painted the ceiling, one coat at least, before I ran out of paint and had to go up to Audierne today to get more. Looks good though, pale shell pink instead of that awful varnished wood colour.

I've finished another painting,  of a hypothetical bit of the Finistère coast in winter at low tide, with a lighthouse and a village right in the distance, seen through pine branches. It all sounds complicated, and it is, far too complicated. I'm not happy with the layout or the subject matter. But it's all in a good cause, and  each time I learn something.

I picked a large bunch of wild flowers, with a bit of russet fern and some reddened dock leaves, on my way back from Audierne this afternoon, when I stopped to walk Ellie a bit. I'm going to try and still life it tomorrow. I put them in the silver christening mug I brought back from Compton last time I went.

Sunday, 15 August 2010


The good thing about having a jungle for a garden is that at certain times of the year, it turns into a blackberry patch! I have just won the All Brittany Prize for the most blackberries picked in the shortest time. I've been meaning to hack myself a path down the garden to check on them for some while, and today was the day. So armed with secateurs, a colander, and a dachshund puppy on a lead (for fear of her going into, but never coming out of the bramble patch), I have just picked a kilo of prime berries, not the mouldy ones, not the unripe ones, not all the ones that fell off into the undergrowth because I didn't have a hand free to steady the branch I was picking off (if you understand my English), but the enormous, really ripe kind that you never see in hedgerows because someone has always got there before you. But this is my private patch.

And this after having given a second coat to the bathroom ceiling and plastered as much of the bathroom walls as the bucket contained (said to be 7m², but nearer 5m² I reckon - I shall have to get more).

So you will forgive me if I sit down with a book for the rest of the afternoon and have blackberries and cream for my tea.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


Here are a some photographs of  paintings I've done recently. There are others I'm still fiddling with.

This is a riverside village, not all that good, I couldn't get the green right.

This is called Dimanche au bord de la mer, and I'm very pleased with it. I don't know if you can make it out in the picture, I've scratched plates, knives and forks and glasses into the wet paint. It really gets the atmosphere I wanted and I think I'm making progress.

This is Girl with green hair, it looks better in the close up version on the right, but the composition is slightly off so I've put the other full version on the left. I've noticed that the best paintings are done on old canvases that I've painted over to use again. It gives an interesting twist to backgrounds that you would never get otherwise.

My pottery has proved unphotographable, it just doesn't come out right, so I'm not going to show it to anyone. I did lots of pots, rather nice ones, at the end of the pottery year, and a sort of art nouveau lady without arms who is going to become a lamp when I've found or made a shade for her. Maybe then I can get a good photograph. And I've got an artichoke sculpture coming up (last coat, I hope, of enamel being fired this week) which looks quite good. Maybe I can get a decent photo of that...