Tag Archives: France

Afternoon in Arles


Afternoon in Arles, 10x8", pastel, by Lucinda Howe

During my recent trip to Provence, we visited Arles and had lunch in the famous Place du Forum where Van Gogh painted Café Terrace at NightAfter lunch, I perched on a parking barricade near the entrance to a florist shop and started drawing the long view of the street.  As I was drawing the basic angles of the houses and curved street, the shop keeper was re-opening from the lunch break.  He brought pots of flowers out onto the sidewalk, and began to set up tables near and in front of me.  As I was just beginning to draw in the many doors and windows, he plopped several pots of tall bougainvillea plants down on the table in front of me.  So I quickly adjusted my plan  added the flowers in to the drawing, made notes about the story, and moved on.  Fortunately, I had a photograph of the street and was able to complete the architecture that attracted me after returning home.

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Cabrières d’Avignon

Cabrières d'Avignon

Cabrières d'Avignon, travel journal by Lucinda Howe

The trip to France was wonderful.   Here is a page from my journal with “snapshots” from around the quaint old town of Cabrières d’Avignon.

One morning I started out early and made quick drawings with color notes of the chateau in the old town and a nearby vineyard, approximately 15 minutes each.  I added some darks with a black Stabilo watercolor pencil that I found in an art supply store in Arles the day before.  Be mid morning, I came back to the house, sat in the shade in the courtyard, and added watercolor to the drawing, and  also did a larger painting of the courtyard.  Whether or not these small drawings ever become larger paintings, this was the moment in which I absorbed the most information about the town.


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What to Pack?

Small Watercolor kit for travel

It’s almost time to pack art supplies for the summer travel season.  Where are you going this summer?  Where is your favorite place to paint? What sort of kit do you pack?

I’m excited to be traveling to the Provence area of France with a group of artists.  At first I thought I’d pack clothes in one suitcase and painting supplies in another.   I imagined I’d walk to locations near the villa, spend the day painting en plein air come back with several completed pieces.   Ha!  What a silly fantasy!  The others in the group are interested in tourist activities.  Then we started talking about having to schlep luggage from plane to train to tiny car and realized we should take only one carryon each.  So I’ve been trying to skinny my kit down to a minimum.

I remembered a journaling workshop taught by Margaret Hoybach who suggested carrying a watercolor book and a small watercolor kit.   The idea is to make a quick, simple drawing to capture an image along with color notes.  Add color and details at the next stop.   Try to get as much as possible before someone yells “back on the bus!”.

So I’ve collected the small kit you see here.  It has a book with watercolor paper, watercolor paint box, small bushes, pencils, kneaded eraser, water, white gouache, wax crayon, brown ink pen, black markers, Kleenex or paper towels, pencil sharpener, sea sponge, plastic bag, water bottle, spray bottle., camera, viewfinder, and glue stick.  Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be testing it to see how much more I can leave at home and still call my self an artist.  I think I can do without the glue stick.  How much weight will that save?

Do you have any advice for me?  What is the minimum you need to do art on the road?

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