|Hey, that's me! Sketching ancient rocks in a French meadow.|
Jean-Louis is also one of that interesting breed of Frenchmen who is (and I say this without exaggeration) mad about American "old time" music. He has an amazing collection of antique banjos and mandolins, and was kind enough to indulge my request for a private concert. (You can watch a Sigrove Stompers video here.)
Together we visited the Jardin des Sens in Coutières. It's a special place, not only for its lovely gardens, but also because it filters water for the entire community through a "natural" system.
From the countryside around Fomperron I traveled to the coast of Bretagne, wherein I made my one and only train mistake (and I rode a lot of trains). I missed my stop and ended up at the end of the line on the last train of the day. With much gesticulating I was finally able to convince the Chef du Gare to call my friend Denis ("Oui, he speaks French"), who was waiting in the place I was supposed to be. I felt a bit foolish, obliging Denis to drive further to retrieve me, but in the end it turned out to be a good mistake. We drove through the marais salants as the sun set, watching the paludier at work and getting to see marsh owls and baby avocets.
The trip to Mesquer was the impetus for the entire trip. Not the grand art or great food of the Continent, but a birthday party under a big tree in a garden by the sea.
It was so great to spend time with friends old and new, including a few I hadn't seen in 16 years. (!!!) The birthday boy, Denis Clavreul, and mutual friend Robin D'Arcy Shillcock (both outstanding artists, of course) have been my friends, colleagues, and confidants for almost 25 years. Our in-the-flesh meetings are infrequent and all-too-brief... but each time we pick up as though no time has passed and sharing a table is the most natural thing in the world. Which it is.
|Dunes and beach at Mesquer, France|
|Markthal Rotterdam - click to embiggen|
|Markthal escalator with timeline.|
It's fascinating stuff, and really thoughtfully done. (In both Dutch and English, if you're wondering.)
After the Markthal we stopped in the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, which has fantastic collections of old masters and modern oddities. I spent a lot of time in the print room, which rotates its displays of work on paper every few months. One can also sit on the bench and access the collection digitally to check out works that are not currently on exhibit. (Images are projected on the wall opposite the bench.)
Nicky returned home to Hardenberg and I found my way to Amsterdam and my hotel. The next day I flew to Boston (via Detroit, if you can believe it). I spent two nights at the Mass Audubon Museum of American Bird Art in Canton, where I had a chance to view an exhibition of watercolors by Don Eckelberry and to lead a couple of printmaking activities with children at the Museum's summer camp program.
From there it was back to Maine and Hog Island. Yes, it was one of those cliché weeks: Monday France, Tuesday Netherlands, Wednesday Travel, Thursday Boston, Friday Maine. It's now a week later and we have just wrapped up five days of programming for Educators' camp.
On Monday the next adventure begins, as I move out to the Bingham cottages and take up my role as Artist-in-Residence.
It's overcast and cool here today, and fairly quiet. All of the campers and most of the staff have gone back out into the world and those of us who remain are enjoying a more leisurely pace... catching up with email and laundry (and blog posts). Thank you all for indulging the travelog the past few weeks... I'm hoping to share some island field work soon!