I arrived at Les Bassacs in the south of France, last Saturday evening after two flights and lots of waiting time between. Over a delightful dinner with wine I met my fellow painters - a group of similarly aged, independent and interesting women. Sunday started with a morning visit to the wonderful market at Isle sur la Sorgue, and after lunch, a visit to the nearby Chateau de Bourgane to paint.
Our instructor for the week, James Bland, a painter from the UK, suggested we start with large simplified shapes of colour values using a fairly limited range of colours - white and the primaries. I have been thinking recently about how one "starts a painting", trying to be more conscious of my process, and looking for ways to refine or improve it. Following his suggestion, I blocked in the big shapes with colour values, and then began to refine, but not add too much detail. This is what I had after about an hour and twenty minutes, and I quite like it.
This was also the first time using my 'new stuff', i.e. the easel with tray and box attachments and tote bag on wheels. The bag was great - I dragged it everywhere, and was happy to have it, though I do have to improve how I pack it, but I know that will come with use. The easel was OK, but not great. My main criticism is with how high I can raise the painting surface. I am 5'6" tall and I found that my painting surface was barely high enough to be comfortable when painting. I did like the 'tray', however, as it held my paper palette and was therefore quite useful.
All in all a good start for the week.