09/03 L’Herault Valley

So we went to the Marche du Puce at Marseillan Plage on Sunday; looked at everyones junk some of it more interesting than other. It was heaving no space to set an easel up with out getting jostled, we then went for lunch at La Luna on the port in Marseillan.
Could so easily get into this long lunch lark, and did, very relaxed. the best Moules Marinieres I have ever had down here, fat juicy mussels.
So yes I’m putting it off, no painting on Sunday again……. slapped hand

Monday was different tho’ Great Art or Geant Beaux Arts as it is known over here has opened shops in France and there is one north of Montpellier at Castelnau de Lez, quite a trek but I planned my route and wow what a joy to walk into a shop selling purely Art Materials, mainly painting but some sculpting materials and clay. I needed some titanium white oil came out spending a lot more. (I stock materials at Broad Skies Gallery????) Empathising with people who walk into Broad Skies and say its great to be able to touch and see before you buy your materials, we have lost too many materials shops, is Great Art starting a new trend a shop in the real world?

As I was in the north of Montpellier and know L’Herault valley quite well, above St Martin de Londres there is a mediaeval bridge with a Roman chapel of St Etienne next to it. I turned off the St Martin to Ganges road and followed a beautiful winding road down the mountains to my chosen spot.

When I have painted here before it has been from the other side of the river looking up to the bridge, it has been in June or September when there are hoardes of people swimming in the river and diving from the rocks. there was no one else around the sun was shining 19℃ bliss. I set up on the bridge, having had a picnic of bread, cheese and olives and looked up to the chapel.

Chapelle St Etienne  L'Herault Vallee France 18x13cm oil
Chapelle St Etienne
L’Herault Vallee
France
18x13cm oil

As I was painting people stopped in their cars to click their cameras and chat, my French is getting better all the time. How privileged I felt to be able to spend time here and absorb the vista and feel of history and the wonder of nature and the landscape. Listening to woodpeckers tapping and toads croaking, think we need to take time to breath more often. One other thing I noticed was the number of women passing on their own out walking and cycling, happy in their own company, enjoying life.

I moved on the bridge looking down river to the spot where I have painted from, with groups, on a promontory creating a weir. A great thing about taking groups away when I go back I can remember whom I was last there with, I remember sitting painting with my feet in the river on a hot September day 3 years ago, we were drawing with charcoal picked out of the fires on the riverbank.

L'Herault Vallee 24x30cm  Oil
L’Herault Vallee
24x30cm
Oil

Great memories and a real favourite place, fab views and feeling of what has gone before.

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