During the school holidays Les Cabannes has been buzzing with visitors; the marketplace on a Sunday mornings was brim-full of stalls; the swimming pool was open; the bar was always busy. In the evenings there were giant chess and draughts and skittles games in the square and, of course, the obligatory Pétanque games and tournaments. But as soon as September arrived, not only did the bookings here, for the studio, dry up but the village rapidly decreased its activities.
So now I have more time to do what I enjoy; exploring the area, taking photos, painting, walking, and writing. I’m currently watching lots of Youtube videos about painting with watercolours. Watercolour is a medium that I find extremely hard to master. Acrylics or oils allow you to correct, over-paint, and work on a piece until you are happy with the result. With watercolours you don’t have that flexibility. The experts somehow make it look so easy, but from my experience and naturally tentative way of working, it’s anything but. However I doubt many of the experts became experts right away, so I must practice to improve.
I had an afternoon doing a different craft activity with my friend Pam, who invited me to have a go at gelli plate printing. She’d made herself a rectangular slab; about A5 size x 1 cm deep of a gelatine/glycerine/water mix. On to this you put dabs of acrylic paint in your chosen colours, spread out with a printer’s roller/briar then add textured or shaped things, such as leaves, feathers, bits of lace, ribbon, stencils, etc. You then take a sheet of paper and gently press it down onto the slab and peel off to see what kind of print you have made. For Pam and I it was a journey of discovery; some print ideas came off well, others were not so good. Pam’s reason for printing in this way is to get unique materials to use in her card-making. For me it was just for the fun of seeing what happened.
Another day Pam took me to a magnificent waterfall. It is a well-kept secret, along a windy single-track road, through a village or two and on up the mountainside until we saw a small wooden signpost indicating to “Cascade”, almost hidden in the trees, on the corner of one of the hairpin bends. There was just enough room for one, or maybe two, cars to park there off the road.
We could hear the sound of the waterfall as soon as we got out of the car, so followed the track about 200 meters into the wood. Although rays of sunshine pierced the leaf canopy in places, the atmosphere was damp, dripping from the morning mist, and wet underfoot. We were further affected by spray once we arrived at the rock-pools at the base of the main waterfall. IT WAS MASSIVE!!! My photo does not really convey the scale.
So we were looking up at this waterfall and then we turned round to see glimpses of the river through the trees, as it tumbles over rocks on a further very sharp decent. I couldn’t get into a position to photograph effectively the drop below.
We next climbed up to take more pictures of the rock-pools just above the main drop.
We’d brought a picnic, but the waterfall location was all rather too wet to sit around eating, so we took the car further up river to the end of the road and a very picturesque picnic spot.
The owners of the other cars parked up, had all gone off on mountain rambles, leaving the picnic place to us. We too intended to go for a walk before we lunched but when Pam accidentally put her foot in the river, trying to get a better angle on a photograph, she said she didn’t fancy squelching around for too long. So were happily tucked into the food and drink early, in those delightful surroundings.