Sketching, One One Year In France

Mardi de cette semaine, c’était notre premier anniversaire de déménagement en France. (Tuesday of this week was our first anniversary of moving to France.) Our life has changed, the world has changed, and my sketching continues to change.

Our lives have changed in so many ways, I have written of many of those changes in blogs over the year, as has Tricia in her “Travels Through My Lens” blog. The major change of course was moving from our Mukilteo townhouse on Harbour Pointe Boulevard to our 230 year old home that at one time was the building where the tools and equipment were stored and repaired for a cidrerie in Normandie, France.

This sketch combines pencil, ink, and watercolor. The large round stones are abundant in the area as are the troughs where they pressed the apples or pears, powered by a donkey. Our home is in the background to the left of the tree.

We went from a suburb of busy, high-tech Seattle, to rural farmland where technology is a daily challenge, our phones still pick up a 3G signal more often than not, and wifi is slow at best. Any direction you look you see fields and often cows, always good for a sketch.

The world of course has changed, we continue to watch the crazy, nasty division taking place in our home country, while we observe the crazy culture and politics of our new country. Currently France is protesting over their government’s intention to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Protesting in the most literal sense – they have national days of protest, and at the moment a rolling protest which means it goes on and on until the unions decide to stop them.

As I write this we are at an airport hotel ready to fly to the south of Portugal this afternoon. Yesterday we had to change to an earlier train from Flers to Paris as the train we were originally on was cancelled due to the strike. In Paris the strike literally stunk, no garbage collection for over a week so there are piles of garbage all along the sidewalks, in front of shops and restaurants – and some are quite fragrant. I did this sketch from memory while riding in the taxi from Montparnasse to the airport.

Sketching while watching TV is relatively new for me. We watched, and would recommend, the new Eugene Levy series “The Reluctant Traveler.” I did this while he was in Utah, a place both of us like a lot.

Last Sunday we watched the movie “A Good Year.” Since we know the dialogue so well in English we watched it in French with no subtitles. Tricia of course understood a whole lot more than I did, but I did catch a word or two. Sketching seemed like a good thing to fill in the gaps. Flowers and a hilltop Provençal style town.

Spring is upon us, even the cherry blossoms are celebrating our first year. One thing has not changed, cherry blossoms and trees are still one of my favorite subjects to paint and sketch.

It has been quite a year, challenges and wonderful adventures. I would not trade it for anything – we can’t imagine what this next year holds, we have a lot of plans, so we will see. We do like living in Europe, yet a piece of our heart is always with the water and mountains of Puget Sound.

I hope your travels are enjoyable this week, weather they be near or far, and as always keep sketching or if you don’t sketch, give it a try.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Sheree says:

    Enjoy Portugal


  2. I hadn’t heard of the Eugene Levy travel show. I’ll look for it. Maggie


    1. It is pretty new, we are watching it on AppleTV+ not sure if it is other places. Quite entertaining

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shirley says:

    This posting made me smile. Lovely sketches and unpredictable adventures as you both work your way through the world from Mukilteo to rural
    France to ‘fragrant’ Paris and on to as yet unseen locations. Your heart can be in all of them. That’s the joy of travel: places become a part of you…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Shirley, for sure, but I am OK if the stench of the garbage in Paris does not stay with me…


  4. What a beautiful document of your first year in France! Your comments on poor WiFi killed my dream of living and working in a similar setting for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes is is a challenge, however we do live in a very rural setting. We have wifi that comes from Orange, the largest provider of such things in France, but we are at the end of the line, so it can be weak. In lighting storms we have to unplug the router as they can blow up, the owner has been through many. We also have a 4G hub that we rent, it often works better. Yet when we are at a hotel in a larger city we do enjoy the speed.

      Liked by 1 person

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