Church at Azay le Rideau


Back home from France, I’m going through my sketchbook:

The castle at Azay le Rideau, was closed, but from the grounds of the gift shop, I had this view of the neighboring church. There was just enough time to do this quick pen sketch. I intended to add watercolor later, but decided it was fine with just a bit of green hedge. 


Chartres Cathedral

I had long wanted to see the famous stained glass windows in Chartres Cathedral. The windows, even more than I expected, were just part of what I saw: Windows almost beyond number, statues of saints known and unknown; and the on- going cleaning to remove 600+ years of grime…a tedious project, no simple pressure wash job! Note the clean-dirty contrast on photo #3

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Wine Tour

It was a muggy, hot day in Chinon, when our leader Jane scheduled a wine tour for us before dinner. The tour was in a cave, tunneled under the Chinon castle. I posted a painting of the castle a few days ago.
The coolness of the cave was balm to the late afternoon heat. The cave was a perfect place for aging the acclaimed Chinon White wines, not to be confused with Chenin Blanc! We enjoyed tastings of Chinon's best wines.

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Images from the Loire

Our cycle group spent two days in Chinon. Some did more cycling, some hung out and one of us was in art heaven with a free day to paint!
The bush and climbing roses are in full bloom, along fences, climbing up old walls. There is a lovely pink rose named for French poet Pierre Ronsard. It is more lush and floriferous than the yellow climber I found.

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Painting in Champtoceaux

This was the longest bike ride of the trip, 75k finishing with a switchback climb into the town of Champtoceaux.
The next morning, a quiet Sunday, I woke early and walked the short distance to see this castle.
I had been sitting all alone on the curb working on the proportions of the two towers. I had just finished the pen drawing when a woman in a pretty pink bathrobe came to see what I was doing. Apparently she had been watching me from her window.
I showed her my journal. We chatted a bit. She knew no English and I speak only rudimentary French. She gestured for me to follow her to her home nearby. She opened the door to the studio In her home. I admired dozens of her paintings which she shows in galleries in Champtoceaux and also in Tours.
What an exciting time I hadI I hurried back to our hotel where my biking companions were eating breakfast to tell everyone about my encounter.

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Dinning in France

Our first group dinner, with the bicycle club I'm traveling with, was at Chateau Beaullieu, Tours. Everything had enticing eye-appeal: The table beautifully set, food presented artfully, every plate carefully positioned before us. The great care taken with everything indicated this was a meal to savor. Note the hand blown water glass with red streaks, each glass slightly different.

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Smoked salmon, aspic with vegetables and a poached egg as the bottom layer, beet pur��e, and tossed lettuce salad

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Turbot fillet on pur��ed fresh peas, creamy butternut squash, saut��ed mushrooms.

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Chocolate volcano, melted chocolate"lava", vanilla praline ice cream.
A meal to remember!