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A Very Early Morning in Provence

Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.

– Pablo Picasso

I remember thinking it was way too early to be up and travelling in a mini van! Looking out through the van window, everything was still blanketed in a soft fog, matching exactly how my body felt on this May morning.

Our small walking group was embarking on an ambitious day of hiking and exploring in the Bouches-du-Rhône area of Provence, France, thus the reason for the very early start. I leaned against the window, closed my eyes and thought “Wake me when we get there”.  Only a few minutes into the ride, our local guide asked if we wanted to make an unscheduled stop to see her “favourite village in all Provence”. The one person in our group who was fully awake enthusiastically exclaimed “Yes!”

And bless her for being a morning person, or we might have missed this experience! Within a few minutes, we were in the small hilltop town of Ventabren, where only our group and a few cats and dogs were on the streets. The silence of the town, the morning birdsong, the sun breaking through the fog patches to reveal lovingly-restored stone homes and winding laneways. Our normally boisterous group was taking it all in with reverence and obvious respect for the still-sleeping residents. I kept thinking who are these lucky people that live here and can have these glorious mornings whenever they want. I snapped photos of the streets, homes, and doors of these lucky people.

We got back into the van, and needless to say, we were all very much awake now and very grateful for our guide’s spontaneous and generous invitation to share her favourite place with us.

This third door mini painting of 2017 is inspired by a photo of that unexpected 2008 morning:

#68 – Provence Door and Roses – sold

(in studio, 2.5″ x 3.5″ ink and watercolour)

The 3 new door-themed mini paintings, arranged in series:

Doors of Provence and Tuscany (2017)

3 replies »

  1. Reblogged this on Tales of Mindful Travel and commented:
    The relationship between art and travel is well established, but less well known or considered by modern day travellers. It was Victorian poets especially but also with writers and artists who first considered the English Lake District as a tourist destination. Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, De Quincey all wrote about what they saw, inspiring others to “come and see”. The area of Provence will be forever associated with Van Gogh, especially around Arles and whenever one sees a field of sunflowers, and we recently wrote about the colours of Andalucia seen so much in Picasso’s works displayed in Malaga.
    Yesterday we discovered Art We Wonderful, the blog of Marion Younan which caught our eye quite literally with her wonderful sketches. She is a full time artist who travels to sketch (have I got that right way round?) and whose artwork and writing beautifully captures a scene, a building, a door …..
    We hope you enjoy the places she visits through her work as much as we do, particularly this example from A Very Early Morning in Provence. Do visit!

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