I admit to being a romantic and idealistic travel planner!
I will see photos on Instagram, a TV program, a movie or a blog story about a place and I can immediately see myself there, sitting in a café painting, always with a glass of something delicious. Then this place will make it onto my “must see” list or, at best, onto my next travel itinerary.
Many times though, when I’ve actually visited the place, the visit hasn’t gone as perfectly as in my daydream. Sometimes it goes completely wrong. There have been so many highs and lows in my travel, as I’m sure have happened in yours, too. The challenge for me is how I respond to the lows, and I admit that sometimes my response isn’t pretty. But for the most part, I’m just so thankful to be in a new place that I will try to make the best of it.
My latest miniature painting recounts one of those “off” days. The plan: Sit in an outdoor café in a pretty Provençal village, sketching in the summer shade with an icy glass of local rosé. I had pinpointed the exact village, researched the café options, packed my sketching gear, and drove towards the village in excitement. The sky darkened as we approached the town’s underground car park and, as we emerged from the car park elevator, a fierce rainstorm greeted us. We took cover from the hail as big as golf balls, the lightning and the thunder that shook the car park building. This went on at full force for over 30 minutes. Many people taking cover with us went back to their cars and left. I was absolutely determined to have that rosé and sketch! (I did sketch the car park.) We waited a further 15 minutes until the storm gave way to a light rain. Good enough – we had umbrellas and off into the village we went. Even with soggy sandals and wet feet, Saint-Paul de Vence was still as charming in the rain as in those sunny Internet photos. And on top of that, we had it all to ourselves!
Sitting at a café sketching with a wine beverage wasn’t going to happen as the rain wasn’t stopping, so instead we bought Magnum ice cream bars and took lots of photos. Both silly ones and good ones for later paintings.
And on a similarly dreary February day in Canada, I finished up a miniature ink and watercolour of that July day – a day that reminds me to find the beauty and the positive, whatever the circumstance… or weather!
(Original available online at my Etsy shop)