Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bonjour, France!

Nope. I wasn't able to blog from France after all. Access to wifi was limited and time was even more so. We were busy, busy, busy with painting both in the studio and en plein air, touring charming villages and amazing museums, shopping at the local brocantes and oui, oui ... eating lots of beautiful French food.

So I'll play catch-up. This will be the first of a series of posts I will write to share my fabulous experience. For those who may not be aware of my reasons for going to France, here's the thumbnail. My good friend, neighbor and fellow pastelist, Jane, and I decided that we MUST jump in on the great opportunity to study under the tutelage of award-winning and master pastelist, Margaret Dyer. She would be teaching this two week workshop at La Bonne Etoile in Fontaine-Fourche for the 5th year, I believe. Jane and I followed her daily blog posts from her workshop last year and we fell in love with the idea of it. So as soon as registration opened up last fall, we were the first two students to register for this year's workshop. Voilá!

Off we went to France on June 10. We were exhausted but exhilarated upon arrival. It was so beautiful there! The weather, the gardens, the food ...  all gorgeous! Day one in the studio was challenging but fun and so informative. Margaret Dyer is an amazing teacher. Enough words ... see for yourself!

Through these gates we found a wonderland waiting for us on the other side.

In the village of Fontaine-Fourche (east of Paris) is La Bonne Etoile, the magnificent home and artist retreat owned by Jerome and Kippy, the greatest hosts ever. The house and gardens are breathtaking!

This is the massive barn where the studio is located, right through that turquoise door and up the stairs.

Jane and I stayed in the gite (pronounced zheet) across the road from the main house. It was a charming little place that housed four of us. Jane and I were in the spacious upstairs bedroom with bath and there were two other ladies downstairs, where there was also a common kitchen and dining area.

 I couldn't resist taking a picture of our magnificent bathroom sink. We found most bathroom fixtures and faucets in France to be grand and beautiful.

We even had our own private garden at the gite. Here's Jane enjoying her morning coffee.

Here we are ... the fabulous artists and soon-to-be-friends attending Margaret's workshop. There were 12 of us, hailing from all over the place; New Jersey, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, and three from Tasmania. Aka the Tasmaniacs. Which they are. We adore them. See Jerome, our fabulous French host, hiding amongst all those women!

Every night we were served a five course meal on this beautiful patio, lasting three hours from about 7:30 to 10:30. The food ... magnifique! I returned home with extra baggage ... and not in the suitcase!

Beyond the turquoise door lies the studio, where the magic happens. Next post: painting in the studio. Exactly what we came to do! Stay tuned!


  1. Balance your spiritual energy and get in harmony with your soul by practicing these Radha-Krishna meditations.

    Sri Gita Govinda
    -A book written in the 12th century, this is a description of the intimate loving affairs of Radha and Krishna

    Govinda Lilamrta
    -An 400 year old book which poetically describes the eternal daily pastimes of Radha and Krishna

    Ananda Vrindavan Campu
    -This is probably the most poetic and intimate portrayal of Sri Krsna’s life in Vrndavana that has ever been written.

    Prayers of Service to Radha and Krishna (Sankalpa Kalpadruma)

    Prema Samputa The Treasure Chest of Love

    And the following four are taken from Visvanath Cakravarti's Camatkara Candrika, a 300 year old scripture that talks about the love meeting of Radha and Krishna:

    The Meeting in the Box

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as a Female Doctor

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as a Female Singer

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as Abhimanyu

    And lastly, we have a very amazing scripture which describes the 24 hour daily loving affairs of Radha and Krishna in Vrindavan, called Bhavanasara Sangraha. This book is now available on Amazon for Kindle, for only $3.49


    Here is a 41 page sample of Bhavanasara Sangraha:

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