Living in Aix-en Provence for the past three weeks has felt so surreal to me. It’s as though I need to keep pinching myself so I know that I am not dreaming.
Rather than taking the “grand tour,” like most people that come to Europe, we have been “hanging around,” and basking in our life-changing experience. Walking around our town and passing the various boulangeries that give off a wafting mouthwatering smell of the baking French bread throughout the air, is invigorating.
Jen and Katie having fun.
Since hitting the three week mark, I feel that initial hump of a new environment has passed, and the group and I have settled in and we have been jiving well.
We are an art colony, and we have been producing art in the studio and en plein air (outside). Although my personal art isn’t as great as others, I don't feel the need anymore to try to be like everyone else as an artist. I am learning to accept the differences and have learned where I can improve.
Earlier this week, we went to Paul Cezanne’s art studio; he was a local artist who wasn't very skilled, but created numerous amounts of art and was later recognized for his art after his death. We were able to see all the props that he used in his still lifes and view the original letters that he wrote to his colleagues including Claude Monet. Being able to be in his studio was very special; we were walking almost in his footsteps and seeing his works that he created.
On our Promenade trips every Tuesday and Thursday, we set out with our pochade boxes (paint boxes) and drive around until we find someplace to paint. Dave usually has the plan, but he never lets us in on it. The idea, being a mystery. Where we are going to end up is thrilling.
We are always taken aback with the beauty of the said spot that we arrive at. Since we have no previous experience in France, we are able to look at things with an open and virgin eye. We are forming our impressions without having any preconceived ideas.
As part of our promenad this past week, we visited a current Proctor students, Aunt. She and her husband obtain and run a winery; and have been running the vineyard for the past twenty years. She immediately welcomed all of us into her beautiful home. She described how wine is made and how to harvest the grapes and press them to make the savory juice.
She taught us how to smell wine in the glass and how to properly hold the glass while tasting the wine. She gave us a tour of her vast vineyards, and showed us how the vine stores the grapes for the next harvest season from the previous year. The vines protect their “kids” over themselves. As we approached the end of our time with Tina and her husband, we had a melancholy feeling. We all were very sad to leave such a beautiful secluded home.
As we are heading to Paris tomorrow morning, the house feels on edge with anticipation. We will be taking a high speed train, and I have a feeling that we will all be anxious with excitement to arrive in the City of Love, Paris.
- Mikaylee '17