This week, most of us were lucky enough to see our families. A mix of emotions overtook us students, as we were happy to spend time with our families, we were also quick to realize that our lives here, as exciting and adventurous as they are, will not last forever.
On European Art Classroom, we have been living in a colony of writers, readers, observers, travelers, and above all…Artists. Before this week our colony had been untouched, and it was an interesting experience to be broken up for a few days before coming back together as a group.
Sketching the Roman bridge Pont Flavien with my sister Tess
We began the week with a normal class day on Monday which consisted of language and Art History at the house and then our café lit class before splitting up for solo time in town. On Tuesday we traveled to the Roquefavour aqueduct to paint the the aqueduct in watercolor. We ended up stopping prematurely having realized that our watercolors were not up to par thus we decided to obtain new ones from the art store Cultura the next day.
Wednesday was another normal class day, however it had a twist at the end. We were to complete a still life in charcoal due at midnight. The still life contained eight separate objects. Each one chosen by a different member of the group. The still life was graded so we all put forth our best effort to create the most realistic renderings of the scene that we possibly could.
Thursday was a another promenade day were the group spent time painting another aqueduct with Dave. Friday came faster than most of the group had imagined and it was time to see our families. Being a class day, parents met up with their kids after literature class in town, and were able to spend time talking about our adventures, eating Provencal food, and experiencing life in Aix. Saturday was a day for parents to join in one of our adventures to a Medieval town named Miramas le Vieux.
In Miramas we met an artist named Dorris Salomon. A long time friend of Dave and Jen. She welcomed us with open arms and showed us her entire house and studio. It was a pleasure being able to see a professional artist in her element.
Typical of Doris's style. Heavy patient palette knife. She doesn't use mediums but just pure mixed color.
After the studio visit the entire group including families sat down for a bit of pizza, pasta, duck and trout before we headed back to the Roquefavour aqueduct one last time, so that the parents could see it at dusk. Saturday night was different for each member of the group. Some stayed home and others were in town spending one last night with their parents before saying goodbye. On Sunday most of us said goodbye to our parents and traveled back to the house in order to prepare for the academic week ahead.
For some of us, getting ready meant a renaissance of sorts.
It was an amazing opportunity to have our families with us in this beautiful country and we were grateful to have an opportunity to see and spend time with them. Before I go I want to remind everyone at home and on campus about our purpose here.
Our goal here is to be as self sufficient and self motivated as we possibly can be. Achieving these goals can often be contingent on our ability to keep focused while still enjoying and immersing ourselves in our surroundings. This can be a tough balance to strike especially with the distractions that family can provide. We have to get used to the idea of finding comfort in discomfort.
Outside our Artist’s colony, we often must consider awkward language interactions, clashes of cultural values, personal space issues, poorly maintained public bathrooms, the relationship between cars and pedestrians all the while with the enjoyable relaxed pace of French life. These are those “uncomfortable experiences”. In order to fully engage in our environment here we must take these uncomfortable situations and find them to be vital as well to our growth as students, but more importantly as world citizens.
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