Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures


Oil on Canvas 60cmx50cm

A wonderful early evening at Juba Bridge next to the Nile, with the team. We managed to secure a spot next to the water, which is in flood after the rains. It didn’t seem to phase a fishermen, who stood nonchalantly in his dugout, casting his net. Almost a cliche with the setting sun throwing the cloud formations into billowing colours.

On the easel, the view of Vivier from the harbour in the afternoon sunshine. Being in France, in summer, with the sunflowers out was extra special, in this part of the world where so many of the Impressionists created their masterpieces.

I was going to add more detail to the sunflower field, but decided I liked its vague suggestion, that didn’t distract from the buildings. Will need to do something about straightening the tower as the problem with painting with my left hand is that the lines tend to curve to the right.

On my jog around the UN House circuit, the cloud formation above Rock City hills, displayed the limitations of the sky I painted. In a friendly sort of, this is the creator, sort of way.

At the Bishops residence in Viviers, beds of delphs in harmony with the pale stone walls. I had to finish my painting under lights which was a new challenge. A bit like painting without my glasses.

Started the day by locking my keys in the house, after a disturbed evening with rain hammering on the roof, thunder crashing and frogs in full croak. The storm left the patio flooded and the skies are still dark and heavy with more rain potential.

Ethiopian version of espresso doing its best to burn a whole through my feet, sitting next to the Nile river waiting for the meeting to start. The wind, on a stormy day, almost cool!

Messing About with Paint

Walled City


Walled City
Oil on Canvas 60cmx30cm (Available)

The old city of Viviers, the pale walls iridescent in the early evening of summer.

On my jog around the UN House circuit, the cloud formation above Rock City hills, displayed the limitations of the sky I painted. In a friendly sort of, this is the creator, sort of way.

Being in France, in summer, with the sunflowers out was extra special, in this world where so many of the Impressionists created their masterpieces.

Diary of an Adventure


The cycle in the Village has turned, and we have fresh table cloths – red – at the Patisserie where we have our morning coffee and more-ish croissants. The baker greets us as he leaves with his baskets of baguettes and we (Hesta, Terry and Kirsten, that is) are invited for cafe at the Chateau Bar.

The team that vacuums the piles of leaves arrive on Wednesday, do a lousy job, and leave. The streets somewhat cleaner. Not a tidy lot these French.

Ginger, for dinner and live music. The streets of the square filling with people dancing. The band was versatile, the music good and the sky that magnificent ultramarine blue of the Impressionists.

Market day starts early, with the first vehicles seemingly parking in the garden at 4am. We wondered amongst the fruit, fish, meat and cheese stalls, the basket filling with ‘must have’ goodies. Leaves from the trees fluttering around us.

We drove for two hours, with the assistance of the ever helpful tourist map, to find the Roman bridge, which was 1,2km from the house! We passed a number of other bridges, a couple of villages and a Roman amphitheater. Fortunately we had a strategic supply of wine with us.

A small painting (postcard size) of a doorway on the hill in Marsanne, leading to unknown worlds. Others of the red shutters of one of the hill top villages, and the garden of our house, with a zillion more that I haven’t managed to get to. The charcoal and acrylic still giving me a tough time searching for suggestion and vibrancy through intimation.

The road snaked, drunkenly, through the Ardèche mountains, thick green woodlands giving way to barren white rock formations. Fabulous cycling country, as long as you like hills! We passed through picturesque villages, their twisting medieval streets no place for vehicles. Stopped at the markets, as much to rest queasy stomachs, as to search for that elusive Provencal table cloth, all overlaid by the smell of lavender. The crowds meant that we were more than happy to be back in our village, hidden from the world by its wild garden.

Pick nick alongside the Rhone, the city on the hill against a Turner sky, spectacular. The music se had come to listen to, somehow unimportant.

Joanna of Valois, a statue on the hill behind the city, our morning walk destination. Terry found the path, tucked behind an old goat shed, that winds its way up to the statue. Great views over the rooftops of the city, and across to the bridges across the Rhone. Not sure who decided it was the spot to erect a mobile phone tower.??

Chicken and Nüssli salad lunch, in our magic garden. The perfect time for sabrage. Red wine stocks a worry!

‘Magic Garden’. Charcoal and Acrylic on paper, a painting of our garden at the cottage in Vivier. I used the charcoal at the end of the painting to keep the colors clean, which with white, creates a flow through the painting.


Diary of an Adventure

Belle maison avec jardin

Viviers – Rhône-Alpes
Belle maison avec jardin

The green gate is sandwiched between the theater and a nondescript corner that leads up the hill through the old town. Butterflies flit through the garden of shadows, the house being swallowed in wisteria. Hammocks, the indicator of afternoons with bubbles and wine. Barking dogs, music, and stories. Silver bangles ‘well behaved women, seldom make history’, percussion to the wind blowing through the leaves. Soul, from the small fishpond fountain. Beautifully crafted tatin, works of art from the patisserie. A kitten for entertainment.

Lunch, brochettes ou boef, at the restaurant on the square.

The house is a ramshackle collection of rooms, in the process of refurbishment and restoration. The shutters are that particular distress of green that comes from eons of painting trashed by summer sun. The hinges, great chunks of iron.

Hesta, has joined us and after another plat du jour (Parma ham and melon, followed by chicken with gorgonzola cheese), this time at Ginger, we walked up through the winding streets of the city. Every corner another photo, another painting.

Patisserie, charcoal and acrylic on paper. I didn’t have anything to seal the charcoal, leading to dirty colors. My worst.

Morning walk down to the river and across the bridge, to find the spot where Signac painted his pictures of Viviers. The trees have grown, making it difficult to get his clear view of the bridge and the cathedral on the hill. Still, the sun turned the stone into shades of gold, church bells filled the air and even the bridge murmured as we walked across it. More than enough for a painting!

A walk up the twisting alleys of the old city to the cathedral. Bored cats watching our progress. Squares, white walls topped by the blue sky, an invitation to stop for a glass of wine.

Vue de Viviers
Charcoal and Acrylic on Paper

Messing About with Paint

Paul Signac

Heading for Viviers, a small walled city in the South of France. As my oil paints are not suitable for travel, I will continue with my charcoal and acrylic illustrations.

In the world of the Impressionists, I have expanded my acrylic palette from the raw seine e and white I have been using to include the colour a of the Impressionists. Paul Signac, who with Seurat, founded the pointillism style of painting, painted views of Viviers. While I certainly won’t be trying his technique, I will draw inspiration from his work

Viviers Paul Signac