Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Watercolor Days

One of my favorite artists is Sara Midda. She paints simple and beautiful watercolors of ordinary things like bread and windows and shoes and gardens. I'm really fond of small, miniature paintings, and her books South of France and In and Out of the Garden are lovely to look at. I've wanted South of France for a long time and finally picked a copy up at the bookstore the other day.

The illustrations are so charming and inspiring. Makes me want to paint a series of socks or chimneys or tea cups!

Looking at the pictures also makes me want to go back to France. My mom and I went a few years ago and spent a wonderful two weeks exploring towns in the south of France. We started off in the Dordogne and ended in Provence, and along the way saw some of the most charming towns ever: Sarlat, Rocamadour, Les Eyzies, Saint-Cirq LaPopie, Carcassone, St. Remy, and my most favorite, La Roque Gageac. Too many beautiful towns to count! Just thinking about it makes me want to go back...

One day, we stopped in a small town somewhere north of Nîmes and came across an outdoor flea market. I came away with a few treasures: three lovely little china cups (I wonder what had happened to the fourth?)

and a very old (or old-looking) key. I bought everything for 2 euros.

I used to hang my keys from the key, but now it's home to this little bird chime my mom gave me.

One of my favorite stops on that particular France trip was when we saw Paul Cezanne's studio in Aix. Everything had been kept just as he left it. I'm always inspired after seeing artists' studios. I have my own little studio and paints, but I just dabble. I began painting with watercolors after I took a one-day workshop with Molly Hashimoto last fall. It's a nice way to spend a morning or afternoon, and it's most fun when you put no pressure on yourself. All you have to do is pick up the brush and paint.

I did this quick watercolor sketch of a pug. Someday I'd like to be able to paint Pug (I'll need to get a good silver-looking color to accurately depict Pug's muzzle).