Fountain Walk

Monday. I suggested Sunday night that everyone do a watercolor wash over a page of their sketchbook in preparation of our “fountain walk” today. Within the walls of the old city of Vence there are lots of fountains, many of them named. Drawings with ink on top of our colored pages came out beautifully. Linda’s, without the color, was amazing. I gave them about 20 minutes at each place, taking a coffee/sketching break along the way.





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The last fountain we visited was called the “Dufy Fountain.” Raoul Dufy painted here and did one of the fountain which is pictured here.

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That night we had “pizza take-away.” Even the box was a work of art.


Becoming French

Our first full day in Vence began with coffee and croisants at what was to become my favorite bakery/pastery shop, Pâtisserie Palanque, creator of the famous Craquelin almond brioche.V.jpgScan.jpegIMG_1522.jpg

Before the others arrived,Carolyn and I took the bus to a nearby town to see how easy it would be. It was. The bus stop in Vence was a few blocks away in a beautiful setting (man and musical instruments are topiary)IMG_1098.jpg. Since we were just learning to use a French bus schedule, we missed the right bus and had to wait for the next. No problem. We just sat and sketched.


Our bus took us to Tourrettes-sur-Loup, a tiny medieval village just a few miles away. We had read all about it in Mary Busse’s book, Hermitage, Olive Grove, Village. We found the cafe she went to every day just a few feet from the bus stop and enjoyed their violet ice cream. T-s-L is called the “city of violets,” and a full range of violet-based products is on sale in the village shops. The violet fields can be visited from November to March.




When we returned, the others had arrived at our door for the week. After a well-deserved nap, we all went out for our first French cafe with its charming waiter.

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Sunday. We had been told that there was a mass at 9:00 am at the Cathedral de Notre Dame, so a few of us set out. When we got there, there was a hand-written notice (in French, of course) which we finally understood to say there was no mass at 9 that day, but to come back at 11:00. There was a large mosaic by March Chagall there, so since there was no one else in the church, we said a prayer and got out our paint. It’s called “Moses Saved from the Nile.”


The rest of the day consisted of an orientation with another group who was painting in oils, a lunch with local residents and just getting acquainted. Dale finished her amazing painting of her seatmate on the plane.

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Vence, France and Home Again

Bonjour mes amies,

These are the Sippers 2 who gathered together to discuss our upcoming trip to France: Tish, Janelle, Carolyn, Linda and Dale. (I was taking the picture.)


We are recuperating from our 24-hour trip across the pond and home – 5 hours at JFK is not enough time to leave but far too much time to sit. However, we used our time wisely and – sketched!

Internet acess was sketchy, at best, in France, and I found that my trusty laptop that I drug all the way over just to send posts would not allow me to do that. I am computer-challenged, so I finally just put it away to do it at home. (A few hours after I got home, however, I fell and broke 2 ribs, so it’s been a little while since I’ve been at the computer.)

A few days before we left, Carolyn and I celebrated the National Park Service’s birthday by sketching at Ft. Caroline National Park. She was the only non-artist among us so she wanted to get a head-start on this thing we were all so pumped up about – sketching!  And she just took off. When we got to the airport in Jacksonville to leave, she did an amazing sketch, and throughout the whole trip, her enthusiasm was contagious.

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Arriving in France: Straight from JFK to Nice, and after an hour in customs, took a taxi to our tiny street in Vence. The first night was in a charming old hotel since we arrived a day early. The view across the street and the mountains beyond was beautiful. We enjoyed a leisurely dîner under the white umbrellas before we crashed.


The next day, just around the corner, we found our beautiful street inside the ancient walled city – with our resident bob-tailed cat. Two of artists, Janelle and Tish, painted it in pastels, and Dale did a quick watercolor sketch of our Rue de la Coste.

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Our apartment was enormous: huge living/dining room, kitchen and 4 bedrooms with bath in each. There was even a tiny terrace on the 4th floor. The view out our window was breathtaking – views of the mountains with Matisse’s chapel right in the middle, the only pure white building. Each morning began with a magnificent sunrise with the pigeons on the wire.




This will prove to be a bon voyage. More to come….




Sippers 2

Hello, all you followers of the Sippers – Sketchers in Provence! I hope you’ve had a good summer. Just a heads-up: the Sippers are back. This time it’s the Sippers 2, another group, another place in Provence, with only 3 of the original crowd. We’re flying on Sept. 1 straight from JFK to Nice and going a few miles north into the hills to the little town of Vence. (You may remember it’s where Matisse’s chapel is.) We plan to go to Renoir’s home/studio in Cagnes-sur-Mer, and we have reservations for lunch at Columbe d’Or on Friday. I’ll take my laptop and send pictures. I hope you will enjoy traveling with us.SB title.jpeg

Cummer Museum and Gardens: last class until Fall

Another beautiful day for sketching en plain air. I planned for all April classes to be outside, and the weather has cooperated. The gardens were lovely – unlike today’s news that Cummer would have to tear down the historical Women’s Club building due to termites. Everyone chose a different spot, and the results were amazing. After 2 hours the group had lunch under the red umbrellas on the outdoor deck.





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This was the last class until September or October as everyone will be traveling this summer. I’m off this weekend to teach a Sketchbook-Binding workshop in Austill, GA, at the Red Cockerill Gallery. I’ll keep posting when I travel – maybe you’ll see us in Provence in September! Au revoir.

Sketching the Farmers Market

It’s Earth Day today, so it was fitting that the Sketchers visited the Jacksonville Farmers Market with it’s beautiful displays of fruits and vegetables.







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Some elected to draw the veggies and their vendors, and others went to the Green Spot to paint the chickens. This was new to me and a welcome addition to the Farmers Market. They sell all kinds of plants and herbs and even an egg or two when the chickens are laying. Carmel was delightful and educated us city folks on the care and habits of chickens.

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At noon we all went over to Andy’s Farmers Market Grill where there are all sorts of delicious salads and sandwiches. The special for the day was pastrami and swiss on rye. Some had that, and others had a wonderful chicken-cranberry-walnut salad. We shared our sketches, ate, and shopped for produce to take home.


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I went home with fresh, plump blueberries and some green tomatoes. Mary gave me a new recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes which I hope to use in my new book. Next week: final sketching class until Fall at the Cummer Museum and Gardens.

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Painting Shrimpboats at Safe Harbor

Another beautiful sunny Florida day on the water! We were at Safe Harbor Seafood Market and Restaurant in Mayport for sketching and lunch (right off the boats).

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Our Cafe Sketchers numbered 9 today, and everyone had a delightful time figuring out how to draw the colorful and complicated shrimpboats. It was a lot easier when the casino cruise ship moved.gambling ship.jpg

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Everyone worked hard and then, as usual, enjoyed lunch.Barb, Jane.jpg


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Join us next week at the Farmer’s Market on Beaver Street.


A New Beach Place – Southern Grounds

A small group of us gathered for the beginning of April’s All Outdoor Cafe Sketching Classes. Southern Grounds in Neptune Beach is the former Lillie’s, one of our favorite places to meet and draw people – very quickly because most times have included young mothers with pre-schoolers and babies. Not so much this week. It was a little cool to begin with so we started inside – all new white subway tile and a new menu.  A young man on a computer was very accomodating and moved so we could all sit together. Later we moved outside into the sunshine and enjoyed painting the shops around us until it was time for lunch. (The turkey club sandwich on flatbread was delicious – but gone before I thought to take a photo!) The bruschetta was a delight for the eyes as well as the mouth, and Katy, the new owner, is very gracious and glad to have us there.B, J.jpgB,J,K.jpgJo.jpgBarb.jpgBev.jpgsketches SG.jpgbrusketta.jpg

Sometimes people finish at home…. See what happens! Don’t you love Jackie’s style? We’ll miss her when she goes back to Vermont in a few weeks.J unfin.jpgJ fini.jpg

And this is the one I lost from last week at Le Macaron!le mac.jpg

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Painting in France? – at Le Macaron

What a fun experience today! 10 sketchers met at the beautiful and charming Le Macaron pastry shop at the Avenues Mall. We had planned to stay there for an hour, then go upstairs to Le Crepes, but it was so full of delightful things to draw – and good sweets to eat – we never left until lunch time. Tahar, our very French server, reconfigured the tables so we were all together and continuously brought us coffee and croissants. My favorite pastry to get in France is pain au chocolat, and Le Macaron’s were delicious. The “big bosses,” Fabrice and Marie, came in as we were drawing and were generous and flattering with their comments. This is a place to which we’ll go back! (FYI: Tahar will be opening his own Le Macaron in 3 weeks – in Avondale next to Blue Fish. Yea!)le macaron.jpg

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Fabrice and Marie

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Not all the sketches are here. One I lost in Computer Heaven, and I can’t find it. Will post it next time if it magically appears….😦

The Players Cafe

Cafe Sketchers enjoyed another great morning together. I started with my favorite breakfast, yogurt, fruit and granola. It was so good 3 others ordered it. Surprise! They ran out of yogurt so Mike, the owner of The Players Cafe, went to Publix for more for us. Not many places would be so accommodating. Rhonda was our lovely server and kept us all happy right through lunch. Sketching, painting, laughing, eating – all in all an amazing day. We missed those of you who couldn’t make it this week. Next week we’ll be at the  French restaurants at the Avenues MallIMG_1876.jpg






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The walls are full of caricatures, so Dale sketched her own wall with caricatures of all of us on it!