Single post

Oct. 1, Tuesday: La Garde Freinet & Grimaud

I can’t believe it is already October. Just like at home in North Adams, here in Bormes-les-Mimosas the dark comes earlier in the evening and the light in the morning comes later. Tomorrow we will begin work in the garden at 8:00 instead of 7:30, and end at noon. Today, instead of gardening, my job was to wash and vacuum Mick & Nicky’s car. This car is used like a truck – they haul bags and bags of garden cuttings and rakings off to the dump in this vehicle. Plus, they have a really fabulous dog, Mikey, who is a bundle of long, silky white fur. This car was knee deep in dog hair, pine needles, leaves, dirt, twigs, and small stones. Yes…I am exaggerating, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that the vacuuming was a demanding task. Even so, it was a very satisfying job to tackle. After the complexities of art work – is it finished? is it any good? does it matter? – the concreteness of all this physical labor I am doing is a nice counterpoint. The car needed cleaning, I cleaned it, it was worthwhile, it looked a million times better when I was done. Period. Satisfying. But, boy was I tired!! Yet, I am often physically exhausted after the same amount of time in my studio, so that is just fine with me.   After work, it was home to the apartment, showers and clean clothes, then Cathy and I walked down our hill to a little restaurant called Pates et Pates, which means Pasta and Pasta, an Italian restaurant in our little French village. We ate there once before and enjoyed the food, and liked the waitress, also the co-owner with her husband, so we wanted to go back one more time before leaving Bormes. Today the weather was perfect: warm, blue skies with a few white fluffy clouds, no humidity. We sat outside on the patio and had a glass each of rose. Cathy had penne Carbonnara and I had tagliatelle with salmon. Both were superb, and the portions were HUGE! I should not have eaten all of it in one sitting, but I did. We lingered and I had an espresso and we just relaxed and enjoyed the weather and the surroundings. See the photos, you might recognize the place from our earlier visit. At 2:15 we met up with T and S and drove off in their convertible with our hair flying – well, Cathy and I both have very short hair, so that is another exaggeration, but it gives you the feeling I’m trying to convey. The views along the route we drove are astonishing (no, I didn’t get any photos, I was too full from lunch and that made me very lazy). It was really glorious to just shut my mind off and enjoy the sensations of sailing along through the beautiful weather and sights. Our first stop was at a small village – what they call a “perched village” since it hugs a mountainside – called La Garde Freinet. As they all do, this had it’s tourist aspects, but was one of the least touristy that I’ve seen. I really liked this little village. All we did was walk around, up and down and around all the narrow little streets, and take photographs. You will see them below in this post. I found myself drawn to the stonework everywhere today, so I am going to include several of my “artsy fartsy” photos. See what you think of the compositions, textures, colors (or lack of), shapes and all that. Oh, and I want to mention one more thing. On on way to La Garde Freinet, we drove through Cogolin. This is not a perched village, and it is larger than La Garde Freinet and Grimaud, which is the other perched village we visited today. Cogolin looked very interesting, very much an every day living town, rather than a picturesque tourist town. Cogolin’s claim to fame is hand made pipes – pipes you smoke tobacco in – and it is also a wine growing center. Of course it has it’s tourist aspects, but it felt like it was more than that. We won’t be going back, there’s no time, but it seemed like it would be interesting to explore and I’m glad we drove through it. After walking around La Garde Freinet, we drove to Grimaud. This is yet another fabulous perched village that has retained its traditional Provencal character and is a warren of narrow cobbled streets, shady squares, and flights of stone steps. At the very top are the ruins of a medieval castle with spectacular views. The photos tell the whole story. Again, I must include some artsy fartsy shots – my attention today was not limited to vast panoramas, rather I found myself riveted by small details of the ordinary. See if they interest you as much as they interested me. Also, please note the advice on sufficient footwear. And T has decided to smile more. He says that in previous blogs I have shown him frowning way to often. We aren’t sure if the photographer (me) is to blame or if the subject in question simply frowns a lot. I haven’t looked at today’s photos yet, so let’s all see together whether or not T has smiled very often. P.S. Of course you all know I’m joking around. I take the photos without asking anyone to pose and I am not careful about people’s expressions – I just click away. So I apologize to everyone I have included in this blog if I have posted any photos of them that they don’t like. I have tried to also include a few of me that are embarrassing, and I believe I have succeeded. Even today. And T DOES smile a lot, has a wonderful sense of humor, and is great to travel around with. The same for S, who hasn’t yet complained about the photos I’ve posted of her. Cathy, as I have mentioned previously, is simply a saint, and has put up with all sorts of ill-advised photo publishing on my part. I’m wondering if anyone will ever want to travel with me again? Oh, yes, and I have caught up on publishing Cathy’s art work. She has been off doing other things when I did the last blog post or maybe the last two, and I didn’t have her art work at hand to photo till today. Enjoy them – she has been cookin’! But today, neither of us did any art work – unless you count our photography – and why not count that?!
Pates Et Pates Restaurant.

Pates Et Pates Restaurant.

The view from where I sat.

The view from where I sat.

Our heaping plates of mouth-watering pasta dishes.

Our heaping plates of mouth-watering pasta dishes.

An embarrassingly goofy photo of me, full of wine and pasta.

An embarrassingly goofy photo of me, full of wine and pasta.

La Garde Freinet: Photo One.

La Garde Freinet: Photo One.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Two.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Two.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Three. It is off-season now all over this area, so there aren't very many people, and the restaurant business is slow. We don't mind, but that is why these photos look like everything is vacant. In July and August, its wall to wall people.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Three. It is off-season now all over this area, so there aren’t very many people, and the restaurant business is slow. We don’t mind, but that is why these photos look like everything is vacant. In July and August, its wall to wall people.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Four.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Four.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Five.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Five.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Six. I don't know if you can see it, but there is some funky art in two of those windows.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Six. I don’t know if you can see it, but there is some funky art in two of those windows.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Seven.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Seven.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Eight.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Eight.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Nine.

La Garde Freinet: Photo Nine.

Composition #1. LGF

Composition #1. LGF

Composition #2. LGF

Composition #2. LGF

Composition #3. LGF

Composition #3. LGF

Composition #4. LGF

Composition #4. LGF

Composition #5. LGF

Composition #5. LGF

Composition #6. LGF

Composition #6. LGF

Composition #7. LGF

Composition #7. LGF

Composition #8. LGF

Composition #8. LGF

Composition #9. LGF You didn't think that this foot thing was over with, did you? But, all kidding aside, what impact does adding the human element have? Can you imagine this photo without the feet? Forget that you know who's feet they are. Can you imagine doing a series of photos combining these elements of rocks/bricks/pavement with human feet, shod and unshod? What would you do with such an assignment?

Composition #9. LGF
You didn’t think that this foot thing was over with, did you? But, all kidding aside, what impact does adding the human element have? Can you imagine this photo without the feet? Forget that you know who’s feet they are. Can you imagine doing a series of photos combining these elements of rocks/bricks/pavement with human feet, shod and unshod? What would you do with such an assignment?

And now we have left La Garde Freinet and this is our shiny black chariot parked in a lot at Grimaud.

And now we have left La Garde Freinet and this is our shiny black chariot parked in a lot at Grimaud.

Grimaud: Photo One. Near the parking lot.

Grimaud: Photo One. Near the parking lot.

Grimaud: Photo Two.

Grimaud: Photo Two.

Grimaud: Photo Three.

Grimaud: Photo Three.

Grimaud: Photo Four.

Grimaud: Photo Four.

Grimaud: Photo Five.

Grimaud: Photo Five.

Grimaud: Photo Six.

Grimaud: Photo Six.

Grimaud: Photo Seven.

Grimaud: Photo Seven.

Grimaud: Photo Eight.

Grimaud: Photo Eight.

Grimaud: Photo Nine.

Grimaud: Photo Nine.

Grimaud: the castle ruins and T climbing with me lagging behind...up and up and up and up.

Grimaud: the castle ruins and T climbing with me lagging behind…up and up and up and up.

Grimaud: the castle tower.

Grimaud: the castle tower.

Grimaud: the other side of the castle tower.

Grimaud: the other side of the castle tower.

Grimaud:  another part of the castle ruins.

Grimaud: another part of the castle ruins.

Grimaud: Another section of the castle ruins, giving you a glimpse of the astonishing views from there.

Grimaud: Another section of the castle ruins, giving you a glimpse of the astonishing views from there.

Grimaud: yet another shot of the castle ruins.

Grimaud: yet another shot of the castle ruins.

Grimaud: one of the astonishing views from the castle ruins. That is St. Tropez off in the far distance - the bright blue.

Grimaud: one of the astonishing views from the castle ruins. That is St. Tropez off in the far distance – the bright blue.

Grimaud: yet another astonishing view from the castle ruins, in a different direction.

Grimaud: yet another astonishing view from the castle ruins, in a different direction.

Grimaud: and just one more astonishing view from the castle ruins.

Grimaud: and just one more astonishing view from the castle ruins.

INSUFFICIENT FOOTWEAR!!!! S & T nearly plummeted over the side of the cliff walking up to and down from the castle ruins!! They know now that they should have worn SUFFICIENT FOOTWEAR! Their advice to you, "Do not be a slave to fashion!"

INSUFFICIENT FOOTWEAR!!!!
S & T nearly plummeted over the side of the cliff walking up to and down from the castle ruins!! They know now that they should have worn SUFFICIENT FOOTWEAR! Their advice to you, “Do not be a slave to fashion!”

Composition #1G.

Composition #1G.

Composition #2G.

Composition #2G.

Composition #3G.

Composition #3G.

Composition #4G.

Composition #4G.

Composition #5G.

Composition #5G.

Composition #6G.

Composition #6G.

Composition #7G.

Composition #7G.

Composition #8G.

Composition #8G.

Composition #9G.

Composition #9G.

Cathy's work, Sept. 29.

Cathy’s work, Sept. 29.

Cathy's work, Sept. 29.

Cathy’s work, Sept. 29.

Cathy's work, Sept. 29.

Cathy’s work, Sept. 29.

Cathy's work, Sept. 29.

Cathy’s work, Sept. 29.

Cathy's work, Sept. 29.

Cathy’s work, Sept. 29.

Cathy's work, Sept. 30.

Cathy’s work, Sept. 30.

Cathy's work, Sept. 30.

Cathy’s work, Sept. 30.

Cathy's work, Sept. 30.

Cathy’s work, Sept. 30.

Cathy's work, Sept. 30.

Cathy’s work, Sept. 30.

Jackie Stanley
October 4th, 2013 at 8:32 am

By the way, particularly liked compositions #1, #7 & #8 LGF (is that different colour rock or light difference?) and #2 (what a difference a leaf makes), #7 & #8G. J S

Jackie Stanley
October 4th, 2013 at 8:19 am

Hi Debi… I started reading your blog to follow the exploits of Cathy but am now looking forward to following your blog even after she has gone back (bon voyage to her by the way). Enjoyed todays photos.. the small details especially; and Cathy’s work as usual – wonderful colours and I love those trees. I look forward to seeing what you both produce after all this creativity and light in the SofF. Thanks again. Jackie

Martha
October 3rd, 2013 at 12:23 am

My vote is for 4,6, and 9G! I love to look at rock walls and these compositions are so attractive. Am enjoying seeing Cathy’s compositions and am always impressed by what she does with those Caran d’ache materials. I definitely would like to travel there someday. I have taken some photos of stone walls in CT in hopes of using them in some way in a collage.

paul
October 3rd, 2013 at 12:09 am

Debi, been following your blog . you rock with the pen. Photos are amazing! Never a dull moment.Keep writing and shooting and they(myself included) will be reading and looking.KEEP HAVIN FUN!!!!!

Diane
October 2nd, 2013 at 10:55 pm

I just LOVE #8 LGF and #7G…both predominately grey with wisps of color. You have a great eye for composition Debi. I am hoping to work in mostly grey and clay during my time in France with you. Cathy, I am really liking your charcoal work. I’m so glad you are doing a piece every day! Keep it up.

Vicki
October 2nd, 2013 at 8:28 pm

I hope you don’t mind…but I have download some of your composition photos as inspiration for future abstracts – Merci!. What a great eye you have. Cathy’s style is so loose and free, I like it as well, especially the piece today with the clouds over the water from 9/30.

Marie Fortin
October 2nd, 2013 at 4:10 am

I’m loving your photo compositions and Cathy’s wispy little marks in Charcoal along with the colorful water sticks.
The art and photos seem like time is being taken slowly to compose taken in the flavor of this town.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Debi Pendell Artist by debipendell.com