All Roads Lead to Rome: Fifth Stop, Avignon, France, (Aug. 19-25, 2013)

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Standard wardrobe for my trip.

When I left Champagne and Jim behind, I had added more panels to my suitcase. It seemed I was getting low, so I bummed some off of Jim for the trip. Shown in this photo, is my standard wardrobe for almost every day. As I said earlier, I packed very light, and every evening I hand-washed clothes in my bathroom sink. So the weight of my suitcase was due almost entirely to gear, paint, brushes, and panels. This may explain why three trains and a bus ride later, the handle on my suitcase completely broke. It had gotten bent earlier on, but dragging the bag over the cobbled streets of Avignon was the last straw (or so I thought). The handle would no longer retract, nor would it pull completely out. It was finally just stuck about half way, an no amount of brawn could budge it.

Click here to read the amazing history of Avignon.

Jean Stern had suggested Avignon as a place I might like to visit, and he was right. Just the walk from the bus stop to my La Banasterie was exciting. I could hardly wait to get my gear out and paint. But it was late in the day, I was exhausted from the travel, and unpacking seemed like the thing to do. Lucky me, I was going to be in the same location for an entire six nights.

My room was huge, something I'm not used to in Europe, especially while traveling on a budget. And, although I am more of a shower-kind-of-girl, I filled the large footed tub to soak. That night, and many nights thereafter, I dressed for dinner and enjoyed some of the finest food I had ever eaten, accompanied by some of the finest wine I had ever tasted.

Painting along the Rhone in Avignon

One thing I learned on this trip, was that when I am in a totally new location every few days, I spend too much time just walking around with my back pack strapped on (see pic above), finding my way around. Another thing that was time-consuming, was making sure I knew all of the plans for the next leg of the journey. I am, by nature, a planner. I cannot totally enjoy one location until I am completely clear and confident about how I am getting to the next. But I had to be okay about that, and not get too anxious about painting fewer paintings than on a typical trip. 

Part of this trip was just about making it through the whole thing without getting lost, going home early, breaking a hip, or rushing past something that deserved attention. Sitting and sketching in my notebook was just as important to me as the actual act of completing an oil painting. I have pages of gesture drawings of people, cars, and streets. I have notes on colors and keys. 

I will definitely return to Avignon. There are so many things to see and do here and in nearby towns. It's like Mark says, "After you have made a trip once, you could do it again very easily." So until next time, here are a few paintings from Avignon:

"One Way to Get There," 10x8 private collection.

"La Banasterie," 10x8

"Nice Digs," 10x8, private collection

"Morning Avignon," 8x10

"Magical Ride," 12x16

"Stopping for Cafe," 10x8

That's hospitality. My hosts at La Banasterie sent over a glass of wine while I was painting the image above.