Monday, November 30, 2015

Biking and Painting in Portugal

OK, so the main motivation for this trip was a one week bike tour of the medieval villages of Portugal. We had two wonderful guides, Jose and Cristina. This Portuguese couple made our experience in Portugal so special. They love their country and it shows! Here are the intrepid bikers:
From left to right: Cindi, Cat, Helen, Bill, Karen, Jacqueline (all from Central Oregon)

We rode during the day, and stayed in wonderful inns, restored convents, or B&Bs at night. Jacqueline Newbold and I worked on our journals nearly every day, even on the bike trip. I love travelling with Jacqueline. She doesn't ever feel self-conscious about sitting down in public and painting, and she is never too tired before turning in to work on her journal.

We enjoyed painting a stylized map of our trip in our journals:

I tried to portray our trip in images:  Beginning in the upper right in Marvao, 
we biked to Castelo de Vide, Elvas, Redondo, Arraiolo and finally to Evora.

Our guides with Portugal Bike took us on an interesting tour of an archeological site where we got to see beautiful pottery and evidence of an ancient civilization.

There is a journal page for that:

This 8 x 8 painting is in the Tumalo Art Company's holiday show starting December 2.

In my next post, I'll elaborate on this show. But for now, I'd like to publicly thank Portugal Bike and hope others will consider signing up for their incredible tours.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, November 22, 2015

So Off We Go to Lisbon

What a change from the Dordogne! We flew to Lisbon, Portugal and at once noticed the differences in color. Many of the buildings downtown are covered with beautiful Portuguese tile. If not tile, they are covered in white, which we learned later is marble powder; a by-product from the marble quarries which they paint on like a whitewash.  Still painting, High Desert Art League members, Jacqueline Newbold and I (Helen Brown) sat in cafés or up by the castle and sketch with watercolor.

We are both studio watercolor painters, although we do enjoy sketching en plein air. So for future reference, we snapped tons of photos along the way as Jacqueline is doing in the photo below.

Back at home, I am painting now for the holiday miniature show at the Tumalo Art Company using some of my photos. Here is one of them in a 12 x 12:

As you can see from the two images above, I left out the underpants in my painting. (I do like the shadow they made on the wall though!) and I also opened the window for interest. 

The Tumalo Art Company is located in Bend's Old Mill District just south of REI. 

Helen Brown

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cindy Briggs featured in PleinAir Today/Outdoor Painter

Excited to have a 3 part series of articles in PleinAir Today/Ourdoor Painter about the Business of Teaching Workshops Overseas.  The series includes planning, promoting, preparing and painting all included in our package to be released soon. Visit so sign up for the early announcement.  Here is Theresa Goesling and I in Venice.

CLICK HERE to check out the PleinAir Today Article by Bob Bahr.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Can you say “Fwa Gra”?

Jacqueline and I took our rental car from the Basque country and made our way to Sarlat-le-Caneda, a wonderful town in the Dordogne region of France. We stayed in a hotel within the walled “old town” of Sarlat. The weather wasn’t great, but we couldn’t have been happier painting, eating foie gras, shopping and driving to the local sights (Lascaux caves, Castelnaud, Beynac, Roc le Gageac).

These sweet geese are getting stuffed so that they can produce the 
delicious goose liver pate (foie gras) that tourists enjoy. I must admit that I love it, too. But I can’t bear to think of these poor creatures being gorged.

We stopped at nearly every scenic spot to either paint or snap a photo. I believe this was in Beynac, a village along the Dordogne River.

Jacqueline sketched this stone structure as we stopped to picnic.

Then it was back to the hotel to dive into our sketchbooks, watercolor postcards, fois gras and red wine. Our hotel had a great inner courtyard where we could paint. We met many of the hotel guests as they came and left, most were curious about what we were doing.

The night sky in Sarlat was a beautiful color! A deep blue/black. I enjoyed painting from these photos I took. This is a café on the central square in Sarlat.

This is an 8" x 8" watercolor of the above scene (cropped).

Here’s another night café scene along the quaint streets of Sarlat.

And my 8” x 8” painting of same.

After five days in the Dordogne, we set off for Lisbon, Portugal!

Several of these paintings and more will be at the holiday show at the Tumalo Art Company in Bend's Old Mill District starting in December. 

Until next time....

Helen Brown

Monday, November 2, 2015

The saga continues with a new author...

I hope you have been reading Jacqueline Newbold's recent blogposts about our painting trip to France and Portugal. It is my turn (Helen Brown) to blog for the High Desert Art League, so I thought I'd piggy back on some of Jacqueline's enthusiasm for travel and painting!  I do love traveling with my husband, but he doesn't paint. And as patient and supportive as he is, I hate to keep him waiting on trips while I sit and paint. So traveling with another painter as I did on this trip was a very fun change of pace and one I highly recommend!!
I worked mostly in my little accordian fold sketchbook (see photo), while Jacqueline was enjoying creating wonderful postcards to send home to friends and family.

First stop was southern France where my good friend Agnes has a vacation home in Basque country. She was a fantasic host to us!! If you are reading this, Agnes, merci encore une fois!!!!

Jacqueline and Agnes in front of the port at St. Jean de Luz. 

I tried to recreate these wonderful Basque homes without painting every window and door. The Basque words in the lower left were on a napkin that I kept and pasted into the book before painting. No idea what they mean but I wanted a sample of this mysterious language in my sketchbook.

After three days in Ciboure, the little town near St. Jean de Luz (which is near Biarritz), we were sorry to say goodbye to Agnes. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for the region made this portion of the trip a real highlight for Jacqueline and me. She was a generous and incredibly hospitable host! A great ambassador for the French people. And my very good friend!

For our last night she took us to a beachfront bar where we watched the sunset and ate tapas.

Next stop...the Dordogne.

Helen Brown