Friday, July 31, 2009

Moleskine drawings - Limousin and Dordogne, France - Summer 2009

Here's the rest of the work I did in my Moleskines for my travels in France this summer. I now have 5 Molekines dedicated to my trips to France ... hmmm, addicted.

Where the rental house was:
Château Chervix - Haute Vienne, Limousin - France.

The Limousin region of France is quite hilly. Steep, steep hills, covered in trees and beautiful valleys with lakes and rivers running through and fields peppered with beautiful Limousin cattle. The region is not as populated as the northern or coastal parts of France and it's not such a touristy area either...which is fine with me. It's lovely, peaceful, and green.

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"The Limousin Cattle in a Field Around Château Chervix - Haute Vienne, Limousin - France"
watercolor, colored pencil, pen & ink - Moleskine sketchbook

The Limousin cattle are so beautiful; that gingery gold color, and I had the perfect watercolor color for them : Quinacridone Gold. I love that color! (thanks Aunt T for sending me this color).

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Valley View in Château Chervix - Haute Vienne, Limousin - France"
watercolor, colored pencil, pen & ink - Moleskine sketchbook

The only remaining part of the Château Chervix (castle chervix) is the dungeon, but it is high up a steep hill behind that view I was drawing. I didn't even think about climbing up there ... this was enough of a steep walk up for me. I'm a born flatlander... lol.

Although we did spend a lot of time at the rental house, because it was so pleasent, we did take lots of day trips to different villages around the Limousin and into the next region - the Dordogne.

Here are some of those trips:

A day trip to Sègeur Le Château - Corrèze department in the Limousin region.
A very well-preserved, 15 century medieval commune, Ségur-le-Château is located in a corner of the Limousin region on the edge of the Dordogne region towards the south-southeast. It was very pretty, very forresty - set in the hillside. The commune/village is at the base of an old medieval castle which we didn't get to see...too high up for these old legs to climb, plus I think you had to be on a tour to see it. The inhabitors of the 15th century commune would have served the noble lord of the castle - it is a feudel village.

Although very, very old (undestatement) many of the houses are still lived in and some are hotels and taverns - lots of rennovation work was being done. It felt as though we were in a movie set, or something. Loved being there, would love to rent a gite there some day.

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"From a Stone Bridge in Sèguer le Château in the Corrèze - Limousin, France"
watercolor, colored pencil, pen & ink - Moleskine sketchbook

The water wasn't really that blue ... it was more muddy greenish-blue, but I didn't like that, so I drastically changed

Here's what "the kermits" were doing on that bridge while I was drawing:

photos copyright 2009, J.Nijholt-Strong
"Kermits on Vacation - Ségur-le-Château, France - summer 2009"

A view of a mud & wattle, or " tudor style", building on a crossroads in the village. The road sign points to Pompadour.

photo copyright 2009, J.Nijholt-Strong
"Ségur-le-Château, France - summer 2009"

A day trip to St. Jean de Côle: Perigord Vert - upper Dordogne region.
The Perigord Vert is a department just below the Limousin region towards the south-southwest; it is part of the Dordogne region. France is a bit confusing, if you're not French, with her regions, departments, parishes, communes, villages, etc. ...

These are some drawings/paintings I did in the really pretty village of St. Jean de Côle (the Côle is a river that runs through this village).

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
left: "Mill House and River Côle at St. Jean de Côle - Perigord Vert, Dordogne,France"
right: "Romanesque Cathedral Architecture in St. Jean de Côle -

Perigord Vert, Dordogne, France"
watercolor, colored pencil, pen & ink - Moleskine sketchbook

A view from where we were sitting, at a café on the square, while I drew the some of the features of the cathedral.
It was an extremely hot day.

photo copyright 2009, J.Nijholt-Strong
"St. Jean de Côle, France - Romanesque cathedral, St. Etienne - summer 2009"

Having a place to get a cool drink was great and we also ducked inside the church to escape the heat; the temp inside was considerably lower.

A day trip to Jumilhac le Grand.
I didn't sketch here, but wanted to show you some pictures of the castle at Jumilhac le Grand.

photo copyright 2009, J.Nijholt-Strong
"Château de Jumilhac - Jumilhac Le Grand, France - Dordogne - Summer 2009"

This privately owned castle, originally built as a feudel fortress in the 12th century, is still owned by the descendants of the original Baron/Lord/Count/whatever ... lol. I can't keep up! There were so many castles in this area, as it follows the route of Richard the Lionheart (King of England) and this particular castle is on a medieval religious pilgrim route, the Camino de Santiago, to Spain - the castle used to house the pilgrims on their way to Spain. We toured the inside of this castle (no photos allowed inside) and we were the only ones on the tour, which is always nice because I ask a million questions . ha! Oh, I have to say the young guide was excellent! She was worried her english wasn't good, but it was great - far better than my french which is virtually non-existant.

However, you could take pics in the castle garden ....

photo copyright 2009, J. Nijholt-Strong
"Jumilhac Le Grand, France - Castle Garden - summer 2009"

This incredible tree is in the castle garden. That's my husband sitting under the tree....freaking huge tree!

And a view from the front balcony of the castle, over the courtyard to the outer fortress wall, and out to the village main street (handy to see the "enemy"approaching).

photo copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Inner castle balcony view - Jumilhac le Grand, France - summer 2009"

Just have to say, I loved that tree... too bad my garden in Holland is so small that it would fit in that tree and you'd miss it! LOL

Back to Normandy.... last of the drawings for this summer.
We spent our last 2 weeks back in Normandy in the Hameau le Hetre (hamlet of Hetre), Sassetot-Le-Mauconduit (the bigger village), Haute Normandy (the area), Seine Maritime (the department), Normandy (the region), France. See, I told you it's a lil confusing if you're not French ... I hope I got that all correct!

Every time we've been here, on the first day I always insist we go down to the ocean to see the cliffs at the Les Grande Dalles by Sassetot-le-Mauconduit. They are just so inspring to me. I love this view so much - this is about a short 15 minute ride from the house we stay in.

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Les Grande Dalles - Sassetot-le-Mauconduit, Normandy - France 2009"
watercolor, colored pencil, pen & ink - Moleskine sketchbook

Last year, I was on crutches due to knee surgery, so I couldn't get down to the beach area (a very rocky beach), but this year I could! It's so peaceful to just sit and take in that view.

So, this time I could pick up some whelk shells on the beach at Les Grande Dalles. I think they're whelk shells?! This one was done back at the rental house. The drawing and painting only took about 25 minutes, but that cross-hatching in the background took me 3 days! hahaha! I did the cross-hatching work late at night ... that'll teach me.

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Whelks from Les Grandes Dalles at Sassetot-le-Mauconduit, Normandy-France, 2009"
watercolor, pen & ink - Moleskine sketchbook

And the last of the drawings from Normandy.

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
left: "Tart Framboise de Fécamp - summer 2009"
right: "The last drawing of summer vacation 2009 - Normandy, France"
watercolor, colored pencil, pen & ink - Moleskine sketchbook

Yes, the raspberry tart was good! So good that I should have bought two ... heh heh.
I only had a few minutes to do the very last drawing, on the right side of the Moleskine, as the owners were coming to collect the key to the rental house. We'll be back there again though, of that I'm sure....besides, I miss the donkey!

So, that's all for now. I've spent all day on this post. I find it so annoying trying to move images around and having to redo the text alignments every time I upload ... ouf! I need another vacation now!!! lol ;o)
tot ziens

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

France Summer 2009 Moleskine Drawings - Normandy contd. ...

Ok, by request (see comment from Meisie in previous post... lol), some more drawings from my Moleskine dedicated to the trips to France.

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
left: "Msr. Peeps, the 'surveillant' in his house in Normandy, Summer 2009"
right: "Hydrangeas on the table in Normandy, Summer 2009"
watercolors, pen & ink in Moleskine sketchbook

When we arrived at the gite in Normandy, there was a lovely bouquet of hydrangeas (in dutch "hortensias") on the table in the rental house. So, I drew them ... of course. And this time I also drew the Ferme aux Canards' "head duck"... the "surveillant" (the grounds keeper/protector). He's the great-grandson duck of the first "surveillant. I call him "Msr. Peeps" because his quack is less like a quack and more like a tiny chicken's peep. hahahaha. He also likes to eat apples... another "gourmand".

A smaller rental house at the Ferme aux Canards.

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"The Little Gite - Ferme aux Canards - Normandy, France - Summer 2009"
watercolors, pen & ink, Moleskine sketchbook

Hang on, my opinion on Moleskine journals coming up :
I use the Regular Moleskine Sketchbooks, not the watercolor one and not the plain paper one. I don't like the paper in the watercolor Moleskine and I really don't like the format or the perforated pages of it. I don't use the plain paper Moleskines because they are too thin. I've become used to/accustomed to using the Regular Moleskine Sketchbook for these French travel journals of mine. They suit me fine and give me the versatility to use any medium I choose in them ( I've even used egg-tempera in them) ... whereas, that watercolor Moleskine just doesn't cut it for me.

The above drawing is of a smaller gite on the property. It's very cute/cozy in real life ... but, we stayed in the bigger house ...

photo copyright 2009, Auke Nijholt

That's just a photo of the view towards our car parked at the side of the rental house. Msr Peeps' house is right next to this house - saw him everyday. Auke took this pic, btw, he loves his French conveyance, the Peugeot 407 ... lol

French bakeries are my weakness!
Of course, I tasted every treat I could get my hands on ...yummmm. This is a watercolor and pen & ink drawing of some almond tarts bought at a bakery in the city of Fécamp. Fécamp, a large fishing port town, is about a 30 minute drive away - a good thing! :o)

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Les Almendines de Fécamp - Normandy, France - Summer 2009"
watercolor, pen & ink, Moleskine sketchbook

Dont you just love that tablecloth? It was hidden under layers of newer cloths on this table. I had to remove 3 tablecloths on top of it to "discover" the cute duck motif - I didn't like the ones the owners had put on top, LOL. Although, truth is, the further down the layers I went, the worse the wear on the cloths - but this one seems more fitting for the Duck Farm (Ferme aux Canards).

We stayed in Normandy at the end of our vacation this year ... I seem to do more at this location than at any other. Maybe it's Desireé the donkey's fault ... or Msr. Peep's fault ? heh heh

Next time I'll post the Moleskine drawings done from the first part of our summer in France - in the Limousin and the Perigord regions (and probably another few from

au revoir,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Moleskine drawing from French vacation - summer 2009

`'s the drawing/painting/sketch (not sure what I should call my Moleskine work) that I was holding up in my last post. It's the view out from the front door of the rental house we like to stay at in Normandy, France.

copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"View from the gite at Ferme aux Canards - Hameu le Hêtre in Sassetot le Mauconduit - Normandy, France"
Moleskine sketchbook, watercolors, ink, colored pencil
8.5"x 11" (opened flat)

It's a lovely view to wake up to each day - no matter the weather. Excellent place to get away from it all. The hortensias (hydrangeas) are everywhere in bloom in the summer in France...beautiful.

And this is our favorite donkey in Normandy. "Desireé" is her name and she belongs to the owners of the Ferme aux Canards. That's my husband giving her apples ... everyday we gave her an apple. She is a "gourmand"... heh heh

photo copyright 2009, Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Desireé loves her apples at the Ferme aux Canards - Normandy, France"

I did many more sketches/drawings/watercolors in my Molekines, here and in the Limousin region - but sit tight, I still have to write those posts. I have to admit there are times when this blog feels like annoying homework to me...rofl.

Tot ziens,

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Continuing my sketchbooks in France ...more later.


Yeah, that's "sleepy me" showing you that I did continue on with my Moleskine journals devoted to my vacations in France. Not as many drawings/watercolors this time as I did last year, but did do some in both locations (Limousin/Perigord & Normandy).

I've just returned and do have a lot to scan. Will show a better one of this view (at the rental house in Normandy), after I get back into the "home" routine here in Holland.

That’s all for now... :o)


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