Monthly Archives: September 2015

Le Vieux Couvent

Continuing with our journey from the fall of 2014, a year ago we were staying at Le Vieux Couvent in France on a painting holiday with artist Kathie George.  Le Vieux Couvent hosts painting holidays with various artists bringing groups of about 20 people to paint, tour and be pampered. What a wonderful place to be!

While there we were painting watercolours, since coming home I have done many watercolour batiks inspired by our stay and as I look through our pictures there are so many more memories waiting to be painted that I will be busy for a long time to come.  These were the stairs up to our room:

Stories Inside XV ©Paige Mortensen 24x36" Watercolour Batik

Stories Inside XV ©Paige Mortensen 24×36″ Watercolour Batik

And if you turned around, this was the view back down:

France Le Vieux Couvent Stairs Down

And this was our painting studio – so inviting!

France LeVieux Couvent Studio

In addition to painting, there were day trips.  We saw quaint little villages like Saint Cirq La Popie perched on a steep cliff 100 meters above the Lot River, ancient cave paintings at Perche Merle, Baynac Castle, Rocamadour and more!  We were so well fed we didn’t need to buy anything but the markets were still fantastic.  We wouldn’t see open bags of spices or bowls of olives at any market near where I live!

France Marketplace

In the little towns we visited the doors were fascinating.  This little door knocker looked like a fist all curled up ready to knock.

Stories Inside VIII ©Paige Mortensen 12x18" Watercolour Batik

Stories Inside VIII ©Paige Mortensen 12×18″ Watercolour Batik

So many interesting doors into people’s lives!

Stories Inside VI ©Paige Mortensen 12x18" Watercolour Batik

Stories Inside VI ©Paige Mortensen 12×18″ Watercolour Batik

Stories Inside XI ©Paige Mortensen 18x24" Watercolour Batik

Stories Inside XI ©Paige Mortensen 18×24″ Watercolour Batik

The hospitality was incredible and I know they did a wonderful job of accommodating my allergies.  If you ever have the opportunity to go, please do!  Our final dinner included these cute little hedgehog potatoes!

France Le Vieux Couvent Couvent Meal

I’m thinking this might be the inspiration for one of my next paintings.  It is from Rocamadour, France.

France Rocamadour

I am extremely grateful for this incredible journey.  I hope you to have experiences to treasure and share!

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Inspiration in Venice

Last week I talked about being in Rome in 2014.  From there we went by train to Venice – a city of water and bridges!  Inspiration was everywhere, but water was a big part of all of it.  Here again, it was the ordinary parts of daily life that attracted me.

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Stories Inside 1V ©Paige Mortensen 15×15″ Watercolour

Stories Inside II ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour 15x15" $300

Stories Inside 11 ©Paige Mortensen 15×15″ Watercolour

There were, of course, more doors but here the windows seemed to draw my attention.  Maybe it was the narrow ‘roads’ where we walked because you could never get far enough back to really see the doors.  In the windows there was evidence of ordinary lives – cats on windowsills, flowers growing and laundry hanging out to dry.  Again, the questions arose in my mind: who built these buildings? who lives her? and what are their lives like?
Venice 2014 ©Paige Mortensen

One of my favourite memories of Venice actually started before we even got there and I owe it to YouTube.  We were very thankful for the video showing us how to get from the S Zaccaria Vaporetto Station (water taxi) to the Hotel al Piave where we were staying.  With these tiny streets going in all directions and water and bridges everywhere we would have been lost trying to get there.  Having watched this ahead of time made it into a fun adventure instead!  You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGvEjqFNOvQ.

Venice 2014 ©Paige Mortensen
Some places were busy with gondolas and people everywhere.  But then we found lots of quiet, peaceful spots where we could just enjoy being in Venice.  Love the reflections!
Venice 2014 ©Paige Mortensen

This summer I have been experimenting with some different styles of watercolour painting and one of the books I worked through was Jean Haines’ book Atmospheric Watercolours: Painting with Freedom, Expression and Style“.  She had obviously been painting in Venice and it was fun to work on her way of painting with my own reference photos of the same places.  This is the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.  They say it got its name because as prisoners went across it to be locked in their cells they sighed as they had their last glimpse outside. On another note it is also said that eternal love will be granted to those who kiss while in a gondola under the bridge at sunset.  This is my interpretation of the Bridge of SIghs done in Jean Haines’ style:

Bridge of Sighs ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour

Bridge of Sighs ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour

And my favourite spot in Venice!  This piece is currently touring as part of the Dimensions 2015 show and at the moment is in Whitehorse, YT.

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By the Canal ©Paige Mortensen 12×18″ Watercolour

Thanks for sharing my adventures!
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Inspiration in Rome

A year ago we were in Rome!  And what an amazing trip it was full of history and wonder. Inspiration was everywhere – from the ancient ruins to the doors that people use every day.  Some of the doors turned into paintings once we got home.  All memories of a trip.

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Stories Inside XII ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour 18 x 24″ $700

One of the first sites we came to was Trajan’s Column which is an amazing piece of ancient art!  This marble column with its stand is about 125′ tall and 11′ in diameter. Spiralling around it 23 times is a frieze that tells the story of  wars between the Romans and the Dacians from 102-106AD.

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Trajan’s Column ©Paige Mortensen

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Trajan’s Column Detail ©Paige Mortensen

As a tourist we greatly appreciated the fresh, cold, drinkable water flowing from fountains around the city – originally built by the Romans 2,000 years ago.

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Roman Water Fountain ©Paige Mortensen

We also appreciated the modern fruit stands for their refreshing modern day treats!

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Fruit Stand ©Randy Mortensen

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Rome – Colloseum

The Colluseum and Vatican were fabulous to see, as were the churches, statues and paintings!

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Veiled Lady by Antonio Corradini

For me it will be the doors I remember as I continue to wonder who built them, how did they live, who lives there now?

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Stories Inside X ©Paige Mortensen 12×18″ $350

Thanks for reading!

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Back to School

September is always a time of changes.  It has been many years since there was back to school excitement at our house but yesterday was our grandson’s first day of kindergarten! With a backpack like this how could he not be excited?
SchoolBackpack.jpgI too have changes this week.  August 30th was the last day of the member’s show at the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s Affinity Gallery so I picked up those pieces on Monday.  From there I headed out to Esterhazy take down my show at Jocelyn’s Fine Art Gallery there.  It sounds like lots of people were able to see the work and she sold 3 pieces!  I am very thankful to have met Jocelyn and for the opportunity to show in her gallery!  If you are ever near there do stop in, she has a wonderful gallery!
One last peek:
PaigeMortensen Esterhazy Show 2015

Today I took pieces over to Partridge Centre Special Care Home to hang in a group show (Watermarks & Friends) for the month of September. They have boards along the hallways and ask that the pieces be hung low so people in wheel chairs can see.  A new show goes up monthly so that the residents regularly have new art to view. Visitors are welcome so please stop by and have a look. While you are there have a chat with the residents, it will brighten their day…and yours.
This is my section:
ParkridgeDisplay2015

Brightwater Senior Living asked me to come and paint weekly with a group of residents. I am excited for this opportunity to learn and share the world of painting in this new way for me.  We are going to start with exploring these colourful watercolour pencils.
Aren’t the colours wonderful!
WatercolourPencils

I am also going to be painting with the Artists Workshop group this year. I have attended their annual shows for years and feel honoured to be invited to paint with them weekly!  More about that another day.

“Back to School” excitement isn’t just for students, enjoy your fall changes!

Thanks for being here!
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