ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Village of Ansouis

Ah, Ansouis, a sleepy little village, and one of the "plus beaux villages de France". With a population of about 1,000 you can enjoy walks through the narrow streets without battling any crowds at all. Ansouis is reminiscent of the villages that you see in Peter Mayle's film "A Year in Provence". Quiet and quite real without the throngs of tourists.

The town is built on top of a rocky knoll, where a chateau (castle) looks out over the Luberon.

The streets are narrow and winding, and did I mention quiet?

We saw more cats in Ansouis than any other village, probably due to the quietness!

Blue doors and windows.
Green ones too. 

The beautiful Eglise Saint Martin.

Across from the church, we found a local art show taking place. Guess what? I came home with two small paintings.
The lavender fields painting is by Laurence Eli, Could I possibly leave it behind?

Port of Cassis was painted by Pierre Bonnefoy . We did not drive as far as the Port of Cassis, but this painting reminded me so much of many places I have visited in the Mediterranean, most particularly, the Island of Crete in Greece.

Canopies of plane trees line the street on the way in and out of the village.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Peace and Serenity of Abbaye de Saint Hilaire

I've been keeping a low profile since I returned from my Okanagan teaching trip. The following day I banged my arthritic knee on a metal ledge at the grocery store check-out. Given that I have patello-femoral arthritis (arthritis of the knee cap) this was not a good thing. I've been using a cane since, trying to bring the swelling down, and medicating myself for the pain. I've been mostly staying around the house getting my book keeping organized and doing some dyeing for my upcoming teaching trip to New Brunswick. I'm being careful, doing small batches of 15 meters at a time, sitting on a stool as much as I can, and just not rushing. I expect to see improvement before the trip, but the good news is that I am driving and do not have to hoof through airports, and I have accessible classrooms and hotels at my destination. This is a huge help. 

I would like to finish my blog posts about Provence this week so that I can focus back on posts related to my regular teaching and creative life (yes I do plan to get back into studio mode very soon!). I'm sharing a post today that hopefully will give you a feeling of calm and serennity on a rainy Monday.

Near the village of Lacoste in Provence, France lies the Abbaye de Saint Hilaire. It is probably the most peaceful and serene site we visited in France.

References to the Abbaye date back to the year 825. Some sections of the Abbaye were built on top of previous structures, It was closed in the 18th century due to financial difficulties.

It seems now to be mostly a historical site, with and ongoing efforts to restore and protect it.

I hope you enjoyed the peace and beauty :-)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Teaching Visit to the Okanagan.

I spent last week in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, teaching at the Cherry Tree Quilts retreat. Cherry Tree Quilts is a full-service quilt shop, with a wonderful assortment of contemporary and modern fabrics, located in Summerland, British Columbia. It is owned by Barb Gillespie. She is featured in the photo below.

During my visit all my Northcott fabrics were reduced by 25%. I kept joking that "Elaine Quehl" was on sale.

My accommodations were in Barb's home, with this beautiful view of Okanagan Lake. If this looks familiar to you, it is because I have likely posted a similar photo before. This is my third year teaching here. There will be a fourth, as I am booked to come back the last week of September 2016.

Quails are a common sight in the Okanagan. I always try to get photos but am never very successful. This Mama Quail and her teenager showed up outside my window so I was finally able to get a photo.

Quails can run pretty fast!

Sunday morning I had a chance to visit Summerland's Farmers' Market on Main St.

My lecture took place in the store's classroom on Sunday afternoon. Check out these red chairs. Nicely coordinated with my Red Stool quilts and the red outfit I was wearing!

My five-day Art Quilt class took place in the United Church hall. You can see the class diving into some dyeing exercises on day 2.

Joan, who took my 5-day dyeing class last year, showed us the lovely cover-up she dyed after the class.

The class learned a lot about composition and design, and then had the chance to try out their design skills. The first exercise was a "seat of the pants" exercise, while the second involved designing a pattern.

We posted all the finished or nearly-finished works on the wall on Friday morning and spent some time discussing them and providing feedback.

Here's Beth showing her partially-finished poppy, that she designed a pattern for.

Not all my photos turned out great due to lighting issues (I wasn't using my normal camera as I was trying to lighten up on the amount of "stuff" I needed to take).

Here's an interesting piece by Effie. The jumping off point was a cross-section photo of some logs.

Connie and her poppy buds on a moody background.

Doreen's lines are simple and dramatic on this landscape.

A whimsical design by Kathy, featuring polka dots.

Wonderful abstracted cityscape by Elaine.

A landscape I could walk into by Marilyn.

Miriam did a fine job of creating depth with stairs that get progressively narrower and darker.

Roxanne created a story quilt about her travels from Alberta to British Columbia, with the deep purple triangles representing the Rocky Mountains.

We managed to stop for a class photo on Friday. 

Twenty eager and creative students! What a great week we had and I am feeling so inspired by them.

I see this same rose on Barb's property every time I teach there, but I don't always get a good photo. This time I'm happy with my photo :-)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The City of Arles

One of our reasons for visiting the city of Arles was that Vincent Van Gogh had spent time here and painted here, as had other artists. Arles dates back to Roman times so it also has great ruins from the Roman period and is thus a UNESCO site. It also has fantastic Medieval and Renaissance architecture added to the mix.

Walking into Arles from the Visitors Centre, there is a wonderful installation of umbrellas over the street. We couldn't take enough photos! So here they are from every angle!

A detail at the fountain in the centre square.

A colourful town with lots of cafes.

This is a recreation of the the "Yellow Cafe" that Van Gogh hung out at in his day

and is featured in his painting "Le Cafe La Nuit"
The streets are old and cobbled and colourful.

You could be forgiven for thinking you are in Rome! Here is a photo with the Roman Theatre on the right, and a medieval church in the background.