It is no secret to those who know me, that I have had a lifelong love for France and the French language. Though I majored in French in college, I have never had an opportunity to travel there. At times, I’ve felt like I pined for it. When I hear the French language spoken, I have this strange feeling that I’ve come home. Hearing French spoken transports me somewhere I’ve never actually been but where I’ve dreamed and imagined being for many many years.
You can read here and here and here about my desire to travel to France. It’s a bit of a grass-is-greener kind of longing. There are times when my little life in Kernersville has felt so small and insignificant. But over the years, DRAWING has redirected me to look for and see the Beauty that’s right here, in this little town, in America. In the last few weeks, I’ve caught myself saying to others (in nearby Winston) that they really should come draw and paint over here. When I told them that Kernersville feels like a little slice of France, they scoffed! OK. Maybe they have reason. But I also told a friend that it’s as if France is under my feet…in the cobblestone alley of the Bistro B, in the tulips and flowers at the Ciener Botanical Gardens, in the quaint shops on Main, in the provincial farms dotted around the town, and in the beautifully renovated “historic” building we call the Factory. (And this is just for starters!!)
I have begun another longtime desire which is to draw and paint the little beauties that, for me, harken to France . I sat with an artist friend in the lovely courtyard at the Factory drawing one of the shop fronts there. So quaint. So picturesque. Just like I imagine French storefronts to be.
It will take me a month of Fridays to draw all that the Courtyard contains. I hope you’ll keep popping in as I show you my little town where I find France, or what I dream France to be, almost daily…on my walks, as I drive around, and especially downtown.
Here’s a photo of me with my plein air sketch. My husband uses the Instagram filters and I’m not so sure I’m crazy about it here. For one, it changes the colors of my sketch. For two, it isn’t so flattering for skin tone, etc. Oh well. I think there are very few pics of me here on my blog, and though I’m typically not crazy about photos of me (I usually have some strange expression on my face), this one seemed alright.
0 thoughts on “France Under My Feet”
I’ve never been big on France myself. For me it is Ireland! When I saw your painting here and you started to speak of France I could sure picture this as a part of France! It doesn’t look like Ireland which I have sketched via Google Streetview and through photos provided in classes with Laure Ferlita ( ImaginaryTrips.com). I went to Paris via one of her imaginary trips and this would have fit right in. I sure hope you get some of those people to join you in painting your town. Do you have a journal made just for these pictures? What fun to have your own France journal so you can take it and compare when you finally get there!
For me it was England and the English language, and when I was growing up in beautiful Italy, I was dreaming of one day moving to rural England, in a little village amid landscapes right out of Jane Austen’s novels. My dream came true 17 years ago although, of course, England has changed a lot since Miss Bennet and Mr Darcy fell in love. Funny though how sometimes you leave behind a place you take for granted and don’t see the beauty of at the time, and then you go back and see it from a new perspective and fall in love with it much more than before. I now love both my “homes” to bits and could not give up either. Your sketch of your little bit of France is lovely and could indeed have been done there !
Dreams do come true and I’m sure yours will 🙂
It’s so nice to see your face Jennifer as well as the lovely sketch of this corner of ‘France’. I studied French at university too many years ago, and had the joy of spending one of my years of study there. Lucky my. From England we are only a short hop away, and yet I haven’t been for about 15 or 16 years!
You know the colours of the original well, but even with the filter you don’t like, I think the photo is delightful.
Thank you Jane, for that sweet compliment. And to all of you for sharing your travel dreams. I know I’ll make it there one day. But I love looking for it in my own “backyard”.
Every piece you show teaches me about putting yourself into a work – I love this wonderful slice of your France. For me it is Italy…and after 50 years, we live that dream for 6 months each year. I get so overwhelmed by the detail in the beauty around me, I get preoccupied with detail, and tighten up. You’re work is teaching me so much about how to see better as I back away, and how to have more fun. I agree with Jane – nice to put a face with a friend. Thank you for sharing your photo, your art, you.
Your town sounds just charming, and your piece today brings it to life! nancy
Gorgeous drawing! Well done!!
I like seeing a picture of you, your eyes look so kind. And it’s nice to see the person behind the art literally since you’re holding it in front of you.
I can no longer travel, so my traveling is done on Google Earth in street view. Its not as good as the smells and sounds of being there, but it brings back happy memories and many of the screen shots are good enough for the basis of a sketch. Try using it to tour your town, you will be amazed at what you have missed! Perhaps you will find more lovely little bits of France with which to delight us, though all localities have their own particular charm and your little bit of the earth looks interesting just being itself! Thank you for showing it to me.
I LOVE your painting: the red door, the way you painted the bushes with the blues and greens, and how you painted the suggestion of brick on the wall.
I don’t know much about France, but ast I knew, my best friend lived in Kernersville. We went to school together from the time we were 2 years old until we graduated from high school. I haven’t seen her in a few years, but she’s one of those people who you can just pick up with things like no time has passed. 🙂
That is so cool, Kristi! Wow, small world! Thanks for visiting and commenting here!
You got so much in on one page, it’s very French! Your photo is great by the way.