'Aller au fil de l'eau' means to go with the flow. It is also, appropriately, the name of the café in the small French village where I live. On the terrace, the atmosphere is relaxed, life seems to mosey along no faster than the river that slips lazily by. In spring and early summer, conversations are often accompanied by a chorus of croaking frogs. Creating this blog is some kind of commitment to take brush or pen or pencil in hand every day and make art. As Julia Cameron says: "...creativity is not a marathon event that we must gird ourselves for, whacking off great swaths of life as we know it to make room for it. Creativity is not aberrant, not dramatic, not dangerous. If anything, it is the pent-up energy of not using our creativity that feels that way". Not making art is like trying to stop the flow of the river. I surrender to the flow and watch where it takes me.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


On both the houses in this sketch you can see the génoises which are a common architectural feature on old houses here in Languedoc Roussillon and other parts of southern France. These are single, double or even triple rows of canal tiles fitted under the eaves and filled in with mortar. Their purpose, I've learned, is to protect the walls of the building from rainwater, in the absence of guttering. The taller the house, the more rows of génoises are needed to do the job.


  1. I felt privileged to watch you at work - amazing, you make it look so simple!!!

  2. another lovely picture,i think you could leave out things like road signs which do not add to the ambiance ,this is a suggestion love..ian

  3. Thanks for your appreciative comments, Ian. Actually I really like things like road signs, television aerials and power lines in a picture as I think they do add to the ambiance. My picture of a street in Sardinia is actually named 'No Entry' because the sign is a focal point. Of course, art like most things is very subjective and we all have different opinions. For me, outdoor sketching is about documenting what is there. I might pick and choose later if I develop a sketch into a painting,