“I’m in Paris. I’m in Paris.” I had to keep saying that to myself. I arrived in Gare de Lyon, the main train station, which is already beautiful, and walked out into the chaos of a Paris taxi rank surrounded by 19th century buildings, trying not to cry. My taxi ride was a very similar experience to when I first walked on the Embankment in London…all of the places I’ve been hearing about my whole life actually exist and are right in front of me. When I first saw the Seine, I shrieked. I saw Notre Dame and felt my mouth fall open. My taxi driver pointed out Place la Concorde, and the Musee D’Orsay. I saw something pointing out above us, from behind another museum, and it took me moment to realise it was the Eiffel Tower. When we drove past the base, I choked a bit.
Because my residency in Vallauris only ended on 19 August, and I must be back in China for 1 September, I had to get home right away. I spent one night and morning in Paris before getting on a plane for Canada. I’m already thinking about when I can go back.
Market on Villa de Saxe.
Segur metro station.
The Sorbonne. Eee!
The area around Notre Dame is full of comic shops!
I didn’t expect to be accepted to this residency in Vallauris, AT ALL. It’s primarily for ceramicists, because that’s what the town has been known for, for centuries. But, it sounded interesting, and I’d never been to France, and well…I had ideas for movies, after having written plays since high school, and this seemed like a good way to kick my own butt into doing some work on “PRE-pre-production.” So I applied. And got it.
So I had to come up with a script for my idea, Am I Beautiful, Yes or No?, and having written that, I figured out how to break it down into shots. And, not having DRAWN in YEARS, I now had to create 38 pictures for those shots. Friends who’ve worked in film wisely advised that often, storyboards consist of stick people. This was my first one, and — if like my plays, I was doing it myself — I wanted them to be pretty clear. So, PANIC. I had 28 days to hand draw 38 images.
A fellow writer recently told me that the magic of residencies is that they turn on the taps. My first day of drawing, I did NINE pictures. I was DONE with that initial project in the first 2 weeks! So…I did the script and storyboard for another, which I’ve called Monster Cat!
I leave for Paris tomorrow. I’m going home the next day, for the first time in a year. Yet I’ll be very sorry to leave here. Exposition photos here.
My own little workroom.
The view from my workroom.
My own washbasin…
…and toilet. The shower room was one floor down.
My part of the gallery, all set for our Exposition!
Opening Day! Photo credit to my fellow artist Hyunah Kim.
Photo credit to Hyunah Kim
Me with my storyboard for Am I Beautiful, Yes or No? Credit to yesicannes.com .
I left 2 drawings, one from each storyboard with the A.I.R. Vallauris collection. This one is from Monster Cat!
For the last 5 WEEKS, I’ve been at an artists’ residency in the town of Vallauris, in the south of France, the French Riviera…aka Paradise. In between French wine, French food, and good-looking guys speaking French to me, I’ve been working on storyboards for TWO short films for when I get back to Canada.
Here’s some of what I’ve seen!
Our residence. I was in the TOP floor!
Sculpture on the side of the building, created by a previous resident names James.
The square outside our building.
The statue in front of the church.
The view out my studio window!
The patio of Cafe du Coin, RIGHT outside our front door.
Pissaladière. Olives, anchovies and a tomato sauce on a pizza crust. SO. GOOD.
DESSERT. Lemon tart. NOM.
Church of the Miseracorde on another town square.
A statue made by Picasso, which he gave to the town.
This ENTIRE building was kiln for firing ceramics. The wood fire was built in the main floor, the entire second floor was filled with pots, and those holes under the roof was where the black smoke came out.
Your average roundabout.
Vallauris’ main street.
All of the pots on the main street are decorated!
EVERY Thursday night there was a concert down the road from us. This night, it was jazz.
Two of my colleagues looking out over the show.
Picasso lived in Vallauris for a while. There are murals and monuments to him everywhere.
Ordinary 15th century street.
Wouldn’t YOU want to live here??
Fete de la Potterie!
St Claude, patron saint of potters. Yep.
We were invited to a beautiful 4-course lunch at the town’s community centre — BRIGHT colours everywhere.