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Sketching the one and only road through Puy d’Arnac

With only one narrow road passing through it, Puy d’Arnac is our tiny village where mostly old people still reside.  They themselves don’t think it is that pretty, but I suppose living in a place for years and years result in one not seeing the beauty any more. Then someone new comes along and through those new eyes they can recognize all that is beautiful again.

…the only road through Puy d’Arnac..

early afternoon

done in watercolor, pencil and pen on Arches watercolor pad HP, 18x26cm

When sitting here and sketching, a gentle old lady walked towards me with her walking cane.  She couldn’t imagine how I could find this little village quaint enough to paint and how I can find the old people living here beautiful. (A project I’ll share later). I showed her the second drawing, done the afternoon before…and she exclaimed how beautiful my painting was! I told her it is her “ugly” little village she sees on the paper. Then we started talking about beauty and age. My opinion had always been that age has a beauty far removed from the beauty of this world. To me it lies in the quietude of a life time’s experiences, a life lived by the forces of  nature. When we’re at the age this old lady is, we’re not of this world any more, but we enter that world of fragility and tenderness, knowledge, a world of acceptance and admission and smiling  wisdom. How can that not be beautiful? She smiled that fragile smile, which I hoped she would see that evening in her mirror, and when she finally walked away, I think I saw her walk just that little bit more up straight…

…the only road through Puy d’Arnac 2…

late afternoon

done in watercolor, pencil and pen on Arches watercolor pad HP, 18x26cm

…the only road through Puy d”Arnac 3…

midday

done in gouche, pen and pencil on brown paper, 26x26cm

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16 responses

  1. annie

    Wonderful, Ronell. I love your old French houses. And the curved street, here, is charming. Too many people seem to shut out the details of the world around them or to concentrate on the negative aspects alone. Seems such a shame to reduce the richness of their lives like that. Lets hope your talk with the the old grandma lifted her vision. As you said, she seemed to walk a little straighter…
    annie

    May 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm

  2. You are a kind and gentle soul Ronell, your appreciation of the beauty of age and your insightful vision of her beautiful village a gift to this old lady. I look forward very much to the people project, whatever it is!

    May 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm

  3. Dear Ronelle
    I love all three sketches, it is beautiful! The last one done in gouche, pen and pencil on brown paper is so different and lovely. I loved your story about the old lady, it is so true and you have told it in your own words in such a special way….I am sure the old lady walked a little straighter because your paintings made her feel proud of the beauty of her small town!
    Ixx

    May 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm

  4. Great work Ronell! and I love your “sage paroles”.

    May 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm

  5. Jo

    sage patrols is such a great title, monteiro. I may adapt it for my own. though i’ve become that certain age, 72, i can find a certain beauty in the mirror and in the faces of my dear contemporaries, though I havne’t started drawing them. Maybe i will. But i’ve long seen more beauty in old things than in the new… old wooden floors with the patina that years of shoes have left, crumbling buildings that show their history, peeling paint and wallpaper that has mingled into a collage that only time and care could wrought.
    I once sat painting an old house in Greece and the old lady who owned it came across the street to see what I was doing. We didn’t speak each others language but she came to understand that i had honored her home by drawing it.

    May 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm

  6. nancy prieur

    THANK YOU RONELL I LOVE THE SKETCHES OF THE VILLAGE AND YOUR SOUL FELT STORY OF THE OLD WOMAN . I ONCE LIVED IN A VILLAGE LIKE THAT AND LIVED AMONGST PEOPLE SUCH AS SHE THEY HAVE WORKED AND LIVED FROM THE LAND FOR A LONG TIME THEIR STORIES ARE SO REAL ,DIFFERENT FROM THE MODERN WORLD BUT CONNECTED THEY LIVED THAT FOR US. WHEN I LEFT AND RETURNED TO CANADA I STARTED PAINTING THOSE PEOPLE THEY ARE OVERSIZED PAINTINGS BUT THOSE PEOPLE GAVE ME SO MUCH THEIR RICHNESS SOME STILL LIVE ONE HAS PASSED ON THEY INSPIRED ME AND THEIR LAND AND VILLAGE . THANK YOU YOU INSPIRE ME TOO NANCY

    May 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm

  7. This is such an enchanting story – just giving old people your time is a gift theymay not always get. I love your sketches – lyrical lines.

    May 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm

  8. Oh I see my friend is here also:) I thought of her when I read this wonderful post of yours..The story..your thoughts and the art..
    You have so much in common..What a wonderful world~

    May 19, 2011 at 11:10 pm

  9. Beautiful simple, elegant sketches, Ronelle. I look forward to a series on the village people.

    May 20, 2011 at 9:11 am

  10. thank you Everybody..for your visits and kind comments!

    You’re right Nancy..our true inspiration comes from those who have lived a life rich in experiences! And I love the fact that you suggest art doesn’t need language…I’m going to bookmark this quote by you..

    I’m so glad you see the beauty in the mirror Jo…and yes, old floors and wood and furniture and fabrics have a patina and “flair” that “the new” must still acquire…

    Yes, Annie, a lesson for all of us…recognize the good in the world before you check on the bad…
    bises
    Ronelle

    May 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

  11. Beautiful sketches.

    May 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

  12. What a lovely story Ronell – and such wisdom!

    May 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm

  13. I love how you do the stone walls! I find them so difficult ! I want to do ALL the stones, which of course does not work !! :)
    Your lines and your touches of colors are simply beautiful !

    May 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm

  14. Lovely and inspiring.

    May 26, 2011 at 2:07 pm

  15. Oooh!!! I’d love to meander down that little street and see that charming village. You did a wonderful job on all three…the second is my favorite. Sometime, like the lady, we can no longer see what we have in front of us in the same light. It becomes ordinary after such a long time seeing the same thing. And sometimes that beauty may be more inside the people than outside in their surroundings.

    May 27, 2011 at 4:12 pm

  16. willow francis

    So beautiful and peaceful! Loved it! Thank You for sharing it with us! :)

    October 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Tthank you for your visit and comment, II appreciate it!

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