Sunday, May 31, 2015

France, Part 2: Sarlat-la-Canéda and La Roque Gageac

5/20/15 Platinum Carbon and other inks, watercolor, Caran d'Ache Museum colored pencils, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
(a Sarlat village street from our third-floor hotel room window)

From the beginning of our planning, a key component of our France itinerary was the Dordogne River valley. Initially inspired by scenes we saw on a Rick Steves program, we knew we had to find a way to get there. Unfortunately, it’s an area that is much easier to get to and see by car than any other vehicle, and we had decided we didn’t want the hassle of renting and driving. That meant we spent quite a bit of time researching and riding trains. On the upside, I sketched a lot of fellow train passengers.

5/19/15 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Rhodia notebook
(train passengers)
If you’ve seen my sketches over time, you know that architecture really isn’t “my thing” as far as subject matter goes. But old Sarlat-la-Canéda is filled with an architectural style that even I adored sketching. The relatively simple lines, steep roofs and just enough run-down crookedness made the buildings less intimidating to capture. The rain and cold (45 degrees in the mornings) made it hard to sketch much outdoors, but our hotel room window looked out on a charming street that I sketched happily and comfortably indoors.

From Sarlat, we took a day trip to picturesque La Roque Gageac right on the Dordogne River, and it was even more lovely and delightful than it looked on Rick Steves. Luckily, the day began sunny and warm, and it was a good thing I started sketching right away, because by afternoon an amazingly strong wind came up that made sketching difficult. Again, I was smitten by the storybook architecture in this riverside village. For an afternoon break, I stopped for espresso and a strawberry tart in a café and made a rare food/beverage sketch a la Liz Steel!

To see photos from our trip, please look at my Flickr photo album.

5/19/15 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Rhodia notebook (train passenger, awake and asleep)

5/20/15 Platinum Carbon and other inks, watercolor (Sarlat)
5/20/15 Sailor Doyou and other inks, Museum pencils
(Cathedrale Saint-Sacerdos, Sarlat)
5/20/15 Diamine Chocolate Brown and other inks, Museum
pencil (Sarlat)

5/21/15 various inks, Museum pencils
(La Roque Gageac)

5/21/15 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor
(La Roque Gageac)
5/21/15 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor (My snack at Brasserie du Roc in La Roque)

5/21/15 Platinum Carbon and other inks, watercolor, Pentalic Aqua Journal (La Roque Gageac)


  1. I love that top sketch and the one of Le Roque Gageac. Good job on the architecture. Great snack sketch ala Liz! I'm impressed that you were able to get around so well by public transport. Do you speak any French? I didn't think I could manage that so we rented a car when we were in the Loire Valley and Provence. I enjoyed seeing your posts while you were gone, but seeing them with your stories is so much better!

    1. Thanks, Joan! No, we don't speak a word of French (well, except "pain au chocolat" :-) ). The train system wasn't too bad to navigate, but we relied a lot on the kindness of English-speaking strangers!

  2. I love how you captured the "ancient" architecture - - all the jammed-together, narrow buildings with roofs in different colors. Is your 2-page spread format new? I like it. My favorites in the slide show are the head-on lion and the curving street lined with orange buildings! Makes me want to walk down it. And of course your big sketch of the Tower -- that's great! A successful trip, huh?


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