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Cézanne's Mountain

EAC S'14 Week 1

Sitting under the sun in the late afternoon of a lazy Sunday, I am slapped by a resounding thought: I will never come back to this place. Never again, will I live in this beautiful house, with its pale ochre walls and sea-foam green shutters, its wood-frame veranda and vast stone patio.

Never again will I paint in the studio, watch the sun set over silhouetted mountains, or sit on the patio balcony in the evening and play the guitar. 

Only a week has past and more has happened than I could have ever imagined before coming here.

I have sketched and painted Cézanne's mountain.

I have painted a castle while standing on the side of the road, while being occasionally interrupted by oncoming traffic.

I have walked the halls of an immense Roman coliseum, once home to 13,000 people.

I have sat at Café de la Nuit and stood at the spot where Van Gogh painted it more than a century ago–– a painting that I will be able to see in person in only a matter of weeks.

And, I have roamed the many boulevards and little streets of Aix,

...that ancient city that is the hub of Provence. 

(This is a painting by a local artist)

Something I have come to understand about European Art Classroom, is that the program is not built just for artists or French speakers: instead, appears to be built for avid learners.

From the onset, this was proven to be true.

Our first real classroom experience started on Sunday, in which we each presented a Renaissance artist we were assigned over vacation, whose original works we will see in the coming weeks (I had Filippo Brunelleschi, the ingenious inventor and architect of Florence).

Our presentations were supposed to be under 10 minutes, but almost all of us went on for 10 minutes or longer, some even coming close to 20 minutes.

What is most remarkable about this (at least to me), is that no one's presentation was remotely boring.

Everyone had clearly become intimately invested in the life and history of their artist and had vastly different stories to tell.

Now, this energy has bled into everything that we do, from watercolor painting to narrative writing to cooking meals.

We are not master painters or fluent French speakers, but we are all curious and we are all learning; however simple that may sound, that is what I find the most extraordinary about what we are doing here in Aix.

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  • Daniel Wright
    Emi, the Wonder of it all. That is what life is all about. You are witness to what was and is. Love you! H
  • john ferris
    Wonderful message about learning and appreciation. Inspirational! Enjoy every moment and Thank you!
  • Judy Preston
    Peter Mayle, step aside! Your post is so evocative of the spirit of Aix and Provence, we've been transported ... nearly. Continue to savor the experience. Thanks, Walker.
  • Kristy Maslowski
    Thank You for sharing your experience. These pictures are beautiful! Enjoy every moment.
  • Kathleen Hobson
  • Corby Leith
    Yes! Beautiful!
  • Atul Gawande
    Awesome, Walker. What a great experience Proctor has made possible for you and your classmates. Now, um, call home!
  • Erik Cole-Johnson
    Bravo! Tu nous manques ici en français trois! Bon blog et je te remercie pour tes réflexions et tes photos. Un grand 'Salut!' à tous les autres du groupe aussi!
  • Nina Kozain
    What a great blog and wonderful start to your adventure. Thanks for sharing!
  • Valerie Ferris
    Great blog and wonderful insight. You all look like you are thoroughly enjoying yourselves. Have fun!
  • Annie MacKenzie
    Walker - Thank you for your words, images and passion for learning...lovely! Miss you!
  • Mikaela Bolduc
    Salut Walker et à tous les étudiants du groupe! Merci d'avoir partagé vos idées et vos photos. Votre expérience me paraît merveilleux. La vie est si belle!
  • sue houston
    Just wonderful! Wish I was there with you guys! What a fabulous group. You all must be having the time of your lives! :)
Located in  Andover, NH,  Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 912. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
204 Main Street  .  PO Box 500  .  Andover, NH 03216
p. (603) 735-6000   f. (603) 735-6300