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Anna reflecting on art, time and balance

EAC S'14 #8

This week marks our last week in Aix before we leave for our last adventure to Italy, but there really is no time to be nostalgic as we are all scrambling to finish our final projects before we take off.





Everybody is working incredibly hard to make the final project, a book that covers everything we learned in our art history, literature, and studio art class, as wonderfully as possible.









There is much work to be done in what is now a very short amount of time; however it is not all work and no play- we still have been taking time to smell the wildflowers, paint mountains, laugh, picnic under olive trees, explore new roads, and create art.



After we arrived back home from Amsterdam, I spent some time visiting with my mother and my aunt who decided to pay a visit. I spent Sunday showing them around my new home, and then took them to one of my favorite restaurants. There is something so wonderful about showing the city that has become so familiar to me to fresh eyes. It was comforting to realize how quickly the town of Vauvenargues and the city of Aix have become home.



On our promenade day on Tuesday, my mother and my aunt decided to join us. My aunt is an artist from Colorado and gave us a little workshop teaching us new techniques to use in our carnets de voyage (our travel sketch books.)







Afterwards, they tagged along with us to Miramás-le-Vieux where we met up with another artist, Doris Solomon, who is a friend to Dave and Jen.



She is a painter and paints only with a palate knife. She was so kind and her work was so inspiring, we all had to try her painting style.




photo: Anna W


photo: Anna W










Many discovered that the new technique was a bit more challenging than it looked, however we all had such fun, and the spot we picked to paint was of course gorgeous, that we couldn't help but enjoy ourselves despite the challenges.

We ended our promenade with exotic flavors of ice cream and sorbet in Doris’s town. But as soon as we arrived back to our home, it was back to hard, dedicated work on our final projects. It's amazing to me how the group as a whole is very good at balance. Everybody seems to know how to appreciate living in the moment and enjoy the spontaneity of adventure and art, but on the same token, we all know how to work hard and focus on what needs to be done.

The next day was a typical academic day: language studies in the morning (we're currently learning Italian), book project work, then into town for literature class at our lovely café, Le Festival. After class, we have time to get lunch and explore Aix and take in the city.


photo: Anna W

Thursday's promenade was a bit more sentimental. We loaded up the van with our pochade boxes and paint and then set out, as always, not knowing where we would go.



After a circuit around hilly country and stopping to visit tombs of French Resistance fighters erected after WWII, we eventually arrived to our destination, which we immediately recognized.



It was the parking lot of red clay looking at Mount Ste.Victoire. Up on a hill was our spot where we had sketched the mountain on our first promenade which was our second day of being in France. It was our first promenade and our last, thus a complete full circle. We had a lovely picnic and took to painting the mountain we see every day, the mountain which has become our own in a way.


photo: Vance


photo: Vance


photo: Vance


photo: Vance




photo: Vance


photo: Vance


photo: Vance


photo: Vance


photo: Vance


photo: Vance


Emi with her leather cover done long ago with her mountain
photo: Vance


photo: Vance

After our promenade, we took a longer drive home, and reflected on our time here as we drove past rows upon rows of grape vines- leaves an electric green in the May sunlight, singing along to "Sweet Home Alabama" and "I Want It That Way" on the radio.



We returned home for dinner with our friend Danielle, a former French teacher from the Proctor in France days. As others visited with our guest, I picked wildflowers and set the table while Emi and Vance created a beautiful vegan meal. Dinner was filled with laughter, good conversation, and delicious food: stuffed mushrooms, vegan shepherd's pie, asparagus, and some heavenly desert that was made of avocados, almonds, chocolate and dates. Emi is a wizard when it comes to healthy cooking. The kitchen was a dish disaster though.



After Danielle went home, we all spontaneously decided to jump into the pool and dance underneath the full silver rising moon- a ritual serving as the highest form of compliments to the chefs and a perfect way to wake up to do more work. Upon settling down and having some tea it was full steam ahead- back to work on our books until our eyes crossed and one by one we headed off to bed.

Today, Friday, has been a day of finishing our work consisting of copious amounts of chocolate and caffeine. It is a beautiful day here: birds are chirping and the sun is illuminating our mountain. There really is not much more to say, and I must return to my work. See you all shortly, Ciao! Anna
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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.
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