†Close Ups

Text Box: Stone Barn, Pestillac, France  1990 

Amy was about to start college and we decided that we better get ourselves back to Europe before we started paying college tuition.

I drew this old stone barn from the porch of our old stone cottage which was just across the road. The rental was a gite in the town of Pestillac which we were unable to find on any map. Driving directions had been supplied by the gite agency so we were able to get there. Gite is a classification of rental property in France which is often thought of as very basic and rustic but they are often much more than that. Ours was beautifully equipped and charming.

There was a cornerstone on the barn with a date chiseled in Roman numerals. At first I read it as 1956 which just couldnít be and I realized it had to be 1856. I try to get some distance from what Iím drawing so that the drawing ends up at about the size that I see it. One advantage of this method is I can hold up the pad and see if things in the drawing are in the right places. After Iíve got some of a drawing done I try to get a much closer look and see if Iím doing textures correctly. I decided not to fill in whatever mortar was between the stones and Iím still not sure that I made the right choice.

When I walked over to the barn I was surprised to see that it housed an old Citroen 2CV. I tried to get a closer look but I got the feeling that there was nothing holding the stones together and I got out of there before I knocked the whole thing down.

One nice thing about this rental was the swimming pool. I think the properties had a number of different owners but there was a couple up the hill who ran a farm and were the caretakers of the rentals. The structure in the background had been converted into a pool house. That summer was incredibly hot and nothing was air conditioned but the pool was great and our cottage had stone walls so thick that it was freezing inside at night.

We bought Duck Confit and homemade wine from the couple who looked after the properties. The Confit was good but the wine was not. The owner of both the rental and the barn saw the drawing on line a few years ago and informs me that their wine has improved since the early 90ís.

Text Box: MORE

I think these shoots have a kind of Eastern feel.

This was our rental cottage. I did the drawing from the small porch in front of the window.

There was a trout farm nearby. Adam had wanted to catch a fish since he was about two. They supplied the pole and some bait. I threw most of the bait into the pond as chum and had Adam drop his line in the middle of the frantic fish. He caught his first fish and they grilled it for us for lunch.

Amy was a good sport especially since this was the week of her 17th birthday and Iím sure this wasnít her idea of a birthday outing. We found a nice little restaurant that would bake a birthday cake for her and had a surprise birthday dinner.

Adam was six. I guess we had been at the pool. He was fascinated by the automatic pool vacuum, an early brush with robotics.

Bonaguil Castle

All material copyright 2016 Neil Borrell


Text Box: Email   neil@borrellcompany.com