Sanary, France 1990
We rented an apartment a couple of blocks away from the location of this drawing during an extremely hot summer in 1990. We almost rented the apartment above the Creperie sign about ten years earlier in this town on the French Riviera. I was quite happy, in retrospect, that we hadn’t rented the place because what sounded like a quaint plus, “daily market outside the window”, would have turned out to be a major annoyance. The covered stand at the right, which is a fish stall, is the beginning of the market which extended three or four blocks. It was a great daily destination but would have been tough to wake up to at about five each morning.
I’ve learned the hard way to keep the boats finished. If I leave a boat half done it is guaranteed to be gone when I come back to finish it. In this drawing I tried to work from the front of the boats to the backs (bow to stern I guess) so I could slip in the back of one boat on the front of another if I had to. Of course the tide changes as well. I try to decide early on what state I want the tide to be in and work on boats only when they are at the right level. I make a similar choice in terms of the position of the sun and where any shadows will fall. I usually do a drawing either morning or afternoon and often that is decided by when the sun will be out of my eyes, especially in a place like this where the sun beats down. I often promise myself to come back and fill in shadows. There is always a specific time when I really like the way they fall. I almost never actually come back and do this.
I did this drawing sitting on a low curb. I usually take some kind of folding chair but I didn’t have one along on this trip. Adam came with me one day and drew his version of this scene. He was seven and we had a great time.
We watched the Bastille Day fireworks from the beach here. I remember we would all walk to the beach and stop for fruit at a little stand on the way. Gerry and Amy liked the white peaches.
We would check out the outdoor market every day on the way back to our apartment we would pass an arena that was on the beach. Ray Charles was performing one night and you could get a peek at the stage from the parking lot. The view was actually kind of from backstage left so we could see the piano behind the curtain. At one point someone guided Ray to the piano and he sat down. No one was shooing us away so we watched for awhile.
As it turned out the curtain got stuck and they couldn’t open it. We spent a long time watching Ray Charles, in profile, sitting silently at the piano with the curtain closed and the audience getting squirmy waiting for the show to start.
We finally gave up and went home. You could hear the audience getting louder and louder until finally, after an impossibly long time, we could hear music. The whole thing probably took forty five minutes.
We’ve had a few strange rentals over the years. There was one where the rental agent hadn’t paid the electricity bill and we spent the first night in the dark. Sometime the second day a guy who definitely did not look like he worked for the electric company came by and spliced some wires. Here in Sanary the toilet was broken and had to be replaced. I’ll spare you the difficulties we had to face.
Sometimes I think I make a scene look better by not including some parts. This looked too crowded to me so I left some out.
All material copyright 2016 Neil Borrell