Painting a house and watercolours

I first posted this pic vertically,  a mistake presumably, because I really like the composition and shapes, but on close inspection I find it should be horizontal, never mind I’m posting them both anyway!










I have not posted lately because Graham and I have been busy with a painting job in a house in Mussidan. It’s not a flat painting job, but requires special finishes, which is one of my ‘trades’, as you know. I painted the entire house 23 years ago after it had been gutted and renovated. Above is a pic of the spiral staircase, looking down.

To digress slightly , although it is relevant: they have a system here called ‘le viagé’ where you can sell your house to a buyer, on the proviso that you can live out the rest of your life in it at no cost to you, or maybe just service costs. The idea is that the buyers gain because they get a bargain, and you benefit by having a roof over your head whilst someone else foots the bills. There are pitfalls though, one very famous story being of a French président buying a chateau from a lady in her 80’s, at a very good deal,  expecting her to pop off at any minute, and the “viagée” lived until she was 110!  On the other hand, if a  scheming person buys, the viagé can be subjected to all sorts of horrors, maybe even murder perhaps? ( oowahahaha…. now that would be a great  storyline, I am sure a French crime author must have thought of that one) .  You hear of  these tales again and again; however, on the up-side, generally the rule is  that  if you wish to prolong your life then sell your house as a “vente viagé”!  I can vouch for the authenticity of 2 of these stories, because this house in Mussidan is tied to one of them, they waited 25 years for this house, living in rented accommodation. it sounds rather predatory, but these are/were really nice people, and they were young with a young family, and it was the only way they could afford to own their own home. A sad sequel to this was that as soon as the house was finished the wife fell off her bicycle and died, aged 42, a tragic tale indeed. The other  house belonged to some Dutch friends , who’s “viagé” lived in a room on the ground floor in the middle of the house, whilst they renovated all the rooms around him, again he remained for at least 20 years.



Anyway, get to the point, the house suffered a great deal after the droughts and huge cracks appeared, and it now needs a complete makeover. This time Graham is doing all the preparation ( it was already completed for me 23 years ago) and then we work together applying the special finishes, ( as I am beginning to creak with old age and arthritis !) The most time-consuming thing is mixing the colours and preparing test panels, which can take a few days for several rooms, so whilst G prepares, I do the test pieces.

Once the colours are chosen, we apply the paint finish, with extra large brushes, and at a furious pace, which can be very stressful believe it or not, because one false move, or the colour dries before you have spread it evenly, you get a horrid stain, and you end up having to repaint the undercoat and start all over again, which loses time you do not have (and paint of course).

So, we have 2 requirements before starting a wall,

  1. we have to have Handel’s music playing
  2. we each have to visit the loo

It is extraordinary how much adrenalin is required, I know it probably sounds stupid considering it is not exactly brain surgery or rocket science, but such is the nature of the work. For the salon I had the bright idea, ( which I slightly regretted as it added more stress ) of having stronger colour at the base and getting gradually paler as it rises to the ceiling.


ANYWAY , aside from all that , I thought I would post a few watercolours I have completed over the last year, and which I will be exhibiting among others in August. Apologies for the quality of the photos, the pale ones are always difficult to photograph.

IMG_3685 Untitled_1

IMG_3679 IMG_3696 IMG_1662 IMG_3690





IMG_0275 IMG_3689




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