France, inspiration, motorcycling

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

France is wonderfully diverse, and travelling by bike last summer enabled us to seek out remote areas, but also to find delightful rural villages on the way. Tumbling down hillsides, these were feasts for my eyes

We were so fortunate that although unbeknown to us, our route would take us to these special places


Lagrasse, Aude; a medieval village south east of Carcasonne



Minerve, Herault, Languedoc

Minerve, perched on a hillside amidst rugged scenery of deep gorges, I couldn’t believe the dramatic views as we stumbled across this amazing place


Beautiful Olargues, Parc Naturel, Haut-Languedoc

Mik and I made a short visit to Olargues, a cluster of houses above “Devil’s Bridge” dated 1202, where reputably the villagers made transactions with the “devil”. Tiny streets and alleyways, steps, stone doorways and arches, it is a place to roam and explore, and even though a small village, I felt we could easily become lost here

There is a museum of art and tradition, which we didn’t find, however we found an amazing portrait artist within the village, Els Knockaert. Stunning paintings, and a warm welcome to view her art:


Staying in a tiny hamlet in nearby Riols, we explored the surrounding countryside on our bikes: mountains, gorges and lakes and went wild swimming with bright turquoise dragonflies hovering over a cool river pool. Truly magical….we will be back


our ramblings in the beautiful South of France


art, collage, creative practice, France, mixed media, modern art, Pyrenees, Sketchbooks, travel

From the South of France to Cambridge

Following my motorbike breakdown in a heavy rainstorm in Spain, we found ourselves unexpectedly spending the next weekend in Ceret in the Eastern Pyrenees. What a delight it turned out to be…



a leafy street in Ceret

Ceret is the home of the Musee d’Art Moderne, where we saw work by Picasso, Masson, Maillol, Frere, Herbin, Soutine, Dufy and more


Auguste Herbin

I picked up a tiny book about Herbin’s process of collaging elements to create a scene, and these ideas travelled with me back home and then on to a workshop in Cambridge UK, facilitated by fine art collage artist Karen Stamper

Using my travel sketchbook to prompt a collage abstracted from my memories, quick sketches, and postcards from Ceret:


my travel book with postcard of art work by Andre Masson


my collage created at Karen Stamper’s Cambridge workshop

A most enjoyable sketchbook and collage play day with happy travel memories!