Friday, May 15, 2015

At Uschi's House

We woke up to a grey, rainy day.  After the group tramped down the stairs to the breakfast room, Uschi and her husband, Marsh, transported us in 3 carloads to their home.  

When Uschi was teaching an art class in Washington, DC, one of her students came to class and offered to sell an apartment that she owned in France.  Uschi bought it on the spot; then she went home and told Marsh!  Later, they purchased a stable on the corner of a farm near the village of Cropigny and had spent several years renovating it, bit by bit.  When we were there, the downstairs was completed and Marsh was plastering the walls upstairs as we painted.  Uschi and Marsh spend 6 months in France during the summers and 6 months in the US.  

It should be noted that the 6 months spent in France is during the hot, humid months we live with in Hilton Head; the 6 months they spend in Hilton Head are the "cold" months in France.  That is my idea of heaven... and I would do the same thing in a heartbeat.

At Uschi's, Cropigny, FR
Copyright © 2015, Scotti Vaccaro
from Tours de France,
sketchbook journal entry dated 7/18/04

So, we had all 20 of us, French and American artists, inside Uschi's house for our last day of painting together and each of us trying our best to find something to inspire us.  The windows across the front of the house, looking across the garden and fields had artists side by side.  In retrospect, I could have painted a scene of painters.  But, I was attracted to the doorway to the second floor and more interested in my conversation (her little bit of English and my little bit of French) with Ramonde.  Somehow, she and I had formed some sort of bond over the course of time.

At lunchtime, we rigged a table for 22 out of some supports and boards.  Uschi and a few of the other women had created a wonderful luncheon for all of us.  We lingered over lunch because all of us knew what would come next:  our goodbyes.  Finally, the French artists formed one line and the American artists formed a second line just like sports teams do at the end and one by one, we passed each other and gave hugs and kisses.  Then, with a few tears on cheeks, they filed out the door to their cars.

All in all, it was an absolutely remarkable trip.

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