July was pretty much of a loss as far as drawing was concerned. In mid-July, we travelled to Washington DC to see Marzapane perform in a wonderful community theater production of Evita! in McClean, VA. She was a featured dancer and singer in the company. I made the drawing in their apartment. Geesepalace is asleep on the bed. The following week, 12 of our friends came from Padova, Vicenza, and Belluno for our biannual RAGBRAI, the weeklong (477 mile, this year) bike ride across Iowa. Without any training at all (where can you bike in Venice?) I rode for four full and 3 half days for a personal total of 306 miles. This was the sixth year that we rode as Team Veneto. Once our bikers left Des Moines, we helped host the Luca Donini Quartet, a jazz band from Verona, for a week of concerts in Iowa. I made no drawings at all during this time, but did have a good deal of fun.
On August 7 we flew to Bordeaux, France, then drove a few hours east to Berbiguieres, a tiny town of stone houses and a chateau, near the Dordogne River in Perigord.
We spent four days there, enjoying opera, exploring the nearby medieval towns, visiting caves and prehistoric cave paintings and incised rock drawings (this is the area of Lascaux), and eating fois gras.
I drew this in the dark, at Font de Gaume, the only cave with prehistoric paintings in France still open to the public. Only 180 people are allowed in per day. Seeing these 14,000 year old paintings of horses, bison, mammoths deep under the earth was an amazing, moving experience.This delicious vacation came about because of a most generous invitation from a new, wonderful friend.
The British owners of the chateau de Berbiguieres put on an opera for the village every year or so in the courtyard of the chateau. They bring in the directors, singers, and musicians from the UK. This year, the Cambridge Touring Opera Company performed Don Giovanni. The first night, we attended the dress rehersal, the second night was the first performance, the following night aconcert by the orchestra, and the fourth night was supposed to be Don Giovanni again, but rain forced them to halt the performance (I made my drawing over two performances). It was tremendously enjoyable, and it was a real luxury to see the opera several times. The whole village and surrounding area helps with hosting, transportation, and feeding of musicians, so it is a lovely community event.
My only frustration in France was running out of India ink (a couple of my drawings are really pale because I had to fill the pen with water to keep going), but fortunately, a shop in Les-Eyzies, center of the prehistoric cave district, had some ink.
We ended our stay in France by driving to Moissac to see the Romanesque sculpture at the abbey there. Then we drove back to the Bordeaux airport and flew to Venice. Lovely sandolo trip by moonlight, thanks to Geesepalace, on my birthday. Devoted a day to making final responses to an editor's edits for my Orange Wrappers article for the Printed on Paper conference. Spent the weekend in Florence with Marzapane and Mr. P. and his family. We also saw a wonderful exhibition of Flemish and Dutch drawings at the Uffizi. We all attended a marvelous family gathering at a country restaurant southwest of Siena, a much-belated celebration of their wedding.
Back in Venice now, cleaned house today, downloaded photos. Next project: I have to finish the exhibition labels and a gallery guide for an upcoming curatorial project. Really soon.