A different Thursday Three- Painted walls, ceilings and beams

Super busy today, but in the middle of a restoring a handpainted piece my mind slips to the wall and ceiling paintings that I plan to execute here at the French village house.

Look at this one –left-JP!

painted ceiling Alsace

This simple ceiling from Normandy is very appealing, though I am struggling to find the original link- sorry if it’s your photo

link image Normandy ceiling

Might well inspire the tulip room ceiling design.


An alternative to painting on the walls or ceilings themselves is to mount prepainted panels in wood (ceilings) or paper (walls). Peter Korver does this  Peter Korver

This-bottom left- from Drottingholm Palace; perfectly illustrates with it’s tree of life motifs the kind of imagery that I plan to paint onto the long wall in the cave. Link is a little dodgy, sorry. The three other walls will be the original stone, untreated and raw.  link painted wall panels

I have got as far as deciding that the tulip room ceiling and cave wall will have their designs painted on in neutral shades & no bright colours. Believe me, at my speed, this is a fast and significant decision!

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Morning- Campagne-sur-Aude




Now and then the phone camera gets it right. The one above left might very well inspire a painting at some point.

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Hiding an eyesore. The surface mounted debate

salon – kitchen walkway

I know why old French houses have surface mounted pipes and wires.

It’s far easier and therefore cheaper to install your plumbing, electrics, drainage etc if you don’t chase out those thick stone walls to conceal these modern “neccessities”.

It is one of the basic “old house” issues. Do you or don’t you?

We paid our Electrician extra to hide our wiring. I am very glad we did. There is a distinct line between a simple and sympathetic, modest restoration and living with a complete eyesore; Some can live with looking at their pipes. Their choice.

I have established that I cannot live with pipes on show (except, bizarrely, the copper pipes in the shower room) End of.

We have more to hide than most, of course.There was only one solution to bringing down waste from the second floor. It has been necessary to rework almost all the spaces in this patchwork hovel that was never designed for living. We have much to conceal.

Trev was working on this project of designing a panel over the salon-kitchen walkway. It’s all his own work. I just lightly knocked it back. Note his use of the classic diamond motif so prevalent here. All waxed up now. Very pleased I am.





Made from recycled or scrap and “imperfect”  wood. Our wood-pile has reduced considerably this year and I anticipate virtually no waste or stuff to dump when we are done. New or old.

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Snow in Campagne-sur-Aude

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Beautiful crisp snowy morning. Will it stick. Je sais pas……….. but as we are on a mission to find the Perfect Pale Powder Pink Paint for The Bride we hope not.

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Three more old rooms

I have a need to gaze upon enticing old rooms; so here are three more. Just because.

Laserow Blogspot

mystery site (the link to which has been “deleted and purged”!) That sounds very terminal.







Paint, in deft hands, creates magic.

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Où est la plage?

With last month’s storms and some further grey and rainy days. the river Aude was almost up to the bank and quite thunderously swollen in places over the rocks.

It’s calmed down a bit this week. The ducks are no longer being swept away if they are daft enough to go for a swim and the debris being dumped on the banks has reduced in both quantity and size!

Still no sign of our beach though.The paler tint underwater in the photo shows where it is hiding. Bronte is still wondering where it went. She is quite sure it was there last year…

Dumb Old Bag alert- I didn’t know that red squirrels acquire a black coat in winter. I though I had discovered a new species.


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My Pre-Raphaelite Fix

My last region of residence in the UK was south west of Birmingham.

I was very lucky to have the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum  (see previous posts) a twenty minute train ride away.

This called to me constantly, siren-style, and I needed  a regular fix (at least four times a year) of their painting galleries, particularly the Victorian rooms and, more specifically, the later Pre-Raphaelites.

One of the things I like about this gallery is that no-one objects to the public taking photos, which I always do.

My favourite painting at Birmingham,and one of my top ten works of art ever, is “The Stonebreaker” by Henry Wallis 1857 . In my opinion, this is an incredibly important work in  a breakthrough style and with a compelling substance in it’s qualities of light and composition that were well ahead of his time. Look at those “abstract” shapes and the use of colour!

Not a popular painting in his lifetime, he was much better known for the rather overstated “Death of Chatterton”, 1856, a version of which hangs in the Birmingham Gallery also. Wallis once said that dead poets were more saleable than dead labourers! Born in 1830 to an unknown father (that’s interesting) his life changed when his mother married an architect and Henry was able to study at the Royal Acadamy and also in Paris.

The story goes that Wallis painted a new version of “Chatterton” whenever funds ran dry. I like this pragmatic approach; I should work on a  celebrated cash-cow of a painting myself….

Dan and I studied this late Pre-Raphaelite Painting “King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid” by local boy Burne-Jones very closely.He pointed out that the beggar maid would have fitted right in at Glastonbury with her suprisingly “modern” hippy frock. I love the way the African king’s features are captured in profile.Yes, Burne-Jones employed his perfectly justified artistic licence to lengthen and attenuate his figures but this works well within his choice of subject matter. In contrast to this style I personally find Rossetti’s overly ripe and exaggerated female figures and faces a step too far for me.

Back to cash-cows and the ideals of starving romantically in Victorian garrets for one’s art; my companion on these visits until she became virtually house bound was my friend the painter, ceramicist and sculptor Pamela Phillips-Johnson.

Pam and I  craved our Pre-Raphaelite fixes and stood in front of each painting for ages, analysing and  enjoying at the same time. Like me, her style leans toward narrative symbolism, but unlike me she didn’t take day jobs to pay the bills or feed her children. Once hers had reached the relatively independent adult stage she rented a small flat and studio and just worked on her paintings and pieces of sculpture exclusively. She often skated close to penury and starvation quite literally and won’t mind me telling you all that her family and friends often had to bale her out.

The point of this true tale is that this woman’s integrity and her iron determination that her art came above all was absolutely admirable, if totally impractical. The question I will always ask myself is should I have made this lifestyle choice, once my children became independent? I will never know.

I saw Pam recently. Her various ailments and old age are restricting what she can do now, She is still skint, yet happy, and covered in paint and clay and ankle deep in stone chips.

She is also the woman who introduced me to Trev, who thinks that she is as mad as a box of frogs. In a good way of course. She knows that too…………..

Pam’s pieces, not great photos sorry

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