Mid Summer

We have been very busy with guests at the Maison, but even as the days are filled with activity there is a sense that summer is passing rather quickly and fall seems just around the corner. This week it has been hot, but days are markedly shorter and the momentum is towards the future season. From our windows we have such a pretty view of the landscape and the big sky with an ever changing tableau. The full moon this week has been an occasion to bring out the telescope again. The moon as it rises, about our bedtime, is large, golden and low in the sky. We tend to want to give it a close look before heading to bed each night.

While we don’t have hummingbirds here in France, we do have hummingbird moths and they are a positive delight. They are insects, not birds, although they look and behave very much like their namesakes.

I was able to finally finish my silk eco-dyed wall hanging, which I have been working on for almost a year. We hung it in our office. The silk, which I purchase from a Parisian supplier, is satin silk, very pleasant to the touch.

Emily and James sent us a recipe for a delightful summer treat, pickled zucchini, which I am passing on to you. I’m not normally a huge zucchini fan, but I do like pickles and these ones are easy to gobble up next to almost any luncheon or dinner meal. And they’re healthy too.

Zucchini Pickles

Ingredients

  • 3 medium zucchini (16 oz), thinly sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (small handful) fresh dill sprigs
  • 1 small fresh red chili pepper, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar

Instructions

Toss the zucchini, onion, shallots, and salt together in a colander and place over a bowl to catch the liquids. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. Toss once or twice along the way. Get as much liquid out of the zucchini as possible. When you’re finished draining the zucchini, shake off any water. The zucchini should be as dry as possible. Place in a 1 quart jar along with the dill, chili pepper, and mustard seeds. Combine the vinegars and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves, and continue to boil for a few minutes. Pour the liquid over the zucchini and seal the jar. Let cool, then refrigerate. The pickles last for a week or so in the frig.

A Performance at the Castle

Welcome to Maison Conti, bed and breakfast and summer camp!

Emily has not been able to pursue her theater projects for several months due to the confinement. July would not normally be a month when she would be working, or need our childcare assistance, but this year, after the restrictions were lifted, she wanted to get back to it. We were sympathetic. She and a pianist friend named Anna, have been developing a show called A Sense of Touch, inspired by the health crisis we have all been going through. They came to Montmirail last week for a residency at the château, where there is a grand piano and space for rehearsal. The grandchildren came along and it was our job to keep them occupied while Emily and Anna worked. A performance at the castle was scheduled for Sunday evening.

The atelier was the locus of much activity during the week. For one thing, all the props and costumes had to be created. All hands were on deck for that.

Emily’s friend Oria, half Argentinian, half Italian, arrived to help out with the construction projects. She often has done the scenery and costumes for shows that Emily and Jos have mounted. We had a few guests in addition the theater crew, so it was a busy and interesting week.

One very pleasant day, we took the kids to the lake in La Ferté-Bernard, a short drive from home. We have had lunch at this same table many times before. It’s right next to the river.

There is a lovely beach where kids and dogs can swim and play and keep cool. We spent the entire day by the lake, relaxing.

Quinn was quite intent on creating a fleet of paper airplanes. He has become skilled with an xacto knife and cut out and assembled about ten, some of which were pretty good flyers.

Zinnie’s paper project was making buildings.

I showed them how to make cyanotype tee-shirts. The photo sensitive liquid is painted on the shirt, some plants are arranged on top, the whole thing is pressed in a glass frame and left in the sun for a few minutes to expose. It’s developed with water. The children were pleased with their results.

We played a lot of cards, took walks and did some reading. Days passed quickly.

Zinnie wanted to get out her mother’s Peter Rabbit china set, which I keep at the maison, and have a tea party. Oria brought some very special tea from the French Alps and Anna brought fig bread.

Sunday evening the public was invited to arrive at the château an hour or so before the performance to have a picnic dinner in the park. It was a pleasant evening, neither hot nor cold. Yearime, another of Emily’s friends, arrived in the morning to see the performance. She helped prepare our picnic and accompanied us to the castle.

Approximately 100 people came to watch the show in shifts. Everyone was asked to dress in white. The show was indoors with masks. The salon where it was performed is called the room of the senses, as it has paintings of all the five senses on the wall. It seemed very appropriate for the performance, which wasn’t quite a concert and not exactly a play, but a kind of hybrid.

Anna is a professional pianist, very accomplished who works in Paris for major venues. She met Emily when they worked together on a show at the Opéra Comique. Emily has mostly been doing writing and directing for the last ten years. This was her first performance in a decade. She sang and narrated and pantomimed as Anna played piano.

It was a lovely show that seemed to please everyone who attended. It certainly seemed appropriate to the moment. The château owner was delighted and invited Emily to come back any time.

The program was varied, including Gnosiennes by Erik Satie, I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Cole Porter, Preludes #6 and 4 by Frederic Chopin, Children’s Scenes, Reverie and The Poet Speaks by Robert Schumann, Waltz by François Poulenc, Dance Me to the End of Time by Leonard Cohen, I Don’t Love You by Kurt Weill and The Death of Orpheus by Christoph Gluck and Giovanni Sgambati. It was so nice for us to hear Emily sing and Anna is a marvelous pianist.

While the second group watched the performance, we waited outside until the very end of the evening, watching the sun sink into the west, painting the sky in oranges and purples, fading to dark blue. Night falls very late here in summer, but by the time everything was finished and we were all reunited, it was dark enough to take our telescope to the edge of town to observe the comet Neowise, a once every 6800 year opportunity. A perfect end to a wonderful week.

More Adventures by the Sea

Typical Breton sailing boat with red sail.

July is our busiest month at Maison Conti, but this year, unusually, it is turning out to also be a month with much family time as well. Emily and Jos, after several months of shows cancelled and work put on hold, are now roaring ahead with many new projects. Often their work takes them on the road. Since school is out, they really need some help with the children, so we are on duty for two out of the four weeks this month. If it’s possible, my preference is to take them somewhere that offers more outdoor activities than we have at home, so I blocked out last week while they were with us, and we headed back to Brittany, taking another short vacation

Our pretty apartment. Quinn contemplating an image of Mahakala, a deity common to Buddhism and Hinduism. Also known as Shiva.

This time we decided to go to the southern Brittany coast in the Morbihan, about an hour further down the way from St. Suliac and our last seaside adventure. I found a little inexpensive place in a town named Etel, an area we had never visited. I was rather attracted to the decor in the photos of the apartment we rented, which was Nepalese in flavor. The door of our room, for instance was an ancient artifact brought back from Nepal and retrofitted into the apartment. The location turned out to be ideal for us.

Quinn meets the neighborhood cat.

We were right in the center of town, with a boulangerie next door, the weekly market at our doorstep and a perfect little “lake” a few feet from the apartment. Etel is on la Ria d’Etel, a tidal inlet/river, not unlike La Rance where St. Suliac sits. From Etel, however, one can see the mouth of the river flowing into the Atlantic. Next to the port is a saltwater lake which we called “the lagoon.” It was surrounded by grass and sand and was so shallow that the children could swim there with out any danger. They spent each day splashing about and making up water games.

Happy children in evening light at the mouth of the Ria d’Etel.

Just south of Etel is the very popular Presqu’Île de Quiberon (literally, the almost island), a long narrow peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water. We took a tour one of the days we were there.

The west side is the wilder rocky coast, while the east side has sandy beaches. There are several villages along the route and the landscape is flat scrub with wildflowers.

We drove down the west side and back up the east side. We stopped along the way to climb the rock formations and enjoy the sea views.

The coastline reminded me of northern California except that the rocks were shale rather than sandstone.

The weather was almost perfect the whole time we were away.

Bounding over the rocks.

The children never tire of the ocean and neither do we.

Little sea creatures glued to rocks near the shore, waiting for the tide to come back in.

We did some swimming at the very tip of the peninsula. When we arrived it was low tide, but my perch on a rock near shore kept moving up the beach as the quickly rising tide enveloped one sitting spot after the next

Gentle waves

This time we were determined to get out on the water. It’s a wonderful spot for water sports and you can easily rent kayaks, catamarans, wind surf boards, to mention a few choices. We decided to begin with a kayak adventure on the Ria near Ste Hélène, a few miles down the road from Etel. There were many launching points up and down the coastline and this one was recommended as the best kayaking spot.

Zinnie was Rick’s kayaking partner and she was quite adept at paddling.

But the water adventures didn’t stop there. Rick has always wanted to teach Quinn to sail, as he was a sailor in his youth on Long Island Sound. I discovered that we could go to Carnac, known mostly for the enormous numbers of monoliths there, and rent a sailboat. Our last day in town we took a picnic lunch, drove to Carnac, just a few kilometers from Etel, and after lunch went to see what boat rental options were. Rick and Quinn were quite interested in a catamaran there. Zinnie took one look at it and sagely said “I’m not going on a boat without sides.” So she and I stayed on shore while the boys took to the rolling waves.

Suited up and ready for launch.

The ship was large and Zinnie and I watched as Rick and Quinn, pushed off. We had a nice view from the parapet.

As they sailed off, rather quickly I must say, I pondered whether we would ever see Rick and Quinn again. It was a joke, but as it turned out, not completely inconceivable.

Sailing off to the horizon

They were gone longer than expected and when they returned it was with a rather harrowing story of misadventure. The rudders were incorrectly fitted and the boat was extremely difficult to handle. At one point it capsized and the boys was pitched into the sea. Luckily the sea patrol were on their jog and came out quite quickly to help them right their craft, which they were not heavy enough to do on their own. As the boat was coming back to right, it hit Rick on the top of the head. Happily he was far enough underwater that the damage wasn’t great. Quinn was quite delighted with the escapade but Zinnie and I were just as happy to have missed the whole thing.

The returning seafarers

Before heading back to Etel we stopped by the highbrow La Trinité-sur-Mer. It has one of the most famous marinas in Brittany as the starting port of many yachting competitions.

This dock is home to many large racing vessels

There are hundreds of boats berthed here, mostly private pleasure ones, but a few famous competition craft.

An impressive trimaran named “Actual Leader

Ille-et-Vilaine

A view of the coast outside of Cancale.

is one of four departments of Brittany. It is the eastern most, which makes it the closest to our house. We can drive here in the amount of time it takes us to get to Paris. Everyone seems to have their favorite parts of Brittany. Many clients we have go every year to southern Brittany, Morbihan, making that department one of the most touristic regions of Brittany. It certainly is lovely, with such places as Pont-Aven, Concarneau and The Golfe de Morbihan, all stunning. The north, the Côtes d’Armour is more rugged and wild and suits many people for its sense of remoteness. The far west, Finistère, literally “the end of the earth”, has its charms and fans as well. We have visited each corner, but for me, Ille-et-Vilaine is my preferred location, probably because of its convenience for us, but also for its towns and beaches which I find very attractive.

Emily on the cliff

La Pointe du Grouin, outside Cancale, is a gorgeous spot where you can take a walk along cliffs and view the water from all directions. The day we went with the family, the sky was blue and the water was turquoise. Emily and Co. had never been to this location, so it was exciting for us to share it with them. We had discovered it on one of our travels some years ago and I have never gotten over how beautiful it is. I was pleased to revisit it.

Little stone islands and a lighthouse in the distance.

Cancale is a town we first visited many years ago with some friends from California. It is the town of Olivier Roellinger, a renowned French chef, who has a shop there where he sells his famous spice mixes. We stayed in town that evening and were able to eat dinner at one of his restaurants, Le Coquillage. It stands out in my memory as the best meal I’ve ever had.

While we were walking along the cliffs we were able to watch a school of dolphins playing near shore. We also saw a fishermen set his traps as the dolphins came towards his little boat to investigate. There were speed boats and sail boats to observe from afar as well.

As we drove along the coast from Cancale towards St. Malo, where we intended to sit on the beach together, we passed another beach called Plage du Guesclin which was practically deserted. It looked so inviting, that we parked here and walked down to the sandy beach and spent a couple of hours swimming and sun bathing, avoiding the inevitable crowds at St. Malo.

The kids had a kite, which didn’t work so well and a boogie board which was also only of limited success, but of course there are always sand castles to be constructed.

We carried on to St. Malo for dinner. The city of St. Malo is actually quite large, but we only really know the historic (and touristic) walled city section, which is quite small and untouched by modern architecture of any kind.

St. Malo, as I have written about before on this blog, is one of our favorite destinations. The walled town, surrounded on all sides by water, with a narrow spit of land leading to it, is full of shops and restaurants. We had a fabulous dinner at a place that serves Japanese-themed Breton crepes. A strange, but, as it turns out, excellent combination.

At this time of year it stays light until about 11PM. so after dinner we were able to walk all along the walls which surround the town and enjoy the views, the breeze and the end of a very special day.

The sun was setting on the Rance as we drove back to our gite in St. Suliac.

On another day we drove south to the very end of the river, where the Rance is narrow, to the town of Dinan, a lovely historic town with an old port. From here you can take a ride all the way to St. Malo.

Port of Dinan

There is a street leading from the port, at the bottom of town, to the center, which is on the hill above. It is quite long and steep but worth the climb just to see all the lovely old buildings. There are several artists’ ateliers located here. Dinan has some of the most beautiful and old buildings in Brittany.

On our last day on the coast, we briefly visited Dinard which is across the water from St. Malo. It is a very up-scale resort town with fabulous 19th century mansions lining the cliffs. It is known as “The Cannes of the North,” and has been a playground of the rich and famous for a couple of centuries.

For me the best part of Dinard is the view back to St. Malo.

Saint-Suliac

View from our gite, onto the Rance.

When in late May the government announced that travel restrictions within France were lifted, I immediately booked a week’s holiday on the Brittany coast. I chose a gite in St. Suliac, a plus beau village (a label indicating one of the most beautiful villages in the country) on the Rance River.

Map created by Daniel Derveaux. The red star, added by me, shows the location of our gite.

This is one of my favorite areas in France as St. Malo, Dinard, Cancale, Dinan and Mont St. Michel are all at hand. The 100 kilometer Rance tidal river flows into the Channel. All along its banks are historic fishing villages and picturesque old ports, St. Suliac being the best of all, in our opinion.

The village nestles into a curve in the river’s course. From the hilltops you are able to look both north and south down the Rance as it meanders through the valley on its way to the sea.

Surprisingly, at least to me, the village was calm and not overrun by fatigued Parisians looking for a weekend out of doors. One got the idea that we were some of the first tourists to visit the town after its long confinement. On the evening of our arrival we were lucky enough to have dinner at a local restaurant that was opening for it’s first service since March. We happened to be walking by as the fishermen were delivering their catch to the restaurant owner so we were inspired to book a table to experience the local fish fresh from the sea. Our meal was very memorable. The fish was turbot, and it was deliciously cooked and beautifully presented.

The village itself is charming, with twisting alleyways, effulgent vegetation, ancient stone buildings and lovely views of the river. It has a nice épicerie, boulangerie and several restaurants. We had been here once before a few years ago when we stumbled upon it by chance. It happened to be in July when they were celebrating their annual boating festival. There were thousands of people in town that day so we hadn’t gotten the true flavor of the place.

The tides are relatively dramatic here. We had a great deal of pleasure watching the water change levels and colors depending upon the time of day. Our gite was on the hill behind the beach. The monument you can see on the distant cliff in the photo above was a short, level walk from where we stayed.

Quinn and Zinnie hadn’t been to the sea since our last adventure there together in February.

The gite I choose, which was ideally located but modest, just happened to have space for six people to sleep. Since we hadn’t seen Emily and her family for a few months, except virtually, we invited them to join us. The kids attend physical school only two days of the week (the other days study is done at home), so they were actually free to stay five out of the seven nights we were there. They arrived in the afternoon after a 4ish hour drive from Paris. We were all very happy to be together and to be in such a wonderful location.

Even if the weather wasn’t as warm as it had been in May, the kids were in the water several times a day. The bay is not at all deep, so they were able to walk far out even during high tides.

On the weekend the bay was absolutely full of wind surfers and sailors. We longed to rent a boat to get out onto the water, but unfortunately the rental shop was closed the whole week we were there. You can also take chartered boat trips up and down the Rance, all the way from Dinan to St. Malo, but we were never able to organize ourselves to take advantage of that.

Near our gite was a little wooded trail that leads to a monument built in honor of the Virgin Mary in 1894, using local materials. During the nineteenth century fishermen from St. Suliac would fish for cod off the coast of Newfoundland from March to November. Many sailors were lost at sea and never returned. One of the worst disasters occurred during one fishing season in the 1880s when a large number of locals went down with their ship. The next year, before leaving for their dangerous voyage, the fishermen prayed to the Virgin and promised her that if they all came back home alive, they would build her a monument. They kept their promise. The site provides a panoramic view of the area.

All along the Brittany coast you can find wonderful trails that were created for custom agents to patrol for smugglers. They are called les sentiers des douaniers. Descending from the monument and heading north, away from St. Suliac is such a trail which we walked for about a half mile, through woods and over rocks, but always with the the water to our left.

At one point there is a very steep and I must say rather rickety stairway that lead down to a beach. From there one could walk on, although we did not. The little beach disappears at high tide but at the moment we arrived, it was completely deserted and provided a narrow strip of sand and stone to enjoy, which we certainly did.

I have many more photos of our week on the coast. Next Sunday I will post some more of nearby locations we visited. Although you might not believe it by looking at the map, St. Suliac is about 20 minutes from Dinard, St. Malo, Cancale and Dinan, all wonderful places.

Learning to Fly

Baby swifts are just about as big as their parents

This week the baby swifts are leaving their nests. They perch on the gutter right outside our kitchen window and wait in a row until the adults swoop in and stuff something in their beaks. They seem very innocent, as they sit outside our open window and stare up at us without fear. We could reach out and grab one if we were so inclined…which we are not. The terrace creates a kind of cavern which the swifts love, especially in the evening, to navigate at high speed. As Rick pointed out, the gnats are also in high season at the moment and since this is what the birds eat, they are able to catch them easily in the enclosed space. They just open their beaks, and scoop them up. The babies, however, until they are independent, seem to require something more substantial than a mouth full of gnats. I haven’t been able to observe what the parents are feeding the “little” ones.

The third floor perch is also an excellent platform for the baby birds to try out their wings. Their bodies are such a perfectly aerodynamic design that flying seems to be cake to them.

Sparrows also use our top floor gutter to survey their nests, which they make in our honeysuckle

This week I spent most of the time in my atelier working on an unusual piece. It is unusual in the sense that I have never done anything like it, either on paper or as a “painting.” I don’t know why I decided to pursue it, but the idea came into my head and I just followed it to its conclusion. I started out with one of those failed abstract paintings on masonite that I created in early spring. In this case it was mostly reds, yellow and oranges, with a touch of green. I had envisioned a dark purple background for my image, so I put some blue acrylic in two corners and some red and green in the other two corners and started mixing them together right on the board. I had the whole thing covered when I thought better of making it just flat color, so I took a sponge and wiped off some of the purple to allow the under colors to come through. I liked it like that. I then began to draw a kind of vine pattern all over the board. I have never really made patterns before, but I liked the way it turned out well enough.

The vine is drawn with a white pen

I painted all the leaves green and then got the idea to put some silver leaf on all of them. Part of the way through that step, I decided to leave some green leaves to have the contrast. Gluing down the fragile thin silver leaf is quite tricky. I didn’t do an expert job, but I wasn’t entirely dissatisfied with the results. I decided it was more folk art than refined. The gold leaf in the middle of the flowers was much easier to handle. For some reason the gold is not as flimsy.

Gold and silver leaf
It looks best from the side with the light reflecting off the gold and silver leaf

I happen to have a whole collection of gold, silver, copper and aluminum leaf as I have always loved their luminescence. I’ve used it on various projects over many years.

Flight,” a deep-bite etching with gold leaf and surface drawing.

In the Abstract

As mentioned before on this blog, I love abstract painting and I have it in my mind to some day make some enormous abstract artworks to cover our walls. The only trouble is, I don’t really understand how to do it. Early in our lock down, I dragged out some masonite boards and started experimenting. I have done a little research into contemporary artists whose work I admire and most say that when they start a painting they have no idea what they are after. While that seems like fun, it also seems a bit intimidating. How do you judge your own work when you have no image in mind? It’s like being blind. I did paint four or five canvases this way, all quite different, and enjoyed the process a lot, but had no sense of where I should go with it or when I was finished, so I put them all away in a stack. I have started painting over them lately. I pulled out the one above to gesso over it and begin something else, but I paused. I sort of liked the painting. It has a landscape feeling and it reminds me a little of a painting I grew up with in our family house, so while I’m not sure what I will do with it, I did decide to allow it to live.

Tea and a Good Book

This week I also did a little collage work, incorporating some of my old drawings. I have so many beautiful old papers and stacks of drawings, so I tried to see if I could put them together in an interesting way. I like this technique and I will continue to explore it. Rick is less enthusiastic about it, as it is something of a technical challenge to line up all the little collages correctly and roll them through the press to adhere them to the moist printing paper. One mistake and the whole thing has to be trashed.

Country Roads

This week we stayed home, but the phone has started to ring again and the world is getting back on the road over here. This weekend all our rooms are taken. Meanwhile the sun is making it’s own ornate paintings on the terrace…

and in the hallway. Summer weather is upon us.

The spring flowers, my favorites, have passed, but we’re still left with a carpet of campanula in the terrace beds…

and star jasmine growing up on the fence. As to the delicious scent, as you stand by our gate, I will have to leave that to your imagination.

The Big Adventure

Last Sunday we took a long drive in the countryside around our village. For the first phase of the opening up here in France, we are permitted to travel 100km, as the crow flies, from home. We packed up a lunch and chose a direction, which happened to be south, and just started driving down little roads that are innumerable in our corner of the world. The day was perfect, the sky deep blue, the temperature warm but not hot and the roads sparsely populated. We had a vague idea of finding a trail and taking a walk, but the main object was just to see the world beyond town. I had not sat in our car since February. It all seemed very daring.

The first thing I noticed was how fecund the world is at the moment. How many shades of green are there? From the intense yellow green of the newly sprouted corn fields, to the deep forest green of the oak trees, I couldn’t begin to count. I have never had allergies, but my eyes began to water as we made our way along. It was as if the air was swirling with new life.

Just about the time we began to feel a bit hungry, we passed a sign for The Château de Courtanvaux. Although the castle itself was closed, the grounds were open and we headed down the forested drive to the parking lot. We had been here several times before but never fully explored the grounds. It made a perfect place for our picnic. We found a bench in the shade of some trees and enjoyed the serenity with a few other families who were also there.

The 168 acre grounds are open all year, free of charge, for walking and picnicking. There are forested hiking trails, formal and informal gardens and a lake with a path all the way around.

Enjoy the sound of the French countryside!

A pleasant water course leads from the château itself to the lake and beyond. The water tumbles down in steps.

In other times we have seen wedding parties taking photographs here. The grounds are very photogenic, as you can see. The bridge is a favorite spot for the bride, in her flowing white gown to pose with her new husband, dressed in black. I could picture them there.

The formal rose garden is on the castle level, which we didn’t visit this time. Instead we enjoyed the field of wild flowers and native grasses.

We took a nice long walk all through the grounds of Courtanvaux before traveling on.

A few iconic sights greeted us as we zoomed past, including this two layered ghost sign on the side of a building and these incredible stupa-like structures built by an artist outside a town we pass through from time to time. We have never seen the artist at work, but each time, they multiply and change. They are located right on the roadside and visitors are welcome to stroll among them.

We were gone from home for less than five hours, and our walk was more a stroll than a hike. Even so, at the end of the day I was so exhausted that I could hardly keep upright. I suppose I was just a bit overstimulated!

The View From Here

This week the village has come back to life. Our phone has been ringing and we’ve hosted our first guest. The Place in front of the maison is now full of cars. People are coming and going. For myself, I haven’t yet ventured outside our gates and haven’t felt desperate to do so. I have my nice chaise longue on the terrace and a beautiful view from our apartment windows. These make me feel much less restricted. Tomorrow, however, we intend to take a nice long drive and stop for a walk in the countryside. I haven’t been in the car since March.

I did some oil painting this week. I really wanted to do some abstract work but I find I don’t know how. I push the paint around and never have any idea what to do with it. I decided that I would try to make some abstract figurative images, which are popular at the moment and I have seen some fabulous examples, loose and expressive. However when I started painting I didn’t feel quite confident enough. Instead I came up with something semi-realistic. I decided to try using a limited palette, just four colors (two sets of compliments) and white. I don’t think I’m quite done, but for the moment I am putting it aside.

I also got back to finishing a couple of etchings which I began weeks ago. The first version of this one was a plain line etching. It improved when I added a little texture, with little etched marks, although I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the result.

I decided to add some aquatint, which is a technique a lot like half-tone, used in old photography. Resin is adhered to the plate and when put into the acid, allows grays to be added to an etched image. It brings it to life.