I first visited the Vaucluse (department #84) in 1984, when my Parisian friends, Patrick and Edmee, had purchased a former Ashram, surrounded by the woods of the wild garrigue. On arrival, Patrick decided to roast a chicken over the open fire, and I had the joy of foraging wild thyme and rosemary, metres from the front door, while their toddler sons clambered into a tree laden with cherries. I was smitten, and thereafter have returned to this lovely pocket of Provence at every opportunity.
As a result, I have hundreds of photos from which to draw inspiration for painting - from Orange, Vaison-la-Romaine, Crestet, Seguret in the north; through Bedoin, Crillon-le-Brave, Pernes-les-Fontaine, Venasque and Sault in the centre and east; the gems north of the Luberon - l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes, Senanque, Roussillon, Menerbes, Bonnieux and Goult; and the charms south of the Luberon - Lourmarin, Cucuron, Ansouis, La Tour d'Aigues. Then there are the geographic wonders: Mont Ventoux, the Dentelles de Montmirail, the Grand and Petit Luberon, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and the wonders of the exurgent Sorgue river erupting from the depths under the Plateau de Vaucluse, the Falaise de la Madelaine and the Gorges de la Nesque. Or the superb regular markets in Avignon and Apt, the antiques in l'Isle, the evening market in Velleron, and my favourite - the marché paysan in Coustellet. Add in the wines of Gigondas and Beaumes-de-Venise, plus the rich history of the past two millennia and one could happily spend a lifetime pootling around the Vaucluse.
So my catalogue of personal memories, captured in oil on canvas, are a work in progress:
A morning view of The Petit Luberon
La Petite Maison - a favourite restaurant in Cucuron
'Patrick' - the view from Menerbes on a post-prandial stroll
to be continued.....