We had a full week planned for France, so we were able to take our time – that meant more opportunities to sketch for me. Although, to sketch in places like Giverny and Auvers, where Monet and Van Gogh did their thing, makes it difficult to live up to expectations – but, then, it’s also difficult to sketch and eat a baguette at the same time, and I didn’t let that stop me.
We had a friend who was working with the Van Gogh house in Auvers-sur-Oise, so we got a warm welcome there (croissants and tea, which is enough to buy my love, much less my gratitude). This was the final home of Van Gogh and where he died, and it has an emotional pull to it, especially for an artist. I wish I’d had more time there to do some actual paintings
The interior sketch is of the cafe where Van Gogh stayed and worked – this is also the room where his funeral was held when the church refused to have it (his death being a suicide and all). We just ate dinner there – I would say I solemnly considered life and death as we dined, but I mostly pondered the prime rib I was irreverently swallowing whole. Still, it was surreal to be in a room where someone who’s life has become so mythical used to live and eat and dream. We saw his private room, too, and the fields he painted and the grave site. It’s a lovely place, Auvers – I didn’t think much about Van Gogh before I went, but walking around the same spots and looking at the same trees makes you feel like you know a person, a little.