Friday, October 28, 2005

Another week in review...

On Monday we woke up encased in fog...After it burned off by 9 AM, the animation class went to Cavaillon for market day. Never quite sure whether it's a good idea or not to go on market day; there are no shortage of interesting people and things to see and draw at the markets, but the problem is finding a spot to just sit and draw. The other extreme is a place like Goult on a non-market day (Wednesday, in this case) where it is so quiet that sitting at a café it's hard just finding something interesting to draw that you haven't already drawn. Anyway...On Tuesday the Treasures of Provence class went to the former ochre pigment and dye factory at Roussillon. Since I've been into the town twice already, it was very interesting to see some background on the industry that made the town famous. Roussillon sits on part of the world's largest exposed area of ochre in the world; it's interesting to see, but the red earth and pine trees made it not that much different from where I grew up in southern Alabama and northwest Florida. Our tour guide pointed out that there is a large ochre factory in Georgia, so I wonder if the red dirt in the southeast is all due to ochre as well or if it is some other red pigment. I'll have to look into that sometime. On Thursday, the Treasures class drove to the ruins of Fort de Buoux, a hilltop fortress town that has been inhabited since neolithic times and reached its zenith in the 16th century before being dismantled by Louis XIV, shortly after he had revoked the Edict of Nantes which had ended the earlier Religious Wars and granted tolerance and peace to the Protestants in the area. It was quite impressive; hard to imagine anyone actually trying to lay siege to the place.

This week we also had a visitor, Michael Turoff (sp?), who works in Britain now as a animation and visual effects supervising producer, or something like that. He shared stories of his experience in the industry and clips of some of the pieces he's worked on, the most famous of which perhaps was the movie Joe's Apartment while he was working at Blue Sky Studios (which went on to produce Ice Age and Robots.) It was very interesting hearing about his experiences as well as some of his passion, ideas, and suggestions about independent and student animation. Another highlight of the week was photography teacher Steve Aishman (who studied and worked as an astrophysicist before teaching at SCAD) sharing some of his work followed by a brief talk about some of the constellations and their stories from different cultures.

This weekend the school has been invaded by Halloween; they are planning numerous activities such as a pumpkin carving contest, haunted house, and costume dance (the latter actually sponsored by the village; odd, since no one else in France celebrates Halloween, just something they picked up from the students here.) Since I don't really celebrate Halloween (because of its pagan history as well as modern fascination with death,) I'm just going to make myself scarce, maybe catch up on my homework and take a nap.

The view out my window in Lacoste on Monday morning

A water pump used in the ochre separation process; Roussillon

Our tour guide explains the basins used to dry the ochre; Roussillon

Inside the ochre grinding mill; Roussillon

A pile of ochre along with some shipping bags addressed to Bamako in Mali, Africa (which caught my eye because I used to work with a girl at IBM who was from Bamako)

A demonstration of how to mix ochre pigment to make various types of paint; Roussillon

One of the students tries out some of the hand-mixed paints; Roussillon

Misty morning in the Luberon valley; view from Lacoste

Drew sketches in Goult

Watchtower at Fort de Buoux

Flower; Fort de Buoux

Michelle surveys the view from Fort de Buoux

Dr. Williams walks further up the hill at Fort de Buoux

Mossy wall; Fort de Buoux

Dr. Williams examines some loose stones in the ruins of a Romanesque-Gothic church; Fort de Buoux

Alison stands atop a ruined wall of the church at Fort de Buoux

Silos (for storing grain?); Fort de Buoux

I'm upside down! Fort de Buoux

Fort de Buoux

Nearby cave; Fort de Buoux

The "hidden stairway"; Fort de Buoux

The largest cliff overhang in Provence, formerly the site of a cemetary for the now-extinct village of St. Germaine; Fort de Buoux


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