Monday, October 23, 2017

My Art Residency in France

I just returned from a 2-week art residency at the Chateau d’Orquevaux in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, about 3 hours east of Paris. Seven other artists from Australia, Canada, and the U.S. were in this 2 week block. All different styles, ages, backgrounds. It was a privilege to be around such talent. I’m proud to call them friends.

Chateau d'Orquevaux

The owner of the chateau, Ziggy Attias, is a metal artist from New York who splits his time between France and the U.S. Each artist has a beautiful – and I mean beautiful – bedroom in the chateau, plus an art studio either on the third floor atelier, in one of 2 large stables-turned-art-studios, or in the main floor salon (entitled “Esther’s bath salon”, named for a huge  wall tapestry). An eclectic couple from the village not only prepare the champagne welcome dinner when you arrived, but they also take care of house-keeping and upkeep of the Chateau.That said, we saw Ziggy on many days mowing the expansive lawn and weeding and pruning the garden. It’s a team effort.
Welcome Dinner

My husband Simo joined me on the trip and stayed in a “small” castle in the village a couple blocks from the Chateau. We had breakfast there each day which consisted of homemade French pastries, fruit, bacon and eggs, cheese, croissants, fresh-squeezed orange juice - you name it! Once Ziggy found that Simo was a musician, he made some calls and obtained an accordion from the mayor (from his closet of course). My husband, who explained each song in French - gave a concert for the village of 70 in Orquevaux - the party lasted into the wee hours.

Le Studio d'Art de Cat Tesla
As for art-making, there was a load of it. The beauty of Orquevaux and the surrounding areas was breathtaking. And quiet! The clear night sky gave us a show of the entire milky-way. I couldn’t have been more inspired. I had no show commitments or deadlines, and I was able to simply escape into the beauty of the French countryside, and PAINT. My heart is full. This was a dream come true!