Friday, April 07, 2006

A Day in Toulouse - Day 7

April 6
Catharine and Christophe had an appointment with Veronica from the Gallery in Andorra so they invited Kong Yee and me to go along. After lunch, we went separate ways and Kong Yee and I walked from the Capitol to Basilique Ste-Sernin. We took photos all the way around and then went inside. It was lunchtime so the plazas were filled with some of Toulouse's 100,000 students. Dedicated in 1096, Ste Sernin is the largest example of Romanesque architecture in France and has spectacular examples of 11th and 12th C. art. The ornate Baldachin (or canopy over the altar) which was added 200 years later is impressive. As we walked in the quiet near the altar and the ambulatory, someone began to sing the Ave Maria. I think perhaps just a tourist; but her voice echoed through the huge nave and goosebumps shivered across our bodies.

We continued through the streets - photographing and sketching. At one point, I noticed a lady watching us and trying to get our attention. Finally, she pointed to the façade of a building near us and smiled. After the visual feast of the carvings on the doorway of Église Ste-Pierre des Chartreux, we went inside. A treat we most certainly would have missed without her kindness to two strangers.

Later, I knew that Kong Yee and I had developed a rhythm for viewing the City which would allow us to photograph and sketch at our own pace. It would have been more productive for each of us if we had not been focused on finding a bank machine!! Art and reality at odds. We found our ATM and settled in the huge plaza to await the others. I had coffee and a perfect chocolate confection while making this sketch.

We finished the day in the studio of Christian. It was interesting that the French sculptor/painter used elliptical shapes in his canvases as did the Malaysian photographer/painter. Christian showed us his delicate tissue collages (which Veronica selected for the Gallery in Andorra,) his raku fired sculpture and his books which he created along with a writer -- all editions of fewer than 10 and hand-bound -- and gave us coffee and conversation in the tiny upstairs kitchen. We came home by the back roads and more beautiful views.
Kong Yee's work, some of which is being prepared for his show is Kuala Lampur may be seen at:

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