Arles: Market Day

Early Bird catching the worm: shamed me into action.

The restless night made me an hour late for breakfast. However, I felt like I was in a 50’s French movie when I climbed the stairs to breakfast(we’re talking steep pie steps wrapping around a pole two flights up). Eric was long gone, but Gustavo was there in his Honduran-French splendor: striped black and white sweater, scarf and french beret, humming along to the french café tape playing in the background like a calm, gentle-spirited Birdcage Hank Azaria, which gave me license to wear my beret Basque to the market in the mistral after breakfast. Maneuvering the market, I wondered if the reason frenchmen came to wear their beret on a jaunty angle might have more to do with batting at it, trying to keep it pinned to their heads, than style.

Gustavo and I crossed paths several times at the open air market later that morning before I made my way to Les Alyschamps, Roman burial grounds made famous by both Gauguin and Van Gogh. Having arrived at lunch break when things were closed, I returned towards town to kill some time taking a lunch-to-go near the open air antiques market. Having munched in the park on my sandwich and fries, it was time to backtrack to Les Alyschamps.

Being the only person walking the grounds, Les Alyschamps were all the more mystical- until I entered the church at the end of the allée, where four frenchmen were carrying on a very who-can-top-this debate. The sacred and profane suddenly had collided and I reveled in it.

By late afternoon, the contrast of sun and shadows was perfect to try painting en plain air, but by the time I got packed, walked a few blocks and set up, I was a bit late to really try and catch those fleeting, big buck shadows and highlights. Nevertheless, it was a great trial run and the beginning of the painting part of a painting trip.

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