A Week in Provence…I’d Prefer a Year: A Sketching Experience in Nice

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Imagine this: you’re in a sketcher’s paradise, surrounded by strong shapes and clear, intense colours. Every person who passes, with or without a dear little dog, cries out to be captured in your sketchbook. The weather is sunny, without being scorching – perfect sketching conditions. You have all your kit with you. You’re a kid in a candy shop…but you cannot indulge. That was my sketching experience in Nice, on the Cote d’Azur, over the October mid-term break. A classic first-world problem: I was with my family on a much-needed break, and so I experienced the conflict of wanting to draw everything I saw, while simultaneously wanting to kick back with the family all the time, too. So I did what I could: I hoped there would be “cracks” in the day when I’d get a chance to sneak a sketch in, and so it turned out…for the most part. Once I started drawing everyone on the beach. No sooner had I drawn the first line than Marcel, my husband, shouted at everyone to flee, in the way that he does when he sees a wasp. I was extremely cross at having wasted both page and opportunity, and expressed my feelings with abandon; I suppose the kids felt sheepish, as they all took up their positions again (apart from my eldest, who remained oblivious throughout). I was sorry that Marcel wasn’t to be in the sketch, and I’m pretty sure he was sorry too, in the way you can tell when you’ve known someone for a long time – in spite of no indication to that effect whatsoever.

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