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Friday, April 1, 2016

A rendez-vous to the color "factory"

One of my favorite delights is traveling around the corner from my sister's home in the Luberon National Park to the hilltop village of Rousillion where one of the biggest deposits of ochre pigment was a source mined for artists and textile manufacturers. The hills provide an array of colors from yellow to purple and have been mined since the early 18th century. You can still buy jars with an array of pigments for use in painting or dying. I have mixed mine with egg yolk for my own egg tempera paintings.
Fearing total destruction by over-mining, the village has stopped digging out it's cliffs and turned to tourism. Busses of tourists climb up the village roads and walk through the cliffs. Small families can be seen picnicking with yellow pigment smeared across their faces!
While Michael hiked the Sentier des Ochres (Ochre path) I went up to the cemetery and painted a sketch looking back at the charming village.

This is Gordes, another charming hilltop village- no time to paint it!

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