Sketching within the grounds of Notres-Dame Des Portes (Painting Holidays at The Old Bakery, Châteauneuf du Faou – Summer 2016) (Posted March 29 2017)

The chapel of ‘Our Lady of Doors’ is situated in the heart of Châteauneuf du Faou and a five minute walk from The Old Bakery. This elegant gothic chapel dominates the skyline and offers a magnificent view over the valley. The chapel was built in 1438, following the discovery of a statue of the Virgin Mary in the hollow of an old oak tree. The Bretons saw this as a ‘sign’ and the chapel has since become a place of pilgrimage.

Notre-Dame des Portes is also closely associated with the famous artist Paul Sérusier. He was a founder of the group who called themselves Les Nabis, after the Hebrew word for prophets. He lived in Châteauneuf du Faou for several years and in 1894 painted ‘The Pardon of Notre-Dame Des Portes at Chateauneuf Du Faou‘. 

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Paul Serusier: “The Pardon of Notre-Dame Des Portes”  1894                                                                                 Oil on Canvas 


Guests had a focused morning sketching the architectural details of the chapel and the cascading roof tops across the valley. Some used it as an opportunity to sharpen their observation skills with a series a quick timed sketches, and others opted for more detailed studies. A range of drawing materials were provided: charcoal, conte crayon, pencil and soft pastels. The main focus for this workshop was observation, composition, proportion, and most importantly, experimentation. Guests enjoyed the freedom to explore the architecture and landscape, through an expressive approach to drawing.

An additional treat en route to the chapel was the weekly market. We thoroughly enjoyed taking in the atmosphere of a traditional French market. There were stalls laden with fruit and vegetables, another stall devoted to all kinds of cheese, a charcuterie, a stall selling a vast array of different spices, and the usual livestock that one is accustomed to seeing in a typical French market.

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