Following our week in Annecy, we headed south by coach, via Avignon, to Villefranche Sur Mer, an historic town between Nice and Monaco on the Côte d’Azur


FRAN1780Villefranche Sur Mer Sculpture by the sea

FRAN1709Enjoying the scenery – Annecy to Ville Franche sur mer

DSC06973Pondering history – a Kronenbourg, Exile on Main Street and Villa Nellcote straight across the Bay.

DSC06988A happy man with a half bottle of Chianti not so Classico

DSC06989Eleanor and a plate of Mediterranean delicacies.

DSC07005 DSC07015Our Hotel balcony was a hard place to leave.

DSC07089A quiet little square slowly transformed, by workmen and passing tour groups, to a place of confused chaos, but we pressed on with confidence and determination.

FRAN1698Pont d’Avignon

FRAN1752Pink Neon

FRAN1771Pathway to the water



FRAN1786 Cocteau sculpture near the little church he decorated.

FRAN1787 Pink Chairs

FRAN1793 All of life’s luxuries packed into a spare plot of (very expensive) land.

FRAN1833 Vive la France

FRAN1850 Pink Roses

FRAN1853 Stacked market boxes

FRAN1860 Sweet, fresh and juicy

FRAN1918 Old Town, Nice


FRAN1930Butcher shop mascot.

FRAN1971  Negresco, Nice – Where Isadora Duncan fell victim to a long scarf and a Bugatti in 1927.FRAN1991

FRAN1995Fantastic Paintings – no photos inside – see it if you are in Antibes




Oops, Sorry, late post – forgot to hit the publish button

Heading south, the Spanish countryside becomes more densely packed with olive trees and much of the architecture has a strong islamic influence.


In Cordoba, horses are taught to dance…


…or transport visitors around the town



The Mezquita and the Cathedral of Cordoba is an amazing structure. After being blown away by the scale and beauty of the Mosque, you discover a huge Christian Cathedral right in the middle





The decoration is mesmerising. The more you study it the more intricate it becomes.



Cordoba Cathedral





More Photos from Granada and the Alhambra.




























Everything is extreme in Barcelona – the food,  the fashion, the bars, the music and the architecture.

Antoni Gaudi’s amazing buildings dot the city and have become some of  the city’s major tourist attractions.






Sagrada Familia – still under construction after 120 years.



Barcelona balconies – making a medieval facade look like a Gaudi facade.


Some of the architecture prior to Gaudi was pretty wild and elaborate too.


9:30 at night and the city starts to come alive – bars and restaurants start to fill around 10 or 11 and crowds are heading home as the sun comes up.


Nail Polish pink Vesper.


Man with dog and sidecar.

The Barcelona Maritime Museum had an exhibition of giant puppets used for festival performances in the city. It’s a weird feeling standing next to these huge papier mâché figures, twice the height of an average human.









Sailing into Barcelona Harbour.


Tiring work selling candles.


Ham in Spain is an art form. Jamón de bellota, made from acorn-fed black-footed Spanish pigs fetches up around 200 Euro/kg for the best quality. The markets in Barcelona have hams ranging from thirty Euro/kg upwards and the vendors are happy to coax you into purchasing by slicing off tasty samples.


Barcelona’s Maritime museum is housed in beautiful old ship building warehouses near the waterfront.


This is a replica of the Royal Galley which was built in Barcelona in 1568 and was the dominant warship in the Mediterranean up until the 17th Century. The ship was 60 meters long and powered by 59 oarsmen.


Inside the galley is not near as impressive as outside.


Subtle Spanish sneakers.


Barcelona Beach architecture.


The old city of Prague is an amazing collection of domes, turrets and spires. The ground is completely covered in cobble stones  and the Gothic architecture is fantastic – the only downside is that thermometers in Prague only need very small numbers.

St Vitas Church

Large Religious thing covered in gold, silver and angels – St. Vitas Church.

Inside St Nicholas Church – No man in red suit inside.

The Chapel of All Saints in the town of Kutna Hora, outside Prague, is completely decorated with human bones – the remnants of up to 17000 bodies killed by the plague in the 16th century.



Kutna Hora – a quaint little town with some weird signs on the shop windows

Big gun in central Prague

The Palace Guards do a much better job of standing still and doing nothing than the white faced, sheet draped buskers standing on boxes around the city.

Buskers on Charles Bridge

Prague has very few old cars, in fact late model Porsche’s are such a common site that, to stand out in the crowd, the owners must go to ridiculous lengths.

These tiny blue cars are police vehicles.

Lost in translation

Like many bridges throughout Europe, Prague has it’s share of Lovers Padlocks. The idea is you take your sweetheart down to the bridge, pledge your undying love, attach the lock then throw the key in the river.

This guy must have had commitment issues and opted for a combination lock! (names were written in pencil too)

The ultimate extreme sport – a balloon ride over the spikiest city in the world.


About 120 km south of Winton, on the Diamantina River, are the ruins of Old Cork Station. It was first established in the 1870’s and served as the mail distribution point for the region before the town of Winton existed. It’s a sad sight to see what must have been an impressive sandstone building in such a remote area, slowly crumble into the dust. Unfortunately talk of saving and stablising the building have amounted to nothing. White ants, souvenir gatherers, government inertia and the weather have put an end to saving an impressive  piece of our history

Old Cork Waterhole is part of the Diamantina River. Supposedly full of Yellow Belly.

Scattered around the area are remnants of  old station life – broken plates and bottles, buttons,  nails, wire, even unused bullets.

If you remember the Redgum song, Diamantina Drover listen to this version by Christy Moore


With the Studio to Studio Exhibition finished and a couple of other commitments out of the way, it was time to load up the truck and head west. I have a two day workshop in Winton, and will be judging the 2012 John Villers Winton Art Award. The plan after that is to explore the Diamantina basin before winding our way up to Mt Isa for another two day workshop. If the night time temperatures are still above freezing in Alice Springs we will stock up in Mt. Isa and head to Alice via the Plenty Highway and Eastern Macdonalds.

We drove through some incredible storms between Longreach and Winton. After four years of good rain the country is weirdly green, the cattle are fat and plentiful and the station owners are smiling.

The wild west – Main street Winton

After the workshop we celebrated Sash’s birthday in fine style at the Tatts Hotel

Big moon rising over suburban Winton

Willie Mar’s Chinese market garden operated in Winton from 1923 until it fell victim to the 2000 flood.

Jessica and Craig , who organised the John Villers Art Exhibition and Workshop in Winton, took us out to the Rangelands Escarpment for drinks as the sun set. What an awsome sight.

Nick Caves story “The Proposition” was filmed here at Ranglands and on nearby Bladensburg National Park


We camped a night looking over Scammy’s Lookout – what a place to watch the sun go down – You can see all the way to India.

From Scammy’s Lookout

Plenty of grass means plenty of kangaroos bouncing through the landscape.


After miles of nothing we stumbled across this water hole on our way down to the Diamantina.

At Larks Quarry an impressive building protects footprints made by stampeding dinosaurs 95 million years ago.

Strangely, the structure won a building award in 2004 but had to be closed in 2012 to demolish unstable rammed earth walls. We were lucky enough to arrive a couple of weeks after the building was re-opened (minus many of the rammed earth walls)


After our stay in Aix en Provence we boarded a coach and made our way through the French country side to Chateau de la Fluenie. The Chateau was built in the 1300’s and extended in the 1600’s. It is a beautiful old building set on manicured, spacious grounds just outside the small village of  Condat in the Dordogne

The main dining room

After a hard days painting it was nice to relax and enjoy drinks on the terrace as the sun went down.

We were fortunate to have access to a large conference room,should the weather turn bad. Fortunately we had only one foggy morning where staying indoors made painting a lot more comfortable.

The Chateau had its own heard of deer and a collection of very small goats.

Further down the paddock were a pair of friendly pigs

The small village of Condat, just down the road from La Fleunie, was a great place to paint. There was a bar, coffee shop and restaurant in the village, so we were well looked after.

Lunch in Condat

Butterfly disguised as dandelion.

Hand hewn timber in the roof of an ancient Condat farm building.

Trees in the region were getting ready to loose their leaves – some were bare, some where still green and some had fantastic colors.

We visited the medieval town of Sarlat – beautiful old buildings, markets, shops and restaurants, plus a wealth of painting subjects. A great place to spend the day.

Behind the Cathedral we found a quiet spot with a great view of one of  the towns Medieval houses.

La Roque-Gageac was another medieval town tucked under a cliff on the bend of the Dordogne River. It seemed a strange location for a town, but looked spectacular reflected in the water. We spent most of the day painting there, then went to visit the Lascaux Caves. No photos due to copyright restrictions according to our guide?!

After the workshop we traveled to Bordeaux airport where everyone headed off in different directions.

Dianne and I stayed a couple of days in Bordeaux and after the luxurious accommodation we were used to, the view from our room came as a bit of a shock.

Bordeaux has some beautiful buildings, but not far from where we stayed was the building below. It must be the ugliest building in France, built from checker plate metal, freeway crash barriers and funny little windows.

Bordeaux fruit stand