Romanesque Art in Ariège, France by Jeannine Cook

As so often happens, delicious coincidences have again come along to enhance life for me. When a fine day suddenly burst through from the clouds of rain and snow, I decided to give myself a break from silverpoint drawing at my wonderful artist's retreat perch at Bordeneuve, in Betchat in the French Pyrenees. My hostess, Noelle, extremely knowledgeable and a lover of all things natural, historic and beautiful in Ariège, confirmed that my plans for the day were good.

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Landscapes by Jeannine Cook

The snow had fallen all night, but the morning dawned clear and sharp. To the south, as I topped the first rise of the hills, lay the Pyrenees, higher, more intricate in form and peak, more immense in span of horizon than I remembered. My second time as an artist in residence at Bordeneuve was beginning in beauty. Some of the peaks were blushed pink-apricot, others were subdued in greys and pearls. The foreground of rolling, energy-filled hills was their prelude, dark with winter filigree of trees. This massive display of seemingly timeless mountain ranges, so memorable, so old, so sacred and so wildly beautiful, left me with mixed emotions. I could understand why early man used the Pyrenees mountain caves and dwelt in these abodes close to their food sources and to their gods.

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