American in Perpignon

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Post from Kitty Thompson

[Ed note: My friend, Kitty’s wending her way through France to Bologna for the Childrens Book Fair where she is an exhibitor and will participate in a special exhibition honoring book illustators, The Emperor’s New Illustrations. Kitty brings her watercolors along with her on her travels and spends much time drawing and painting. She’s made several artist’s books based on these trips. Here are two email missives I got recently from her that resonate as from another time.]

zoller, charles

Greetings from Perpignon, March 29, 2005

I spent the Easter holiday in Argeles sur Mer and celebrated in the Catalan tradition. Singers go from house to house and people give them flour and eggs on Saturday, and on Easter Monday they make a big omelette at the chapel on the top of the hill. The view is spectacular. You feel like you are on top of the world. And after eating much omelette and sausages and drinking wine, of course, they all get up and dance the “Sardane” a Catalan dance. It’s beautiful! Just like a Bruegel painting. A bientot, Kitty (image is “The Peasant Dance” c. 1567, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, oil on wood)

Normandy, March 12, 2005

I was finishing a little watercolor in the town square that had gotten snowed on the day before when I saw this man — sort of looked like a farmer — get out of his car, open the trunk and take out his rubber-soled shoes. When I took a closer look he had on wooden shoes! He changed to the soft-soled shoes, went to the bakery, came back with his bread and stuff, opened the truck and put his wooden shoes back on. He didn’t want to clop around in the store but was obviously more comfortable in his clogs. (image is “Man in wooden shoes,” c. 1910, photograph by Charles C. Zoller, American (1854-1934))

Kitty Thompson is an artist and freelance illustrator living in Milwaukee. Read about Kitty’s latest mural project here.

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