Etching after sketching
A French Life
by Judi Castille
1M ago
I have never etched anything. I haven’t ever really thought about it until reading a book on printing this year. It was a sort of mystery…copper plates, acid, looked complicated. But then I read more and found it could be simplified, if only to practice, try techniques and get a feel for it. Inked. I bought some perspex and a few sharp implements, some good Cranfeild sticky printing ink in sepia as black seemed too harsh, scrappers and clothes and some thickish 300grm paper. All set, I started with my favorite plant….Lords and Ladies. The perspex was squeaky, as I carefully etched the lines in ..read more
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Home at the barn
A French Life
by Judi Castille
1M ago
We bought this barn for a song, way back in 2015 and since then have had a roller coaster of events, all lurking somewhere on this blog, from failed businesses, to property investments, new career paths and health scares. But, and a drum roll please……we are in and its cosy, bright and beautiful! Since buying life has changed and we found ourself a lovely farmhouse where I could home all the poultry better, have an orchard, a large vegetable plot and a studio. The barn sadly was not to be our dream home aftetall. However, now its partly complete ( there is still another half to finish), we want ..read more
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Seabird portfolio
A French Life
by Judi Castille
1M ago
Back in October I started a thirty day Birdtober challenge to illustrate 30 birds. After a wobbly start with a cockerel, my next bird did not go well. I was trying to move temporarily away from whimsical to try my hand at a more fine art style, if for no other reason that to show I could. Whimsical isn’t easy. In fact creating characters that make you feel warm a fuzzy inside as Winnie The Pooh would say, is actually difficult. But there are credibility issues with galleries and anyone wanting to see your work. In the children’s book illustrative world, no worries. It’s a very, highly profitab ..read more
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Tapestry at Aubusson
A French Life
by Judi Castille
2M ago
I have lived in France for quite a few years now and although I managed to visit the memorable tapestry manufacturing museum at Aubusson – St Jean – I had not entered the Unesco Cite Internationale de la Tapisserie. But today on a bright November Sunday afternoon I made the half hour drive and yes it was beautiful, inspirational, and filled me with a little awe of the tapestry makers and many artisan roles leading upto that moment – dying wool, drawing the cartoons to show colour position, and setting up the looms. The museum is split into two sections. One part showcases modern tapestries, a ..read more
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I am a hen
A French Life
by Judi Castille
3M ago
Back a few months ago, Mollie became broody, she often does, but this time I decided to leave her with a few eggs, including three duck eggs from our Indian Runners and Pekins. The ducks had been vigilantly sitting for a month, but the eggs went bad and after I checked by candling, shining a light through the egg shells, sadly none were fertile or hatched. But one seemed it might have a fertile spot…under Mollie it went! Just emerged from egg. For 30 days Mollie and me had a routine. Once a day I would lift Mollie off her nest, plonk her down a few metres away near food and water and splash he ..read more
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Bird October
A French Life
by Judi Castille
4M ago
Autumn has arrived here in France, the air is still humid and heavy rains fall. Its cow country snd pasture appears never to cease growing here, but after September it slows, the leaves start to turn their autumnal colours and we have a couple if beautiful months of bedding down for winter. I have a few tasks to complete. The poultry coops get a thorough clean and new bedding, the spiders webs get brushed away as a sign that they need to build new ones. I love my spiders, they keep the flies away but by October some webs are disguarded, heavy with gnats, drooping or tangled due to a too full l ..read more
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Feathered friends
A French Life
by Judi Castille
5M ago
During molting season, just finishing now, the poultry garden is full of feathers, sometimes like a soft snow fall over night. Meticulously I gather them, long, strong flight feathers and tail feathers from the geese, pure white ones from the pekin ducks and pretty patterned, spotty ones from Bovril, our guinea. The gingers, coffee, clotted creams, ebony blacks and buffs come from the hens and cockerels, with the occasional curled cockerel tail feather amongst them. Almost feels like a duty to collect them, so much hard work goes into growing them, preening them and regrowing when they fall ..read more
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Nagging your boyfriend
A French Life
by Judi Castille
5M ago
Heff was adopted. A big cuddly duck who was rather a stud muffin. Penquin was the lucky survivor of a pine Martin attack, loosing both her sisters, Daisy and Darcey. Left alone, Penquin hooked up with Heff. Heff wasn’t so keen, as he adored Daisy, but when you have an insistent girlfriend and your a rather a weak natured duck, well you know you just have to go with it. So there they go…Penquin nagging Heff about where to go, when, and not happy when he gets his curly wurly out inappropriately. Marriage made in heaven! ♡ Here is Heffs new girls. Lottie the runner really likes Heff, but like Pen ..read more
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Rooster Booster
A French Life
by Judi Castille
5M ago
Ronnie rooster…gentle, caring, last to bed and liked by all the hens. Since Pipi passed, Bovril our guinea has befriended Ronnie and since Ronnie has got more wobbly on his feet, won’t go to bed till his sideways crowing friend has gone in the coop. We adopted Ronnie a few years back. He was being a little naughty with his owners, suffering with leg mites, which was probably making him a little angry and exasperated the situation, as they were unable to treat him. This cycle led Ronnie to be put up for adoption with us and honestly from day one, Ronnie was adorable. I love cockerels and reall ..read more
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Muscovy moment
A French Life
by Judi Castille
5M ago
A couple of weeks ago I visited a new friend. Creuse can get lonely, its very rural, and much of the French cafe scene is non-existent here. But there are a lot of talented artists and caftspeople around and although we won’t change the world, alot of us are connecting, promoting and even setting up galleries and workshops. My friend started a painting group. Early days, with this heat we have only managed to meet a few times, but I braved the 38°c and drove through the lanes to her beautiful home to have a sketching afternoon. Much to my delight, and as you know I am mad about poultry, she an ..read more
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