Summer slides into autumn. The days are getting shorter and darker, the nights much much longer.

I’ve been quite busy, clearing out a house, preparing work for the two final years at art school, preparing materials for upcoming events, fighting numerous battles with the System.

Charles the Bold is not a valid subject in contemporary art so I am keeping him at home, painting sketches of faded ancestors on paper instead. In the evenings I am trying to complete the puzzle of the family tree. It’s been a strange but compelling journey, involving murders, bastard offspring, famine and the Plague, crusades and dispensations, knights and peasants, dukes, carpenters and Italian bankers and a few drops of the Holy Blood. Currently I’m investigating a medieval woman named Sybille. I don’t know where it will end, ideally in Blois.

Small update

Royal residence at Loches. Joan of Arc once stood in that hall, btw.

Back to school, need to gather my painting stuff tomorrow and drag it back to art school on Tuesday. Still have to do a few Loire posts but that’s for later.

I’ve been mostly occupied with admin stuff, overseeing things such as repair work, maintenance work, various appointments, etc.

Worked on my project book for my next (and last two) years of painting classes.

In the evenings I worked on a costume for a medieval event next Sunday near an old tower. I made an underdress and overdress from some old tablecloths and the remants of a priest’s cassock. I also made a Burgundian hat (based on the hat the girl is wearing on the well-known medieval portrait by Petrus Christus) crafted from felt, remnants of a priest’s cassock and an old brooch of my grandmother. When I come across decent fabric somewhere I am going to make a real costume. Now I’m working on a temporary scabbard for my sword.

The tower mentioned above once belonged to someone who is a theoretical ancestor of theoretical Egidius, but as the Egidius link in the family tree is very dodgy, it should probably be ignored. Anyway, while researching the history of the tower I progressed a little in the tree and it got interesting again. The general conclusion so far is that beyond the 17th century all my ancestors are related somehow.

Theoretical until further research great great etc grandfather John II of Brabant who was also a great fornicator apparently. I do like his jupon, though.

Watching: two weird Scandinavian crime series. Saving the second series of the Crusaders for the coming days. Going to watch the Handmaid’s tale movie (didn’t like the book that much so didn’t finish it) and a series about the de’Medici, mostly for the costumes. Going to watch the White Queen series when I find some time. Some other stuff still lying around too. Watched an awful lot of Bernadette Banner videos on YouTube. A Stitch in Time was also very interesting. Interested in the Knight movie that has been announced for later this year.

Picking up the Charles the Bold quest again. Am reading a very vintage copy of Quentin Durward. It’s so vintage it had to be retrieved from the library’s reserve.

Trying to find a (affordable) medieval castle with a moat and drawbridge. Found one but it’s a six hour’s drive so yeah but no but yeah but no. I also found one where Philip the Good has stayed in the past. It is a shorter drive but not affordable. So no.

That’s all for now, ladies.

Loire II – Amboise

The second day – Monday – we visited Amboise and its castle. Much of the castle has disappeared over time and not much is to be seen inside except busloads of disrespectful tourists, the furniture consists mostly of replicas, the entrance fee is rather steep, all of this turning it a bit into a tourist trap. Nevertheless, the castle and its surroundings are very picturesque.

Link with CtB: the castle belonged to his arch enemy Louis XI’s father. Louis XI hated his father and his mistress but liked the castle and let his wife and children live in it.

No links with CtB but still interesting: Leonardo’s presumed body is buried in the St Hubert chapel on the castle grounds. Note the words presumed. At some point a skeleton was dug up somewhere else, it was concluded that it could be Leonardo and was eventually buried in the chapel. Also, Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne lived at the castle (after research it turns out that the Jean I was researching earlier on is linked with them). It was at Amboise that Charles the VIII hit his head on a door lintel and died a few hours later.
Amboise itself is a bit meh and very touristy.

In the neighbourhood but not visited:
The Pagoda: it is just a high, not so old but neglected tower.
The mini castle park: a park with miniature versions of the Loire castles.
The Clos Lucé: this is the manor where Leonardo lived and it has been turned into a tourist attraction. After reading reviews it seemed not worth it: the manor is not the original one, the things on display are not that interesting, it is too crowded and the entrance fee is very high.

Some snaps. First off, the castle grounds and Loire. Note they use robots to mow the lawn and seeing them at work is quite funny and anachronistic. Also it took some patience and planning to avoid crowds in the pictures.

The medieval St Hubert chapel where Leonardo is buried:

Inside the castle:

Loire I – Blois

Back from our holiday in the Loire area, France. I’ve started painting again but nothing finished to show yet, so here is something else instead.

We stayed near Blois, close to the Loire and the castles. Not exactly Burgundy, rather the opposite. Here are some snaps, small selection.

Niet bepaald Bourgondië, de Loire. In feite vijandelijk gebied, want hier is het waar Louis XI verbleef en waar Jeanne d’Arc rondtrok, Jeanne d’Arc die door de Bourgondiërs zou worden gevangen genomen en door Filips de Goede ondervraagd. De meeste kastelen die we bezochten ademen vooral de Renaissance uit maar er zijn nog sporen van de echte middeleeuwen. Het was een beetje bizar om op dezelfde plekken rond te lopen als diegenen over die ik de afgelopen maanden onderzoek heb gedaan. Nog een opmerking: het meubilair dat je in de kamers ziet zijn in veel gevallen replica’s uit later tijden. Het was op sommige momenten ook een beetje een raar allegaartje. Hier wat willekeurige kiekjes.

1. De stad

2. Het kasteel

3. Het Lapidarium (monumentale decoratieve elementen die vervangen/gerecupereerd werden)

4. De zalen

5. Kunst

WIP – Quick update

Quick update of WIP, in between other things. I have been working on my “mood book” because I have to figure out what I’ll be painting during my final two painting class years. Not so easy, tbh, because I know what is expected from me and I’m always meandering. I don’t want to do the same thing over and over again. Anyway, what follows are basically sketches and doodles and a half-finished painting. The coming days I want to concentrate on the Bold quest and decluttering/cleaning the house.

Oil painting on paper, with a print, so it has a negative or mirror image.
Matchbox knight.
Just a doodle I made while I was watching an art documentary
Unfinished oil paint sketch on paper. Louis XI, technically my reenactment boss. I might do a regular oil painting on panel. Unfortunately only very bad portrait paintings of Louis exist.
Oil paint on paper doodle of Vanni Marcoux, here not in his role of Charles the Bold but Hamlet
Started a painting of Sebastian but I want to experiment with more abstract/geometric backgrounds.

That’s all for now.


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