Wednesday 16 September 2009
The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd
A van goes through the village, loudly announcing a circus close by- this very afternoon!
On my way back from Lidl I suss out where they've encamped and spot a bench perfect for sketching just across the road.
It's windy but sunny day, Mr. Price is game, so after lunch we head off.
Travelling circuses are small affairs round here- more of your 'Small Top', but the place is bright with colour.
We can hear the show from our bench, apparently it's an extra two Euros if your child wants to circle the ring on a pony... and another fifty Euros if they want to dismount and go home with their parents after the show...ha-ha, je blague, bien sur!
A clown rushes in and out, we can see a camel, ponies, a llama and a donkey, but there's no sign of the elephants painted on the side of the trucks, and the only trumpeting is from the piped music.
We're disturbed at one point by a pair of Bretonnes and have to move along the seat for a while. They're elderly ladies coming back from the graveyard- a favourite activity in these parts... I knew this would be Someone's Bench!
Being a couple of artists out sketching together puts me in mind of The Fast Show's 'Johnny Nice Painter'- and I strongly recommend you watch this before you continue reading.
A dapper French man in a hat approaches and peers over my shoulder, commenting that only the English seem to go out sketching.
Out with the paints.. I've worked up the drawing- and fixed it- on watercolour paper with a disappointingly scratchy conté crayon, go in with colour and then more drawing.
It's a lovely scene, with the bright reds and yellows of the vans, cages and the tent itself, and the
shouts of les enfants within... Mr Price turns to me and says "what colour are those tyres, darling, the ones in the dark shadows over there?"