Vire Vire!

L’Atelier des Barques is a boatyard tucked away in a private bay almost at the Spanish border. As I discovered first hand, it’s not that easy to find.

One of the amazing things about this area of France is its diversity. If you follow my art you’ll probably notice I have a passion for colour – and Occitanie (formerly Languedoc-Roussillon) is a region packed with colour and vibrancy – a real treat for the senses.

Urban Sketchers is a global community with many many different ‘chapters’ (groups) in different countries, cities and areas of the world. Urban Sketchers Languedoc is one of those, as is Urban Sketchers France.  USk France has a national blog (in French of course) which runs alongside the global website, and they also host an annual sketch meet. 

Marc Dejoux lives in the Pyrénées-Orientales and is a correspondent for USk France and an admin for USk Languedoc. As a sketch artist he is extremely well known, and through his local connections, USk was invited to participate in the biannual boat gathering, Vire Vire de Caractère.  

Due to Covid-19 only a select number of artists could participate in the exhibition and slideshow, and I was privileged to be one of them, alongside Vincent Desplanche, who recently set-up USk Toulouse. The mission, over the course of 2 days, was to sketch, on location, the events as they happened. A rapid reportage, with sandy bits.

I attended for one day only, along with a few other Urban Sketchers from the Languedoc group. After a damp and very misty start, there was a lot of colour, for sure, and as predicted, plenty of atmosphere!  

Sketching at speed, and with watercolour, usually takes a somewhat ‘loose’ turn – and I managed to complete 4 sketches in the required A4 format. 

Not only did I discover more about boats, maritime traditions, and a corner of France I had not yet explored, but I found out more about how I like to sketch and the materials and techniques I find work for me.  

All in all it was a great (and long) day out, and an event worth noting for the future (it happens every 2 years). You’ll also see more about it via the USk France blog, sometime very soon.