En Bal D’amour – Nantes – Part 1

‘The world of reality has its limits;  the world of imagination is boundless’.   Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

20160529-En bal d'amour (313)After my visit to Port-En-Bessin – I took the train to Nantes, a city in western France located on the Loire River.

This was my first visit to the City, and I was most impressed.    With it’s wide boulevards large squares filled with outdoor cafes, multiple green spaces and superb public transportation system, it’s a city where I felt that I could breath.


Once a major commercial harbour, today the harbour is filled with creativity, restaurants, and this now well known forty ft tall mechanical mammoth which resides along with other remarkable sculptural ‘puppets’ built in the city.     elephantnantes

I hope to return to Nantes, for the sole purpose of exploring…however this post is about the very special experience I enjoyed when observing and sketching the cast of En Bal D’amour as they rehearsed for a production.               I

I stayed with my dear friend Claudia Nottale director of the production.     I worked with the cast of ten performers for two and a half days – an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and one I would like to repeat.

(all photographs from the production are by Denis Rion)

20160529-En bal d'amour (289)

In observing the group as they moved from their daily persona into that of a clown, I witnessed a metamorphosis.       The clown persona became a vehicle which facilitated theatrical expression of the imagination.

20160529-En bal d'amour (212)The play focuses on the most elemental theme of human kind – the need for Love.    Through the clowns we recognise the universal signs of falling in love…..boldness, timidness, shyness, jealousy, sadness, fear, humour and euphoria.

20160529-En bal d'amour (349) Along with rapid movement sketches, I made watercolour portraits of each member of the cast.     By the end of the second day,  I was just getting into my stride….Ideally I would like to have worked with the group for a week. 20160529-En bal d'amour (283)Three examples of  portraits….Silvern20-11-15 - 1 (371)Jo20-11-15 - 1 (330)Claudia20-11-15 - 1 (368)I plan to share more of the sketches at a later date after I have done more work from my observations.

Before the metamorphosis

20-11-15 - 1 (381)

In  Part 2 – I will show some of the superb black and white photographs made by Denis Rion during the production.  

Wishing one and all a lovely weekend

A Bientôt


45 thoughts on “En Bal D’amour – Nantes – Part 1

  1. Teagan Geneviene

    This post is such a treat, Janice. Oh to have been a fly on the wall and watch you and everyone there… All the interactions must have been fascinating.
    I enjoyed seeing both photos and paintings. Oh, and that mammoth. That’s fabulous! Endless hummingbird hugs to you. Have a thriving Thursday.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Teagan…you are so right…it would have been fascinating to view. It was sheer bliss for me to have such interesting models and to see my dear friend Claudia Nottale direct….I have known for nearly forty years and this is the first time, I have actually seen her at work. I have seen her perform but not direct…and found the process extremely interesting. I noted that the actors ‘warmed up’ every day in the same way that I warm up as a painter. I hope so much to do this again only for a much longer time. Enjoy your weekend and I do hope that the hummingbirds are surrounding you. Janet:)

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      It was wonderful to be immersed into the world of these ten performers along with Claudia Nottale who was directing. A different medium, but so many of the same concepts…..and I always love being with like minded people. Between their work and mine, it didn’t take too long for us to find many common bonds – and yes, so much fun. Hope you enjoy a lovely weekend. Janet:)

  2. snowbird

    Oh….just LOVED seeing all those portraits together. Fanbloomingtastic! I know I’ve said it before, but what a talented gal you are! I loved those photos too. I bet you could have used a week painting them all. I bet the production was wonderful.
    I’ve been to that very square in Nantes, I loved it there too….I hope you do get a chance to go back and explore. xxx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Dina……yes, I would very happily have stayed there for a week or much longer. Everything was present…wonderful models, great company, paints, food, Inspiration and so much more. I definitely plan to return to Nantes….my friend Claudia Nottale has lived there for fifteen years and has been telling me what a great city it is….and now I know. thanks for the comment…and wishing you a beautiful weekend. Janet.xxx

  3. davidjrogersftw

    Janet, thank you for taking me along on the visit to Nantes. I know the work you did with the cast must have been so rewarding. I love the sketches, especially the sad woman, Claudia. But I like them all. Now, Janet, when you publish a picture of a mammoth, you have me. My father operated large prehistoric creatures in the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago–sat inside them and electronically made them move. A few years ago I was watching public television and they showed film of the T-Rex at that 1933 Fair. I had the most wonderful feelings knowing that there, inside that creature I was looking at, was my father, hard at work, so many years ago. That’s what your mammoth reminded me of.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, David…what a fascinating story about your Father’s work. This reminds me of my friends Bonnie and Dave Dutton from S. Dakota. Dave grew up on a vast ranch about a 90 minute drive from Spearfish (it’s still in the family) and on that ranch they have found some of the very important dinosaur remains. Somehow that ties into the story about your Father’s work….it’s the closest I have ever come to painting a Mammoth:) Thank you for your comments with regard to Nantes….it was a lovely experience, one I would enjoy repeating. Wishing you a lovely day…Janet:)

  4. Pingback: My Life as an Artist (2) | Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever | Mark Geoffrey Kirshner

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