Monday, August 26, 2019

Chalet des Platières

The chalet des Platières is situated at 1216m in the Creux de l'Envers, a valley formed by the Mont Chanais and the crest of the Montrond, one of the mountains above Gex. I haven't been many times in that valley, but the place is beautiful. To the chalet I'd been only once before yesterday, once passing by during a long run, yesterday to draw it.

Yesterday it was a bit of an adventure to get there. First, me and my husband rode the bike to a trail closer to the chalet, parked there and followed a route I had planned. But the path had been all messed up by a tractor while cutting some trees, and at some point we took a wrong turn. We ended up as it often happens when trails are open by working tractors: nowhere and far away from the planned track. We started climbing up the forest to get to the path, but the forest was REAL steep and sometimes there was no place to grab. But in the end, rock to rock, tree to tree, root to root, we got there! And it was all totally worth it, the chalet and its surroundings were absolutely splendid. 

Then, after the run, we rode back home. A well deserved downhill :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Narderans is possibly one of the most visited pasture chalets in the Haut-Jura. Situated at 1340m above Thoiry, the way up to Narderans from the Tiocan is frequently busy with people. The chalet is managed by the association Les Amis de Narderans, a group of mountain lovers who take care of the chalet and its entourage, and try to encourage the locals to visit the mountains and to get to better know their natural heritage.

This drawing is based on a series of pictures I took one morning back in June, when the cows were pasting right in front of the chalet. Before that, and after, I've been there several times, looking for that perfect view. But it is not an easy task! The chalet is encased in the mountains, making it difficult to have the good light. One of these multiple days was during a run on a Thursday afternoon. That day I got to meet a couple of the people from the Association, and told them about my drawing project. But the light was not good, because in the afternoon the sun comes from behind, so we agreed I would come back and that they would send me some pictures so I could offer a drawing to them. I hope they will like it!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Thoiry Devant

When looking towards Summer, it always seems to me a land of endless time to do everything I want to do. And probably because of this I never get to do everything, because "everything" is always too much!
So, two months after the run that got me to this chalet, I get to finish the corresponding drawing :) But that's the good (and bad) thing about personal projects: there are no deadlines!

This chalet is called Thoiry Devant. It is at 1485m high above Thoiry, and you can pass it going to the Reculet, or to the Crêt de la Neige when starting from the Tiocan. From another view you can see the Reculet behind the chalet, and a small water pond for the cows in Summer.

I hope I managed to get to my other overdue homework tasks soon... I have at least two more chalets from runs I did a while ago!

Friday, June 14, 2019

La Polvette

Yesterday it was a beautiful day and I had the chance to have a long run planned in a place with many chalets! I don't know if I will draw all of those I passed by yesterday, but I have material for at least a couple for sure. Excited!!

Today's chalet is La Polvette, at 1487m above St Jean de Gonville. You know, it was a first time for me here! I had been very close by from both sides, but always coming up or down in paths right before reaching this chalet. La Polvette is situated between La Chaz and La Capitaine, and below La Grotte de la Marie du Jura. It has wonderful views to the Montblanc, the Crête de l'Eau and the Rhone valley and is easily reachable by 4x4. I love the Jura, all of it, but there are places with more charm than others, and this one touched me.

I happen to know the family who takes care of this ancient chalet, maybe once I will visit them there... :)

There's more interesting info on the chalet in this page:

Monday, June 10, 2019

La Catheline

I am back with more beautiful places in the Jura around home. This one is the Chalet de la Catheline. Some will be surprised as we all mostly know the restaurant La Catheline from the ski slopes, but this restaurant, and the télécabine that reaches its top next to it, take their name from this more ancient pasture chalet, situated just a few meters below towards Lélex, but still in the municipality of Crozet.

The chalet, at 1400m high passing the Col de Crozet, it is very well maintained. It is most likely frequently used, as in winter is easily accessible using the ski resort facilities, and during Summer the 4x4 roads take almost to its door. 

Let's hope the rain gives way to more sunny days and more chalets soon :) 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Chalet du Praffion

If you want to see chamois in Crozet, this is the place. The Chalet du Praffion takes its name from the Creux de Praffion, a rocky amphitheatre not far from the arrival of the télécabine in Crozet. It is a very accessible place, ideal to bring the children. The chalet is a bit below the circus, at 1385m high. It is quite well maintained, but I really don't know if it is still used as a pasture chalet these days, maybe yes, as in Summer there are always cows around.

The other day when I went there were plenty of chamois everywhere. And if as usual you can only spot them by far, sometimes that far that you only realise they are there as they move, in this occasion they were really close by, running away as they saw me arriving. 

I went to other chalets this week, but I always seemed to catch the cloudy or rainy moments. And you know, in this case it gets very dark for a proper drawing. But I have no problem in going back... :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Spring Mountains

I finished this one yesterday. I was thinking I would let it rest and add some color later, but it might be as well I don't add color at all...

This an interpretation on how mountains look like in Spring around here. Flowers everywhere, snow patches, clouds and clear skies, and wind!! The drawing is quite big so I can't scan it, this is a picture taken with the cellphone. Background should then be completely white. I hope I get to the couple of previous ones I did soon! :)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Refuge de La Chaz

Yesterday I went up behind Thoiry looking for more chalets. First I passed by Narderans, but I decided I might have to come back with morning light. I had a really nice conversation with a couple of people from the Association who are taking care of maintaining the chalet, and then continued a bit up to the Refuge de La Chaz. 
This little pasture chalet is at 1490m high, right below the Brie, one of the summits west from the Reculet. It doesn't seem to be maintained lately, although I've seen it was until up 2009 at least. Usually cows are around there during the whole Summer. Yesterday, it was a bit cloudy and not too much light, but the fields to get there were full of yellow daffodils. Totally worth it!

Did you know about this little chalet already?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Chalet de Fierney-Girod

Today we ran up to the Deux Potes, a couple of mountains top of Crozet, that you always climb together. And passing by we stopped by this other much larger hut, called Chalet de Fierney-Girod, at 1365m high, and about 4km away and 800 meters up from home. 
This chalet is probably still used by the owners as a mountain house, as it is frequent to see people spending days there when days get warmer in Summer.

What a nice backyard we have, don't we?

Now... time to make plans for my next run, and maybe another chalet! :)

Chalet de la Ramaz

This one is an ancient pasture chalet at 1450m, and only about 6km away and 900m above home. It is one of my favorite places around all the year round. So reachable and beautiful. The other day I was discussing with the owners and they explained me that years ago, when it was still in use, it was used as a pasture for cows.

As I was explaining in the previous entry, I offered this drawing as a present to my marrying neighbors. And it was drawing it that the idea of starting this journey came to my mind. La Ramaz, one of my most favorite places in the world.

New personal project

Hello, I know I haven't been very diligent sharing in the blog lately. I can't promise I will manage to keep it up, but I will try. Lately, I find it easier to just take pictures and share them in my Instagram account rather than blogging or even writing a Facebook post. 
I am now drawing in larger formats, too large for my scan, and so I need to take good pictures of them to share, and I don't manage to get to it as soon as I finish one illustration. But, the important thing is to draw, right? :)

Anyway, I wanted to share here a new idea it came to my mind recently. Well, I've been thinking a long time, when I am running in the Jura mountains, oh I have to draw this, and this, and oh this as well. Because everything is so beautiful. But it is difficult to just halt a run to do a sketch, so I disregarded the idea for a while.

But the other day my neighbors got married. And as I was thinking what to draw for them I remembered they had told me once of a great weekend they had passed in one of the chalets in the Jura. Which turned out to be one of my favorite spots. So, off to draw it! And then I thought, I should draw every chalet in the Jura! I don't know how long it will take me, how regularly I will manage to do it, but I will do it. I love these pasture chalets, every single one of them, and I love to discover new routes, so, there couldn't be a better personal project for me right now.

I hope you will enjoy it too!

Later edit: below a small map of the area I am targeting. You can see there are MANY chalets (indicated by the houses). In the plan other chalet types besides pasture chalets (like forest, tourism) are also indicated. I am targeting for now pasture chalets. They are a lot, but let's go little by little and have fun all the way! :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A test

This is a small study for a larger illustration I'll be working on the next days (or weeks). But it went quite well :)

And yes, I don't usually do studies, but I draw on the spot. I'm too impatient for studies! And this was also on the spot, but as I was finishing it I realised I could turn it into that larger project I've been thinking on for the last weeks. Sometimes it is magical how conscious thinking crystallises into ideas without us realising, and then, once the pen is back in the hand, the ideas just flow.

What are dreams made of? What would your thoughts look like? Is your Univers fluid, regular, homogeneous, heterogeneous, chaotic?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Playing Games

This one is a game. Just for the fun. A game that I used to play with my students the first day of class. Rules are simple: you pick a set of words from a jar, I have five types: nouns (objects, animals, people), adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and nouns designing places. We decide beforehand if we pick one of each, or which word combination we pick (can be two nouns, one verb, one adjective, or two verbs, one noun, one place, etc), and then, just imagine and draw!

For the students it was meant to help them let it go, to lose fear and just draw. For myself it is fun, and sometimes it can be a good way to keep drawing in between projects when I need some mental rest.

So I played. Word combination: two nouns, one verb, one adjective and one adverb. Words coming out were: camel, frog, cleaning, happily, fun. 

And now, after this fun... back to more serious projects!