L'Abbaye de Mazan

On Sunday July 1st, the Les Tapies crew traveled to Mazan Abbey in the Massif Central of the Ardèche, with a stop at the Saint-Pierreville Sunday market on the way.

Upon arriving, the students viewed the Cistercian abbey for the very first time, but not, perhaps, in the way they expected. The abbey is currently playing host to a contemporary art instillation meant to attract the attention of visitors, like ourselves, and give them a new view of the 12th century abbey. At a certain viewpoint on a ridge above the abbey, all of the circles line up perfectly. The artist accomplished this project by projecting the circles onto the abbey ruins at night while he and his team painted every piece of stone illuminated by the projection.

After walking through the crumbling walls of the abbey and trying to imagine what it would have looked like in its original splendor, everyone got to work. Drawing and Painting students chose the view they would attempt to capture in acrylic and began sketching prior to beginning their painting.

After observing the beautiful, now ruined structure of the abbey, students in Architecture worked with Alyssa, our incredible resident watercolorist, to try their hand at watercolor perspectives.

And finally, our Photographers captured the ruins both on film and digitally, looking for the texture and form of the stone, and doing their best to find unexpected angles of such an old and well-documented structure.

With slightly less time-consuming, but no less challenging tasks set before them, the Architecture and Photography students headed back out on the road for Les Tapies in the early afternoon, leaving the painters at their easels.

After an additional three hours of work that seemed like no time at all, except for the rampant resulting sunburns, Drawing and Painting majors packed up their panels, easels, and paints. They didn’t travel straight home, however, and stopped at a viewpoint on the edge of the Massif to look out over the breathtaking landscape, pick some wildflowers to bring back to our hardworking chefs, Perrin and Jen, and enjoy the freedom of being surrounded by nothing but sun, grass, and sky.