Mazan Abbey and the Massif Central

Mazan Abbey, an 11th century, now-ruined Cistercian monastery, presented our students with an endless number of spectacular views for their first big excursion away from our hamlet home base on Friday the 28th. We traveled up into the highlands of the Massif Central in hopes of escaping the overwhelming heat with the rise in elevation. Our hope proved true, evidenced by the students’ level of excitement and energy, in addition to the incredible level of work they created during the day.

The Drawing and Painting majors produced studies of architecture that focused on linear perspective and suggesting mass and volume. The variety of color, texture, and shape in the stone ruins of the abbey provided the perfect subject matter for these drawings in pencil and conte chalk. 

Photographers went wading in the nearby river, searching for compositions featuring the picturesque rippling water and vibrant wildflowers, thrown into intriguing combinations of light and shadow. Of course, they also enjoyed the opportunity to take of their shoes and cool off in the refreshing water.

Finally, the Architects explored what was, for most, a completely new chapter in their architectural studies - watercolor perspectival studies of architectural forms with our resident watercolorist, Drawing and Painting instructor Alyssa. The combination of the exceedingly grandiose Romanesque style of the abbey with the largely fallen and worn sections of the structure made for a perfect location to introduce this new skill in preparation for their own buildings the students will design on our own hamlet property.

And before returning home, some of the students made a side trip on the way home to a viewpoint looking out on the utterly unique and indescribably beautiful landscape of the Massif Central to take photos, draw, and relax amongst the vista and the wildflowers.