lundi 6 octobre 2008

First sample of la chaux

The first color trial
it looks fleshy-beige here, but it is changing

Joachim arrived today with a plastic bag full of a beautiful yellow ochre pigment. We put our fingers in it and rubbed in on the stone. It was gorgeous. I felt like I was standing in Roussillon in Provence, but it same from a quarry near Chantilly in the Val d'Oise, in Picardy.

I chose Joachim because he talked about his work the way I think about it. I don't think I was wrong. I can talk about the colors in the stone that makes up the structure of the house, from the cliffs along the Seine from which it was built. This ochre here, for the natural chaux walls, a natural stsucco containing lime, and that black color of the silica for the balcony, but with a chocolate undertone in the light, like Rapide, our Black Lab with the slight Chocolate cast. He searches around with me for hints of the colors I want. I can talk about the lumps of ochre clay in the dirt delivered to bring up our terrace level after the work done in the fall of 2003, how it was like the house, and how the chaux should contain that pigment. He grins.

The color isn't right yet above. It has to sit, and the lime burns the pigment, the stone of the house draws the water. The color begins to settle. We will probably remove some of the anthracite black from it to give it more of a luminous punch, without being too bright.

It already looked different a few hours later. If I had to use what is there, I would already be very happy with it. The texture is perfect.

The final color will vary across the house because the different materials of which its walls are constructed will draw the water and pigment differently, giving it an organic quality.


The plants and the house

Yesterday, I went and bought plants in colors thatcaught my eye and asked me to bring them home, the Echinea purpurea, the Choryopsis in red purples, oranges, burnt siena, and gold. Today, I trained my camera on them against the house, the sanded window, the patch of newly applied ochre chaux.

We talked about the color for the half-timber motif in chaux. It's the center of the faded petals of the oranger Choryopsis.

The windows, they are the petals of the chocolate Asteraceae family plant I brought home some weeks ago, and for which I kicked myself for not having bought all three. The new buds haven't opened. I told Joachim he has to wait to see them.

He grins at me when I tell him that the house will find its complement in the colors I love in the garden. They will talkto one another.

"Elle ne se fera pas remarquée contre la nature qui l'entournera," dit-il. Il comprend bien. [trans: "The house will not stand out against the nature that surrounds it," he said. He understands perfectly. It must be a hormonious whole, the architecture and the garden acting together because I can. Because he can make that happen.

All the colors are in nature, and nature tells us herself, as I have said so many times, which ones go together. You don't have to make a mistake, just look at the flowers you most love.

In this case, the house will certainly be most beautiful in the fall. And she will be s spot of warmth in a gray countryside in the winter and dreary July and August days to which we are becoming so accustomed.

The house will be our summer year round, when it isn't fall.

The balcony is nearly finished and arrives soon for installation.

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