Our Life in Burgundy

Version française

The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

May 25, 2017

Art in Cormatin


Cormatin is becoming more and more a centre for pottery and creative arts. There’s a super show this week at l’entre2, the exhibition space created by Patrick & Martine adjoining their jewellery business, L’atelier de Galadrielle. It’s on the right as you enter Cormatin from the south.


Patrick & Silvyane with Chris outside l’entre2

Exhibited is the work of Patrick Ballériaud and his partner Silvyane Sabato. Patrick can turn his hand to any form of drawing or painting, watercolours, pastels, oils, charcoal or pen & ink. He illustrates books and is skilled at portraiture. He drew the portrait of the last Curé of Cormatin which hangs in the hall at la Maison du Curé. He also teaches a variety of courses. Chris & I enjoyed a day out learning to paint landscapes. Coming up on the 10th June is a day sketching along the voie verte, picnic provided, and in July there will be a life drawing course.

Silvyane’s specialty is working with wire. She and Patrick published ’La Vie’ a poem written by Silvyane and illustrated by Patrick’s paintings, with the key phrases picked out by Silvyane and transformed into wire sculptures. I can also vouch for her wonderful cooking as she caters for Patrick’s art courses.

Do go along and meet Patrick and Silvyane in Cormatin.  More of their work and contact details can be found on www.studioballeriaud.fr

September 19, 2015

Talking of English painters…..

Filed under: People,Places — Tags: , — Mary @ 22:42

 I’ve often thought it would be a good idea to take up art in our old age, particularly landscape painting as we live in such a beautiful part of the world. So today we joined the artist Patrick Balleriaud to learn how to sketch and use watercolours.

First step – drawing  the horizontals

Patrick moved from Narbonne with Silvyanne his partner to take over the old family farm in Chazelle. Chazelle is both picturesque and full of history. Patrick is busy renovating the ancient farmhouse and has made the stables into a studio. He offers various courses on painting, portraiture and drawing (see www.studioballeriaud.fr).

We took our easels around Chazelle and produced five works of art. I wonder how many times the 11th century church has been sketched?



Learning to frame the picture

  If it’s like a postcard it’s no good. It has to come from here, said Patrick thumping his heart as we painted the river with forests and purple hills in the distance. In the foreground stood the house where an advisor of Louis XIV once lived.


Patrick demonstrates


Chris hard at work sketching an old lean-to

Silvyanne came to see what we were doing

Our next challenge was to paint a pile of logs and various bits of rusty machinery in what was one of the first  hydro-electrically powered cowsheds in Burgundy. A machine was used to pump out the slurry.


 The last work of the day

We had a pleasant day and learned a lot. Silvyanne produced a lovely five course lunch for us and the subjects under discussion included English painters. I’m not sure that includes us just yet!

* Thanks to Silvyanne and Patrick for some of the photos. www.studioballeriaud.fr

June 24, 2014

Patrick Ballériaud

Filed under: People — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 17:11


Patrick is the artist who asked around and came up with a photo of René Laheurte, the last parish priest of Cormatin who lived at La Maison du Curé. The portrait he drew is hanging in the entrance hall. He also produced the pen and ink scenes of Chazelle, Taizé and Cormatin which hang in the sitting room. This one of La Maison du Curé was a special commission.

After many years away in Narbonne, Patrick came back to the family farm in Chazelle where he is establishing himself as a very proficient artist and teacher. At the Saturday morning market in Cluny you will find him drawing live portraits in 20 minutes. Some of his work can be seen on his facebook page  

Patrick and Silvyanne

Patrick’s partner Silvyanne is also an artist and sculptor. Under the name of Créa Sil she decorates pottery and makes figures from wire which remind me a little of the work of Johé Gourmand.  See some of her work here.

Patrick has also proved himself skilled at renovation and has converted the upstairs of an old barn at the farm into a studio for himself and Silvyanne. On Saturday he invited us to the vernissage where we could admire his work, both structural and artistic, and sample some of his own delicious and very alcoholic ‘champagne’.

The new studio - photo by Patrick

Patrick runs painting courses and the next one will be 4th – 7th August. Much of the time his group will work outside drawing and painting local scenes. You never know, I might be with them. Move over Cézanne!

You might also meet Patrick and Silvyanne in Cormatin on a Sunday afternoon.

February 2, 2014

Monsieur le Curé Comes Home

Filed under: People,Places — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 16:40


We often think about the old parish priest of Cormatin who used to live at La Maison du Curé. His name was René Laheurte and he was by all accounts a kindly man who would sit and read outside the front door, greeting his parishioners as they passed by. In the early 1990s he retired and went to live in Corsica. He died in 1993 and was brought back to be buried in the graveyard of St Martin d’Ougy near Malay.

 I don’t think that the old Curé  ever left us. His calming presence is still felt throughout the house and our German guests have even seen him sitting by the fire in the dining room. I was so surprised to hear this I forgot to ask what he looked like.

M. le Curé by Patrick Balleriaud


Last autumn we met the artist Patrick Balleriaud who had just returned to take over the family farm in Chazelle. I asked if he had known the Curé. Yes, he said, he both baptised me and married me. He was tall with a good head of hair. He had a particular way of holding his fingers when giving out the wafers and wine…

I wondered if there were any photos. Patrick asked around and came up with two. From these he was able to draw a portrait which will soon have pride of place in the hall at La Maison du Curé.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress