Before I moved to Spain, I used to live in Reute –see here my previous post about it -, a charming little town in the South West of Germany, in a region called “The Three Countries Triangle”, the three countries obviously being Germany, France and Switzerland. And it was indeed a fabulous location to do loads of exciting stuff, like skiing, diving (in the Swiss lakes) or golfing.
We had the chance to have a nice little flat on a wonderful golf course in the little Alsatian town of Soufflenheim, directly opposite us on the other side of the French border, about 80 kilometres away from Reute, and we used to spend most of our weekends there.
A few sketches from that past – I am speaking about the years between 1996 and 2000- reappeared as I was emptying my house in Albir, Costa Blanca, last week. I must say that I became very emotional as I saw them, as I did enjoy my time there: the golfing itself, the course, the town and its people. Being French, and having lived at that time for almost 30 years in a German environment, I was happy to hear my language, even if the people there spoke it in a quite different way than I was used to! But their accent was delightful, funny and “cosy” somehow.
All the sketches I found were just in ink, and I simply added water colour to them, with a tiny fragment of memory I have of the real colours there and loads of fantasy! But I am quite sure that the tree leaves were green though, so at least this will be ok!
The above sketch mentioned “Place de la Gare, 8h” (Railways Station square) on it. I don’t remember why it was called so, or even if there was really a train station in Soufflenheim. But judging by the buildings, it was quite an old place and probably the station had moved somewhere else. Anyway I remember exactly when I did that sketch. I had got up early that day and gone to the local bakery to buy some croissants for the breakfast. I had made some quick sketches on the way, and when I had come back home, I had put the radio on:
they announced Princess Diana’s death!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I even found a sketch I did on another morning, while having my first coffee. It makes me smile that at that time I already loved to draw coffee mugs and put them on the foreground! Soufflenheim being a quite famous ceramic town in the region, that special mug had probably been bought there, but I don’t really remember it, and I invented the colours. The design though is true to the original drawing. Funny too to see which book is on the table, next to the mug : “Russckij Jasik”.. I was learning Russian at that time, my dream being to read the Russian classical authors in their own language! Well, I learned some Russian, but unfortunately my reading never went further than some short poems…
The paintings on the wall behind the big yellow lamps was a golf painting by me: a golf player in the woods searching for his ball! I wished I had a photo of it, as with all the other things I drew and painted around that time…
The Golf Course -I hope it stills exists!- was designed by the famous German golf professional Bernhard Langer, and is just one of the most beautiful I have ever played, with its 18 lakes, its mini-forest and the hundreds of more or less wild animals. One of the most challenging too: you had better take a big bag of balls with you if you wanted to finish a round, as most of them became lost in the many woods and lakes!!
Sometimes I stood there alone, a whole week, between 2 weekends, and used to play a round by myself every morning around 8. I adored it, the course was a nature Paradise at that time of the day. No other human being was on the course, wild animals such as does and deers were wondering around on the fairways, and I needed only 2 hours for the whole 18 holes, something very suited to my impatient nature. And sometimes I took a sketching book with me and did some rapid drawing.. like the one below.
The little lady in the background walking to the tee is not me though. Well, it could be me symbolically, but I didn’t look like that when I played golf. I never pulled my bag on a trolley, I carried it on my shoulder, like a real guy. And I only wore trousers, and always a cowboy hat or a baseball hat. I never was one of these female golf players whose main reason to play golf is to showcase their new outfit… in fact I was quite often told off for not complying with the golf course clothing etiquette! Well, I never liked rules, on the golf course or wherever… not that I am an anarchist though, I understand the need for rule,: I just find it hard to have them applied to me! 🙂
What I also did there on occasion was to sketch the golfers in the Club house. The bar-restaurant had a wonderful terrace and I really enjoyed the opportunity to sit and relax there when we had an afternoon game on the weekend.With a glass of Cremant in one hand – Cremant is a typical Alsatian bubbly drink, similar to Champagne – and a pen in the other, sitting in front of that gorgeous natural view, I just felt as if I was in Paradise! Well, here are 4 of these golfers I sketched there on one of these occasions
It was the 19th of August 2000, probably one of the last times I was there before I moved to Spain. So, if you were there that day, and recognise yourself on the sketches, please say hello! But I doubt you will -recognise yourself I mean -, I was at that time not very good at reproducing similarity! But to be honest, I didn’t really try either, I was more interested in expressions and attitudes, more than in exact features. And what I especially loved in sketching golfers after their game, was that you could see in one second, through the body language, which kind of games they had just had: excellent or catastrophic. There was hardly anything else, especially not in Soufflenheim. And most of the time it was catastrophic.
Well, time to leave Soufflenheim now, I have nothing more to show. But I hope I will go back there one day.. and of course I would love to play the course again. Although, being out of practice, I guess I would need 100 balls for a round.. and unfortunately I gave all my balls to charity last week as I emptied my house! Well, not all, I kept the ones I was collecting, with the logos of the courses I had played around Europe and elsewhere. But I don’t think I could ever bring myself to play and lose them!
These artworks are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widget below to access my FAA Gallery
Oh, yes, and if after having bought my paintings, you still have some money left, you can buy my house in Albir, Costa Blanca. It is quite cheap on the market right now, a real deal, think of it as an investment: it will assume a huge value as soon as I am dead, me being the famous just-passed-away artist Miki! 🙂