16 Jul

During the Creative Process

A Tale of Secret Gardens, Purple Berets and Hidden Delights

So here I am.
Attempting to do the impossible.
Condensing 10 days, 16 artists, and 2,000 photos into one single blog post.
Eddie says I’m crazy for even trying and for once he just may be right 🙂
To begin this story, I should tell you that when I was eleven I read  “The Secret Garden”.  It was the most memorable book of my childhood, carrying me away to an enchanted place—a place existing only in my heart—- ’til now.

The Le Vieux Couvent in the southwest of France has that special ingredient that was present in the book I read so many years ago—-the kind of place one might find on a walk and peer longingly over the wall wishing you could enter in, but knowing you will never get to—except in this case, I DID get to slip inside!
Once there I knew I knew it was meant to be shared—that  I’d found  the perfect place for those with eyes attuned to beauty to hang out, paint, and journey forth  to discover the serene beauty of France.   Many calls, many emails, many art supplies and many airline tickets later….
16 artists (Chris, Bruce, Julie, Dianne, Joanne, Ann, Faye, Paula, Jo-Ann, Roxanne, Linda, Tina, Cate, Judy, Vicki, and Lyn),
1 artist’s spouse (Ron Steed) ,
1 fearless leader (that would be me) and
1 roadie (Mr. Dreama, AKA Ron Perry my main squeeze)
Landed in  France for the trip of a lifetime.

First Day in France

A lot of living took place between the photo above and the one below.

Last Evening in France

The Founding Members of the Purple Beret Club:)))!

After much reflection and pouring over all the pics snapped while there, I concluded the best way to share a taste of our time in France was via a few descriptive  words and a petite video.

There were Loki’s and lilly ponds

Lavender and laundry.

Bonjours and Bonhowdys (a new Franglish spawned by Ron P)

Geralds and Journals

Billiams and brushes

Poppies and painting

Watercolors and wine

Rosé and roses

Longhouses and hobbit houses

Bullfrogs and bell towers

Napkin rings and Lobbies

and a thousand things more.

Fresh flowers in each room and lines to hang your laundry on.

A zillion places to sit and have a conversation with yourself, a friend, or no one at all:-)

We ate like little pigs but we also walked a lot and painted a lot so we were able to fit in our clothes for the return trip home:-)

We bought up all the scarfs in France, or a least made a dent in their collection!

We painted the poppies and ponds, gardens and gates, lavender and roses, bell towers and arches.

We met the neighbors and painted their  laundry.

We painted morning, noon and night in watercolor and in oils.

We learned that the egg man delivers more than eggs sometimes (rumors of a French homemade brew…;)

We saw hummingbird moths, lambs and white cows (with very purple shadows:))

We walked and we talked and we laughed and we cried and we ended the day in the grandest of ways—-over divine food with a good French wine.

And the best part of all??

So much laughter:))

Over anything and nothing at all.

If video doesn’t appear, just click here:))
I knew I was out of superlatives to describe our experience when it came time to give a toast on our last night there. We were  already so aware of how extraordinary our time together had been and how lucky we felt to be part of it all, there was nothing left to say that could add to the moment.  Sometimes the warm glow on faces surrounding you say all that needs to be said.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
10 Days in France with 100’s of  beauty-filled moments and hidden delights—-all shared with 16 kindred spirits.
A very happy ending.
Of course I am going to do it again—who could resist the French countryside, a gang of purple beret wearing artists AND Loki???
And now I am very happy to announce the other 3 Winners of the original watercolor postcards (please contact me with your snail mail address and they will be mailed to you from France:)).  They are:

Katie May Mcelwain
Pam Altschwager
Katherine Baker

“Paint France with Dreama” 2014 dates are set. Purple berets have already been purchased for the incoming members of
The Purple Beret Club:))

Invitations will be emailed this Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 6 AM EST.

(If you’d like to head to France with me next year, just send an email to info@DreamaTollePerry.com)


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  1. Alice ONeil

    Song….da, I read the comment above mine and found the name and the singer of the song! Buying tomorrow!!!
    – Alice

  2. Alice ONeil

    Dear Dreama;
    What is the title of the song you play on your videos…I would like to buy it and play it all day, it is so inspiring….smile everyday and do what you love to do, you can do anything….just as your writings suggest!
    Have a wonderful time in France…can’t wait to see the 2014 video!!!!

  3. Judy

    Is there a waiting list for 2014? I also would like to know the name of the song/singer on the video.

    • Dreama

      Judy–if you’d like to be on the wait list, just send an email to info (at) DreamaTollePerry (dot) com and just say so:)) The song is “Do What You Love” by Ryan Houston–:)

  4. Dreama

    Thanks everyone for being right there in France in Spirit—it’s half the fun knowing you are reading, dreaming and watercoloring along. Shared experiences are ALWAYS THE BEST :-)!!!

  5. Peggy Sebera

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful video and France group photos. I loved visiting there with you!
    Peggy sebera

  6. Ursula Marquardt

    Great pictures – but my favorite (of course) is Dreama with Loki – they are both such beautiful “people”!
    Wish I could have been there!

  7. Ursula Marquardt

    Great pictures – but my favorite (of course) is Dreama with Loki – they are both such beautiful “people”!
    Wish I could have been there!

  8. Love the video- you can just feel the love and the vibe all the way from France! And agree- everyone looks younger and 10 pounds lighter with chocolate to spare. Congrats to all the postcard winners! I can’t wait to see mine and get it framed- very special Dreama!

  9. What a joy to have followed along this summer, thanks so much for all the extra effort!

  10. The videos are beautiful! Thank you for sharing France with us! You are beautiful and the paintings are lovely.

  11. June

    It looks and sounds like absolutely heaven to me. It seems beautiful beyond gorgeous. Uplifting. Inspirational. And yes, beautiful – literally filled with so much beauty everywhere and in everyone.
    Thank you so much, Dreama, for taking us all along with you and your Purple Beret gang on this wonderful trip of a lifetime…of course to repeated many more times to come for new memmbers of this very special, very wonderful, very creative and very joy-filled and laughter-filled club. I’m saving my euros and pennies as i type this…who knows?…my dream of painting in France with you may actually come to fruition in 2014.
    Thank you again – it’s been super fab and super wonderful and truly a deight.

  12. Thanks so much for sharing your trip of a lifetime. It’s given me great joy to see the sights along with you. Wow! What a beautiful place. I didn’t even gain a pound! Eating vicariously that is! Thanks again for sharing. Sigh.

  13. Kathleen Bureski

    Thank you Dreama, for sharing this beautiful time in France,

  14. Gloria E. Moses

    Thanks for taking us on this journey(and eating the chocolate) it was a visual feast.

  15. Anne Stickney

    oh, lovely, lovely. No wonder you go there so often! Look at those FLOWERS, sigh.

  16. Carol Costello

    What a fabulous trip. Who came up with the idea for the purple beret club? Great!

  17. Kathy Phillips

    What are the dates for France in 2014? I’m packed and ready!

  18. Artist Dreama Tolle Perry

    Good times are meant to be shared:)).

  19. Zoya

    It looks like a wonderful location for painting and enjoying life and everyone looks so happy on the photos. I wish I could join you next year. I liked the song in the video as well – who is it by? Thank you

  20. Jobi

    Say it isn’t over!!!! What a wonderful journey! So fun to see the final video (I agree with Tracy, please share that wonderful artist with us!) It is now on my bucket list to paint with Dreama in France some day! I will start saving my money and saying my prayers. Thank you Dreama for all you shared, all the time and effort you took to inspire us and teach us. I wish we had a video of all us around the globe sitting at our little computers enjoying this adventure with you. PJs and all! Waking up to your posts has been one of the highlights of summer for me. xoxo

  21. Tracy

    Lovely video = the images and the tune (do share the music and songwriter, too!). Ok, I just may be ready to take that leap next year.
    Thank you for all you do!

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