Thursday, 31 May 2012

Adieu, Adieu Montmartre

 It's time to say.....adieu, adieu Montmartre.....we're leaving you today.

It's been fun for the last 2 months.....but now it's time to settle into our larger apartment
on the quiet rue de la Rochefoucauld in the 9th arrondissement.
Adieu to our little apartment on rue Caulaincourt, Montmartre

Every day Pierre and I walked across
this beautiful courtyard garden to our apartment upstairs.
 Such a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of Montmartre.
Adieu Le Cepage.....merci beaucoup....trés bon cafe!
Adieu to les pains chocolat...but maybe we'll find another fab boulangerie in the 9th.
And adieu to les coctails at Au Reve.....what a 'joint'!!! Like you've stepped into the 1950's!  C'est fantastique.
Time to put Plan "b" into action.......
Our removalist won't be quite as big as this van.....but we're off at 3pm today!
Adieu 18th arrondissement...
et maintenant....
Bonjour 9th arrondissement.

A bientôt!

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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Golden Experiences in Paris

I attended a workshop in the Louvre the other night.....three hours drawing and painting....and couldn't believe it when mon professeur said "this will be our last sketch".

Time went so quickly in that quiet and magical space.

We went to the Antiquities area....and worked in a small anteroom near the Etruscan exhibits. The walls and ceiling of the room were breathtaking....richly decorated with frescoes and golden figures.

Our activity was to examine the golden figures in all their finery and to capture, in watercolour, their golden luminescence...."even an abstract representation could be excellent" my teacher encouraged!!

When you take time to look you realise that gleaming gold is really a combination of shades....rusts, greens, reds, bronzes, whites, yellows and more.

So...these were my attempts at abstract representations....
I loved the activity...not sure if I was successful or not with the abstract representation...but it made me more aware of looking (and really seeing) colour.

A couple of days after the workshop I noticed a little exotic Matisse painting at the Musée de l'Orangerie (one of the Odalisque series)....and, in the middle of the canvas, he had painted a golden coffee urn.....needless to say....Matisse had captured that golden gleam beautifully.
A gleaming Parisian street lamp
The Petit Palais....golden decoration everywhere!
Golden door of the Petit Palais...and rose detail (below).
Pont Alexandre III.....dripping with gold!
Isn't she beautiful...standing demurely in the Petit Palais.
And another golden experience for me....
one afternoon, the tip of the Obelisk changed colour...
from Parisian green (late afternoon)
to a gleaming gold (early evening).
I kid you not!
A bientôt!

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Giverny Masterpiece

Up early this morning...for Giverny, Monet's most wonderful masterpiece.
Pierre wanted to take la voiture rouge, but I wanted to drive la voiture blue!
So we decided on the train instead!
We arrived at Giverny at 9.30am hoping to dodge all the tourists.....weren't we silly.  Within an hour, there were hundreds enjoying this magnificent garden.

I think Monet described his garden as his greatest masterpiece and I can see why....the French style garden at the front of his maison is a sublime mix of Springtime blues, pinks, oranges and yellows framed by green arches trailing with wild roses, and his serene Japanese garden is filled with weeping willows, bamboo, wisteria and that famous lilly pond.

The garden was lovely despite all the rain we've had during the last week.....a Springtime feast for the eyes.

Wouldn't it be lovely to see it in each season..and observe, as Monet did, the garden's changing kaleidoscope of colour and light.

As I wandered around the garden I marvelled at how such a prolific artist found the time to paint all those masterpieces as well as create and maintain this magnificent garden?  Maybe he controlled events from afar (like I try to do at home) and had a team of gardeners do all that potting, weeding, pruning, digging, planting etc etc.

Have a little frolic through the garden and let the colours sweep over you.
Those famous irises were everywhere.
The Grand Allée that runs up to the front of the maison.
Blue irises...exactly what he painted.
I loved these cerise balls on long, lime stems...not sure what there're called.
Springtime yellow and orange..everywhere.
A mixed palette....perfect for the painter.
Those blue irises....were beautiful.
And the drama of black against lime...mental note to me.
That famous lilly pond...with reflections, weeping willows et al.
Wild roses
I can just image Monet painting this.
The flaming Japanese maple...was a strong I know why a dash of red looks fantastic in a room.
Under the weeping willow.
I'll see if I can spot this boat in one of his paintings.
Monet's maison with green shutters looked lovely against the garden's greens.
Inside the maison, the kitchen was also a feast for the eyes...
mustard yellow walls,
terracotta + cream tiles
and inky-blue Japanese prints on the walls.'s easy to see why Monet said that Giverny was his greatest masterpiece.

And to complete the journey.....we're off to Musée de l'Orangerie on Thursday to see those waterlillies (again).

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