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Meet the Pigeons! G-a-r-d-e-n-h-o-p-p-i-n-g Parisienne …..


Sunny! Perfect for Pigeons to have elegant perches, catching a few rays! I revisited the Palais-Royal after I my first visit was thwarted by “Fermé,” closed for an art installation….




Gray…   : (


Sunny……! ……….Gray……,   Sunny…….,  Gray……..,   Sunny ……….  all day….

Jardin du Palais-Royal

It was a cloudy, sunny and also an almost rainy day in rotation a few weeks ago, but I actually sat and painted this watercolor at the Jardin du Palais-Royal and by late day, the sun won out! The problem was do I paint it sunny (warmer colors) or cooler-grayer and tried to stay in middle! Ideal time for 2 paintings and switching back and forth!!!!! Pigeons make a home on many a head of a statue….and defy making a “Dignified” shephard and his goat. The storied past of this garden where royalty lived and the 18th c. Rococo aristocrats and Revolutionary Enlightenment intellectuals intermingled and schemed is legendary and you walk in their footsteps…. Buildings peek in everywhere when painting French gardens, and this Palais-Royal facade had gorgeous neutrals and geometry….
and to provide contrast the roses of course…..


The shepherd’s friend sitting further down has his own pigeon. I noticed that the statues at the Jardin du Luxembourg, such as the Reines de France (Queens),  solve the problem with long metal needles placed into the tops of their heads….. not here though…Though charming perches for Paris pigeons…, Pidgeon “Poo” does’t look very good on them!

Suare Vert Galant on Ile de la Cite

Another iconic garden in the literal center of Partis I loved is the “trop petit” postage stamp of a triangular park at the front tip of Ile de la Cite by the Pont Neuf…..


with an equestrian Statue of France’s King Henry IV (late Renaissance) above it…..
his royal policies resulted in great civic improvement and added physical beauty to Paris.

Sq-Vert-Galant-Henry-IV-Sketch by :Lois Bender

..quick studies revealed there were no pigeons sitting on Henry IV’s head…..
no doubt due to is royal powers, I’m sure….

Square Vert Galant + Henru IV Statue

I seemed to have made Henri IV into a giant lording over His Paris with a sky of white clouds to roam in. It seems once you start painting clouds in Paris, you can’t stop!


I went up to where Henry permanently reigns and saw the view below of this triangle where you see both sides of the island and the bateaux-mouches’ depot— the angle was irresistible.

Square Vert Galant on Ile de la Cite

and jarring but an interesting point of view always catches my eye…..


A Panorama with The Louvre on the Right Bank…. Padlocks professing love abound
everywhere on Paris’ bridges, as well here….


No Pidgeons!


And always The Tuileries invite a memorable walk… Especially when heading to the fabulous Libraire de Jardin, Garden Bookstore, at the other end of Les Tuileries near La Place de la Concorde. The bookstore’s present site was once the home of the famous legendary French Landscape Architect of Versailles, Vaux Le Vicomte, etc., Andre Le Notre (1613-1700)….It’s marked with his commemorative statue…………I took this photo 2 years ago in the cold freezing June of 2012 and decided to paint its panoramic view with this year’s flowers….. why not!

Panorama of Jardin des Tuileries

Clouds and Gardens would be more true to my project’s reality!…
Clouds of Paris! and the Louvre always!


But how about a restful quiet garden?? Like the one at the  Musée Eugene Delacroix which was housed in Delacroix’s studio and garden of his later years. I took a photo from a window within his studio of his garden… I got chills thinking I was in the very beautifully skylighted studio where he created his work!

Jardin de la Musee Delacroix

I sat in the garden on site and did this hoping I could catch the feeling quickly…. and wanted to do more variations of colors… so I did a few more back at the studio I have in Camac…

Jardin de la Musee Delacroix

Stressing the lavender and green palette… There’s no one way to see color! …..
Neutral taupes can go many ways!  Blue-er here!


But looking out of  the studio window of Delacroix brought me back to thinking about my studio window of my temporary studio at Camac and the beautiful view…. I took so many photos of the sky colors, clouds and lighting effects! Look at the amazing evening golden light colors with a dark cloudy overcast sky….such drama!

The House at CAMAC, Marnay-sure-Seine

It’s like doing a combo -lighting of night and day in 1 painting!
(Magritte did one…now at Moma!)

Sunset at Camac from my window

 Sunsets are now at 9:45 pm !!!!  Sparkling golden light on the stone….. Such long days and so much daylight is amazing to have as an artist…. With sunrise at around 5 am, it’s practically 17 hours of daylight at the summer solstice! June 21 tomorrow! Giverny and More ….G-a-r-d-e-n-h-o-p-p-i-n-g…. to come! Happy Solstice from Paris and near Paris …. avec beaucoup, beaucoup des couchers de Soleil beaux de Marnay-sur-Seine! ……..À la prochaine !

Getting A Glimpse at the Gardens of Paris…between raindrops!

Jardin des Tuileries and The LouvreGarden Greetings from Paris. I have been going crazy running around and visiting
some of the beautiful gardens and just trying to get a feel and glimpse of what to paint…. Some gardens have very iconic views that represent the garden so well….especially the formal gardens such a Jardin du Luxembourg and Les Tuileries…. Others have freer designs. I’m exploring them all and “Vive la difference!” I made quick sketches in watercolor crayon and paint. There is so much to see and paint, so here’s a little taste of painting the gardens…..Starting with Les Tuileries and the Louvre with the plantings of purple phlox this May,  accompanied by the photo below so you can see what inspired me.

Jardin des Tuileries et LouvreA Beautiful Day… rare in May with all the rain…. to walk in the garden!

Jardin des Tuileries and The Louvre

The foreshortened row of vibrant flowers under the shade called for intense color. I was trying to decide where the “lights” are, using the white paper, and deciding on the grass finally!

Jardin des Tuileries et Louvre

The quick glimpse approach of  a sketch of such a complex image makes me simplify…and edit….and sometimes invent as we see below….

Parc Bagatelle

This is the special exhibition gardens at the beautiful Parc Bagatelle, a part of the massive Bois de Bologne in the western part of Paris. Louis XV created the park. These pergolas display the lush ample growth of leaves that follow the Wisteria Blossoms that I had just missed by 2 weeks….So, et viola….


Sometimes a view calls for invention and I said to myself, Why not!

Jardin du Palais-Royale

And the shade provided by so many trees in grand “Allees”?…. What color is the shade of trees?…. Mixing yellow ochre and a purple is one way to go….Next to the Louvre, this is Le Jardin de Palais-Royale, which was closed the day I went, leaving me with a view of the shade and rows of green; another visit is “bien sur.”

Jardin du Palais-Royale

And the rows of Linden and Poplar trees are so majestic. The leaves are pruned into rectangular shapes to ensure that they have enough room as the trees row larger…. How does one paint the variety of greens?
Le Notre, the famed landscape architect of France, notable for Vaux le Vicomte, Versailles, etc. founded a principle of the eternally green garden by using evergreen and hornbeam trees and boxwood plantings… using nature to its best advantage and endowing France with its classically designed “very green” formal gardens. But learning to paint the variety of greens is a project in itself!  And Shapes! The topiary designs delight!

Jardin du Luxembourg

But for color, the flower plantings at the Jardin du Luxembourg, (created by Maria de Medici, King Henry IV’s widow in the early 1600s) bring vibrancy to the formal gardens of beautiful sculpture and urns and balustrades in stone and lush green lawns…….

Jardin du Luxembourg

The plantings are changed a few times a year with a variety of color themes….

Jardin du Luxembourg

I fell in love with the stone urns of potted geraniums, the statuary presences, the rational geometric design of the garden with balustraded terraces and the rows of trees with their stately tree trunk “columns.” It’s always wonderful to return to this garden….. I have a garden of thoughts when I see and walk in this garden!

Jardin du Luxembourg

The large trees seem to embrace this urn….as I eliminate the 21st century metal fencing!

Jardin du Luxembourg

Rain clouds gather around us in May and I could’t resist trying to capture the neutrals of the cool grays with the creamy tans and beiges of the Palais du Luxembourg and Urns of Putti holding a bowl of flowers.

Jardin du Luxembourg

The statue below the putti is praying for the rain to stop or go away! One learns to love painting in the rain and painting from photos you take when it is raining…..Sketching in Watercolor helps one to make decisions quickly about what’s the right color and about simplifying the design. They aren’t polished works but rather free and intuitive and show “process” so well, recording what inspired us! …inspite of rain!! In this May, don’t forget your umbrella, rain poncho and plastic bags when painting gardens in Paris! …..To be continued!

“Much Ado about Madoo” Garden Fair June 15….. Much Ado about Robert Dash’s “Dashingly” Artistically Poetic and Surreal Garden of Illusions and Allusions


The Gate Announces a Special Experience:  The Artifice of Primary Colors Startles us in the Greenery of Robert Dash’s two acre unique Garden vision in Sagaponack, featuring Tudor, High Renaissance, early Greek, as well as Oriental garden influences. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, Madoo is a blend of Garden and Home Design Creativity shown in the structures, barns, houses built to complement the garden surroundings…. You walk into a world suggesting art and literature and the ideas of creative people like Robert Dash. It’s Robert Dash’s work of art!  Horticultural Styling and Pruning Innovations await you.  Come in right this way, the gate, doorjamb and path say! Don’t Delay!


A Sole Doorway or Doorjamb really Looking for a Door ?!


Finds A Yellow Door on a Little House….. A Keyhole to a Door to a House which was trimmed in…


Blue in another season in Yellow & Blue Whimsy! “Blue” is spotted throughout the garden like a trail of Breadcrumbs!


Blue says “Find me!” like on Stairs to Rooftops! Then textures pop up everywhere and have a field day!


Round to the back, see Lattices Galore and Overlapping Textures and Patterns and Optical Illusions, making you dizzy, OH MY! !


In Alice in Wonderland Mind-Bending Games, A Doorway is like a Keyhole in alternating Big-Small-Big Scale, Pointing to a Tree!


Robert Dash, A British Artist, Writer, Gardener cultivates his garden with wit! Here’s the Prettiest Garden Loo I’ve ever seen!


Details. Details! Garden wit is found in quiet sightings: a “Growling” Lion Wooden Ornament next to a lone stray rose…


Or an Ornamental Stone Carving next to the textural patterns of ferns in a bed of stones in a Song of Textures!


Boxwood Pruned Schrub “Balls”  in the middle of a Grove of Gingkos?… Whimsy in “Living”  Stone-like Ornamentals!

Madoo Conservancy

a Juxtaposition so unexpected….. Robert Dash’s Surrealism is Alice in Wonderland’s Surrealism!

Madoo Conservancy

A Garden Fair of Wonderful Vendors of Food, Furniture, Garden Decor, Nurseries, Flowers, Fragrances, Accessories! Alice goes shopping!

Madoo Conservancy

Then Alice goes on the path following the topiary-style arches of greenery and they sway in the blue sky….

Madoo Conservancy

Almost toppling and Growing….

Madoo Conservancy

or is Alice growing small as Madoo “Grows” on her, surrounds her ??…….

Madoo Conservancy

But the Garden Path always takes her to the next surprise!


Like Shade and Sunlight in Hidden Garden Patios

Madoo Conservancy

And more Blue Gate Posts….

Madoo Conservancy

Inviting us on a paths leading to more flights of whimsy

 in Hidden Garden Patios

Do we have to leave ? Maddo is a labyrinth maze of garden paths beckoning you to return….. SOON! GardenSpiritsNY loves Madoo……This Blog barely shows you what awaits you!  Madoo is in Sagaponack, Bridgehampton, near the ocean and a Must-See Garden!

Container Power at LongHouse Reserve, East Hampton: Invitational Garden Container Show

On + Off + Inside + Out by Dennis Schrader

“On + Off + Inside + Out”  by Dennis Schrader of Landcraft Environments Ltd, Mattituck, NY


Last weekend at the gorgeous LongHouse Reserve Gardens which celebrates Culture, Art, Horticulture, Nature and Design, I was at the opening of the “Planters: ON + OFF the Ground VI,” the annual competition and exhibition of Horticultural Container Designs as art statements by 23 Landscape Designers in the East End Long Island Region on display through July 27….. It is always divine to be at LongHouse to see the diversity of the Sculptures in the Garden, the inspirational landscape designs and plantings and meditative art exhibits of world cultures and handcrafts…. Longhouse is the creation of Jack Lenor Larsen, the textile designer and design innovator and his collaborators.  Containers, Art, Sculpture in the Garden……all evolving as the cultural force that is LongHouse! Must See in person is the poetic “Daydream” by Alexandra Leighton of Garden schemes, St. James, NY, (Alas! no photo!)  A few Highlights:


Container of Burnt Cedar

Adam Baron, Suvi Asch, Hal Goldberg of Hal Goldberg Gardens and Landscapes, Southampton, LI and Brooklyn, NY


A Burnt Cedar Exterior as the container in a Modern Art Geometric Approach….



"Butterflies in a Basket" by Hope Herrlin

“Butterflies in a Basket” by Hope Herrlin of New Leaf Landscape Maintenance LLC of Southhampton



"Urban Jungle" by Summerhill Landscapes of Sag Harbor, NY... People's Choice by popular vote!

“Urban Jungle” by Summerhill Landscapes of Sag Harbor, NY… People’s Choice by popular vote!


LongHouse, by architect Charles Forberg

LongHouse, by architect Charles Forberg and built by Joe Tufariello, is inspired by the 7th-century Shinto shrine at Ise, Japan. Larsen decided to build the house on the property in East Hampton in 1986.  Lotus Pond is surrounded by “Garden Room” Designs featuring sculpture in a dialogue between art and nature.


Fly’s Eye Dome

Artist Yue Minjin’s “Warriors” Sculpture Laughing Eternally at Garden Visitors




A garden stroll on a summer evening with art, nature, and a few croaking frogs, Weeping Beeches, Lotuses



Fly’s Eye Dome

Fly’s Eye Dome (original idea by Buckminster Fuller, developed and produced by John Kuthik, 1998), Longhouse’s famous installation. Changing Scale is a major surprise element!



"Fly’s Eye Dome at Longhouse,"  watercolor by Lois Bender

“Fly’s Eye Dome at Longhouse,” watercolor by Lois Bender


Who could resist painting this gigantic sculpture! I couldn’t! A Visit to LongHouse just keeps you enthralled  on so many levels! GardenSpiritsNY Loves this Art and Garden Destination.
























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