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Follies “Monceau,” La Vie Romantique and Monet’s Giverny, Ville de Fleurs


Who isn’t enchanted by the wonderful cursive organic Art Nouveau Metro Designs by French architect Hector Guimard? What would Paris be without “His Metro?”  Monceau is a Park with a storied history….


A French Duke of Orleans bought the land of Parc Monceau in 1769 and asked Louis Carrogis, called Carmontelle, creator of “fetes” and spectacles, to create garden picturesque “scenes” of illusions of different eras and countries. This “picturesque” style became the vogue style in the era of French Rococo and Parc Monceau had “Collections” of a Dutch windmill, classical Roman ruins, Eqyptian oblilesks and pyramids, English garden styles, etc. A Round Greek Temple with a colonnade as seen above was added by French architect Nicolas Ledoux as an official “office” for the garden… Nice Office.


This is a circular Roman Colonnade was part of a Naumachia, referring back to to ancient Greek and Roman world where the emperors (Julius Caesar, being the first one) had festivals called Naumachias (greek for Naval Combat). It was part of the “stage set” surrounding a basin for “Naval Battles” as mass entertainment ….They  were like Hollywood productions using 6000 prisoners of war and digging basins or using the Tiber, with real combat and death, all to create an entertainment spectacle.(Wikipedia fills in some facts!)  Unbelievable.


One would never guess the historic meaning of this lovely colonnade….
A “Folly” bien sur!


A “Miniature Folly” is in this Petit Pont and River inviting a petite promenade….
My watercolor of it is buried in a suitcase…. The royal property was taken by the French government after the French Revolution, and finally refashioned by Alphand (public works creator) under grand designs of Haussmann and Napolean III  to recreate Paris’ urban plan with a plentiful park system. The Bridge and river, Grotto and cascade, the Naumachia colonnade, Roman Arch, and pyramid are some elements that have been preserved.


……giving us a trace of the Egyptian World.


The Monceau quarter is a very upscale neighborhood with wealthy families of that day, Pereire, Rothschild, Cernuschi, Ménier, Camondo members using the park and creating its reputation and allure. Monet painted the rich bourgeoisie promenading here! A park that is very popular today was a “garden cabinet of curiosities” in its original day. Marcel Proust played here as a child…. Did he have a premonition of  “Remembrance of Things Past” here ?!  Just imagining…..!
But more of Monet a little later…. when he’s not busy painting at Parc Monceau…


The contemporary “Folly” of Merry-Go-Rounds is everywhere in Paris’ Parks
as is an adult essential: Wifi!


I couldn’t resist a “Go” at a Merry-go-Round! And the Chestnut Trees!

Parc-Monceau-Chestnut Trees

 The Chestnuts are beautiful trees to paint and their blooms are fantastic in late April/early May.

La Vie Romantique-Jatdin-Musée

And now leaving the Follies for the Romance of the 19th century world of Ary Sheffer’s Montmartre home and garden and the legendary visitors of the Romantic Period and Style in Literature, Music and Art, Chopin, George Sand, Delcacroix and friends….

vie romantique-1s

A long tree canopied path leads to  to home and garden, now a museum, and hidden in the heart of Montmartre.


the courtyard…. Horse and Carriages imagined here in the 1840s with Chopin and George Sand arriving…


The entrance to the museum with tourists taking a break….


The entrance to the garden….


with it’s lovely leisurely ambience…


and light and congeniality…. Too inviting not to paint….


In fact I had time to paint 2 sketches…..The warm light was joyous….


The garden is waiting for you to have a seat!


And the romance and spirit of the Romantics—of people enjoying themselves
continues to today!  The garden is delight!


An now for Giverny! Monet’s Paradise and  Garden Lover Mecca!
Did you know that the artists going to Giverny can get an Artist Pass to paint in the gardens from 5:30 pm to 8 pm on weekday evenings!? More to come as I am lingering at the Musée and Jardin de la Vie Romantigue too long and need to go the Giverny another day!  With all this Garden “Galloping,” one needs to take a break at beautiful garden cafes!  Un café élongé, si vous plait! ….Perfect! …L’Aprés-midi Parfait!!  ….. Giverny, 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!

Let’s take a Spring Tour of Sag Harbor Florist! Hyacinth Watercolor of their Bouquet Design!

Sag Harbor Florist Floral Bouquet in Watercolor

Spring Hyacinth Bouquet Watercolor… Bouquet from Sag Harbor Florist…. Watercolor will be at the Guild Hall Members Spring Exhibition…Opening April 27, 2013….. to June 3, 2013


Beautiful Hyacinths from Anastasia Casale’s Sag Harbor Florist Boutique in Sag Harbor (SHF), the Hamptons, NY. …..Let’s take a Tour!





A Bird’s Eye  View A Simple Bouquet of Greens and Luscious Purples




White Hyacinths in the Bud! Annie’s Boutique is always well stocked !


Sag Harbor Florist‘s Entrance…. A Victorian White Trimmed Brick Shop in Bay St. facing the Harbor, next to Bagel Buoy and Donna Karan’s Urban Zen


So Much Color surrounding the Porch and the Sun-Speckled Lawn is so inviting!


What to choose????


The Front Door opens upon the Garden Statuary and garden gifts…..


One passes a “Succulents” Table as you walk down the corridor to the Back Workshop where all the designing goes on.


A Photographer’s Dream in all angles….in late day sunlight!!


This greets you from the side door!


Don’t neglect the bottom shelf!


The workshop tables are behind buckets of flowers awaiting selection for the Florist’s Craft practiced below the Skylight Lighting.


Spring Bouquets of Forsythia, Roses, Tulips and Greens…..





Flowers reaching up to the Skylight!


A Fuschia and Magenta Extravaganza!  Anemones, Hydrangeas and Tulips Saturate one’s senses!  Gift Alert! If you are a Mom in the range of Sag Harbor’s Delivery Zone and your offspring is planning to give you a floral gift from SHF, you are one lucky lady….. SHF is getting ready for Mother’s Day!  Floral Greetings from SHF! ….and Garden, Spring and Watercolor Greetings from GardenSpiritsNY! Enjoy your Spring and visit SHF and your own neighborhood Florist soon!

What To See Holiday Week?… Last Days To View Art Galleries’ 2012 Shows, and A Happy New Year!

Robert Kushner at the DC Moore Gallery

Robert Kushner at the DC Moore Gallery in Chelsea gives us Calligraphic Tulips and Peonies in a neutral palettes of paint and collage, rich is gesture and expressive line… Spare, structural dynamic notes of black, white, neutrals, read and metallic golds…


James McMullan at the SVA Gallery

James McMullan at the SVA Gallery whose illustrations span a 50 year career shows up the beauty of art revealing the stories of plays (Lincoln Center posters) and literature where images enlighten the words… This was an amazing mini-retrospective of McMullan’s art journey…

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