Memories of Paris

Paris - we visited Paris a few summers ago. It was like a surreal dream, ancient mingling with avant-garde, beauty everywhere. Some of my favorite memories are from that visit, and included a very special evening in which we visited my French penpal and her family and had dinner at her house. When you go to Paris, two must-sees are La Conciergerie and Giverny which is about forty-seven miles outside the city.

La Conciergerie, which dates back to Roman times, was built as a Roman fort, torn down and rebuilt as a castle around 1300 A.D., and was used as a prison to hold artistocrats and royalty during the French Revolution before they were guillotined. On the Conciergerie tour, we were able to walk through the prison up and down the ancient stone steps and view the prison cells. The cell where Marie Antoinette lived during her captivity has been recreated. The feeling of past history was overwhelming there.

Giverny, the beautiful home and garden of Monet is about forty-seven miles outside of Paris.

Giverny is a magical place, worthy of spending a full day exploring there. The best time to visit, of course, is the summer. In June or July, you can fully experience the magnificence of the garden. The garden is full of color, with flowers spilling out onto the paths. And across the road is Monet's famous water garden. The dream-like lusciousness is breathtaking.

Monet's simple, but exquisite house, has a pink exterior with green shutters. Ivy vines climb over the walls. His love of color extends from the garden to the house exterior and continues inside with each room painted a different striking color.

There is an lovely blog written by one of Giverny's guides that you may like to check out, Giverny Impression.

Art - Inspiration from Books and Elsewhere


My childhood copy of Raggedy Ann in the Snow White Castle by Johnny Gruelle, 1946 by the Johnny Gruelle Company

Finding inspiration sometimes seems like an allusive process.  I find inspiration from looking at books, attending art exhibits, visiting flea markets.  I especially love books of patterns such as 1000 Patterns: Design Through the Centuries by Drusilla Cole and find ideas for both 2 and 3 dimensional work from historical patterns.  I also have a passion for children's books.  Vintage children's books, such as those by Johnny Gruelle, have enchanting illustrations.  Sometimes I just leaf through books, then close them and get out a sketchbook. 

I love going to art, natural history, and science museums .    When I go to museums, I take a sketchbook and make quick sketches of details, textures, and shapes that I am especially intrigued by.  Visiting galleries is also a wonderful way to see what other artists are doing. 


Philbrook Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma

 Philbrook Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma


 Miro Museum, Barcelona, Spain

Flea markets are a favorite pastime of mine.  I take a camera and ask vendors if I can photograph their booths.  They are usually very accommodating.  If I come home without any treasures, but have gotten some inspiring photo shots, it is still a successful trip.



 Brimfield - many colors of buckets


 Brimfield - African-artifacts


Brimfield - textiles booth 


Brimfield - prom dress 

Sometimes I just open my sketchbook and start doodling.  I may have an idea in my head as a beginning point - such as "poodle".  I try not to think too much, but just draw.  These doodles may turn into the starting point for a piece. 

I also like to participate in Illustration Friday when I get the chance.  It's a fun challenge to try to develop an illustration to match the weekly theme.  The resulting drawings can give me ideas for new work in a different medium, and I enjoy visiting other artist's blogs to see their illustrations, too. 

There are two blogs that I always find inspirational: "Art for Housewives" and "Ullabenulla". 

In the most recent post from Art for Housewives, the author talks about an interactive project at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  The public is invited to send in photos of pockets they have created.  The photos along with information and name of the artist are included in the museum's database for pockets. 

Ullabenulla shows photos of her work and the work of other artists along with updating what is going on in her studio including classes.  In Ullabenulla's latest post, she shows a series of endearing miniature kitchenware made of acorns.

You can find inspiration in the most unexpected places:  even a hotel bathroom or staircase.


Paris - hotel bath

Paris hotel -  bath 


Paris hotel - staircase