France Sketches: Un Zebre dans Monmartre

These are the last sketches of France for a while, this from inside a cafe called Un Zebre dans Monmartre, where it is cooler than ever to be bohemian. Montmartre is home to Sacre Cœur and has lots of stairs. It is also where Moulin Rouge is set, and if you take the time to hike the windy streets, you will find one of the two windmills left.



2015_06_Zebre en Montmartre

Click to enlarge.

France Sketches: Senlis

Senlis is a truly beautiful town in France, not far from Paris, that has a delightful medieval downtown area. I’ve drawn it before, in 2011:


but this was my first opportunity to stand in one spot for an hour.


Click to enlarge

Senlis has beautiful, unique examples of tudor-era architecture that you can’t find elsewhere. It’s often used in films to capture the claustrophobic feeling of medieval streets.

This was the spot: IMAG4286

France Sketches: Le Potager du Prince

The Potager du Prince is an adorable interactive garden/museum in Chantilly that lies on the remainder of the grand garden that served the castle. Here most of the food for the nobility residing, or visiting, the castle was grown or raised. We had a wonderful up-close view of rabbits, goats, pidgeons, chickens, and many different fruits and vegetables. It’s the sort of museum that I love to draw in!


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France Sketches: Prix de Diane

Woefully, this post has more interesting links in photos than it does sketches. The Prix de Diane is a horserace, the equivalent of the Kentucky Derby in the US. It is a wonderful opportunity for women to show off their hats. It’s also in Chantilly, one of the most beautiful (and horse-centric) towns in France.

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I was able to sketch some of the race horses as they cooled down, walking, post-race. The crowd at this is intense! We walked a couple of miles through dust with a toddler in a stroller for the opportunity to down chablis and sandwiches in the hot sun. You know what? It was WORTH IT.

France Sketches: Chantilly Interior

I’ve been working on this sketch for about six months now, I started it in December 2014, and continued it on this last trip in June. It’s a bit of a relief that this room doesn’t change too much, and yet at the same time I am challenged to make alterations that are both honest to the source and to what I found charming about the composition in the first place.

2015_06_Chantilly interior

click to enlarge

When I showed it to her, my mother-in-law asked me if I liked to do comics. Yes! Yes I do. :) Coming from the French, who take their comics very seriously, I consider that quite a compliment.

Montessori Children

I got the chance to sit in on a Montessori class the other day, and enjoyed drawing the toddlers pouring water all over the place. When they focus their faces become limp and their bodies move with a determination that is unlike their movements otherwise. It is darling to watch, may we all have that concentration!

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2015_8_Montessori 3

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2015_8_Montessori 1

Ink Sketches: Inwood Hill Park in Snow

I’ve been fortunate to live across the street from a park for the majority of my life in New York City. First Grammercy Park, then Monsignor McGolick park, and now Inwood Hill park. The hill happens to be prominent from our windows and it is beautiful in every season.

2015_02_Inwood Hill Park Snow

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Paris Rooftop Adventure Sketches

Charles Marville photographed Paris as it was converting to boulevards and grand buildings, and the photos he took show us what was left of a ancient city turned medieval city turned modern city…breathtakingly romantic and festering at the same time.


The drawing above was from one of his photographs that I can’t seem to find now, but you get the idea of the light and darks of the narrow streets, and the deteriorating buildings. You’ll find such narrow streets in the Marais area of Paris still, but the rest of the city has wide streets with grand buildings which replace what would have been many streets back in the day.

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It was this setting whose rooftops were the initial inspiration for all those rooftop rabbit paintings!

Paris Rooftop Adventure 3

Children's Book project - Paris Rooftop Adventure image 3

Children’s Book project – Paris Rooftop Adventure image 3

We made it to the top of the roof! Just in time to watch the sun set. Gosh…now how do we get down?