France Sketches: Landscape by train

I love riding into Paris by train. The fields and small towns go by and the modern, depressing tall apartment buildings complexes sprout up out of nowhere. They have patches of graffiti and parking lots huddled around their foundations. Maybe a shantytown. And then the architecture suddenly becomes majestic. It happens so quick.

2014_12_France_Countryside

2014_12_Paris2

France Sketches: Abbaye de Chaalis

The Abbaye de Chaalis is a Cistercian monastery, the church of which is now in ruins. It must have been enormous, it had 25 chapels and in the abbey’s heyday of the 1300s the abbots were very successful indeed between the game in the woods and the fish in their many ponds. They also had the benefit of money being donated constantly by their local congregation! Now the grounds belong to France and you can visit the works of art–mostly Italian–and the abbot’s chapel with frescoes by Francesco Primaticcio. We got there at nightfall (before 5pm in winter, such a short day!) and I did a sketch of the chapel through the ruins of the church.

2014_12_Abbaye de Chaalis

2014 World Cup Sketches: France v. Honduras

Let’s all take a moment not to remember, or even think about, the train wreck that was France during World Cup 2010. Whew! A refreshingly good game from France yesterday, and the way Honduras is going they’ll have a full deck of yellow cards by the time they are eliminated! Such bruisers. Have fun watching from the sidelines, Palacios!

2014_06_WorldCup03

And let’s keep an eye on Benzema, France #10!

France Sketches: Étangs de Commelle

2013_09_Chantilly_Etang

The Étangs de Commelle are a series of large man-made ponds that cascade into one another in the Forest of Chantilly. They are quite beautiful, and were originally built by monks to stock with fish for food (you can still fish in them today). Coincidentally they also happened to be a great spot to corner and drown deer when hunting. I’ll stick to painting them in early September, though, and enjoy walking around them–lovely greens! Near the edge of the last Étang is the Castle of the White Queen, an 11th century (recently remodeled in 1825)  luncheon spot for nobility after a hard day of watching your servants and hired hunters chase down and kill a deer.