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.
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.
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.
Karen contacted me for a very special Father’s Day commission for a trio of lovely individuals: her husband, son, and their beagle. Her son adores his daddy, and loves the romping outdoorsy aspect of summer. I think we have a farmer on our hands with his love for daddy’s ‘tractor’ (Lawnmower) and barns! I produced 3 roughs for Karen to choose from, below.
Click on images to enlarge.
She went with one of the more fantastical ones, much to my delight!
Here are a few close-ups:
Thank you, Karen! What a wonderful family you have!
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.