Sunday, April 30, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI e – Paris

La Defense Paris
One day, after spending the morning in the Musée d’Orsay we had lunch in their palatial dining room.

I should mention that, except for the trip to Giverny and the garden party in the suburbs, all our movements around Paris were on the Métro  and we averaged six trains a day!  Can you imagine two guides shepherding 13 grandparents and 11 kids between platforms, up and down escalators, through turnstiles where you had to retrieve your ticket, and out the correct exits to get us all to the side of the boulevard we expected to be on  every time? Fortunately, the kids who leaped off the train at the wrong stop were all quite capable of leaping back on, and none of the rest of us who couldn’t leap anywhere had a heart attack!

On the last night in Paris, we went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkling, and I made a video of the show… on purpose, unlike most of the videos I make with my digital camera.
Then I decided to take advantage of our unique position to take some regular pictures in other directions, including the view I’ve painted here, looking up the Avenue de la Grande Armée and Avenue Charles de Gaulle to La Défense. Begun in 1958, La Défense is Europe’s largest purpose-built business district, featuring many skyscrapers and La Grande Arche, a twentieth century version of the Arc de Triomphe we were standing on (and at 110 metres, twice as high).

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Virtual Paintout in Tunisia

Punic Ruins at Carthage
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Tunisia this month.  It didn’t take long to find this location on Google Streetview, an archaeological site now part of the city of Tunis, with a view of the Jebel Boukornine in the distance,  as I’d been there before…

I did a computer painting of almost this exact location in 2009, based on two of my own photographs from a UVic Travel Study program in North Africa in 2006. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI d – Paris

We went on many excursions within the city, including Notre Dame, the Louvre the picture on the left shows Rachel and me with the Winged Victory and some of the other thousands of people who were there that day and the Paris ‘beach’ on the Seine, built for people who couldn’t get to the real French beaches on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

One evening we were invited to a garden party at the home of one of our guides in a suburb on the outskirts of Paris. The food was marvelous and the entertainment incredible. First, all the kids were taught how to paint ‘just like Monet,’ then a magician mystified us all.  We were told he was just for the kids, but he was really good and I don’t think anyone figured out any of his illusions. Rachel and I certainly didn’t. 

On the right, below, is Rachel’s ‘Lily pond, après Monet.’

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI c – Paris

Our day in Monet’s garden at Giverny was perfect in every way except I may have taken a few too many pictures of Rachel (check the expression in the one on the right, below). I even had a chance to start these two sketches, unlike the first time I visited Giverny, when I was so awed by the output of the dozens of other painters who appeared to have been there since dawn, that I didn’t even get my paints out. Even our lunch at Giverny was a big hit with both age groups les salades au homard for us and fish & chips for the kids.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI b – Paris

Statue of Liberty
Watercolour and marker
©2016 Charlene Brown

There really is a replica of the Statue of Liberty on the tip of the Île aux Cygnes in the River Seine, and it’s visible from the lunch level of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve exaggerated the apparent randomness of the tower’s ironwork, but I didn’t make up the statue, which you can see in about the exact middle of the top half of the painting.

By the way, when one of our group’s guides asked us if we knew how to say Eiffel Tower in French, about half of us did, but Rachel was the only one who pronounced it correctly! (So much for the ‘Calgary’ accent some of her cousins, who attended a francophone school in British Columbia, have teased her about.)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI a – Paris

Montmartre from Eiffel Tower level 2
Watercolour sketch
©2013 Charlene Brown

In 2013 I took my youngest grandchild, Rachel, who is Phil and Dan’s little sister on a Road Scholar trip to Paris. This sketch and the Painting I’ll post in a few days were done from pictures I took the day we went up the Eiffel Tower.

On our first day, we explored Montmartre, touching the hand of the original ‘Passe-muraille’ -- the Man Who Walked through Walls, climbing all the way up to Basilica du Sacré-Coeur and lunching in the square where artists have congregated for more than a hundred years. In fact dozens of them were painting or sketching en plein air while we were there.