A Bounty of Lilacs in Montreal's Botanical Garden

A Bounty of Lilacs in Montreal's Botanical Garden

I visited the Montreal Botanical Garden on a beautiful May day. I brought my camera with the intention of going on a photo safari: an activity where I pick a theme and focus on artworks (or in this case, plants) around that theme, with the aim of looking at everything differently. At first, I thought I [...]

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Monet's Giverny in the Summer

Monet's Giverny in the Summer

Let's travel through time and space to colorful Giverny, France in the summer. Claude Monet made his home at Giverny for over 40 years, until his death in 1926. In the warm season, you can visit his house and studio, as well as the famous flowerbeds and reflecting pond that inspired his sublime paintings. To visit [...]

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Gardens of the Way of the Cross - Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

Gardens of the Way of the Cross - Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

My Montreal museum cocktail for the week led me to the small museum in Saint Joseph's Oratory, the grand basilica located on one of Mount Royal's peaks. I had already passed the Oratory and its enormous dome several times, and I was excited to learn what it was exactly. On a sunny May day, I arrived at the base of the Oratory's hill and was faced with seemingly never-ending outdoor stairs winding their [...]

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Love in a Garden

Love in a Garden

This painting, this fête galante, full of lovers in a garden, is a celebration of flirtation and love. While the young lovers are the focal point of the painting, a full half of the painting is dedicated to the landscape, to the architecture, to the physicality of the scene. As I looked at this painting by Nicolas Lancret, newly [...]

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The Grounds of the Château de Malmaison

The Grounds of the Château de Malmaison

A video of dreamy June afternoon spent on the grounds of the Château de Malmaison. The Château de Malmaison was the home of Joséphine and her then-husband Napoléon (you can read more about their love affair here and about Joséphine’s famous rose garden here).

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Smell the Roses at Malmaison

Smell the Roses at Malmaison

Some heritage is meant to be inhaled. Empress Joséphine’s roses at Malmaison are a prime example. Visually beautiful, yes, but their real power lies in their luscious perfume. Stick your nose in one of the enormous blossoms and you are instantly, and forcefully, transported. Certain blossoms were almost the end of [...]

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Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light

The lack of light in November is driving me a little bit kooky this year. It’s dark out when I go to work and it’s dark out when I come home. I feel like the sun only comes out on the weekends. Darker moods are knocking at the door. And then I was talking to a friend on the phone on my way home from work this week, complaining [ ... ]

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The Queens of the Luxembourg Garden

The Queens of the Luxembourg Garden

I've always been intrigued by the series of statues of French queens and saints that surround the basin of the Luxembourg Garden. These women are look strong and purposeful, each unique in her pose and attitude. The statues make up the Reines de France et Femmes illustres, a series of twenty notable women from French [ ... ]

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San Gimignano

San Gimignano

(As I finish up my thesis this month, this blog will be temporarily transformed into Garlands in Florence with posts about summer in Italy) We were going to San Gimignano for the day. We were right by the train station in Florence, and this clueless young couple, obviously in town just for the day, came up to us, and [ ... ]

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Giardini di Boboli

Giardini di Boboli

(As I finish up my thesis this month, this blog will be temporarily transformed into Garlands in Florence with posts about summer in Italy) I had to wake up early for a drawing class field trip. We went into Florence to the Boboli Gardens, the Medici’s massive formal gardens behind the Pitti Palace. They were lovely [ ... ]

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Two Medici Villas

Two Medici Villas

(As I finish up my thesis this month, this blog will be temporarily transformed into Garlands in Florence with posts about summer in Italy) My drawing class took its first field trip; we went to two nearby Medici villas. At the first villa, the Villa Medici di Castello, we sat out in the gardens and drew whatever we [ ... ]

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Arrival at the Villa

Arrival at the Villa

(As I finish up my thesis this month, this blog will be temporarily transformed into Garlands in Florence with posts about summer in Italy) Today has been a dream, a wisp. The descent into Florence was breathtaking. As I came out of the small plane directly onto the tarmac, the air smelled so [ ... ]

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The Artsy Squares of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

The Artsy Squares of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés is easily one of my favorite churches in Paris. It feels ancient; a reminder of the past in the midst of contemporary Parisian life. The structure is surrounded by two little squares, each tucked in against the church and chock-full of art. These modest parks have their own distinct character [ ... ]

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Happy Place: Garden of the Musée Delacroix

Happy Place: Garden of the Musée Delacroix

This is part of Happy Places, a series about making the time to have experiences that bring you joy, but can be hard to justify with a busy schedule. The Musée Delacroix is so small that it is hard for me to justify return visits. If I am a Delacroix mood, I’ll make my way to the Louvre’s collection. But [ ... ]

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Château Vaux le Vicomte by Candlelight

Château Vaux le Vicomte by Candlelight

Have you ever walked into a period room with tacky 'candlelight' lightbulbs in the chandeliers and wondered, "What would this have been like with real candles? Château Vaux le Vicomte has the answer. This (relatively) modest château outside of Paris offers candlelit evenings every Saturday in the summer [ ... ]

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Textures in the Secret Garden

Textures in the Secret Garden

Every morning as I descend the staircase of my apartment building, I am drawn to the windows at each landing that look out over the courtyard. My apartment building has a secret garden. I don’t know who is responsible for maintaining it, as I have never seen anyone gardening. In fact, the only time I’ve seen a neighbor in the [...]

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