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Visiting Chenonceau and Sketching in Its Garden, part 8

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 5/28/2015 - www.Littleviews.com ]

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May 29: Enjoying the Gardens of the Chateau Chenonceau

>> Phil re-visited the donjon one more time this morning and is harboring thoughts about seeing the rest tomorrow. He will post a series of his pictures on this subject in the near future. I, however, am harboring thoughts about having one more meal in the Restaurant le Presbytere.

We're leaving Loches on Monday morning, so scheduled seeing a major attraction, the Chateau Chenonceaux, today (Friday). As we thought, there were only moderate crowds, so strolling around was like having the place to ourselves. The video below provides a short glimpse:

The perfect time to see France's chateaus is in late June when flowers are blooming. The problem is, of course, that by that time, kids are out of school and the tourist season (as well as increased temperatures) start in earnest. I prefer having a little elbow room when visiting great sites, although seeing and smelling lush blooms is always pleasant.

I was able to walk with a cane for short distances, but still required handicapped arrangements. Luckily, the handicapped parking area is very near the ticketing office and wheelchairs here seem to be plentiful even though accessibility throughout the chateau's interior is limited. I toured this building a few years ago, so didn't mind sitting in one of its beautiful gardens while Phil roamed the premises.

Although my sketches (now watercolor paintings) are still very simple, I have learned how to create a rounded edge under a peaked roof (draw an oval as though you are looking up through a glass) and I am more or less getting relationships in the right place.

To learn how to draw, a student should produce numerous sketches of a "thing," including its textures. As the mind starts to memorize forms, it becomes easier to start producing showcase-worthy work. What you see in my drawings are my first and only attempts. At the end of this trip, I'll create a page posting them all together so you can determine whether I learned anything.

Keep in mind that chateau are relatively colorless, with shades that range from black to gray to a somewhat-yellowish color. I've seen really fabulous drawings by artists who freely throw the color pallet at them, but I am still stuck in a "realism" phase where I try to make my drawings somewhat resemble what I see. Gray rules!

On our return from Chenonceau, we saw the above great windmill located next to the highway. I captured its label in my photographs, but unfortunately can't enlarge it enough to read its full name. Should you want to see it in person, it's located somewhere between Chenonceau and Loches. The rest of the landscape in the area is dominated by farmland.

Spontaneously taking photos while driving around is difficult because in this area of France, there are no places to park and if we do slow down, we have to constantly be aware of cars coming up behinds us. Over the weekend, we'll make more of an effort to capture cave houses and ancient farm worker huts, among several unusual subjects, but, of course, won't risk our lives off the highway trying to do so.

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Questions? Just ask!
Karen Little - Karen@Littleviews.com

Article series by Karen Little for www.Littleviews.com. Photos by Karen and Phil Little. Series began on May 13, 2015. All rights reserved.

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