Gardens, Art & Travel

Recently, when I saw "The Modern Gardens: Monet to Matisse" documentary, it brought home to me just how stunning gardens can be. Claude Monet was not just an incredible artist; he was also an avid horticulturist. And it was Monet’s garden that was mainly featured in this lovely film. The music too was entrancing. I visited Giverny many years ago, and on my return to Paris next month I’ll be visiting the Orangerie to see Monet’s stunning triptych of his Water Lillies. I can’t wait.

I can imagine how Claude felt when he looked out his window each day and saw his garden in full bloom. My morning view here in Southern Tasmania is very different than that of Giverny, but it’s one that continues to thrill and inspire me. A heavy fog often wends its way through the valley, suspended above the Huon. I love how it constantly changes, sending little puffs like smoke up into the range, or drifting away from the river and blanketing everything in its path. Then when the sun’s rays warm the air, the fog lifts and disappears for another day. 

At this time of year dew sparkles on the silver birch trees; the birdbath is thick with ice; robins and wrens visit regularly & honeyeaters dance about the shrubbery, feasting on the proteas and other flowering plants in our garden. By the time I return from overseas, I expect the daffodils will be popping their heads up and the chill of winter will be over.

One of the drawbacks of travelling to Paris mid-summer – apart from it being full-on tourist season – is that the light will not be as magical as it is in Spring and Autumn. Still, there'll be plenty to keep me entranced: cycling through Versaille, motor scootering through the Loire Valley, strolling through the beautiful gardens at Vallandry, and of course, exploring the flea markets of Paris & Madrid for interesting assemblage finds.

I’m looking forward to revisiting Spain and showing Ron the Museo del Prado in Madrid. When I was there last I stood for hours in front of the magnificent paintings, in awe of the artists who created them. This time we also plan to visit Granada, Barcelona and Valencia and spend a few days in Porto, across the border in Portugal.

I’ve made notes of the best paper, cheese, pastry and chocolate shops, the best tapas bars, the best picnic spots and the best art galleries in each city, so despite the crowds in Europe, and the summer heat, it will be worth it. 

My studio might be quiet for a few weeks, but I’ve no doubt I’ll return inspired to get started on something new and exciting in September - Bon Voyage.