Six Artists Work in the Time of Covid-19: Diane Sawyer, Dawn Nelson, Linda O’Brien, Opie O’Brien, Sarah Sutro, and Betty Vera.
My art has always been a refuge for me in difficult times. But as the pandemic began to take hold, it didn’t feel right to continue with my usual practice. I felt the need to switch things up — get my hands on some new materials and explore. — see where it would take me. I have wanted to expand my practice, to incorporate oils and mixed media for a number of years, but never found enough time to focus on this area. These days of isolation offered an opportunity — a place of stillness and quiet to explore and learn new skills.
As I began experimenting with new media, I gave myself permission to work more boldly and physically, letting go of my ever-critical editorial mind.
As I began working with oil and cold wax I became immersed in the process: layering and scraping back, experimenting with texture and color, and reworking until something begins to emerge. Responding to what I see, I go where the painting leads me.
I had my days of being stuck, too depressed or distracted to work. Like many of us I was often preoccupied by the cascade of feelings triggered by the multiple tragedies of the pandemic — suffering and loss, destabilization in this country and the world, economic collapse, and fury and grief triggered by racial injustice.
But I’ve also found space to recognize and nurture new ideas. It has been liberating to be out of my comfort zone, and exciting to experiment with new ways of working. The process of painting abstractly and intuitively leaves me room to notice how much of my internal experience is surfacing in these new pieces.
The images above are a sampling of my work included in IMPROMPTU. Do these new pieces speak to you? I welcome your feedback and comments.
Paintings from my Aerial series were exhibited in six shows over the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2019. In May the four person show Four Directions in Contemporary Landscape opened at the Piano Craft Gallery in Boston. Visitors to the show were excited by the different perspective, and were curious about my process. The paintings resonated with their own experience of flight, and triggered memories of landscapes strewn with lights and dramatic take offs and landings. They also responded viscerally to images of a world dominated by highways, industry, and sprawling cities.
The series gained momentum in June as “Making the Connection” was included in the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) 34th International Exhibition in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was thrilled to be part of this impressive show, surrounded with masterful works by artists throughout the US and abroad. This is the third piece from my Aerial series that has been exhibited at IAPS!
In July “Mystic Meets Malden” was accepted into the national juried show For Pastels Only (FPO) organized by the Pastel Society of Cape Cod, at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod and won the Liz Haywood Sullivan award. The juror of awards described the piece:
“Excitement runs from the bottom to the top and back again in this aerial view of a city. The large navy shapes let us catch our breath and then slide up and back for more.” —Nancy King Mertz, PSA Master Circle
The group show Parallels and Intersections, at the Sprinkler Factory Gallery in Worcester, also featured my aerial work. I greatly enjoyed the conversations I had with visitors to the gallery. They were intrigued by the my use of perspective, color and mark making, and the drama in the night landscape.
In September my painting “Mystic Meets Malden” was exhibited at the Pastel Society of America’s (PSA) prestigious international show Enduring Brilliance, held at the National Arts Club in New York City. I was honored to receive the Salmagundi award for the piece and to be juried into Signature membership in the PSA!
In November “Making the Connection” was included in the national show Renaissance in Pastels organized by the Connecticut Pastel Society, and held at the Slater Museum in Norwich, CT.
A huge thank you to all the galleries, organizations, and jurors for their support and recognition!
After a Great Run, Sold!
In November both “Making the Connection”, and “Mystic Meets Malden” were purchased by a collector. I was sorry to see them go, but am delighted they will be lived with and appreciated!
I am enjoying working on more paintings for upcoming shows in 2020. I am excited to see where this series will take me next, as I experiment with new images and techniques. In my opinion, winter is the best time to be in the Studio! I relish the season, a great time for experimentation and play.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and find time to reflect and make ready for the next direction in your creative journey!
Best Wishes for the new year,
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I am very excited and honored to report that my work is featured in the December 2018 issue of Pastel Journal!!
The 10 page article, “As Above, So Below,” focuses on a series of paintings I have been working for the past few years—aerial images of the earth based on the view from the window of a passenger plane. In this series I have been exploring the way the world from this perspective is familiar but startlingly different. When seen from the air at night, whole cities flatten into patterns of light. At dawn, we see the sun rising over the curve of the earth illuminating the landscape below. We fly over mountains and valleys scored with the marks of glaciers, and rivers poisoned by centuries of industrial pollution and human habitation.
I find working on these pieces is kind of magical. A few strokes are enough to suggest the vast landscape below. I like keeping my marks a bit ambiguous as it leaves room for the viewer to imagine for themselves what they are seeing.
I am attracted to both what is revealed in these images, and that which remains hidden. My goal is to offer the viewer an invitation to explore the space between what we know and imagine.
A big thank you to the editors at Pastel Journal for featuring my work!! To purchase a discounted copy of the December issue of Pastel Journalclick here.
Please leave me your comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this recent work.
Exhibitions and Openings
The painting on the opening spread of the article, “Late Night Departure” received the Pastel Society of America Award in October at Renaissance in Pastel, the Connecticut Pastel Society’s annual national juried show. “ElectriCity”, another painting from this series, was also awarded a prize at Pastel Society of Cape Cod’s national juried show For Pastels Only in June.
Opening this weekend! If you’re in the Boston area, five of my aerial “mini’s” are currently showing at Francesca Anderson Fine Art in Lexington as part of her 34th Annual Miniatures Show, November 14-January 12th. You are invited to the opening and holiday party December 1, 3-5pm. 56 Adams St., Lexington, MA. The show is filled with unique and beautiful works perfect for giving.
The end of the summer marked a big transition for me, moving from our home of 28 years near Boston MA to our new home in North Adams, MA, about as far west and north as you can go and still be in Massachusetts. This fall has been a time of change and new beginnings.
Our new home is in a centuries old mill that was converted to artist Iive-work space in 2006. We share the building with visual artists, musicians and writers. In the stairwells, the railings and steps are worn and polished by the passing of generations of textile workers. Layers of paint still clinging to the old brick seem to echo the dappled pattern of the fall leaves outside our windows.
Our loft is beautiful, but still a work in progress. There is still much to be done to balance its two purposes: to be a home, and a working studio. But this gentle space, filled with light, promises to be a snug and nurturing sanctuary full of possibilities. I will post more photos after we get settled in.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season. I hope your days and nights are bright with discoveries and new opportunities.
I am honored to have been part of MAKING OUR MARK, a six-person show at the Sprinkler Factory this April. The show has been very well received, with a smashing opening, complete with hundreds of visitors, live music, and surprise appearances by friends and relations.
Its been a great pleasure exhibiting with fellow artists Dave Kaphammer, Janet Schwartz, Cindy Crimmin, Maryann Mullet and Catherine Meeks. While we share many of the same materials, each artist’s use of color, form, and mark-making is uniquely their own. Its made for a strong show, rich in contrast and connection.
The piece above, ElectriCITY, is part of my exploration of the earth as seen from above. Once the moon and the sun are gone what we see of the earth is defined by what is illuminated—by streetlights, traffic, buildings, and industry. As I delve further into this series I have become more and more interested in the tension between what we see—that which is illuminated—and what is invisible in the shadows. This theme resonates for me on many levels. I look forward to exploring it further.
Last chance to see the show is this weekend— come to the closing party Sunday April 29, 1-4 pm at the Sprinkler Factory, 82 Harlow St, Worcester. Hope to see you there!
My painting, Making the Final Approach is featured in the October issue of Pastel Journal.
The article, “Pastel World 2017” covers an exhibition organized by the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS). Anne Hevener, editor of Pastel Journal, focuses on 12 “personal favorites” she selected from 184 exceptional paintings juried into the show. I am so honored to be included in such great company! You can view the article here: PastelWorld 2017
Making the Final Approach has a decidedly unusual point of view. Here’s how I described my process and approach in creating the painting:
“Several years ago, as I was landing at O’Hare Airport, I glanced out the window. We were descending over the outskirts of Chicago at dusk; the plane at a sharp angle to the highways filled with evening commuters below. I quickly grabbed my phone and got a couple of shots just before we hit the runway. When I went to paint from this reference, I wanted to keep the piece loose and abstract, adding just enough detail to allow the viewer to fill in the rest.”
Hevener comments: “The tilt in Sawyer’s unconventional composition adds to the impression of immense space. The painting captures well that odd feeling of detachment you can have in flight when you’re aware of not being earthbound.”
If you would like to see more of this series, I have 2 painting from this series in Pigments at South Shore Art Center, and one at Renaissance in Pastel, sponsored by CPS in Vernon CT. Dates and times listed in Upcoming Shows.
Twenty of my paintings were on view from June through August at the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Milton Lower Mills as part of their Open Studio Program. I sold several pieces during the run of the show, and there was hot competition for the painting I donated to be raffled off at the opening. Thank you Coldwell Banker for hosting the show!
After a cold winter and rainy early spring the trees are bursting out green, flowers are blooming, and spring shows are everywhere. After hunkering down in my studio all winter its been a real pleasure to see the work up, celebrate, and get outside to drink in the warm weather.
I hope you can make it to one of the shows below. I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones! Exhibition highlights of my spring season include:
FOUR ARTISTS, FOUR VISIONS
Closing Party— this Sunday May 7th, from 1–4pm
Sprinkler Factory Artist Group
38 Harlow Street, Worcester, MA
As always, I really enjoyed exhibiting with fellow artists Dave Kaphammer, Janet Schwartz, and Renée Caouette. We are celebrating our second group show in 2 years, and are already looking forward to next years show next April at the Sprinkler Factory.
May 1–July 30 2017
Opening May 17th, 6–8pm
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 60 Adams Street, Milton MA 02186
For Pastels Only
Opening Reception, June 24, 6–9pm
June 20–July 17, 2017
Cape Cod Cultural Association
307 Old Main Street,
South Yarmouth, MA
June 16–18, 2017
Opening: June 16, 1–7pm
South Shore Arts Center
119 Ripley Road, Cohasset MA, 02025
International Society of Pastel (IAPS)
30th JURIED EXHIBITION
June 6 – June 11, 2017
Hotel Albuquerque, Albuquerque New Mexico
Other recent shows include:
For the Love of Color, at the Cape Cod Art Museum
March 16th – May 1st, 2017
This show featured Signature Members of PPSCC, the premiere Massachusetts pastel association. Truly an honor to be included in this group, at the wonderful Cape Cod Art Museum in Dennis MA.
Milton Art Center’s 2nd Annual Juried Exhibition
March 24th– May 20, 2017
It was my pleasure to be the Coordinator of this diverse and exciting show at the Milton Art Center (MAC), featuring the work of more than 40 artists. It was great working with juror Brian Goslow of Artscope Magazine, and meeting so many talented artists from all over the region.
Finally, I am looking forward to a trip by bike and train through France this summer. I’m planning on doing a lot of sketching, gathering new inspiration to carry me through next fall and winter.
Its Small Works Time, as galleries and art associations host holiday shows filled with beautiful work designed for gift giving. Small works are little gems that offer us a way to collect our favorite artists without breaking the bank!
This year my work is being included in the following shows:
I am please to be included in New England’s largest public art sale, benefiting the Boston Museum School November 17-19, 10-8pm, November 20, 10am-5pm
230 the Fenway, Boston 02115
“A phenomenal array of exciting new work”
My summer show, “Dive-in!” is up at the Dolphin Gallery. The show opening is this coming Monday, August 8, from 5:30-7:30 at the Hingham Library, 66 Levitt St, in Hingham MA. The show will be up until the end of September.
After installing the show I took the week off to come up to Vermont. First for a three-day figure workshop with Aline Ordman (wonderful), and then on to our family’s summer camp on Lake Champlain.
Returning to the lake has meant a lot to me, especially as much of the subject matter for the show is rooted in memories here.
Sitting on the dock beside my grandpa as he fished for catfish. Lying on the warm wooden dock wrapped in a towel, listening to the rhythmic glunk, gulp, galunk of the waves breaking against the rocky shore. This is where I learned to swim, dive, and sail; how to get into trouble in a boat and some lessons on how to get out of trouble too.
I watched my children growing up doing all the same things we did as kids… swimming, fishing, sailing… and then watched my grandkids discover the same things too.
As I worked on the pieces in the show my hope was to create a body of work that sparks similar memories and connections. I hope you can make it to the show, and would love to know what images resonate most for you!
My new work on view Dolphin Gallery in Hingham from July 29-September 29th celebrates the beauty and delight of summer in New England.
At the beach or on the water, colors have a special vibrancy in the intense summer sun. The golden light at dawn and dusk is breathtaking. The reflective quality of the water’s surface as it continuously shifts, mirroring the sky and objects around it, is mesmerizing. I have always been fascinated by this interaction of light and atmosphere, and the rich spectrum of color present in the landscape.
In this show I also explore our powerful connection to water, whether in the ocean, a lake, or river. We are all mostly water after all, and our relationship to it is both deeply physical and spiritual.
The show’s title DIVE IN has a special significance for me, as this solo show has afforded me the opportunity to really “dive in” to my work, exploring not only landscape but also our place within it. I’ve learned so much, but am also just beginning to break the surface and to see where this new work might take me.
My heartfelt thanks to North River Arts Society for giving me this opportunity by sponsoring and facilitating this show. Thanks also to the Hingham Library for sharing their beautiful gallery.
So come, see the show, and immerse yourself in the joys of summer!
DIVE IN: New Works in Pastel by Diane Reed Sawyer
Sponsored by North River Arts Society
at the Dolphin Gallery, Hingham Library
66 Levitt Street, Hingham , MA
July 30-September 29, 2016 Opening August 8th, 2016 5:30-7:30pm
I am very pleased to have been included in 2 juried pastel society shows, and one online competition this past June and July.
Connecticut Pastel Society’s members show Purely Pastels opened June 17th, at Lyme Art Association’s Goodman Gallery, in Lyme CT. My piece, Crown Jewel, won the Bronze Award for Excellence. I am very honored to receive this award, one of the top awards in an extensive list! I am also pleased to report that the piece sold on the second day of the exhibit!
Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod’s annual show For Pastels Only on Cape Cod opened Saturday June 18th at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, in South Yarmouth, MA. This is the 5th consecutive year I have been included in this wonderful national show.
Dive In (Study), below, was included in the exhibit.
[I was very very honored to win first place in this competition last year. Congratulations to this year’s winners.]
My piece Incoming tide, shown at the Milton Art Center’s show Celebrate Summer, received the People’s Choice Award. Thanks everyone for your votes!!!
I am very excited to announce that as a gallery artist my pastels are on view at True Grit Gallery, a beautiful new gallery at 38 Center Street, Middleborough, MA. I am in great company, its definitely worth a trip.
I am excited to share news about two upcoming shows in February and March. I hope you can make it to one of these openings, or visit the shows during gallery hours. I look forward to seeing you there!
Warm and Sunny Places and Things
February 12— March 26, 2016 Opening: Saturday February 13, 3-5pm
Francesca Anderson Fine Art
56 Adams St., Lexington MA Gallery Hours: 10-5 Wednesday-Saturday
12-5 on Sundays
This is my first show in Francesca’s gallery, and I am honored to show with so many accomplished artists and friends, including Jeanne Rosier Smith, Cindy Crimmin, Christine Bodnar, and Dave Kaphammer. Eighteen artists are in the show, and it’s definitely worth a trip!
Impressions by four Boston Artists
March 4—March 27, 2016 Opening Friday, March 4th 6-10pm Piano Craft Gallery
793 Tremont St., Boston MA Gallery hours: Friday 6-8pm, Saturday and Sunday 12-5
I am so honored to show in the historic Piano Factory with Renée Caouette, Dave Kaphammer, and Janet Schwartz. We will each be showing 20 works, ranging from interiors to urban streetscapes to landscapes. Its a fabulous show!
The Connecticut Pastel Society’s2015 Renaissance in Pastel national juried exhibition is being held at the UConn Stamford Art Gallery, One University Place, Stamford, Connecticut. The exhibit is open to the public November 9 through December 12, 2015. Admission is free.
The annual Renaissance in Pastel exhibit attracts notable pastel artists from all over the country. More than $10,000 in prizes are awarded for outstanding new work. Art work has been selected by a jury of artists of national prominence.
Awards jurors are Christina Debarry, Past President of the Pastel Society of America, and Deborah Quinn Munson, a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and a nationally recognized pastelist.
The show includes work by artist, Diane Sawyer, of Milton, Massachusetts. Diane’s painting “Lit” won the prestigious Judith Walo Memorial Award.
Diane will be one of two award jurors for the Connecticut Pastel Society’s 2016 Renaissance in Pastel Exhibition.
This is an excerpt from my other blog, Pleinaircycle. If you’d like to read more about my biking and painting adventures, it is a good place to look. Let me know what you think!
Traveling with bikes is great. Traveling on planes and buses and trains with bikes can be a challenge. So this spring We got two Brompton folding bikes from Nycewheels with 6 gears, and a 12% reduction in the gear ratio to make it easier to climb hills.
Our shake down ride was to Provincetown MA, a mere 60 miles for me, 120 miles for Gerry. I was already in Sandwich MA for a 3 day pastel workshop with Tony Allain. Tony is an amazing pastelist from the UK, known for his brilliant use of color, and the intentional stokes he uses to create his elegant compositions. It was a great workshop, and fun sharing the experience with some of my favorite pastel artists, as well as a wonderful chance to study with Tony. The above painting is one of Tony’s demos.
On Friday night Gerry arrived on his Brompton, and Saturday we rode the remaining 60 miles to P-town. It was our longest ride on the bromptons yet, and we were pleasantly surprised at how great we felt at the end of the ride! The higher handlebars (M style) is perfect for those who like a more up right position.
We rode Sandwich to P-town, then back to Boston on the hi speed ferry, and along the harbor back home. What a great Trip!
I got a call from Alain Boppart from UArt while I was traveling in Oregon. He asked if I was sitting down. So I did. That still didn’t prepare me for the news that my painting “Abundance” had won first place in UArt’s 2015 Online Pastel Competition!
I am so pleased to be in this show with many artists whose work I have admired for years! And I am so SO honored to receive this recognition. Thank you UArt and juror Liz Haywood Sullivan!
I am also excited that in addition to a cash award, the prize includes some fabulous perks, like UArt paper in my favorite grade (400), a new Richeson easel (much needed), Terry Ludwig pastels, the new Richard McKinley book, etc. Can’t wait to get back into the studio and do some more painting!
You can see all the winning paintings here online.
I am pleased and honored to be included in the prestigious For Pastels Only, (FPO) Show on Cape Cod, sponsored by the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod. The show will run from June 20th-July 12th at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, 307 Old Main Street, South Yarmouth, MA. The opening is Saturday, June 20th from 6-8:30pm. If you are on the cape this summer, you should stop by. It’s a wonderful show featuring work from 100 panelists.
I am also excited about the particular painting that was chosen from the 3 I submitted to the show. “After the Rain” is a bit of a departure for me, as it is painted in pastels over an oil underpainting. I was inspired to try this after watching Michele Poirier Mozzone’s demonstration at the closing of FPO last year. Much of the oil underpainting is showing through, and I loved the way the loose strokes worked with the layered pigment. When I saw her demo, I had just returned from France, where I visited Monet’s water garden in Giverney. The resulting painting is on the cover of my site.
Last weekend I had the pleasure to take a workshop with Michele, and I can’t wait to do more painting using this technique.
I am offering a five week plein air workshop this summer through the Milton Art Center. This is a great opportunity to try your hand at something new, or sharpen up your skills if you haven’t painted in a while. Work in pastel, or a media of your choice.
Painting outside is such a pleasure, but it can be intimidating too. So much detail, where do you start? Learn strategies to simplify your subject, create a strong composition with a thumbnail sketch, use color and value, and produce a painting that captures the essence of a scene, without TMI (too much information).
5 week class
Thursday mornings 9:30-11:30am
June 25, introductions and orientation at the MAC, 334 Edge Hill Rd, Milton, MA 02186
July 2, 9, 16, 23, plein air painting in and around Milton
Open to Adults and High School students
Media: Soft pastel, or other media of your choice. All levels are welcome. Some drawing experience is helpful.
Our first meeting will be held Thursday June 25, 9:30-11:30 at the Milton Art Center, to go over supplies and basic techniques, and how to set up to work outside. The following 4 weeks we will meet at various locations around Milton including Houghton’s Pond, the Eustis Estate, and the banks of the Neponset.
I will start most classes with a demo and will spend time with each student offering tips and suggestions.
A supply list will be emailed before the first class, and be discussed at the first meeting. You will also need some form of portable easel. Some pastels and paper will be provided by the art center.
Diane Sawyer is a fine artist working primarily with pastels. She lives in Milton, and has a BFA from the Boston Museum School.
To learn more: www.dianesawyerfineart.com
I am honored to be one of 4 artists invited to exhibit at Kirkwood Printing in Wilmington, MA on May 7, 2015, 3-7pm. This event celebrates the opening of their beautiful new 35,000 square foot wing which includes a state-of-the art digital printing area. Kirkwood is an award-winning commercial printer, known world wide for their fine quality and craftsmanship. It should be an exciting and entertaining evening! For more information, or an invitation, contact email@example.com.
I am looking forward to a solo show at the Wotiz Gallery at the Milton Public Library, 476 Canton Ave, Milton, MA. I welcome the opportunity to return to the Wotiz gallery for the second time in 3 years. It’s a great space, in a wonderful library. The gallery is open May 8-31 2015 during regular library hours, and the Artist Reception will be held on May 14 from 6-8. All are welcome.
Finally, I am so excited and honored to announce that my painting “Abundance” has been juried into the International Society of Pastels 26th Annual Exhibition in Albuquerque New Mexico June 3-7, 2015. Having seen the last two IAPS exhibitions, I am sure it will be an amazing show, with artists from every region of this country and Internationally participating.
“Abundance” is one of a series of paintings based on observations at a small pond near my house. Covered in snow and ice in the winter, the pond comes alive in the spring as tadpoles and water plants begin to stir. By summer the pond is a teaming with life, a riot of greens and delicate white flowers. As the water level sinks, the edges of the leaves curl to cup the water, showing the dusky pink undersides of the leaves. In the fall yellows and oranges tinge the greens and the sun glints off the white grasses at the ponds edge.
Please send me an email if you’d like more information. I hope to see you at one of these events!
Water lilies and reflections are one of my favorite subjects to paint. With three days in Paris this past July at the end of a painting trip in France, my top priority was a day trip to Giverny to visit Monet’s home and gardens, especially his water garden.
As a child I sat mesmerized before Monet’s paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery in DC, and later at the Met and MOMA in New York. But the first time I visited l’Orangerie in Paris, surrounded on all sides by the magnificent murals that Monet created in the last years of his life, I felt that I was actually sitting at the side of the artist by his beautiful lagoon.
This time in Paris I hoped to visit the Louvre, the Orsay, the Musee Marmotan, and perhaps the Rodin Museum! Or at least as many of those places as I could. But I arrived at the Louvre to find the square FULL of people. It was the first Sunday of the month, and the museums were free. The place was mobbed. Same story at the Orsay. So I found myself again at l’Orangerie, and was able to get in with only a half hour wait.
It was wonderful to see these paintings again before my trip to Giverny. Downstairs a show on collector and dealer Paul Guillaume included miniature rooms from his apartment in Paris complete with tiny models of his African art collection! It reminded me of the hours I spent staring into the miniature rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago when as a child, I went to work with my dad! African art inspired and excited Guillaume, and many of the contemporary artists he represented such as Cezanne, Derain, Modigliani. I thought of my dad, who introduced me to the joys of museums, and always supported my exploration of art. He would have been as thrilled as I was to be there.
When I emerged from the museum it was pouring. Soaked, I considered but gave up on my plans to visit any more museums, deciding that I had absorbed enough art and water for one day.
Mary, one of the other artists on the pastel trip, and I planned to rendezvous in Giverny on Monday. That morning I was at Gare St. Lazare, tickets in hand, waiting to see what platform the train would be on, when it suddenly disappeared from the board. Electrical problems in Rouen caused all the trains to be canceled on that line that day. Mary was staying in Rouen and was stranded as well. Disappointed, I took my pastels and went over to the Jardin des Plantes to do a little plein air painting.
The next day we resolved to try again. The forecast was calling for showers and then steady rain, so I left my pastels at the hotel. Mary is an optimist, so she brought hers along. We met at the station in Vernon, and boarded the bus to Giverny. We got to the gardens around 9:45, and it was already packed with tours. Resolved to see the water garden while the weather held, we leapfrogged the groups, and made our way directly there.
Mary and I inched our way around the pond, so happy to be there, taking it all in. The sun actually came out for a while, but mostly the sky was like a giant soft box, perfect for photography. We even cracked out our paints, Mary her pastels, and me a small watercolor kit, and painted for a little while before it started to pour.
Surprisingly, the garden was even more beautiful in the rain! The water lilies opened up along with all the colorful umbrellas. The pattern of rain on the water, the calligraphy of the willow branches in front of the pond!! I felt transported into one of Monet’s paintings, just soaking up the beauty of the place. My shoes were also soaking, unfortunately. But I had my borrowed umbrella from the hotel, and I couldn’t have been happier to be where I was at that moment.
Monet’s house was charming, and a walk though the village gave us glimpses of Giverny as it was in Monet’s time. Mary and I hugged goodbye, both of us so happy to have been able to share the experience with a like-minded traveler.