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Visiting the gardens

It’s interesting coming from an urban area where no one knows or trusts each other to a rural area where I can end up with a key to the botanical gardens in Marnay, which are currently closed. With the help of the director at CAMAC, I went by the house of a very nice French woman and she gave me the key ring to let myself into the gardens to take photos and draw. It was a cool morning and we all went, making it a little field trip among the residents here. The gardens are quite large for a town of only 250 residents, so I assume people from neighboring towns visit as well. Despite it being November, there were quite a few plants blooming and looking well, plus a few who had lost their leaves or were about to. There was a persimmon tree, cacti, apple trees roses, and many other plants and herbs that I don’t know the names of. I also saw a woodpecker up in a tree and could hear the hollow pecking throughout the garden. I stayed for over an hour, freezing my hands as I sketched the many plants around me. I hope to abstract them and continue the series of line drawings I started from the sketches I took in my walks by the Seine.

Yesterday I finished adding ink to those large pencil figure drawings, so after dinner (which was a seafood extravaganza, a treat of raw oysters, shrimp, mussels, welk, and a lot of butter and lemon) I invited all the other residents (there’s six of us right now, but will be eight soon with a new arrival and a returned vacationer) up to my studio to look at my work. I got a lot of good comments and feedback and it felt good to show them what I was working on. Afterwards I relaxed a bit, sort of like after turning in an assignment at school, while I regrouped and decided where to go from there. Today I started more pencil figure drawings to make a few more animal ink drawings with them since I have five sheets of that paper left. I’m attaching a few images from the botanical gardens, as well as the series of animal drawings I have so far. I’m reposting the ones I put up yesterday at higher resolution because I was told they’re looking pretty pixelated and unclear. Hope you enjoy them all!

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