Before the Creative Process
updated May 2020
There were times, he saw, when not knowing was the biggest truth and you had to stay with that.
~ Rachel Joyce
It rained at Giverny.
My plans to paint interrupted by claps of thunder and big fat raindrops that soon became tiny streams.
I had packed both my watercolors and my oils, knowing that the kid side of me would feel trapped if I arrived at Monet’s gardens and wanted to paint with one only to realize I had brought the other. My market basket, slung on my shoulder, was filled to the brim with easels, paper towels, brushes…even a petite folding stool so that I could do watercolors any ole spot I pleased.
The gardens are open in the evenings to artists and photographers by permission. Can’t go in with your gear until 6, after the regular visitors are gone. It’s quite a delight to see the gardens empty. No movement except for the plants themselves and the occasional bird.
8 days into my stay here in Paris and I have kept reminding myself to truly be present and to be.
Today was no different.
The rain started in earnest as soon as I saw the famous wisteria covered bridge. And the wisteria was actually in bloom, no less! We grabbed a few pics and then huddled under the nearby trees which provided decent cover initially. The rain did not let up though and eventually we retreated, pretty much wet all over, to the tunnel that connects the main garden to the lily pond.
Standing dripping wet in Claude’s garden in a rain storm, no chance of painting, feet wet, I could only feel the joy from the entire experience.
I had decided to sidestep all the other details. That we had scheduled this, rented a car, packed a picnic, gathered all my painting stuff and cameras and gear to ‘capture’ this moment.
Knowing that moments are what we choose to make of them. I’ve pretty much concluded that this is always true. We alone get to decide how we are going to view it, label it, and categorize it.
I honestly wouldn’t change one moment of our time there. The colors of the garden were so saturated (literally and figuratively!) after the rain.
The good that was waiting there for me was in being there.
Not in doing something while there.
Hope you can feel how big my heart smiled over these moments.
As you well know, we are all on the adventure of our lives, you and me.
Literally. Not knowing is part of it.
We must let go.
We struggle against so many things that are out of our command.
We make plans and spend precious moments of time wishing that things were other than they are.
What a colossal waste.
So far this time in Paris has been laced with lots of letting go. In the letting go there is space to Be. I feel something good coming together for you and me. Not knowing exactly what that is and not trying to control it is perhaps the biggest truth–and we are going to go with that
Don’t postpone joy until you have learned all of your lessons. Joy is your lesson.
Note: I’ve devoured a few books on Monet in my lifetime. Many things I have long forgotten. One story that did stick with me though was this. It was said that Monet, when he sold a painting, would ‘live large’. He would invite his friends and family over. There would be a wonderful dinner spread and the wine would be flowing. Much laughter and conversations would take place ’til the wee hours of the morning. Now keep in mind, he might be broke or short of funds by the following week–painting money can only go so far–but it’s like he got what life was really about. He wasn’t ‘practical’. He was living in the moment, for the moment at those times. We probably all need to celebrate a little bit more and be a little less practical. Need I state the obvious? A practical man would have never built those gardens. And just look at what we would have missed!
My most impractical thing I’ve done since being here in Paris? Bought a picnic basket outfitted for 4. Plates, glasses, wine opener and red checked tablecloth with napkins. I have to now hand carry it back home. Practical? No. Did it make me feel joy in ways that I can’t explain? Yes 🙂
60% off Courses?!?
Yes, you read that correctly! Since this summer is looking unlike any we’ve seen before and I think most of us could use a little summer escape, I’m offering an unprecedented sale on my painting adventure courses!
You can virtually head to Provence, Italy or Paris for the entire summer (that’s 4 full months) for the heavily discounted price of $197.
Who is this for?
- Painters who could use a little adventure
- All experience levels
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If you’re ready to learn some new painting skills and do a little armchair travel, click here!