Before the Creative Process
Rainy Days and Giverny
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 🙂
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Thank you for today’s message. It’s been a lovely morning so I even surprised my self as tears fell as I read this. I was walking the beautiful day of memory with you and times of picnics in the rain and laughed as very few artists can take a sojourn without bringing their “art room” with them. Thank you for the pause of memories and gratefulness. Many blessings. Laurie.
Thank you for the reminder. To just enjoy this time. I’m feeling pretty dang sorry for myself the last two days, not being able to see my parents and my step-grandbaby. And wondering when I will be able to. But who knows how things work the way they do. This is quiet time. Painting time! Garden time. Mama-son time. -hope you are well. Genny Entezari
Love your story, thanks for sharing.
Thank you for this!! It was exactly what I needed to read this morning!
I am speechless at the beauty in these rainy photographs of Giverney you have shared. Thank you for the trip to Provence in your painting lessons, and now to Paris and Giverney to let that beauty also unfold. Because of feeling the arrival so fully through your tour, I have been able to plan and realize my own trip there later this year with a dear friend.
Thank you for sharing your trip and inspiration with us. I really enjoy this post!
These expressions of appreciation, already posted, mirror exactly how I feel. Painting IS such a wonderful escape. When I paint I listen to French Cafe on Pandora. Some day I hope to experience what you were able to. Merci Dreama!🌸🎨☺️
It takes the rain to make the blooms! What a memorable experience. I have no plans for the day except to visit with you in Timeless Tuscany which is a treat. “Nothing to do. Nothing to do. What a happy thought.” Winnie the Pooh.
I had a similar experience a dozen years ago one cold early October day. Our groups of artists hoped like you to setup and paint on an artists only day. I had bronchitis, it was cold and rainy, not a time for painting or ohotos but we filled our senses and periodically stood in the warm air of the hand-dryers in the restroom. I probably remember it better because of the disappointments than i would have under perfect circumstances. By the way there aren’t many blooms in Monets garden in October.
Thank you for the inspirational words. They are so valuable and filled with truth. You have brightened my day with this reminder to be joyful and spontaneous.
Dreama, Thank you so much for sharing your artistic and personal journey to France with us. How wonderful and unexpected it was to see these beautiful pictures of Monet’s garden today. I can see why he loved it and painted it so often. I also love what you have to say about letting go and living in the moment–words to live by, but hard for some of us (although the closest I get to it sometimes is when I allow myself to paint). I hope you continue to have a wonderful time there and continue to share your adventure with us. It’s the next best thing to being there.
Even Monet had rainy days . Enjoyed the story and beautiful sites. I almost can smell the sweet scents left by the rain!!!☺️
I enjoyed reading your thoughts and seeing your photos of Monet’s gardens. His paintings are so inspiring. The first time I saw one of the waterlily paintings, I sat alone in a large gallery for almost an hour, in awe.
Today we are going to the aquarium to see mermaids!
Dreama-I was In Giverny today too! We had early access so it was foggy! I believe I was able to manifest being in France because of the meditation in the Provence painting course! ❤️
Hi Dreama, I love your view on life,and I love Monet’s garden too. We are at our holiday home in the Limousin – four hours south of Paris and are also just living in the moment. Having been to the market and bought salad vegetables and wonderful French cheese. The rest of today? sitting in the sun with a book, cutting some of our overblown roses and picking bowls of cherries. Thunderstorms coming later, but that’s ok too
Dreama, I enjoy so much traveling with you via internet. I long to see Monet’s gardens. I have been on 2 trips with friends and we saw every painting in Paris that he painted at the Lourdes, d’Orsay, the Orangerie and Marmottan. Ahhh, someday I will get there. Until then I will live through you. 😊
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