Back to the garden.

Monet’s Garden at Giverny, that is.

Then we lay in the masking fluid:

This is the Grande Allee, of course, at Monet’s garden at Giverny (in September, when the walkway is full of nasturtiums):

Lately I haven’t been painting in sky so this means it’s done:

Full page illustration, 8″ x 7″.


Yes, I’ve been working on my flower-painting this week. All you have to do, in order to get better at something at which you stink (see last week’s post), is to just keep at it. I painted for HOURS to get the hang of this. I’m just saying what Thomas Edison said: Sweat It Out, Dude, If You Want To Invent The LIghtbulb.

I’m just saying, too, that there is no need to traipse all the way to Giverny to see a spectacular garden when chances are there is a treasure closer to home. And where I live on the north shore of Long Island, there is a wonderland that we call the William Cullen Bryant estate. Top Cat took us there this past Sunday, about an hour before sunset, to see the last of the magnificent Fall foliage:

I ask you, does this even look real? (Note half-moon bridge made of stone in background.)

As George Harrison, my favorite Beatle, said in the live-in-studio recording of For You Blue on the last ever Beatles album, Let It Be of 1969: “Elbow James is got nothing on this [something].”  I really should Google that line.  It’s been 43 years since I first heard For You Blue and all this time I’ve never had a clue what George was saying, except that it comes back to me at times like this:

Giverny’s got nothing on this corner of Long Island. Yes, that is a perfect little knot garden on a cliff high above the beautiful Long Island Sound, the view from Mr. Bryant’s back porch.

And this is his sunken garden, next to the parterre, which is a lawn for some kind of bowling game, or croquet, I believe.  Oh, yes, Top Cat and I love this garden at the Bryant Estate, in Summer, Winter, and Fall. (I don’t care for Spring so I’ve never been here during those tacky months.) I count this garden as just one of the many benefits of being Mrs. Top Cat, because without him I would never have known that such a darling acre of Earth existed.

But I ask you, why schlepp a whole two miles from your house when you can probably find beauty in your own backyard?

This is Dudley of the Backyard Cats, catching the rays at 6:14 am this morning.  In my backyard, the rule is: Wherever There Is a Sunbeam, There Is Probably a Cat Making The Most of It:

Candy, in camouflage.

Joined by her son, Taffy.

Oscar, in igloo #2.

Bibs, tosey in igloo #1.

Phil, our resident baby possum, enjoying the cat food buffet. We LOVES our Phil. But he shuns the sunshine, so I took this photo at twilight.

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and avoided the dangerous topics of conversation that can torpedo a family get-together in these yappy, noisy, bloviating times. But as it’s a holiday of Thanksgiving I want to give thanks to you all who read this blog,week by week, giving me your wonderful feedback (see last post re: work-in-progress — I LIKE the “empty space”  advise you gave me — thank you!)

I am so very grateful for your company!


14 Comments, RSS

  1. Joan

    Yes, we must make the most of our sunbeams. That’s going to be my motto for the coming New Year. Gadzooks! Can you believe 2013 is nearly here? I can remember thinking about the turn of the century back in the 50’s…how strange it would be to say/write 2000, that it just didn’t seem to “fit.” Now we’re 13 years into it.

    I’m Thankful for every day I get to live on this little blue marble called Earth.

  2. Rachel

    Thank you so much for the visit to the Bryant house and garden. It is such fun to discover the places you take us. And a delight to think of you and Carol G sharing Thanksgiving. <3

  3. Jeannie

    I love when you take us to the Bryant garden. If I had money, the back strength, and space, that would be what I would want to create. We view our felines as breathing sundials. We can tell the time of day by where they are perched. Your painting of the Grande Allee is beautiful. I started a quilted wall hanging many moons ago, based a photo of it. I need to dig that out!!! Wishing you and Top Cat a beautiful weekend.

  4. jacqui

    No shade no shine no butterflies no bees
    No Sun no Moon! No morn No noon.
    No dawn no dusk No proper time of day.
    No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease
    No comfortable feel in any member.
    No shade no shine no butterflies, no bees
    No fruits, no flowers no leaves no birds….

    Grey foggy soggy black friday greetings from the pacific northwest

  5. We all need a “quiet little book-maker” like you in our lives. It’s delight to visit with you every week. May you enjoy your book making and your other adventures – both nearby and far from home. Thank you for sharing your life and art with us. Best, Gitana

  6. Nadine

    You are getting better at painting flowers. And I’ll bet there was always a sunbeaming cat someplace in Giverny. Nothing makes me smile more than a cat in a sunbeam. Thanks for the shots of the Backyard Cats.

  7. Mary

    Hey, Cheryl, I don’t know who you are, but you did good !
    Vivian is the best thing that happens every Friday for us struggling artists and writers.
    She is remarkable at BOTH ( a rarity)
    Good for you. Share the wealth.

  8. Sandy R

    Beautiful gardens Vivian those photographed and yours painted. Beautiful – I see another gorgeous book coming my way (eventually) and Happy Thanksgiving to you too!
    and George was my absolute favorite too <3

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