The next stop for drawing after the Canson Prix was to Monet's Gardens in Giverny, about 45 minutes outside of Paris. My mom, Chris, and I took the train out to the country early in the morning and spent the whole day wandering around the house and the extravagant grounds that Monet created.
Outside the house, the gardens are so thick with flowers that it's hard to find the paths in between the flowerbeds. From fence to fence, there are irises in every shade of purple and yellow, as big as grapefruits, peonies the size of basketballs, and poppies bigger than dinner plates resting on the ground because their comparatively puny stems can't support them.
It is a wonderland for an impressionist, with every color, mark, and shape imaginable, crammed into a beautiful plot on the French countryside.
With each flower more spectacular than the next, it was hard to focus on one thing for very long. I felt like one of the lucky Giverny honey bees flitting from flower to flower, trying my best not to sting any dazed, ambling tourists that got in my way.
Every once in a while a single flower happened to jump out.
Compared to the rowdy mob of flowers near the house, each shouting for attention, Monet's famous waterlily pond was like a quiet conversation between friends about how pretty they all are.
The tranquil pond, ringed with weeping willows and irises, and dotted with lilies and baby ducklings, is like a fairytale (stuffed with as many tourists as can possibly fit). It is easy to see how Monet could have spent the last years of his life needing nothing but to contemplate the little oasis he created for himself.