Sketching at the Musée de Cluny

The Musée de Cluny houses a collection of medieval arts and crafts. The Hôtel de Cluny it self is an interesting building as it is an example of French domestic medieval architecture. You enter the museum through a cobblestone courtyard which immediately triggered my imagination.

Cluny Museum drawingIt has a particularly interesting collection of sculptures some of which relate to Notre-Dame. One series holds interesting history as originally they had decorated the cathedral but were vandalised by revolutionaries in 1793. After being cast aside they were purchased by a builder and he re-cycled them using them to shore up the foundations of a private mansion he was building. They were rediscovered in 1977 enabling historians to understand a lot more about sculpture of the period.

These had such an interesting history I decided to draw one of them. The piece I chose is a sort of triangular formation which proved quite a challenge! Click on the image above and you can see a larger version. This also fills EDM drawing challenge 38 “Draw at a Museum”

This is what the page spread looked like when I wrote in it later that evening.

Cluny Museum page spread I included our 2 entry tickets which illustrate items in the museum and map given to visitors.

Cluny Museum page spread

Cluny Museum page spread The Musée de Cluny owns a famous series of tapestries called The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. They are highly acclaimed and many people visit just to see these. They are however undergoing cleaning and restoration before travelling to Japan to be exhibited there. I was aware of this as the information is on their website, so was not disappointed.

There is a lot to see for a ‘small’ museum such as 12th- and 13th-century crosses, some fantastic illuminated manuscripts, and loads of carvings.

A highlight for me was the fan-vaulted medieval chapel and downstairs are the ruins of Roman baths. It was a great afternoon and since it is a ‘small’ museum there were no lines and no crowds.

Here a snap taken by Jerry of me drawing.


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A little park in Paris

I have been sick with a local gastric bug that seems to have taken up residence in my lower intestine and likes living there very much! It’s slowed me down a little, but the other day we decided to pay a visit to Musee Carnavalet.

When ever we go to one of these smaller museums we use the trip there as a n excuse to explore the district a little more. While walking in the general direction of the Musee Carnavalet we found a small park. I spent a pleasant hour seated at one of the park benches in order to  draw a little of it.

Drawing from a park benchWith this page spread I wanted to play with framing techniques in my travel journal so I cut up a local tourist map collected from the tourist information centre. I would have liked a stronger contrast but that is what I had to hand. You can click on the image to see a larger view.

Drawing from a park benchThis is the full page spread in context. As you can see sketching is only one part of my travel journalling as I write a fair bit about the day in the evening. I write as I travel as otherwise little details get lost. The word Paris is cut from the front of the same map and the black tape is washi tape I bought with me. I have been using it throughout the trip and I will probably finish it. The Fleur de Lis is made from a craft punch I have at home. Before leaving a cut a pile to use while away.

Anyway this is one of two page spreads about the day. We had a lovely day at the Musee Carnavalet and it has a lovely garden itself . Jerry will share his impressions later.

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A visit to Notre Dame

Every morning we can hear the bells of Notre Dame ring out. Still jet lagged we took a stroll through the district and investigate this historic building. As we approached Notre Dame noticing the line for the tower tour was short Jerry decided he would do the climb as he has always wanted to photograph the gargoyles. I decided to explore the interior of the building. So sketchbook in hand I headed off to see what was to be seen inside while Jerry camera in hand climbed the building to see what was to be seen on the outside.

If you sketch, it is easy to be overwhelmed as the cathedral is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture for a reason! I walked around then decided to tackle just a small section. I had about an hour and wanted to keep the goal to do some drawing here realistic.

travel journal sketch Notre DameThere was a service in progress and I sat in front of a pillar and quietly sketched. I really enjoyed this as I got to sit and quietly observe not only the cathedral but how the place was used by both worshipers and tourists. To be honest it is the sort of place I could return to every day for month and barely sketched any of the building at all.

Anyway I hope you enjoy the sketch.

Arrived in Paris to live with a haughty Giraffe

We have arrived in Paris to a lovely compact apartment and haughty giraffe. By chance my first drawing in this city fits the EDM drawing challenge # 288 as the prompt reads “Draw something with spots”.

I think it’s a female giraffe because she has big eyes and a suitable haughty expression. Our apartment in Paris is lovely and is decorated in black white and lime green and has this strange giraffe that is I am sure a very fashionable interior decorator item.

Everyday Drawing Matters Drawing Challenge 288Why am I drawing a spotty giraffe? Well I am dealing with body time clock that is telling me 3 in the morning is 3 in the afternoon. At 3 in the afternoon I am giddy with tiredness. Since I cant exactly bound out and see the sites in the middle of the night I decided to draw my friend here. So this was sketched as I was wide awake while the city slept.

spotted giraffeAs I worked my new inktense pencils over the page, outside I could hear people in twos and threes make their way home from clubs and bars. One stumbled over a couple of empty wine bottles, sending them clattering down the uneven pavement into street, making such a racket on the uneven surface that it drowned out the curses made by the late night pedestrian who had caused the noise.

Anyway here is my EDM challenge drawing 288 “Draw something with spots”

The Every Day Matters drawing challenge has  a yahoo group, a flickr group and Facebook page.