Halloween Kitty, and inside a haunted French castle

 

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Halloween is sneaking in closely! It’s time to be thinking of scary pumpkin heads, witches on brooms, bats and other ghouls. Here is something fun and cute that I’ve made. Always a big fan of cat art, here’s my Halloween Kitty, framed in a box frame so that the shadows can be enjoyed.

This Halloween Kitty has been hand drawn and hand cut. Would you like to have this design, and cut it out yourself? Yes you can! This art is available as a template, all you need to do is take a print out, get ready with your scalpel and cut away! You too can put it in a shadow box, or just stick it to cardstock and give it to someone special on the day of Halloween! Here she is before I spray painted her black. Do you like it black or white?

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Look at this gorgeous castle below… It’s deserted for many years… Haunted? I think so!

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This is the second time I am entering a deserted premise by the way! And with all those overgrown weeds, I was very careful not to go stepping accidentally over ‘l’ortie’ ( stinging nettle in French)

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Such deserted castles or old monuments can be found plenty around France. My husband and I, while on a stroll, found this beauty somewhere around L’isle Adam, an elite French neighborhood, 30 kms north east of Paris.

Alas! The secrets of this castle are only enjoyed by squatters now..

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A piano that has seen much better days.

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I can imagine this foyer at one time a resplendant place, welcoming, warm, and people walking to and fro the different rooms.

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This staircase walked up and down by an absent minded homemaker, realizing too late that it’s raining and the windows upstairs need to be shut..

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Pitter-patter, pitter-patter go footsteps silently in the dead of night

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I hope you enjoy looking down staircases as much as I do..

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What is this cage like structure? A medieval torture device? Nooo…. Any guesses? It’s for holding wine bottles.

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Whew! Am I glad it’s a sunny day out! Shakes away some of the cobwebs in my head!

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Whoops, a skeleton car just pulls in!! Nah, just joking! This hilarious car advert is something I had seen at the Shiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

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Have you been totally spooked out by the haunted castle? If you want to read something similar, click here, of a trip into a haunted and deserted hotel I walked into, in Darjeeling, India.

Halloween Kitty up close to let you know how spooky things are going to get! 🙂

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If you like my art and want to support it, buy my art prints or templates at Etsy, or forward it to someone you think might enjoy it!

Vibrant Spring, and Tino, watercolour 3

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Though Spring arrives officially in France in a week’s time, it already feels a lot like Spring. The skies have been clear blue with the sun shining brightly now for many days in a row. For most of my life, before I settled in France, I never really paid attention to nature, or the flowers or vegetables that grow in particular seasons. I decided to pay a lot of attention to all the green things growing around me this year. I discovered daffodils are Spring flowers, and they will grow only for a month. I notice them growing everywhere. The first shoots of Spring are definitely the daffodils, daisies and pansies. I can tell because I see them growing by the sidewalks, in the forests, in gardens etc.

When I was in school, I remember I had to study Wordworth’s poem ‘The Daffodils’. He seemed so happy to be in the midst of daffodils and I always wondered how it must feel to see so many yellow and I guess, pretty flowers all around you (In India, I doubt daffodils are Spring flowers, and I was brought up in India). Here’s the first paragraph of the poem to get you jogging your memory if you had to study this poem too :

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

I made my watercolour inspired by the daffodils growing in profusion around my house. When I saw Tino, a white and grey cat, one day playing amongst the flowers it gave me the idea to get the drawing started. I am happy to note that I can see a slight improvement in my watercolour techniques compared to my previous two.

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Here’s Tino below, along with the daffodils and my pink watering can!

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Pretty paper snowflakes!

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Well, to be fair, this photograph was taken exactly a year ago. That was the first time I attempted making paper snowflakes. I have giant windows around my apartment and I couldn’t stand to see them all empty. So with a little bit of imagination and lots of help from online tutorials, I came across a few designs, and I was quite pleased to put them up on my windows. (The cats and the swallows were my ideas).

Here’s a view of another window with a different set of snowflakes from the outside (with my beermug of almost frozen parsley in it) :

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Of course, I attempted making more snowflakes this year, but honestly I am not that pleased with them. I took the designs off a creative magazine, a really wonderful French magazine called Marie Claire Idées, and though the designs are really quite different from the usual ones, they have a certain Russian theme going on them, and in the end I wondered if they really did convey the idea of Christmas. I think they would look better on some other time of the year, and perhaps on different colored papers. I haven’t taken any photos as yet. But one of my neighbours really liked my previous snowflakes so I put up my old ones on the front gate window panes of our building.

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Here in France, it doesn’t feel so much like Christmas as yet, as the weather is quite mild. Last year, it was cold but it snowed only a day. I wonder if it will snow this year too, I hope it does. As much as I like the snow, I feel very sad thinking of the homeless. There is an estimated ‘official’ count of 150,000 homeless in France. A recent documentary on TV that I watched the other day opened my eyes to a lot of the hardships they have to go through especially during winter. Here’s another shot of my favourite cat, Mimi sharpening her claws as she gets ready to face the cold weather. Happy and safe holidays to all you readers!

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My artwork on bathroom tubes

ImageSomehow, my husband and I weren’t too joyful in having plain white functional tubes running up in the bathroom, in full view. My husband proposed the idea of having cabinets over them to hide them, and I was quite OK with the idea.

The cabinets somehow never came and I was itching to take out my paintbrushes and make some kind of art over them. I was a bit nervous when I first started out, because I would be using up a lot of my time for them, and I wanted the end result to look good. Plus it’s been a while I took out my paintbrushes!

The height of the bathroom is 3 meters and the tubes run almost that length. However, my artwork is confined to only one meter, that is, the part of the tubes seen from the first ledge upwards. Here is a series of photographs so you can see and perhaps enjoy the transition, from the boring white tubes to something I can look at every morning and go hmmm… 🙂

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage    By the way, I got inspiration for the house above the orange tree from this particular house in my neighborhood.

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ImageImageImage   I must say I did not start this project knowing exactly that I wanted to draw. If I did, then the enormity of the project would have made me keep putting it off. I completed this painting in about a month. That long because it also included a few days of me going out of the country. I tackled the ideas one at a time. I knew from the start that I wanted the thinner tubes to be surrounded by vines. I had no idea what to do for the bigger tube. Something fancy, yet homely.

I wanted a little child to be drawn, and I wanted it to be a girl. I had to think about her posture, whether she should face me, what dress she should wear etc. The orange tree was done easily. But it was challenging for me to vision what could be above the orange tree. Husband suggested I continue the orange tree all the way up just like the vines. The idea couldn’t hold true with me because of course orange trees aren’t like vines, they are just big bushy compact things. Would I draw fields and then the sky above and then maybe an aeroplane flying? I got my inspiration while walking around my neighborhood and seeing this lovely house with French windows and slated tile roof and that little attic window. The idea of the weather vane came from the church in our neighborhood.

Here’s a pic of my good friend’s daughters who I couldn’t resist including in the post because I felt their charm of being just little girls fit quite well with my painting.

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