When It Snows In Paris

Day 22 - Paris Jardin du Luxembourg Gardens Watercolor - Doodlewash

Though there were plans to visit Disneyland Paris this week, the weather here is a bit too cold and today it actually snowed. So my “amusement park” for our prompt today is this super quick little doodlewash of Jardin du Luxembourg, which Philippe and I took a stroll through while heading back to our apartment. It was fun to see the snow falling over Paris and was actually a lovely break from the cold rain. We had lunch with my sister-in-law at a British brew pub and watched the snow from inside. For a moment, it felt more like we were on Michigan Ave. in Chicago rather than in France. Though we took the metro to get there, we decided to walk part of the way back and go through the park. There were kids having a snowball fight and others making a snowman. The French word for snowman is “bonhomme de neige” which sounds far fancier and is certainly a much longer word to say. The latter activity was a bit more challenging as there was only about 3cm of snow, so it was a very short little snowman indeed. Couples were taking selfies in front of the snowy landscape and though it was certainly still very cold, everyone seemed so happy.

It’s rare to get snow in Paris, yet there’s more in the forecast for tomorrow. Philippe said that his grandmother mentioned getting snow more often, yet when he was growing up it was extremely rare. It’s happening more often again now, it seems, with the climate changing. I was expecting lots of rain and temperatures that were a touch warmer than back home, but instead the weather here feels much the same. It was fun to see the excitement from the children in the park. I’ve always loved seeing snow as a kid, but I always sort of expected it would happen. I was just waiting for the many days throughout the season when it would arrive. It never occurred to me that it might not appear at all that year. So, I can only imagine the delight at seeing something occur that only happens once, if at all, during the year. It’s so much more rare and mysterious that way, making the experience several times more amazing. Those are the types of things I love, and this entire trip has been like that for me. To have a bit snow on top of it was a beautiful gift indeed.

And in the spirit of rarity, I attempted a little scene with actual people, that’s not really in my usual style. I decided to adopt the joyful spirit of those kids I saw today and just play a bit. Tonight we met another friend for dinner and drinks and had a lovely evening. It’s after midnight again and I’m making this little post, just capturing bits of things that sparked my imagination during the day. These little ephemeral moments are my favorite as they remind me of everything I was feeling about the day when I revisit them later. I’m understanding more and more French as the days go by, but I’m still at a loss to make proper conversation. In some ways, getting to be a silent observer much of the time is a bit of a luxury. I get to soak up my surroundings and just be in the moment. In other ways, I’m constantly reminding myself that I really need to start making a more serious effort to learn the language so I’m not a complete child when I visit here. But in some ways, I’ll always be a child, because there’s always a part of me that I simply can’t let that bit go. That small inner voice that screams with delight and understands just how incredibly wonderful the day can be, especially when it snows in Paris.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!).. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 22 - Paris Jardin du Luxembourg Gardens Watercolor - Sketchbook - Doodlewash
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
28 Comments
  1. Mary Roff 4 weeks ago

    Wonderful painting, Charlie! You’ve definitely captured the moment in snowy Paris!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed this! Scenes and people aren’t my thing so it was a bit of an experiment! hehe

  2. Monique 4 weeks ago

    I encourage you to paint more people👏🏻

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Monique!! 😃💕 I really appreciate the encouragement!! (I need it! hehe😊)

  3. Sandra Strait 4 weeks ago

    Oh, I love your people and their beautiful poses. You’ve captured the liveliness of the scene. Have you ever tried the Michel Thomas method of learning a language. He starts by finding those things that romance languages have in common, and instead of teaching you phrases, he shows you what you already know and gives you verb structures that you can use for almost anything.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 Glad you liked this! And yes, I actually did try Michel Thomas, and it worked well for Italian, but in the French one it’s a student who’s not a native speaker. And pronunciation is my core problem. So I found another from Paul Noble with the same method (just found… hehe… so I’ll be trying it next)… this one has a native French speaker and focuses more on sounds.

  4. Margaret Parker Brown 4 weeks ago

    Never let go of that bit of a child, we all benefit from having retained a childlike joy, along with that is magic and resilience, don’t you think? I loved reading about your snow experience I Paris.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Margaret! 😃💕 I totally agree! the magic and resilience are the best bits of having that mindset!

  5. Sharon Nolfi 4 weeks ago

    Paris dusted in snow would be beautiful! Your sketch is great, people and all.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 So happy you enjoy this! It was a beautiful day!

  6. Leena Uniyal 4 weeks ago

    Wow! Awesome! You’ve captured the feel of the place. I recognised it as the Jardin du Luxembourg, even before reading your post. Had been lucky to visit this place in May 2018, when it was lush green and captivating. Captivating, it still is..

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Yay! Thanks, Leena! 😃💕I’m so thrilled you recognized Jardin du Luxembourg! And yeah, it’s prettier in May indeed!

  7. smzang 4 weeks ago

    Love it…but it does make me want to put on my hat and gloves and a very heavy coat!

    The painting makes me think of Rod Stewart’s title Every Picture Tells a Story.
    You are blessed to be fluent in both writing and painting and I’ve heard your pod casts,
    so I’m thinking you will ace the French language too.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 hehe… glad this made you feel the chill… it’s soooo cold here! lol And a huge thanks for your confidence in me… it’s been so tough to learn French for me, but this trip I’m feeling like I’m starting to understand things a bit more so here’s hoping! 😉

  8. Lisa 4 weeks ago

    Here in southern Wisconsin we are getting dumped on by a big snow storm that has schools being closed and travel warnings running across the TV. I like a good snow storm, but I had an appointment tomorrow that I’m not happy missing. Oh well, this too shall melt. It’s going to get very cold too, and that I can live without. As an almost bonafide old lady, I find the cold creeps up my fingers and toes a lot faster than it used to. Apologies for all the times I teased grandma Mabel about the scarf she always carried, summer and winter in case she got a chill!😂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Yeah, I love a snowstorm only when I can stay indoors and enjoy it! 😉 hehe… having to venture out into it is not really much fun anymore. And I’ve yet to feel the chill like that, but Philippe, who is younger, already gets colder. But, that’s probably because Paris only had mild winters when he was growing up here.

  9. Snehlata Maheshwari. 4 weeks ago

    Amazing painting lie. I can say u both r standing there super 🌸🌼🌻🏵️💞

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕 It was fun to walk through a snowy park in Paris… but I can’t wait to come back someday in the spring! hehe

  10. LoriCtoo 4 weeks ago

    Your day sounds so romantic. I love this sketch, it captured a moment. That’s what I love to do. Disneyland Paris!!! That is a dream for me, along with all the other country DL. Funny, I started sketching the Dumbo ride at Disneyland in CA before I even read this. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 It was a perfectly romantic day! And so happy you enjoyed the sketch. I too love Disneylands… it’s actually impossible to not be a kid again when you visit one!

  11. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 weeks ago

    You painted this scene well, Charlie, and I imagine the two men at the right are Phillipe and you. Love the jade green of the pool, the stark sculpture of the trees, the distant village on the hill. It’s always lovely to read how you are always enchanted by whatever you encounter.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this one… it’s such a departure from the way I normally sketch. Trying new things! 😉 I hope I always stay this enchanted by life… I can’t imagine living it any other way!

  12. Sharon Haschalk 4 weeks ago

    When I read your post Charlie about the snow, I was thinking a few sprinkles, but from your sketch it looks like there’s a lot of snow! You really captured the scene, and I love the people how they’re all bundled up, each one enjoying the moment. It’s amazing what you do with only 3 colors Charlie – wonderful! And I agree with Monique, you should do more people!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, it was a full covering of white snow! When it started falling, we thought it might melt right away, but it didn’t! The parks are the best place to view it… it’s still a bit too warm on the streets to collect like this. And glad you liked my people attempts! I tried another for today’s post! 😉

      • Eve McHugh "Sqwiffy" 4 weeks ago

        Oh Charlie, you tell such vivid tales, and your painting is delightful. I’m not so good at people but maybe I shouldn’t always focus on the detail as your simple style works so well.

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

          Thanks, Eve! 😃💕 Appreciate that! And since I rarely paint people, I’m no expert on painting them, but I will say that just getting the general impression is very freeing and fun!

  13. June Hadaway 4 weeks ago

    Beautiful snow scene. Adding the figures makes it come alive! You will have a lot of great memories this trip to Paris through your paintings.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕Yeah, I’m glad I’ve attempted some scenes while I’m here and added people. It’s been fun to experiment a bit!

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