Magic and beauty, red peonies, cappuccino and Leonardo’s Notebook. Part 3.


Still life and urban sketching. Art and travel

An advice I received from the Leonardo Da Vinci’s Notebook is next: an artist always needs to find something new to paint or draw. So I am always trying to learn something new, outside of convenient “box”. This summer I realized that watercooler graphic technique is not about coloring sheets:) It was a little discovery for myself. So I decided to explore more..

My still life subjects are bright reddish peonies, I put them on the my treasured book Leonardo da Vinci, added my glasses and a cup of cappuccino and ….voilà:) my new watercolor and ink painting in my favourite impressionist style

Just imagine …warm evening, you walk somewhere near the Mediterranean sea’s streets and see flowers, red and pink peonies are in a straw basket on a wood door or window, watercolor and ink painting, impressionism. It’s my dream about our future travelling to the south of France or Italy or maybe …Greece. Who knows?:)

Thank you to my daughter for this great gift book Leonardo’s Notebook, it is providing so many tips to all artists from the Master who lived 5 centuries ago!

Bon voyage! Until the next travel:) Stay healthy.

All paintings belong to the author. No image is to be copied without permission.

You can visit my personal website pages here and find out more about the artwork I am offering in oil and watercolor paintings; purchase canvas prints, framed prints, and more artwork.

My favorite art store in Toronto Deserres, Spadina Ave

Tools used for my painting Watercolour used Charvin and Van Gogh brands, Pastel GrayPas Expressionist, Derwent watercolour pencils and Faber Castell artist pens. Paper Strathmore Watercolour and Mixed Media albums, 15×20 cm (6×8 in.)

3 days in Paris or a slice of museums in Paris the home for wonderful museums. Part 3.


Travel and art. Urban sketching

My family loves Paris, it was our tenth vacation in Paris for last decade, and my suggested itinerary is for advanced travelers and art lovers. In my post I will share information about 5 museums: Maillol, Orangerie, Modern Art and Palais de Tokyo and D’Orsay museums. All five museums are in the centre of Paris, from one to another will take approximately half of hour of walking or using public transportation.

Later, I will go back to previous trips with other museums in Paris, there are plenty of options with everybody’s interests.

The first museum in the itinerary is the Maillol museum, with permanent and temporary expositions.

Small house-museum of sculptor Maillol; he met the famous sculptor Rodin when he was already 40 years old. Rodin recognized the talent of the man and provided some support to Maillol. Address of the museum is 61, rue de Grenelle, it is just a couple of blocks from d’Orsay museum.

Three beauties that actually represent the same woman, the model was the artist’s muse Dina Vierny. She was depicted in different poses, running, standing, sitting and relaxing. Especially interesting is a small hall on the second floor. You should stand in the middle of the room and you get into a round dance of feminine sculptures made from black granite.

Museum’s one of relaxing sitting statue… Grace itself lives here!

In the museums you might see people copying paintings. It is artists who learn to work in the manner of great masters. This is my view of this piece of art.

A small cafe of Museum Maillol with some green cozy armchairs; I did the sketch while we had lunch. This time we started our visit to museum from attending the museum’s cafe. There are couple funny sayings such as “Theatre starting from a hanger” and “hungry belly is deaf for learning”:) I do recommend this cafe’s local food meals, salads and quiches, quietly enjoying not just the process of eating but also looking at the celebrities’ photos on its walls. The site of cafe will be provided at the end of this post.–urban-sketching-museum-maillol-visitors-tamara-vitsenkova.html

Visitors in museum, mostly Parisians, not tourists, at least I think so…This hot July’s evening, on Friday, after long work week, these people went to the small museum, standing in quite long line to enjoy ART!

Some tips for artist. Try to do quick sketches on location, people and exponents are showing how close interests are matching and represent the museum itself, plenty of ideas… museum sketching is like taking a photo, only instead of a phone or camera might be a notebook and pencils or markers, and your own interpretation.

The museum’s temporary collection of Emil Buhre in 2019 represented non-typical paintings by famous artists such as Cezanne and Van Gogh. Some temporary exhibitions might surprise even sophisticated art lovers.

Next is Musée de l’Orangerie. The museum is famous with two Claude Monet Water Lilies galleries.

On the ground floor there is a permanent collection of Impressionist artists. One of my favourite artists is Marie Laurencin who painted Coco Chanel in a relaxed pose in blue and black with one shoulder bare, the flowing lines, delicately changing colours and Chanel’s dreamy expression are distinctive of Laurencin’s style. The legend says that Coco Chanel, already rich and famous, turned the painting down, saying it did not look like her. The museum bought the painting. I bought a silk scarf with this panting, but the version without the famous figure on it:)

I made a few sketches of visitors. One interesting couple of an elegant lady explained about the piece of art to her granddaughter about famous painting, and a tourist from Japan who is standing very close to painting and trying to understand how Monet was using the indefinite strokes of a brush, on the painting it makes such an organic picture from some distance.

Next museums are Museum Modern Art and Museum Palais de Tokyo.

Well, it is a special museum for people who like modern art. One of this museum’s painting I really liked was a picture of some human hands. They were painted from darkness and reflecting its true mood, temper and feeling. At this moment of this person’s character. I love Stefan Zweig novella “24 Hours of a Woman’s Life” that tells about one memorable day in the woman’s life. On this day she was watching only hands of the players in the casino. People might make a blank face, “mask” behind, however their hands will show people real emotions … if you are watching the hands, you might find some discoveries.

The Museum of Art’s only temporary exhibitions and their visitors are extravagant, similar to the paintings in this museum.

Museum Modern Art and Museum Palais de Tokyo are next to each other. They both have a stunning view to the Eiffel towel. Also, I might recommend having some rest in the museum’s very comfortable chairs, it’s one of the benefits of the museum after long day:)

And the last museum in this post is my favourite museum, D’Orsay. Every vacation we are visiting this museum. This year it was the exhibition of Berthe Morrisot.

Building of Museum D’Orsay is ex-train station, it looks like a boat from another side of the Seine river.

Temporary exhibition in summer 2019 had paintings of Berthe Morisot, one of seven main first impressionists. It was a vast selection of paintings; some were from art museums, some were from private collections. Berthe Morisot was born in rich family and produced art works the way she felt and enjoyed the process itself. One of Mme Morisot’s discoveries was painting of ladies’ private from high society, showing for example a morning of a lady with very delicate colours of paint. Some art works show ladies and children with a view from balconies; a space is neither at home nor outside.

Famous clock in the museum’s building, elegant and beautiful, it gives grace and style and matching with impressionism art in D’Orsay museum.

The sketch was done in D’Orsay museum’s restaurant. This museum has three options if you are hungry. The restaurant on the 2nd floor is the most elegant one. When you are sitting in museum’s restaurant and around you classic paintings and statues…you are enjoying life NOW:)

After long days, it is so nice to return to the original Parisian hotel de Varenne. Sometimes you might open for yourself an interesting art in relaxing atmosphere of a local garden, just in between two buildings in the centre of Paris.

Hotel garden’s sculptures of some little Cupidons:)

Sometimes we cannot explain what exactly is happening to us, but the soul seems to sing, and in the stomach “butterflies fly”. This feeling is usually called falling in love, or they say: Cupid’s arrows hit me, maybe this magic place might help you:)

Sketch of hunting dogs’ emblem on walls and cozy street lamps are in the hotel’s garden.

Lion statue in Paris. It seems like the Lion is floating above the city of Paris, sees everything and enjoys city’s sunrises and sunsets along with its residents and visitors.

And at the end of the post about my favourite city, Paris, I would like to confirm that life is what you make it!

Bon voyage! Until the next travel:)

All paintings belong to the author. No image is to be copied without permission.

You might visit my personal website pages and find out more about the artwork I am offering in oil and watercolor paintings; purchase canvas prints, framed prints, and more artwork.

My favourite art store in Paris Un Jour Un Artisan. address 31, La Motte Picquet Grenelle, Paris

Tools used for my painting Watercolour used Charvin and Van Gogh brands, Pastel GrayPas Expressionist, Derwent watercolour pencils and Faber Castell artist pens. Paper Strathmore Watercolour and Mixed Media albums, 15×20 cm (6×8 in.)

Museum Maillol address 61 rue de Maillol’s cafe

Museum d’Orangerie. address 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris

Modern Museum. address 11 Avenue du Président Wilson, Paris

Museum de Tokyo. address 13 Avenue du Président Wilson, Paris

Museum d’Orsay. address 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris

Hôtel de Varenne. address 44, rue de Bourgogne, Paris

Urban sketching. Antibes, France. Itinerary for seeing one of the gem in Provence. Travel and art. Part 1.


Going to Antibes in France… Why Antibes?

What is the beauty and goodness of Provence?

I will tell about the beauty of Provence based on our experience and long relationship of 10 years that we hope will continue for many years…
We felt in love the Mediterranean coast of France and their towns at once and always come back here again and again.

Toronto- Paris- Antibes itinerary, 2019. Our voyage’s feeling always started from an airport door.

People are free from problems, little life concerns, they are in between countries, continents, air is full of vibrant mixture of cultures, customs, nationalities. (my favourite scene with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan in movie “French kiss” the take off scene Everything is behind you…)

Freedom of speaking with temporary neighbours is everywhere on a road, at any airport especially during international flights is driving my happiness as the travelling artist.

This flight was with Air France. Especially I enjoy their safety movie with five young beauties that reminds me French movie Eight Women with Catherine Deneve, Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Bėart….classic chic madams and mademoiselles and their flared dresses and coloured shoes, beautiful and stylish, back in time.

The safety video shows in funny way usually regular boring but must-be learning process. Why not be entertaining and have safety training explanation at once? 🙂

You might enjoy watching this video “Consignes de sécurité Air France – Bienvenue à bord” on YouTube:

a view from airplane above Mediterranean Sea and colourful land near Nice airport

In Provence, south of France there are lots intercity buses, both speedy and local, between Nice airport and Cote d’Azur towns.

We took bus #250 that goes every 30 min from Nice airport to Antibes and then continues to Cannes, I highly recommend taking the express bus. It will save your time and energy especially on the first day of your vacation after flight.(information about the bus on the bottom of post)

I started to do my sketches right away 🙂 My watercolour painting is done with Provençal magic watercolour box Charvin. In the Nice’s store I hesitated to buy ALL of them. Finally, 12 clear sea and old Provençal roofs’ building colour paints were chosen, and the owner unexpectedly gave me one additional for luck:) Thank you, I will come back soon.


French Riviera Beach painting on Salis beach (Plage de la Salis)

I will tell you about this wonderful place with some notes as traveller and my artist’s paintings and drawings of the Antibes, one of the Mediterranean French coast’s city with its legends, friendly people, museums, yummy food, sunny beaches, warm sea and the main important personally for me with artists’ paths. 

Let’s start with one of the Antibes’ legends is about Napoleon’s family. Locals are saying that Napoleon’s mother and his sisters lived in Antibes. It is not confirmed in fact but the locals even added some explanation on a house’s sign, below is the photo from this place.

Antibes beaches with its mild colours, tender rose, blue and violet painting. I was painting this view of local houses and beach with hill surroundings. The long path leads to next town Juan les Pins, our favourite two long sandy beaches, Ponteil and Salis.

I was painting sea’s stones on Antibes’ beach. This type of sketches is relaxing time spending…

Antibes is town with lots of energy and has “all in one”.

Old city of Antibes is full of charm, under south sun all houses look like gold buildings, and flowers are covering their walls. 

Antibes has the Archaeological museum, see below the map of the Ville d’Antipolis, how Romans used to call it.

One day visited this small museum archaeological museum even without translation into English, I learned about the ancient history of this place. It was the former settlement of the Greeks, then the Romans, the Etruscans and then Galls.  There are lots of underwater amphorae and wrecks off Antibes with once fine wine were raised from the bottom of the sea.

Another legend is the Etruscan learned to make wine residents of Provence’s French Galas. Interesting, isn’t it?:)

I drew one of their works of pottery’s art Etruscan vase.

10 years ago I felt for the Etruscan culture that had gone into oblivion and read some books about Etruscan culture by Jean-Paul Thuillier, Nemirovsky and Jean-Noel Robert. It opened my eyes to many things and historical events. After this we visited special Etruscan museum, villa Medici in Rome, also our local Toronto’s museum ROM has the Etruscan section has also some good exponents.

Etruscan faces on painting what remained of the exhibits expressed the display of the personality, individuality of a person’s traits. After the influence of Greek culture it started to be prettier but faceless personal features.

Another fascinated story of Antibes is about connection between the city of Antibes and Impressionism, the new art movement in 19th century. It started from Monet, my favourite artist and the creator of impressionism style. I have read book Monet and the Mediterranean book written by Joachim Pissarro several years ago that actually opened for me the city of Antibes.

Monet stayed in Antibes for 5 months in 1988 and painted lots of paintings from this place, “Antibes seen from La Salis”, “Morning at Antibes”, Gardener’s House at Antibes”,”Antibes seen from Plateau Notre-Dame, “The Gulf of Antibes”,”View of the Bay and Maritime Alps at Antibes” and others. Monet wrote to his wife Alice “What I will bring back from here will be pure, gentle sweetness.”

Winding paths, a view of the ancient city, the silver-violet color of the mountains that are visible in the distance, inviting for a romantic walk.

Old pines are handed close over the path, setting beyond the horizon highlights the sea and the city in distance.

There are some artists discovered this amazing city and landscape around it. Long path near Antibes is very popular among impressionists and post impressionists like Monet, Sisley, Cross, Signac. Their artworks made this town famous.

Everywhere on a long path you might see lots of reproductions of artists. They are standing exactly on the places where they created by different artists. This place inspired many artists and me, and might probably invite you to visit you for travelling and producing some art works.

Once came to France for our family summer vacation, my husband invented a new expression as “Gourmet Immigration”, such as a brilliant discover term. I hope we will implement it in the future.

Chocolate olives in chocolate, chic, isn’t it? Full impression that it is OLIVES. No, no, no, no, no, no! It is dark and milk chocolates in the form of black and green olives

Two ladies, maybe sisters or friends may offer any French chocolate treats. They seem like mistress of Antibes’ chocolate makers with mouth-watering chocolate or as legendary Mistress of the Copper Mountain that had everything who loves chocolate, only instead of minerals, their product made from chocolate.

Note. Mistress of the Copper Mountain is also known as the Malachite Maid, is a legendary creature from Slavic myths and a fairy tale character, the mountain spirit from the legends of the Ural miners and the Mistress of the Ural Mountains, she is depicted as a beautiful green-eyed young woman in a malachite gown.

Picasso Museum.

I’m not really a fan of Picasso but his story of living in the Antibes is joyful. Picasso lived here after the Second World War when everybody’s feelings were happy because of the end of world war.  Picasso drew local women Antibes, and one of his famous painting is Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon). Then suddenly he decided to learn something new, but again in his style. It was start of the new era of Picasso’s pottery.

My favourite Picasso’s expressions from this period are “I have spent my whole life knowing how to draw like a child” (J’ai mis toute ma vie à savoir dessiner comme un enfant) and “I do not seek, I find” (Je ne cherche pas, je trouve). 

Picasso decided to learn how to make sculptures from scratch when the local pottery master visited Picasso’s exhibition. It turned out to be 7 years of relationship when the famous artist learned from very basic vases in his 70th at the local workshop that leaded to create the great and individual recognizable art works. 

Picasso learned it for many years, and yes, it was free of charge training. However, from his side, the workshop might copy Picasso’s pottery art works originally made in this place for a certain number of times and sell this art works. They are saying that the agreement is still in force. Picasso began with simple vases, and then went on to do art in direction. Some sculptures you might see in the Antibes museum. Museum Picasso. Chateau Grimaldi, Place du Chateau, Antibes 06600

I’ve drawn and later finished with watercolours some of his vases. This is the advantage to being an artist, you might not allow doing photo but pencil sketch is fine for museum’s rules. Voilà!

Antibes’ locals love cats; there are some signs on the doors in the Old Town. I drew them on the location.

The market in the Antibes is particularly remarkable. Baguettes and croissants, handmade early in the morning, are sold at the market quickly. On the market you can buy real Antibes wine and Pâté de Foie Gras (goose liver) with coloured ripe vegetables and fruits Marche provencal . Address: 27 cours Massena, Antibes

Famous Gelateria is just next to the Market.

Our favourite bakery was near our Royal Antibes hotel, great place that you might enjoy very close distance to Salis and private Royal beach with restaurant on it.

The bakery is just next to the beach, named La-brasserie-de-lillette. I would like to note that inside of the small store that sell croissants and other bakeries, customers are not allowed to be in their swimsuits even its a min away from the beach, please respect the “Queen” –French baguette.

Sunset in French Riviera, Antibes

You get up at 7 in the morning and you go to meet the dawn. Nowhere in the world there is no such beauty.

We visited more than 30 locations in Provence in last 10 years, and I am enjoying to paint on location, and Antibes is the city you might enjoy travel and paint with Joie de Vivre (a feeling of enjoyment of life)

Bon voyage! Until the next travel:)

All paintings belong to the author. No image is to be copied without permission.


You might visit my personal website pages and find out more about the artwork I am offering in oil and watercolor paintings; purchase canvas prints, framed prints, and more artwork.

Nice Art Store., address 39 rue Gioffredo, 06000

Tools used for my painting Watercolour used Charvin and Van Gogh brands, Pastel GrayPas Expressionist, Derwent watercolour pencils and Faber Castell artist pens. Paper Strathmore Watercolour and Mixed Media albums, 15×20 cm (6×8 in.)

Brasserie  la-brasserie-de-l-illette24 boulevard Marechal Leclerc, Antibes 06600.

Antibes’ chocolate store . Le Comptoir de Mathilde, votre épicerie fine/chocolaterie à Antibes. Address 20, rue de la RépubliqueAntibes

Antibes’ Gelateria

Royal Antibes Hotel,residence

Train sites

Below is information information for Nice express bus

For daily trips I recommend to buy the “Ticket Azur” that allow you to take two transport networks in succession, to complete a journey, including one change between one of the lines on the Departmental Council’s TAM network and a line on one of the following networks: Envibus (Antibes and surrounding area), Communauté de la Riviera Française (Menton and surrounding area), Sillages (Grasse and surrounding area), Bus Varmer (Carros and surrounding area), Ligne d’Azur (Nice and surrounding area), Bus Azur (Cannes and surrounding area)