I successfully made it to Chartres the second time. I've remembered this trip how much I enjoy train travel. Unlike plane trips, you show up maybe ten minutes ahead of time, and instead of being trapped in hermetically sealed buildings during layovers, you can just walk outside to sit in the sunshine.
I did the above sketch at Le Mans, and Tours had a gorgeous promenade with a double row of sycamore trees where I spent my half hour there.
Chartres was lovely. I grew up madly in love with gothic cathedrals, thanks to early visits to my mom's school chums (she graduated from the University of Edinburgh). Chartres has the added bonus of many, many intact windows of jewel-like Medieval glass. The deep blues and reds are amazing.
I spent more time as a tourist than as an artist. I pored over each window, trying to decipher the stories frame by frame with the help of two guide books (my totally dorky side).
I also loved the labyrinth set into the stones of the nave. Sadly, it was largely covered with chairs so I couldn't walk the maze, but it was powerful just to stand with my feet on that pilgrage place and, especially at this transition time in my life, think about walking a path that God has laid out for me.
I did finally do a watercolor as well. There's a lovely small garden beside the cathedral, and I'm enjoying formal gardens this trip.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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