Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday at the Louvre


I really love the Louvre; such a beautiful, historic building and so much wonderful art.  But this time it was a bit of a disappointment.  So many people!  The last time I visited, I had two uninterrupted days to myself while Chris attended a conference.  Now that was heaven.  But this time we were with a group, and had a deadline to catch our tour bus, so I just followed along during our whirlwind tour--Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, Mona Lisa--and took pictures of the building and of people experiencing art.  I love that they let you take non-flash pictures.

And later, I made a discovery; it's actually possible to paint on a bus!  Our seats had little fold down trays like on an airline, so I propped my camera in front of me and painted away.  The lines are a little wiggly, but I say it adds to the charm, n'est pas?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rodin's The Thinker



On our last visit to Paris we had loved the Rodin museum, so we wanted to see it again.  My husband especially loves sculpture, and I like the museum because it was actually the artist's home for a time,  although they have added a modern addition to display more of his work.  So together with Rodin's incredible sculpture in varying stages of completion, the house helps to gives you an insight into his work process and his daily life.

The garden is beautiful and moving, with carefully sculpted hedges and masses of pink roses contrasting with Rodin's large powerful sculptures such as his iconic "the Thinker" and his monumental "Gates of Hell"--a big black pair of double doors covered with writhing figures.  Much too soon the guards shoo'd us out of the garden to make way for a special event.   So we wandered over to the park behind Les Invalides and sat in a beautiful 17th century courtyard in the golden afternoon light and planned where to go for dinner.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fleures de Rue Cler


In big bustling Paris you, the tourist, yearn to find an authentic Parisian neighborhood.  Somewhere where the natives walk home with a baguette under their arm.  Rue Cler is that neighborhood.  It's traffic-free and designed for meandering from cheese shop to boulangerie, to patisserie.  The most eye catching shops are, of course, the florists, who seem to have many more flowers than the locals could buy for the day.  But evidently not, and it makes you realize that Parisians are people who appreciate beauty in their daily life, including a bouquet of fresh flowers on the table.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ile St. Louis, Paris



This is my favorite sketch from Paris.  It was a perfect day, sunny and slightly warm.  We had visited Notre-Dame and were walking around it from the outside, looking at the huge arching flying buttresses.  Of course it's all familiar from photographs, but up close it's even more imposing and beautiful.

I considered painting the cathedral but I didn't think I could do it justice, so we continued walking to the edge of Ile de la Cite, where there's a little park that looks across to Isle St. Louis.  I love Ile St. Louis because it's a tiny gem of cute stores, boutiques, and the best ice cream shops in Paris.

To paint this I had found a convenient park bench, but in order to look over the embankment, I had to sit on the top edge of the seat back.  Not very comfortable, but sometimes you have to suffer for your art.  Poor me.. sitting in Paris on a sunny day, sketching and thinking about ice cream.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Monet's Visitor


I've begun to paint in oil from my photos of the trip.  I have so many, I really need to organize and edit them, but I couldn't wait to start with my favorites.

I saw this gentleman in the gardens of Monet's Giverny, near the house.    He looked so elegant and relaxed; I especially love the white hat and pants.  He looks like he would have fit in quite well in any of the old photos of Monet and his house guests, perhaps taking a break from painting alongside the master.

I noticed he was alone, which was unusual; most of the tourists are in groups or pairs.  So I imagined that he was a lifelong Parisian, who comes to Giverny once a week to enjoy the gardens, and to revive his spirit.

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