Paris Unpacked

I'm back.

I'm glad to be back with Tom, in my own house and big shower after being away for so long.   I'm glad to have a choice of shoes to wear. Really.  I am.  It was a glorious month in Paris (plus bonus week in Belgium).

But I want to go back to Paris. I mean it. Like,  tomorrow.

Yes. Glad to be back.  Pissed it's over.

Mostly, though, I am thankful for every minute of it.
 I happily remember and I'm grateful for the moments I stood in beautiful parks, near rivers, small villages and city streets to capture the colors and moods of this wonderful city! September was a month of full days, rich nights, laughter, friends, endless art-making or art-thinking and Paris (!). I'm thankful for the 91-steps high apartment, my fellow travelers and my new friends. I miss it all and I do, absolutely, know how lucky I am.

Paris DayBreakSOLD

Paris Day Break  It was our first morning in Paris. (Me, wearing layers of all the clothes I packed: I'm freezing my butt off here!! It was 100 degrees when I left Charlotte!)

 Standing over the Siene River on this morning, I was mesmerized by the long boats (first you see the cargo barges, then the tourist boats follow.  Then, of course, it is time to cue the swans).   This canvas panel had the beginnings of another painting beneath it.  I think that helped suggest some of the more innovative color choices.
Oil on canvas panel.

SOLDSant Germain Blvd

Sant Germain Blvd.  This is one of the busiest, trendiest streets of Paris! Shoppers, commuters, families bustle around in high fashion (apparently good looks and stylin' clothes are requirements on this street.  I was able to conceal myself with my big black apron and sprawling hat!)

Foolish me, I set up near a metro station and a crosswalk. So much for stealth.  But it was a beautiful day and people were friendly and kind ( I heard a few"tres jolie!"'s).  I tried to get a sense of the beautiful light on this storefront against the darker street corner.  And somehow convey the activity here as well.  I loved suggesting windows here!
8 x 10" oil on canvas panel.

Rue Claude Monet

Rue Claude Monet  With special permission to paint after hours in Monet's Gardens, I and my best-ever partners in crime, Laura Hitchcock, Emily Andress, Diane Pike, Pam Goode and Olive Stack set out.  We had dutifully schlepped our gear from our charming BnB to the Garden's gate (Emily says I'm always early), waited for the doors to open and met a faux Monet painter doing the same thing we were doing (actually--this woman dressed in a puffy shirt and black vest does what I do when I take students on international painting workshops--I'm just a straw hat and a name badge away from that!).
Diane and I find a great spot in Giverny
 But after just 1 hour, the bottom fell out of the sky!   Good paintings were done in that hour (but not by me) .  All was not lost, though.  We finished the day in a wonderful restaurant with great wine, indulgent waiters, food and loud laughter (I'm afraid we may have been the rowdy Americans that night). None of us will forget that meal.  Well actually. I may have forgotten the meal already, but the fun of Restaurant Baudy will forever bring a big smile to my face!
But I digress.

 Diane and I got up the next morning,  found a sweet corner (Rue Claude Monet, above) in the little town to set up.  If you look carefully in this painting, you will see a man in his blue shirt tending his own narrow strip of a garden.  I was happy with this painting and it seems to have captured a bit of the sky's glow after our rainy night.
8 x 10" oil on canvas panel

The Louvre
The Louvre  I painted this building 2 or 3 times before I realized it was part of the Louvre!  Don't judge--the museum spans acres and acres! This is an 8 x 10" on carton board.

Quai de Voltaire

Quai de Voltaire  Oil on canvas panel. This 6th arrondissement was our stomping rounds for the month in Paris (we lived on Rue de le Universite).  I loved this street.  Busses, bikes, walkers, river, lights, trees and across the street from my favorite Art Supply Store (do I really need 10 small sketch books? That's a rhetorical question the answer is always yes)! I discovered a small stretch of median that was relatively quiet (it was the lane for bus riders) yet in the middle of things. (my favorite spaces in life).  Just loved the perspective of the trees and the dome of the building in the back.  A few dashes of paint were enough to suggest the always buzzing left bank.  I was happy as a pig painting this. Hmmm...painting pigs...file that thought.

8 x 10" oil on canvas panel

Tuillerie Gardens

 Tuillerie Gardens After finally deciding to stop avoiding painting in gardens (Whaddya gonna do with flowers and statues?)  I ultimately could not get enough of this place!  You know the one--fountains and famous green chairs where Parisians sit or sleep, talk and stroll.   These gardens were a quick walk away (as quickly as you can walk hauling paint gear) and endlessly inspirational.  By now you know, I look for creature comforts when I paint.  Here, a handy outdoor cafe where a cafe (un-cafe-lon-jey) to go (ah-em-por-teytook the edge off those brisk mornings. You learn the french you need to learn!

Oh. And to the  lady and beginning painter, visiting the gardens with her grandson and who invited me to teach painting classes from her 7-bedroom home in Provence: Call me.

I found the gardens lent themselves to my desire to simplify and create strong abstract designs.  I had to get over the impulse to paint sculpture portraits--but decided to 'treat it all the same.' Hedges,  manicured trees, ancient gods, green chairs--all just pleasingly arranged in space.  No wonder people come here to settle in for a morning. This one (above)is an oil on panel.

Tuilerie Chairs

Tuilerie Chairs
This is a more muted version of the Gardens.  I like how the carton board lends itself to a more thoughtful color palette.  I'm drawn to the surface that reminds me of Toulouse Lautrec and Vuillard. I like this one a lot, but it's subtle and takes a more careful look than the others.  Paintings on this board (the stock is like a thin cardboard. The exterior is 8 x 10" but image is closer to 5 x 7"

Montmartre Cafe

Monmartre Cafe   A tightrope walker balanced above as I painted this qouche! This is on laminated Cottonwood board.  The cafe was sheltered by thick vines. Gouche is a water medium.  Colors are bold and vivid.  The medium is like watercolor, but opaque.  This is best framed under glass just because it is on paper and subject to dust.-5 x 7" exterior edges ($150 +10).

SOLDThe Left Bank

Sold Pont de Alexandre
Pont de Alexandre  I found an artwork, a landscape(I can't find the name now!) in the Grand Palais painted from the exact spot I had walked by to get to the Museum. That afternoon I scurried back (okay, again--not a lot of 'scurrying' with my gear but I dragged my bag with determination) to view the same perspective.  Complete with Eiffel Tower.  One of my favs.  8 x 10" oil on panel

 À bientôt 

À bientôt  One more day in the gardens.  It was especially cold.  Especially grey this morning.  I'm sad about saying "au revoir."   But very happy with the mood and color of this painting. It is 8 x 10" oil on canvas panel. 


 Lady from Provence:  call me. I'm serious.


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