Last Painting before Leaving Paris
hard it is to leave this city. I always feel that I have left so much
undiscovered. I want to sketch it all, to paint it all, to have every
beautiful scene etched into my mind.
I wanted to paint on the bridge looking at the back of Notre with
just a peak of the Eiffel tower in the distance. To stand on the bridge
where Albert Marquet painted humbles me. He was my favorite post impressionist
painter. There is such an incredible amount of detail to try to capture
from this view. What I really admire about was his ability to simplify
and feature the large shapes and the dramatic sweep of the Seine River
as it forks and goes on both sides of Notre Dame. I have a tendency
to want to put in each detail.
I took my cart with my acrylic paints and a canvas and walked the
distance around 9:00 on Saturday morning. The vendors were opening
their stalls along the river and the morning was brisk, but sunny.
Walking to my spot would be about a 10 block walk, but I thought that
when I finished painting I would cross over from the Isle St.Louis
to the right bank and stop at the George Pompidou Museum. I knew that
I could check my carte there and visit the exhibit. Then, I thought
that I could find a taxi to take me back at the end of the day.
Standing on the bridge with a breeze starting felt so wonderful. .Somehow
I had forgotten my pencil and would have to draw with the permanent
ink pen I had in my pack. As it turned out that was a blessing, as
I could easily put in some of the detail and the filigree on the flying
buttresses of Notre Dame, and even suggest some of the iron on the
Eiffel tower. I love painting on big canvases. I felt hampered with
this small canvas, but I knew that I was brave to even attempt to
paint in acrylics with the crowds of tourists and the curious who
would eventually find me. I work quickly, but 2 hours would not be
enough to include all that I wanted and now the breeze was becoming
wind. A canvas can quickly become a sail. Standing over a river with
a potential sail could obviously be an event waiting for disaster.
So I packed my cart and walked along the Isle St. Louis, enjoying
the shops. I felt like I looked very bohemian, but I probably just
looked like a windblown bag lady. At the end of Isle St.Louis I found
a wonderful café that had a sheltered glass wind break. I enjoyed
a hot café au lait and rested a bit. The cart seemed heavier
than I remembered and the cobble stones were a handicap. I decided
to save the museum for another time and I went to a taxi stand. I
have now learned that finding a taxi on a Saturday afternoon is almost
impossible. I finally gave up and walked across the bridge at the
front of Notre Dame.
I was so happy that I had walked. The area on the bridge was blocked
off and young men on roller blades were showing off their incredible
skills. An according player was swaying to his own music and the opposite
side of the bench where I sat was occupied by a charming young lady
from Denmark who was having her caricature drawn. The three of us,
the artist, the young lady and I had a great conversation about the
beauty of the day, her fashion internship and his business as an artist.
When I left them, I found my way back to my street, Rue de l‘Ancienne-
Comedie, alive with shoppers, diners, walkers, and strollers, and
I was happy to become one of them. I was so glad that I had not found
a Saturday afternoon taxi.
My Art Has Meant to Me
to leave Paris is a difficult activity for me. When I was in high
school, I desperately wanted to attend the Sorbonne. I fell in love
with the impressionists painters and that was my dream. Ever since
I was a young child I loved to draw. I learned to look carefully and
draw details especially of a large peppertree and palm trees and the
foliage and fauna that surrounded our California home.
was told by school counselors that art was not a suitable profession
for a young woman who had to earn a living. I knew that our economic
situation would not allow me to afford going to the Sorbonne, but
I applied anyway, and to my great joy I was accepted.
I worked during the summers and after school and I attended the University
of Southern California to major in psychology. That was so many years
ago. I have since had many careers, raised a family of three, and
started a business with my husband and written three books on painting.
guess what? I still want to go to the Sorbonne. I have loved being
in France this month. Teaching in Giverny at Monet’s Garden
with the most wonderful group of women has been a highlight of this
trip. The ability to paint in that utterly remarkable garden with
its rich history of the man and the other artists who followed his
lead is like a pilgrimage. Watching what happens to those who come
along with me, and how it affects them is such a joy. If I can help
them to see more, to free their styles, to enjoy their art, I feel
that I have succeeded. The dynamics of such a group is always unique,
but this time it was especially wonderful. I know that we have made
life long friendships and that our art is not our only common bond,
our common bond is being women who love life and color and the sensuous
application of paint and now each other.
onto Saranac and Cognac was a very different experience. The sprawling
landscapes of thousands of acres of vineyards and sunflowers would
make any plein air painter giddy with delight. It certainly did that
for me. I was prolific as usual. I have learned to set up and read
a landscape quickly and with abandon. Having a digital camera along
with me and being able to send images to “Bon Jour Paris, USA
Guide” was an added feature for me. It did mean carrying a lot
of extra equipment along with my easels and paints, and now a computer
and all of the wires and paraphernalia.
as I am packing from the third leg of my month long journey, I am
really feeling the pressure of the additional materials. Of course,
not to mention I have gladly thrown away most of my painting clothes
and have added some Paris fashions to my wardrobe.
I have painted along the Seine and painted Notre Dame. I have painted
in the fabulous antique apartment that Marty Holmes and I have shared
in one of the most appealing sections of Paris. Marty has been a wonderful
friend, assistant, room mate and traveling companion for the past
20 years. She assisted me when teaching for a month on the Queen Elizabeth
2 cruise ship touring to Africa, she carried my supplies through China,
and she drives a van in Giverny, all of that from a suburban lady
from Duxbury, Massachusetts. She continues to be a devoted friend
and fan of my work. But this morning, I am alone and packing.
afternoon I will fly back to Boston and to my other life. I have loved
being involved in many other aspects of teaching, and running a home,
but I still hope to come back to Paris and paint and paint and paint.
Somehow this is where I am really alive. I love every aspect of the
street noises outside of our apartment on the Rue de l’Anciennte
Comiedie and the roof tops and chimneys across the street. I love
to walk to the Luxembourg Gardens and sit and watch people and paint
yet another Garden. I love visiting my old friends at the musee dOrsay.
My luggage could be so much heavier if I had bought all of the books
that have tempted me along the river in the stalls or at the bookstores
in my neighborhood. Last night I dined on escargot and enjoyed a glass
of Chablis and toasted my return. I know that I am not unique in my
love for Paris, but I am unique in knowing that someday I will either
attend the Sorbonne or teach there… which has been a pattern
for me in many other facets of my life
I am entering a new chapter, with Nikken magnets and products that
have allowed me the ability to pursue all of these interests. I hope
to spread the word of their benefits and it looks it could be a new
career to go along with my painting. When one loves life, one wants
to be in the best health possible…I still have a lot to do and
I want to share my quest with others.
.Love to All, and kisses on both cheeks