April in Paris and Lessons in Spanish is UP! It's my joint travel paintings show with Elizabeth Alley at Memphis Botanic Garden. The opening is tonight from 5:30-7:30 -- free and open to everyone. Bring your friends and have a glass of wine on us!
It was a long hanging day yesterday. I'm grateful to be working in a smaller format these days. Instead of hauling huge canvases (or, even worse, huge pastels under glass), I could carry my entire show into the building in one trip. Here it is:
The downside is the long layout process for that many pieces. I ran out of time at the end and didn't get a final count, but I think I hung almost 100 watercolors and prints.
I lay them down on the floor first, take a snapshot of the layout on my smart phone (a marvelous tip I got from Elizabeth last time we hung a show together), and stick them on the walls with poster tape. Marvelous stuff.
There were tons of nail holes in the walls, so my arrangements changed a bit as I moved to the wall, trying to hide as many of them as possible.
I worked so late it was pretty dark to get a decent photograph, and the lights weren't adjusted for my show yet (hopefully MBG can make that happen before the opening tonight), but here's how the first wall looks. Overall I'm pleased.
I needed a break after the last print, which was architectural and complex, so I decided on a garden one next.
I've always loved the geometry and mass of formal gardens and had been hoping to find more of them in France than I managed to. Most of the topiary I found was a disappointing knee high, but I did find a few gardens I wanted to paint.
Chateau de la Chatonniere was a few miles out of Azay le Rideau, where I spent several happy nights at the beginning of my trip. I didn't have a car, so one day I packed a lunch and my painting gear and just hiked out to see the chateau gardens. That was the day I discovered that while the French are scrupulous about crosswalks, they are less likely to give quarter to pedestrians on the side of a country road. But it was a lovely day, and I had fun painting in the gardens.
The carving on this one went much more quickly, which was a welcome break after the Opera print. I was able to pull a proof on just the second day of work and see what it was looking like.
I did a bit more refining, especially in the chateau itself, before pulling the second proof. It's almost finished now, and I'm trying to figure out which watercolor I want to work from next.
I'm putting together my 2014 calendar this week. I spent so much more time painting in Paris this year than I did in Memphis that I decided to focus on Paris this year. It's the work I'm most proud lately.
Because it's not Memphis, it won't be sold in as many locations this year, so put your order in with me now if you'd like one! You can email email@example.com if you'd like to be included in my order to the printer.
Here are the images for the calendar:
I went down to the RiverArts Fest downtown this afternoon. It's a great art fair in general, and the music lineup had my favorite band playing. I wandered around, chatted with a Colorado print maker, ran into friends, and heard Jason Freeman play both a headline set of his own and then close the day out with the Bluff City Backsliders, my favorite local band these days.
I often enjoy sketching musicians in general and the Backsliders in particular, but after doing the one above during Jason's own set, and the one of him below during the start of the Backsliders, I realized that today I'd much rather just stand up and dance and immerse myself in the music out under a gorgeous sky. So I did that. Perfect.
Saturday was the Urban Sketchers' International Sketch Crawl. Urban Sketching groups across the world went out to draw together. The Memphis chapter met up at the Peabody, our grand old downtown hotel. It was a fun and elegant place to draw.
After the duck parade, several of us when across the street to have lunch and keep drawing at the Flying Fish. Tom Pruett let me try his water soluble markers. I keep trying markers and having trouble getting the effects I want. These are made by Tombo, and they were fun to try. I might have to get my own pack. They're neater than watercolors, though I like actual paint better, despite the trouble.
I recently unearthed these two sketches of a dinner I had with Elizabeth Alley. We had fun visiting and drawing over dinner and comparing recent sketching journeys we had taken. It was fun to have dinner with someone else who also enjoys drawing through a meal.
I met Robert and Marie-Claude Diebolt one day while I was out sketching the Musee D'Orsay. They stopped to see my painting, and it turns out that Robert is an artist as well. It was lovely to have a talk about art and media and urban sketching, and Robert took a couple of photos of me working that seem very much to embody urban sketching. It's fun to get to see myself working through other people's eyes occasionally. And Marie-Claude and Robert made me feel very welcome there in France. It was a lovely interlude in my trip, and I appreciate Robert following up and sending me these photos.
The gardens along the side and back of Notre Dame are one of my favorite places in Paris. I decided to paint there, since so far I'd only been hanging out, eating lunch, and enjoying the wifi.
I love the flying buttresses.
I also painted the statue at the center of the garden.
And walking home I stopped to paint this funky building with lots of statues that remind me of the knights in Alice in Wonderland.
I'm not sure what the building is, but not seems to have perpetual concerts and events in the plaza in front of it. This summer it's beach volleyball.
Speaking of special summer events, I also took the time to ride the Ferris wheel I keep painting. It's got stunning views of Paris.
Here's the view from my bench where I'm taking a lunch break. I love this small park down the side of and behind Notre Dame. It even has free wifi, so I can do a little work on my break.
Here's the side garden. Cherry trees were blooming in April when I was here, and it is just as beautiful now.
In other news, here are the paintings I did yesterday. It was a productive day downtown. I finished four watercolors and then had a lovely walk home.
The Louvre again. I can't stop painting it. Above is the view from my lunch break on the Tuileries. Below is the Ferris wheel again. I love the frisson of old world and new world.
I regretted not painting the Musee d'Orsay last time. I love it's huge clocks. So I did two along the Seine yesterday. Cloud cover gave me sporadic sun protection as I sat out on bridges in the middle of the river, and a bagpiper provided entertainment for the ascond drawing.
Between the market in the morning and a vet appointment in the afternoon for the cat I'm sitting, I stayed close to home yesterday. I also had a little lingering jet lag, so I gave myself permission to have a slower day.
The one watercolor I did was intricate and time consuming, though. Lots of small detail, so the drawing phase took much longer than usual. This is one of my three regular metro stations. I walk to different ones depending on which direction I want to go. The lines all have different areas they cut across. I like this station because all the best food stores are on the way home.