It's been nuts since I got home. I had a couple of nights back, and then I left again for a dance weekend with my sisters. I loved spending time with them after being gone for a month.
I hung out with awesome women (that's one of my sisters front and center):
danced to my favorite band with friends (and sisters, though no one got a shot of that):
and got dipped a few times:
Now I'm back to work. I was supposed to be in Cape May this week painting for Cape Resorts Group again, but bad weather cancelled my flight. So I have a little time to do some commissions here, catch up on my sleep, and get up there in the next few weeks more rested and ready to go at full speed. Overall a very good thing.
I head home tomorrow and am busy packing and doing last minute things in the apartment. I will have to post my last day or two of work when I get back, but here is one from my last day here.
This is the garden I like so much behind Notre Dame.
I had been wanting to go back and paint more in the garden of the Rodin Museum. It's a lovely spot with statues and topiary and a view of the dome of Les Invalides rising above it
I am also just stunned by the power of the bronze Gates of Hell that stand along one edge of the garden. It is amazing to see the whole piece as one, even though many individual sculptures also grew out of the project.
I also continue to be drawn back to the Seine as a subject. Caroline was nice enough to let me bail on a walk one evening and delay dinner a bit to paint this.
I did one more very quick sketch as I was waiting for her at our meeting place, the charming bridge between the Ile de la Cite and Ile St. Louis.
I also sketched two early Monet landscapes. A delicate, intricate snowscape and the one I fell in love with the most: an early painting of a sycamore tree, which will surprise no one who knows me.
I really loved this museum. It is confusing as heck to navigate, and they need more bathrooms, but the building (an old train station) is amazing, and the collection is too. It took me two different trips to drink it all in.
I adored the collection of Van Goghs and spent time with them both days. His work never fails to move me. I read his letters to his brother in high school or college, and they influenced how I go about my work.
I also loved that they had one of the last little flower paintings of Manet. He painted from his bed the flowers his friends sent him during his final illness. That's how I want to go out. And that whole series is exquisite.
What I sketched, though, were two Cezannes. A stunning, earlyish self portrait and a tiny, absolutely exquisite still life of apples. I have been reminded of my love of still lifes on this trip. I may have to do some when I get back home.
I also sketched two early Monet landscapes: delicate, intricate snowscape, and the early, obscure one I fell unexpectedly in love with --- a sycamore tree, which will surprise no one who knows me.
I also sketched the cafe with the enormous station clock while Caroline and I had lunch in there, and it felt delightfully Hugo Cabret.
My friend Caroline and I had toured the Opera Garnier two days ago, and I was blown away by both the building and the view from its balcony. Yesterday Caroline went to Versailles while I had to take the cat (my reason for being in Paris) to the vet for regular bloodwork.
It was interesting to me to conduct a vet visit purely in French. While my French wasn't pretty, I was proud that I could both understand and answer the neessary questions.
Afterwards I decided to revisit the Opera and paint. It was earlier in the day than before. I started painting off of the balcony but had to take a break from standing up in the full sun. So I went inside to paint the lobby and then finished up the outdoor piece.
I loved painting the aerial view and thought about doing a second one from the top of the nearby department store Galleries Lafayette, but those scenes take an awful lot of concentration for me. I had just done two intricate pieces and decided I couldn't manage a third just then.
So I walked towards home instead, taking a different route, and I came on a lovely cemetary. I did a quick sketch there before heading home for dinner.
I had been eyeing the Grand Palais for a whole and wondering how to paint it. The other day coming out of the Musee d'Orsay I spotted the view I wanted from one of the bridges crossing the Seine. Happily it's a pedestrian bridge that even has benches, which is always lovely for street painting.
I also painted the fountain outside St. Sulpice today as we were waiting for the organ music to start. I love the lions.
I also painted during the music, trying out my new waterproof ink.
My friend Caroline arrived yesterday, and we saw St. Chapelle together, which I had been looking forward to, and I sketched with the waterproof ink again while she went through the Concierge.
I didn't sketch in St. Chapelle at all, but it was lovely. Here are a couple of photos.
I loved the floor, too.
I ended the day with a very quick sketch, probably too quick, of Notre Dame. It was shining off in the distance, and this was one instance of just not being able to convert the lightness of the scene before me onto paper. The lovely thing, though, is that evening a sketch doesn't turn out the way I'd hoped, I remember better for having looked at a scene long enough to paint it.
I've had two half working days the last two days. Yesterday I headed downtown and painted at the Louvre in a sunshiny morning. I did a black and white sketch of the same view my first day here and decided I really wanted to do a watercolor as well.
Then I spent most if the day in the Musee d'Orsay. I really loved three of the Van Goghs they have there. His work affects me at a more emotional level than about anyone else's.
It was too crowded to sketch in his room, bit I did do this small one of a Cezanne self portrait.
Today my friend Caroline was flying in to join me, so I wanted to stay closer to home. I started with the bi-weekly market and did a watercolor as well as some shopping.
After dropping my shopping I still had time to do another view, one I had spotted last week and wanted to make it back for.
I didn't have time to do another full sketch, but after sitting and enjoying the sun a little (it's been a rarish commodity lately), I did try one more fast one.
I brought waterproof ink to try and treated myself to a new fountain pen the other day. They have very good and very reasonable ones here. I am enjoying the ink was but would also like to use ink with watercolor.
I did a very quick one just to see. I think it's going to be fun to play with.
After a couple of raw, cloudy days where I also made bad choices in my pursuits, I had a marvelous day today. I had headed downtown thinking I'd go to the Orangerie or the Musee d'Orsay, but there was a gorgeous mist going when I got there, and I couldn't resist painting.
I did three pretty quick ones before lunch time.
After that I spotted a long line to get onto the Orangerie and decided to eat my lunch with a view of the Eiffel Tower instead. I love the multitude of chairs scattered around parks here. Very hospitable.
For dessert I decided to go to Angelina. My sister had told me it is the best got chocolate in Paris. It was worth a short wait to get into the elegant tea room founded in 1903.
I had been wondering for several years if the gloss of memory had elevated the hot chocolate I had in Florence as an exchange student into an unattainable Platonic ideal. But, no. Thankfully. Angelina serves the molten decadence I remember from my youth. What a marvelous find.
I walked on to the Opera and loved the teal dome, so I had to sketch it as well.
When I crossed the street to it, a street musician was playing. I continue to be stunned at how many upright pianos randomly appear on sidewalks in this city.
I visited the Galeries Lafayette department store behind the Opera, which my sister had also recommended. They know how to do department stores in this city.
And finally I walked home the length of the Rue des Martyrs, recommended by my host. A charming old Paris street. I got some amazing bread to go with dinner and ended up with a small detour to buy muesli just opposite Vincent and Theo van Gogh's house. Yep. We're neighbors.
A perfect day.
I've had a busy and social few days with evening visits cutting into my blogging and personal journal time. It's lovely to have some friends to meet up with, however. I had a marvelous dinner with one old high school acquaintance (and more recently friend) and her husband. They took me to their favorite neighborhood reataurant, and it was marvelous. As was the visit.
Anyway, I'm a little behind on posting. Above is one sketch from the Luxembourg Gardens, a favorite spot of my sister who loved here.
I went there Sunday morning after going to St. Sulpice to hear the organ concert that's a standing feature between services. I sang in the choir for years, and that church and its organists played a prominent role in 20th Century music.
Here's a quick sketch I did while listening.
It's been cloudy more often than not lately, which makes for less than ideal art weather. Monday morning was gorgeous, however, and I headed to Notre Dame to paint.
The cherry trees had burst into bloom since I had been there, and I couldn't resist.
I also painted it from the bridge crossing to Ile St. Louis, a view I had noticed while walking the day before. It was fun to stand and paint, using the wide stone parapet as a work table.
This is my favorite part of Paris. I live the neighborhood on and right around these two islands.
After a good morning of work, I treated myself to some marvelous fallafel at L'As du Fallafel in the nearby Marais district, another spot recommended by a friend. It's a tiny hole in the wall, one of my favorite kinds of places, and the fallafel is amazing. I had fun sketching as I sat.
I fell in love yesterday with the Rodin Museum. He chose the building himself and donated all his work to the state. It is a beautiful old hotel that used to house artists and their studios (including Rodin himself), and it is surrounded by a lovely garden, now dotted with sculpture.
I did one watercolor in the garden (I want to go back and do more) and then headed inside to see the collection. I did lots of sketches. I adore Rodin's work, and sketching helps me look closely and remember well.
The collection also included a painting by Edvard Munch of the Thinker in the garden of a German doctor who was a patron to both artists. I love Munch as well and have several books of his work. I had no idea this painting existed and was delighted to come face to face with it.
I ended the day with an hour plus walk along the Seine and a Nutella crepe from a sidewalk stand. The perfect Paris day.