My next to last day in Paris was a lovely transition for the next bit of my trip. I had seen a poster for an exhibition of Dutch landscape drawings, so I set off to find it. There's a Dutch institute in Paris, which I am delighted to know about. They had a gorgeous landscape exhibit, and also a show of recent Dutch printmaker Jozef Van Ruysdevelt.
I did two sketches (looking at skies) in the landscape show. Huge, glorious watercolors and wash drawings.
I didn't draw in the print exhibit, but I did buy the catalog, which did my suitcase no favors at all. Given that the language choices were French and Dutch, I figured it would not be available at home. I also took a picture of his sketchbooks displayed in a glass case, which gave me a thrilling flashback to my Dixon show last fall. And I love seeing people's sketchbooks now that I'm having such fun keeping my own.
And here's one random sketchbook page I'll throw in, since it doesn't have any obvious partners. One fun of having a sketchbook is making waiting so much more pleasant. Here I was waiting both for pizza one night and for a pretty serious rain shower to pass. I found a canopy to sit under and sketched the church with the heart-shaped windows I enjoy walking by.
One of the amazing things about Paris, besides the bakeries, is the museums. It's marvelous for an artist to be able to go sit and look and sketch stunning works of art. I visited the Orangerie the other day. Walking into those two oval rooms of enormous water lily pieces that completely surround and engulf you is a stunning experience.
I did a first sketch of the room at large, going for impression instead of accuracy in rendering the actual paintings.
Then in the second room, I did a more intensive study of maybe my favorite of the works. It's darker than most, with subtle tonal changes, and I loved the process of looking deeply enough to try to copy it.
Finally here is a Klimt study I did Friday at the Musee d'Orsay. I must have had extra patience that day. I had already done two highly detailed watercolors, and this is the painting that called my name to sketch ad I wound down. I love Klimt's richness and texture, and when he does trees and landscapes, I swoon.
I walked home utterly, fizzingly happy. Painting in Paris is such an amazing thing to get to do. I am extremely lucky in my travels.
I had a very chocolate sort of day on Friday. One thing I love about walking in Paris is seeing all the gorgeous shop windows, designed to lure people in. We largely don't mess with those in America since everyone is driving cars and going by too fast to notice. (As an aside, my home bookstore of 140 years and counting does delightful new window displays each new season, but Burkes is in the minority.)
I had been passing and admiring the window of this chocolatier for two weeks now, and on Friday it was finally warm enough to contemplate sitting in the shade to paint it. It's a complex and layered scene that I'm not sure will be comprehensible, but I hope the visual richness and whimsy of the paper flowers will make up for that.
I also painted my lunchtime eclair that day, largely because it's from my favorite bakery, and they had given me a nifty sticker to close the box that I wanted to preserve somehow, so I devoted a sketchbook page to it.
Finally here is a bakery from a couple of days previous. It was rainy that morning, and I lucked into a visually charming bakery that also (quite rare) had a table inside where I could sit and paint. Nowhere in France is really warm on a cold day, since all the shops and cafés keep their doors open regardless, but I was out of the rain and in close proximity to pain au chocolat, so I called it a win.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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