I started out painting lions again this morning. I hadn't quite captured what I'd wanted to last time. And they're fun to paint.
Then I painted the bar at St. Germaine des Pres where my friends Allison and Michel took me for a drink back on the spring.
I had grabbed the wrong sketchbook this morning and was out of the squarer paper, so it was panoramas for the rest of the day.
I painted the Louvre. Again. I can't seem to stop myself. It really is my favorite building in Paris. At least this time was a quite different viewpoint.
I was kind of pooped and very hungry by then, but I've been trying to do four sketches a day when possible. I decided to go to the creperie where I had my first Paris lunch and get a sustaining crepe, sit down a bit, and use the bathroom (really the trickiest bit about being downtown all day). Afterwards I felt refreshed enough to do one more painting along the Seine on my way home. If you look closely, you can spot the Louvre.
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.
I think the Louvre is my favorite building in Paris, though there are several that I really love. I keep coming back to paint this one, though. And it is helped by the gardens that surround it. I can usually find some shade.
This month there's also a fair going on, and I liked the juxtaposition of old with new, Ferris wheel beside centuries old palace.
From the same chair by the fountain (though not shade), I also did the following of one of the statues.
Another view Of the Louvre. I like the topiary trees as well. Very popular in France.
This is a fountain just north of the Louvre. I painted in quite a small radius yesterday.
Finally walking home after a bit of a jaunt over to the Left Bank, I passed under one of the Louvre arches and found this cellist playing. The music reverberated beautifully in the space, and I sat to both draw and listen a while.
I was groggy my first day getting here and only took two walks around the neighborhood, getting reacquainted, instead of painting. I'm making up for that now. I did six watercolors yesterday.
I took the "wrong" turn out of the metro before getting oriented, and I ended up at the Rodin Museum. A right turn, as it turned out. It's one of my very favorite places here, and it was a good place to get my feet back under me artistically. You can but just a garden ticket for only one euro. Perfect for artists.
Then I walked to San Sulpice. I'd done a very quick sketch of the lion fountain last time and wanted to spend a little more time with it. I did two there.
I was totally heading home afterwards, but I'd missed my chance last trip to paint an accordion player, which was a special request from a friend of mine. When I saw this playersying on one of the bridges over the Seine, I knew I needed to stop and paint. He left me to watch his gear while he ran for a beer and cigarette. Necessary for the musical process, apparently. And he played me a medley of American songs as a thank you, ending with "Hello, Dolly".
So I'm a little embarrassed to announce it, but I've been asked back to Paris to care for the same cat. I had just booked a show for my French work for December at the Memphis Botanic Garden when I got the invitation, and it seemed too good to pass up.
It's marvelous as an artist going back to a familiar place. I already have the feel of Paris, know roughly how I want to paint it, and I have a list of places I either wanted to paint but didn't get to, or places I want to return to and paint more. The paintings in this blog post are all from the Rodin Museum garden, which falls into the latter category.
I feel blessed to have a great housemate just now, which gives me the freedom to travel and not worry about home. So I'll be posting new Paris paintings starting the middle of next week.
Last year I was lucky enough to get to do watercolor illustrations for the Memphis Magazine City Guide issue. It seems to have been well enough received for the art editor to want to have some more artwork instead of their usual photography. In a neat twist, he's enlisted the Memphis Urban Sketchers to provide illustrations, spreading the love around a bit and adding some interest. I can't wait to see the different artwork he uses. I've submitted a few myself, and it will be interesting to see what makes it to print.
There are certain categories each year (arts, dining, who's who, etc.), and blogs and hospitals are some of the more challenging topics. I decided to offer artwork for those, figuring he might need a little help in those areas.
I stopped on my way home from kayaking this morning to paint Le Bonheur. I love the view of it from right in the middle of Poplar Avenue, but that's not a safe place to paint. This was the best angle I could get from the sidewalk. As an added bonus, I scored some shade as well.
Yesterday my very kind housemate agreed to let me paint him as he did some schoolwork on his laptop. That's always a bit of a risk. You never know how you're going to look in someone else's artwork, and I appreciated his taking it. I've been enjoying doing more figural work, but capturing likenesses us still very hard for me.
The Side Street Steppers, one of my favorite local bands, was playing at Brooks Museum this morning. As it happens, I've been needing to get over there to do three quite small watercolors for a commission. The morning was lovely, and with musical entertainment, it was the perfect time to do a little plein air painting. I had a marvelous time and heard some great tunes from the 20's, 30's, and 40's. Delightful.
I'm in a frenzy of printmaking lately. Here's the second proof of the new Elmwood print. I've done a little more refining, but it's almost finished, and I'll proof it again next time I have ink out.
I have finished and pulled prints to sell of my new liturgical print, The Lord is My Shepherd. It's on 8 1/2 by 10" paper and is available for $60.
I've just gotten the new Overton Park image transferred onto two blocks.
I did tiny watercolor sketches to see if I like three colors or two for this print.
I'm leaning towards two colors, so I'm going to do the orange and dark red first. I can always add green later if it needs more help. Below is the first bit of carving I started last night.
I also have a couple of illustration projects I'm working on before I get out of town. Again. It's a stop and start summer for artwork, though I'll be painting out of town, of course.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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