I also did a quick sketch at Sunday lunch. It's very, very rapid, but I wanted to mark the occasion and remember the good company. Just a fast sketch in my art journal will bring back good memories later on.
I've been continuing the self portraits here, in a range of ways. Above are my feet as I sit and play banjo, feet propped on the balcony and watching the world below.
That one made me want to paint my banjo spot too, just for happiness.
Hands down the best quote of the trip has been the startled guy at the bus stop after I materialized next to him in my completely silent boots. He blurted out, "You could be BATMAN!" I had to do a sketch to commemorate that moment. Who doesn't want to be batman?
I've done several themed entries that some of my recent work didn't fit with. So here are some of the other things I've been doing that didn't match a blog post. Above is Notre Dame, of course. Below is a bookstore in Place Colette that I painted while listening to Rene and Stephen one afternoon.
Speaking of Rene:
Plus a page of our Tuesday night regulars.
I was having such a lovely and non stop social life that I forgot to post sketches from Saturday morning. My visiting friends came with me to hear Rene and Stephen play outside a cafe at the Marche d'Aligre. It's my favorite market in Paris, and I love getting to hear the guys play there. I can sit and have tea and listen and sketch. It's perfect.
Of course, I only get the back view of the guys, but I still love it.
Last year I did a self portrait in the shiny teapot. Here is this year's version.
Later that day I did one quick sketch at dinner with Chrissie and Ella. We had a beautiful celebratory dinner, fancier than I ever do on my own, and I so enjoyed the sense of occasion with them. Sharing this time in Paris. Just marvelous to have them here to experience it with me. Ella's trip at 16 is reminding me so much of the trip I had at 17 with my grandmother. It's a beautiful way to teach young people to step out into the world and fully live, and I was so delighted to be able to see it from the other side, especially with such exceptional company.
I had such a lovely day yesterday! I went to the Bastille market with my visiting for the weekend friends Chrissie and Ella, who have been having a marvelous mother/daughter adventure. I was so honored to get to be a part of a small piece of it. They are fabulous company. We wandered and shopped and took in the scene and met new people. A new sketcher friend may join me this Tuesday at La Liberte to hear Rene Miller play. She was sketching the guys (also Stephen Harrison on bass) as I was. A nice mother daughter duo from the states that Chrissie and Ella started talking to may come as well.
We had lunch at a sidewalk cafe after the market. And then later I was lucky enough to be invited to Camille's home to jam and have home cooked galettes (savory crepes). Camille is the excellent banjo player from the Cuckoo Sisters who made me so welcome last weekend. An American banjo player also came as well as a couple of the other band members (a couple are out traveling on holiday now). It was such fun to get to play tunes, and Camille had a bass for me to play as well as my banjo, which was great fun.
I was honored to be included and am delighted to be getting to know more of the rich music community here in Paris. Once again I was too busy playing
music to sketch during tunes, but I did sketch Camille's gorgeous cat, even though I didn't do her justice.
I'm having a slow day today to recover from the nonstop socializing, but it was an utterly delightful weekend.
Dede Macchabée is one of the musicians I've gotten to know here, but she is also a painter. She so kindly invited me to come to her home and studio and shared her work with me. It was like stepping into a magical world. The first thing I saw was a blue tree trunk reaching to the ceiling and a swirl of stars overhead. It made me think of Walter Anderson's secret room he created with paint as his own retreat. My own home tends to suffer as I put time instead into my work, but Dede's is stunning. She makes me want to create an artistic space to live in.
She kindly let me take photos and also do a quick sketch, that doesn't begin to do it justice but will help me remember. I could paint a week in there.
We spent easily two and a half hours talking about art, travel sketching, music, and our creative habits as well as the business of being an artist. I completely lost track of time and feel like I have another new sister.
You can see more of Dede's paintings of the world she has created on her website at www.dedemacchabee.com
I was also lucky enough to get to sit in with Dede's old time band over the weekend. Unlike Memphis, apparently people pack a bar standing room only and whoop and holler for old ttime music. Amazing. I had a total blast and was delighted they asked me to join them. They even got me to sing Little Maggie as part of the set, and Dede's boyfriend Vincent was kind enough to film my Paris debut. It was a rush to get to play with such good musicians. You can see it at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.mandeville.1/posts/1213140115404171 if you're curious about this side of my life.
Here's an overall shot of the evening with the crowd reflected in the mirror. I look a little fierce singing about bluegrass's orginal badass wild banjo woman, but I like the photo overall.
After a full Monday off, I dived in on Tueaday and did two exhibition watercolors (as opposed to journal sketches). The first was a funky cafe in the neighborhood that caught my eye on my first trip here. It was a fairly complex scene and took a while, so I was happy I'd found a cafe table in the shade across the street to paint at. When I was finished I did a quick journal sketch of my tea things. They had a delightfully deco set.
I walked on to Luxembourg gardens and had lunch there while sketching the next scene. The clouds moved into a nice formation, so I set aside lunch temporarily to catch them before they moved.
With two paintings done, I treated myself to a nap before going to see my friends play music. I sketched there too, of course.
I didn't really do them justice this time. Here's what they really looked like. I can try again next Tuesday.
One of my favorite things to do in Paris is to go out on the weekends and hear my friends play music. Rene is an American who has been making a living in Paris as a musician about 24 years, and Stephen is from the north of England, here about as long. They both play with multiple people, but I love Stephen's marvelous bass playing added to Rene's wide mix of songs, and it made me happy they were playing together this weekend.
And not only together, but at my very favorite market, the Marche d'Aligre. Funky and off the beaten track. I scored a table at the cafe just behind them on the corner, had mint tea, and settled in to paint. (Above.)
The next day they were at the Bastille market, a much bigger and bustling place. My favorite soap maker (I get the fig and raspberry scents) goes there, so I got soap and also hung out to sketch. Sadly, after doing a couple of sketches of Rene I was pleased with in the spring, I am back to making him look like a muppet. He's very nice about it, though. And I am pleased with that recent print of him and Dede, so hopefully I can do some more in that vein while I'm here.
I'm doing a lot of proofing this week, including the two small Paris prints above that I want to print on my treadle Chandler and Price once I get them finished. I did the cafe one in red too, since that's how I've been planning the print. It was time to see how that looked.
I also took time out for a sister project. Erin wanted this for an anniversary present, and I loved Princess Bride too. It was a fun afternoon project, and I ended up with an edition of 14, so 13 are up for grabs, starting at our Dog Days of Summer studio sale next weekend (the 15-16th). Holler if you want one, though. They mail nicely. $60, 14x22".
Here's my monthly sketch feature for the Memphis Daily News. I went out and sketched at the Levitt Shell, which hosts 50 free concerts a year in a 1920's bandstand four blocks from my house. It's a lovely thing, with some great family history for me. My great grandparents were active in the Gilbert and Sullivan light opera group (The MOAT) that was the original reason for the shell being built. My great grandmother would take an annual trip to NYC to shop for costumes. I love that I can still go hear music here, though the overhead jet flight patterns sadly make unmiked live theater no longer viable.
While I was sketching, two boys came up to watch, ask questions, and eventually ask to draw with me. They also wanted me to draw their sneakers, which I did, but I also did a quick sketch in my journal to remember, since I gave them the bigger sketch. The kid who wanted to full on paint (I always have an extra brush) was super careful with my watercolor kit. I showed him how the different colors have different mixing areas, and he did great not making a mess in my palette. I loved seeing him so excited about making art.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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