Aside from the enormous window, my favorite thing about the new place this summer is its proximity to Luxembourg Gardens. It is such a luxury to wander over, paint a while, and then wander home for tea and lunch afterwards. I'm also enjoying walking home through them and stopping to savor the evening sunshine.
I love how Paris, and so many places in Europe, invite people out to be in community. Americans tend to stay sealed up in their homes with their air conditioning and televisions. Paris goes out to play. I pass people in the parks playing ping pong and bocce ball (or whatever the French equivalent is), having picnics, renting remote controlled sailboats in the big fountains, reading, chatting, eating ice cream. It's lovely. Everyone comes out to rub shoulders.
You don't too often talk to strangers, but I had a lovely happening the other day. It was a little chilly, and I was huddled up painting. An older man came over to look at my painting and chat for a minute, and he ended up asking if he could bring me a tea or coffee. It was so unexpectedly kind. He was there just reading his paper but was excited about my art. I accepted and then did him a quick sketch as a thank you. We were both pleased and touched. I also appreciated the chance to talk about parks as well and practice my French a bit. He was very patient with me and only had to translate a couple of things I didn't understand. That was lovely.
Below is the journal sketch that led to the painting above. I moved around a bit in the final painting to get a more dynamic composition.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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