Thursday, May 30, 2013

Paris: Last day

Yesterday morning. The day wasn't too bad. I decided to walk in the direction of Montparnasse to visit the Catacombs. It was the first time I'd walked in the other direction along Rue St. Jacques. It seemed a fitting thing to do. I walked past many lovely things to arrive at Place d'Italie. The entrance to the catacombs was across the street from one of the lovely old Art Nouveau metro entrances.

But when I saw that line which wrapped around the corner and down the street, I asked an American if it was to get in. "Yes. A 2 hour wait, all day every day." I didn't have the time for it.

I was meeting my friend Ray outside the Musee d'Orsay.

More later. I just arrived to my hotel in St. Malo and want to get outside.

Arriver a St. Malo

Quickly, now you see why I want to get outside.

Okay! Train was great.
Caught a bus to Chateaubriand area, just outside the old city walls. Easy.
My room was ready, early!
My sea view is fantastic!!!! I can just paint right from my window if the weather gets really foul. But no sooner I opened my window, and Mr. Seagull came to visit!

Ah, the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea.

Now, off for the Tourist Info and to get some lunch.

Day 13: Train to St. Malo

My time in Paris finally came to an end. I'm writing from the TGV train, on my way to St. Malo. It's a 3 hour trip with one stop in Rennes. I choose this train because I didn't have to change trains. Makes me happy.

Of course it was pouring with rain this morning at 6 AM. I was then really happy I booked a taxi instead of walking to Gare Montparnasse.

The scenery has been gorgeous, but I can get photos because we're moving so fast.

Everthing is misty. Fields of grain in varying shades of green punctuated by a field of screaming lemon yellow. So many painting undone just whizzing by me.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Paris: Locks of Love

A few years ago, someone decided to place a lock on Pont l'Archeveche. Or possibly, it may have started on Pont des Beaux Arts. No matter where, it became an overnight success, and you may be disappointed when you can't find a spot to lock on.

Clearly, some people come here with their lock all prepared, engraved with their names, while others secretly, and with much happiness and love in their hearts, secretly tuck their special lock into their case or pocket and just wait until the moment they get to the bridge.

The locks must work. My first day here, I captured a bride and groom. Picture not showing on my end, so not sure it will come through.

Who am I to judge? An economy of locks has put people to work, and the Seine is filling up with keys. You can purchase one here. I'VE SEEN PRICES FROM €1 - €7, quickly marked down to €5, and I haven't even been looking.

I think I still prefer the Irish 'oath stone', a standing stone with a hole in it where Martin married me again last year. Just call me a romantic.

PARIS: Breakfast chez-moi

Thursday last week I went to the twice weekly market on St. Germain. It's about a 5 minute walk from my Rue Malebrancge studio.

The fromageur had on display 8 of these cheeses called "The Compostella". You see the symbol of St. Jacques stamped into the cheese.

I just had some of this cheese on toast. It's a goat's cheese I believe, but soft like a Brie. I tasted it, and liked it- you just don't know with some cheese, do you? But it was lovely, and really tasty with a little strawberry jam.

And, I made the last two plein air eggs. Great breakfast, but I need my cafe creme.

My suitcase is pretty much packed for my trip to St. Malo tomorrow morning.

I know I've been a little lax about blogging, but I have been walking and painting everyday. 10 paintings in 10 days. Not too bad, considering rain, theatre and a couple concerts and museums.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Which is worse?

Which is worse, Dali looked inside a shop window peering out, or Frankenstein's monster pinned to a gate on Blvd. San Germain at night?

Rodin: Camille Claudel

Some works by Rodin of his mistress, and a master sculpture in her own right, Camille Claudel.

Her's was a tragic story, if you're interested you should look her up.

Noisy here this morning!

Good motning.

I may as well get up since there are doors banging and heels clapping, and now happy voices of the young.

I left here yesterday and walked what was a more direct route to the Louvre. Went down rue Bonaparte and stopped at Les Deux Magots for coffee. May happy singing waiter servrd me. There is nothing so wonderful as happy, efficient, singing waiter in a good cafe in Paris!

Then just across Bd. San Germain, the quai and the bridge and I was in the area of the Louvre/Tuilleries. I thought I might paint Napoleon's arch, but it was filled with people, so I walked under it entered les jardins. I thought they did the boats there in a pond, but there weren't any.

It took me an incredibly long time to decide on what to paint. Irises were blooming every where, gleaming statues, and two goats clipping the grass in a ravine that would be hard to cut.

I had several things in mind, finally said to myself, do something manageable. Severable people came to talk in French or English. I finally asked a woman from Australia if she'd take a photo of me with my phone. She was happy to do it for me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Musee Rodin

Year's ago, the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC housed a large exhibition on Rodin. It was marvelous; recreated his studio with his works all throught the exhibition.

The jewel in the crown of that exhibition was a new casting of his Gates of Hell. It was awe inspiring then, and even more so a few days ago when I came face to face with all of the preparatory studies in plaster, in stages, of varying sizes. And then the bronzes in varying sizes.

And that was just for this one major work. So here are just a few photos of the working out of ideas, and a casting of the work itself sitting in the garden in the rain.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Paris, another incident

David told me yesterday about the suicide at the altar of Notre Dame. I never saw anything about it on the BBC news channel. I had just been there the night before for a service, and there was no security at all.

I am going back today with my backpack and climb the tower. I suppose they'll let me take it?

I did get searched two evenings ago before climbing the Arc de Triomphe.

Last evening after a morning walk and an afternoon of painting, I walked across one of the bridges to Ile Saint Louis, the small island. There was a crowd on the bridge. They wete all looking at the river. I strolled over to investigate. Apparently, a man jumped into the Seine from the next bridge up. The police and rescue guys were they. Four frogmen wete in the water searching. Haven't heard a thing on the news about this.

I watched the frogmen thinking how wonderful they are to put their lives in danger.

There was sun this morning. Hope I didn't miss it.

Paris Companions

David and Janet flanking Sasha in front of Gerard Mulot. Inside this store are some miraculous treats for your tastebuds!


1. Cafe alongee noisette, Cafe Luxembourg in my neighborhood. I added a little sugar to this one, remembering Italy two years ago and how they said a little would bring out the sweetness of the coffee.
2. Cafe au lait, on Rue des Rosiers in the Marais. This cup was heaven itself. It was more like a latte in the states, but that foam on top was thick, like an airy marshmellow. I was self-indulgent and had two of these.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Paris Market: Plein Air Chickens!

It's official, even chickens paint plein air! Of course it was an open air market.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Paris Day 4: a day of surprises!

My alarm didn't ring yesterday; and it didn't make a sound this morning either. So, I woke but fell back to sleep.

The phone rang at 10:00 AM. It was Janet. We met at noon and met at the Palais de Luxemburg for an exposition of paintings by Marc Chagall. I was surprised to see all the different mediums he used. There were magnificent drawings in pen and ink. Some of these seemed almost etching like. He used watercolor and gouache, there was a series of dry point prints, graphite drawings, and of course his oils. It was really wonderful to see this retrospective of more than 6 rooms and get a greater sense of who and what this artist did.

Janet's her husband, David, and I were joined by a young woman named Sasha, who had gone to school with their son at Goucher College in Maryland. Sasha was delightfully stylish, in addition to being intelligent and in full command of the French language.

We all went to lunch at a swank Cafe des Editors, and they was a woman squeezed in beside us that had a manuscript she was editing. Honestly, we were all squeezed in like sardines, the French way. Where they put the fat, ?????

I had scallops (ST. JACQUES) in honor of my upcoming walk. They were laying on a bed of fluffy, light as air, celery root puree, and covered with a foam of something. The menu said "emulsion of lard fume". I didn't taste bacon or smoke, and it was the first foam I've seen or eaten in person in person. (You know you see it on the Food Channel from time to time.)

We exited the cafe and said our goodbyes to Sasha. There in from of the cafe was a large tree in bloom, with books hanging in it. I felt a little sorry for them hanging out in the rain.

David wanted to walk, and went his way. Janet was going to go back to her apartment, but decided to walk with me for a while. We headed in the direction of the Seine.

Soon after turning on to Rue des Ecoles, we happemed upon an art supply store. I'd been to Equisse my second dau here, but the windows were so wonderful, and when I looked inside everthing was magnificent to see, so in we went.

Charvin was the brand. Located at 57 quai des Augustins. Of course I didn't need anything, but I bought a palette knife, a tube of oil color - I told Janet to pick one, a hard bound sketchbook - something I wouldn't take because it's heavy, and of all things, a painters smock that was designed for, or after, Corot's. Jean-Phillip was very nice. He modeled the smock and let me take lots of photos of the boutique.

Back on the street, Quasimoto's bells were calling the faithful and the tourists to mass. I went, and Janet went home. I was happy to hear the organ, and made a couple quick sketches in my book.

I walked home in the rain, happy. My day had been filled with great company and lovely surprises. Paris, it's pretty magical.