July 19, 2017 – A Slower Pace in Paris
It’s time to raise the bar and take on new challenges by following through on the ideas I’ve had for several series of paintings inspired by my travels. Fortunately I am staying in a sun-filled home in Belleville where I can work inside at either the library table or the kitchen table and feel as if I’m outdoors in the garden. The laughter of the school children and quiet conversations of my neighbors replicate the sounds sitting at an outdoor café without the delightful distraction of watching street life.
My natural tendency is to rise early in the morning and head out the door to explore. I spend the day wandering wherever my whims take me, snapping photos and executing quick sketches every few yards. I wander back to my lodging after the sun has set. I’ve traveled this way for several years and I love it.
Last year in Paris, I slowed my pace enough to paint a one or two hour plein air sketch each day. This year I’ve slowed my pace even more. I have a definite focus this time. It’s to decipher reflections in glass, mirrors and water; to create strong design while offering viewers various images to reconstruct into stories of their own and to indicate (either obviously or in a subtle manner) a sense of time and place.
In progress … Fisheye Mirror in a Window Display, Rue des Archives, Paris, France (carbon pencil)
After several failed attempts to sketch something useful as reference while standing beside a window display, I realized that to achieve my goal I need to work from photographs. Ouch! As Nicole once said, “It’s time for a change.” … at least for the next few weeks and maybe as long as I’m working on the value studies for my Reflections Series. The carbon pencil drawing above measures 20 cm x 28 cm (approximately 8″ x 11″). I’ve worked on this for four hours and it will probably require another four hours before I move on to another drawing.
When I get to the stage of translating the value sketches into oil on canvas or watercolor on paper I’ll invent the color, making sure the values are correct and using temperature choices for movement within and between the shapes.