I'm not in Paris, but I was earlier this year. I thought I'd close out 2016 by posting one of the best parts of the year. We took a two-week trip to Paris and did as little as possible. I filled a sketchbook, but just picked a few favorites to share.
Here's one from the park around the corner.
I like to make really unhelpful maps of the places I visit.
Our first full day included a trip to the Pompidou followed by a lovely leisurely dinner around the corner at a charming restaurant.
I took a fat pen and it was so freeing!
Spent about an hour standing on the Pont Neuf looking at the Seine.
We also spent several hours at the Musee d'Orsay. This painting, Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe, is the whole reason I wanted to go back to Paris. I needed to put my eyes on it again. So I spent about 40 minutes with it. It is magnificent.
More fat pen sketches - little kids at the Louvre.
Useless map with amazing tree at the Cimetière du Montparnasse.
Useless map from our last day in Paris. We walked to Shakespeare and Company and had an amazing lunch at a Basque restaurant then strolled past Notre Dame on the way back to our apartment. It was a magical day and a magical trip.
That thing where you made the decision to put away all of your in-progress oil paintings because it just isn't oil painting time for you, and you're all ready to just work on small things and experiment, and then you accidentally think of how to make those in-progress oil paintings into the kind of work you want to see. That's what's going on here.
I recently experienced the joy of a weekend in Hot Springs, AR, with a bunch of my girlfriends. If you live near Hot Springs but haven't been, you should rectify that situation. Right now would be a great time, as they were putting up all kinds of Christmas decorations throughout the downtown while we were there.
We stayed at The Arlington Hotel, which is very quaint, with a bar and bandstand in the lobby, and right in the middle of everything so you are in close proximity to the baths and the Pancake Shop. What more do you need?
What you need is six other smart, funny, fun women to share the experience with you. That is what we had going on.
After a relaxing and therapeutic experience at the baths (seriously, my masseuse was more like a therapist), we ate at Ronaldo's on the patio that is built into the side of the mountain. And drank margaritas - we had to replenish those toxins post-bath.
Then naps, then coffee. This was sketched from a nice little place called Kollective Coffee and Tea.
We wandered down Central Avenue to the Copper Penny Pub, and were entertained by this guitar and cello duo called Rozenbridge.
Sunday we went to the other pancake place, Colonial Pancake & Waffle house, and later walked around, stopping at the Superior Bathhouse and Brewery for a growler to take home.
Sketched in watercolor from the parking lot at work. That building in the distance is one of those Memphis places that changed names so many times I have no idea what the name of it is. The funny thing is, I think it's had the same name for about 20 years, but it had so many names before that I can't remember it.
This random collection of things ended up in my sketchbook over the course of a few days. I arrived at a restaurant earlier than my dinner companions and sketched the handy helium tank in the corner.
A few days later was my first Fast Sketching class at Flicker Street Studio, and I brought flowers, nuts and candy for the class start by sketching small things. The flowers had great texture, the nuts had great patterns, and I loved pairing those with the hard edges and lettering of candy wrappers.
I recently taught Fast Sketching at Flicker Street Studio. One thing I love about that class is showing examples of work by other sketchers - all the different techniques and styles and materials are so inspiring! I even found the stack of sketching books inspiring and sketched them!
My friends Melissa and James recently fostered nine newborn puppies, and they invited everyone they knew to come play with them! I endured a half a day of allergic itchy face for a couple of hours of cuddling with these cuties.
Stillman & Birn sent me a few softcover sketchbook samples, including this small Epsilon. It's a smooth paper and I love it! Ink and watercolor go on great - they take a little longer to dry than a bumpier paper, but I love the effect.
Last Friday I made a trip out to Collierville to get my beloved boots serviced, and I had to stop at Mensis Dairy Bar to get a super good burger and shake! That's the building down there on the bottom right, with the water tower behind it.
Then after work I went to the Words Matter event at Playhouse on the Square - part of the Mid-South Book Festival - and sketched some of the performances.
In lieu of a therapist or confessional, I have this blog.
Since you already know how little I’ve been scanning my sketches, let me
confess to you how little I’ve been painting lately. (And when I refer to painting here on my personal blog, I do
mean oil painting on paper or on canvas in my studio, mostly from photographs.)
Last year at the end of August I worked to get my painting
mojo back, and immediately followed that up with a three-month jag of house-hunting,
selling and moving, though I was able to do some painting during that time.
Then at the beginning of this year I had some commissions
(several paintings and a sketch!), and working on them was a great way to get
to know my new studio. After the commissions it was just all work work work on
the Urban Sketchers Symposium during June and July.
After that was done and I was back from Manchester and
settled back in I thought that it was time to paint. I worked really hard to do
all the other stuff that needed doing so that when Studio Night came around I
could just paint paint paint instead of work work work, which led me to feel
like this when Studio Night came around: “QUICK! HURRY! PAINT! What if I die
tomorrow and there are ten shitty unfinished paintings sitting in my studio?!”
So I’ve been doing a lot of rushed, crappy work for the past few weeks.
I’ve got three months left with Urban Sketchers; my term
as President is up on December 9. I’ve got a lot of work to do until then. I
know better than to try to force the painting. After December 9, when the Era
of Lazy Elizabeth begins, I will be painting at my own pace on Studio Nights,
sketching whenever I feel like it, playing with new art materials and thinking
about how to teach with them, looking at more art, and engaging with my local
art community (once again).
Don’t get me wrong, I love Urban Sketchers like it’s a
member of my family, but what I don’t love is my own Leo/ISTJ/oldest-daughter need
to take charge of everything that interests me, and become so focused on it
that other things suffer.
So here’s a sketch of my desk and coffee cup, and of
Memphis Pizza Cafe that I did waiting to pick up a pizza one Studio Night a
couple of weeks before the Symposium. Maybe one day I will scan my sketches
from the Symposium, too!