Antique French Chair [print here]
I love traveling vicariously through my sketchbook, illustrations, and photographs. This week I’ve been traveling via my daily paintings, including a Barcelona balcony and a colorful Paris street [images 1 and 2 below]. While I’ve enjoyed exploring closer to home this summer, it can't compete with traveling down a far-away highway on an extended road trip or getting off a plane in a new city or country.
A few years ago I was in Paris for a brief weekend visit and as I was wandering around Montmartre alone on a warm, sunny, picture-perfect afternoon, I walked around a corner and found myself in the middle of a flea market. It was one of my favorite travel moments. A few leafy trees cast welcome shadows over the stalls and I slowly wandered, returning to the same tables over and over again, admiring the sewing notions and light fixtures and coffee pots and books and artwork and dresses and vases and much, much more. It is not an exaggeration to say that it was the flea market of my dreams. I bought a few things to bring home, including some vintage buttons and a bracelet, but I had to settle for taking photographs of everything else. I’m so glad I did because I revisit those photographs often, and on Sunday I started painting a collection of some of my favorite things from that day .
All of this reminded me of the first thing I painted from that magical magical flea market: the yellow chair above. Honestly, I probably didn’t pay any specific attention to this chair while I was walking around that sunny afternoon in Paris. I love chairs, but it’s not a style that I’m particularly drawn to. However, when looking at my photographs later, it really stood out to me as a classic example of French style and I knew I had to paint it.
On Sunday I went back through those photographs and as I picked a few things out for that day’s painting (which still is only halfway finished!), I realized that there are so many more good things in those photographs waiting to be painted. I always meant to begin an illustration series based on the treasures from that day, along with the other things I love about Paris: green metal chairs in The Luxembourg Gardens, sidewalk cafes, and colorful, ornate doors, and balconies. I wandered into that flea market four years ago, but perhaps now the time is right for finally reviving that series. Besides, a return to Paris isn’t on my itinerary any time soon, so painting will have to be my mode of transportation.
[1 - a Barcelona balcony]
[2 - a Paris street]
[3 - a few of my favorite things]