And all I had was time, and so do most Parisians. Or at least it seems that way as they leisurely walk, wait in line, or wait patiently while a customer explains their life story.
It took a little bit to shift modes, to slow my roll as it were and realize not only was Rome not built in a day, but neither was everything around me. Even though I had my agenda, I kept things manageable, soaking in only so much and giving myself enough time to think about what I’d just seen. I took copious audio notes in the moment, like for instance while viewing the COROT show at the Musée Marmottan. Though, more handy than having to write things down, it left me to photograph the more important pieces that seemed to speak to me. And no…this self-portrait was not one of them. ahem.
One thing that stood out to me that I found to be a great resource. In many of the large canvasses of figurative works, the attention to hands seemed very prevalent. Hands are something an artist can always get better at constructing. Next to the eyes they’re the second most commonly looked at feature, and is usually a good sign whether an artist has put in the hard work. So I photographed a lot of hands from various museums and put them on their own pinterest board. And while we’re at it, feet are also another dead giveaway. I added some of those as well. Though, not as extensive, I’m now in pursuit of more hands and feet, like an Old-World troll…or some such.
Now to the main event…the Musée d’Orsay. If you’re an artist, or even if you’re not the economy and impact of this museum cannot be underestimated. I came back here a half dozen times to draw and view all five floors of this magnificent place. When I was there they even had a show from the Nordic countries which was on par with everything else on display. The sculptures and the variety of paintings are all topnotch. Here’s my pinterest board for what I was most excited about. Again, the sculptures will be put together on my youtube channel at a later date…and boy, are they worth it.
There wasn’t a time when the museum wasn’t busy. Luckily, they do stay open later on Wednesdays and Fridays where the crowds do thin out some later in the day. On Fridays especially, I was able to double-up and head over across the Seine to the Louvre to draw sculptures until about 9:30 when they started kicking people out. Parisians see closing time as an estimate…or more importantly, cutting into their own time off. So…even though the place closed at 10pm you were asked to leave before then. Depending on the security person, they may move you out more swiftly. Your mileage may vary.
With that kind of inspiration gnawing at the back of my mind, it was hard not to want to get out and do some art. But for the time being I spent much of my time soaking up would I could not get from the hollowed halls of museums in the Pacific Northwest–namely sculpture. You can’t go too far without seeing a doorway, a frieze or a stand-alone sculpture commemorating some event or person or thing. There’s easily more sculpture than there are coffeehouses in Seattle…and that’s saying something. And the rich history of symbolism and literature is not lost on anyone. For as much as the Parisians seem to love Hollywood movies and television shows, they seem to like their storytelling just as much. To me it’s all apples an oranges.
One day I decided to take in a movie not far away from may apartment. I wanted to see Avengers: Infinity War. For whatever reason I screwed up the VO for the VF. VO is version originale (English) and VF is version francais. So, along with three other people I saw my favorite superheroes dubbed in French and surprisingly the movie still held together. A week later I went to see The Man Who Killed Don Quixote…in VO (yes I learned!) and thankfully not only was the film a little better attended, I got to enjoy…albeit in a very steamy, hot and airless theater, the movie in my native language. And it was a very good film besides.
Otherwise…I’d officially cut my ties to anything American and was loving it. From watching American pop culture to walking like a man on a mission. I was even strolling in a different language, one step at a time.