Saturday, November 05, 2011

 View from the Kitchen Window   Blair PESSEMIER   Oil on canvas  14 x 22 inches

Why are all these people walking around here?  I wondered aloud. 
Blair and I are constantly seeking new places to paint in Paris.  We’ve been painting here for about 12 years, and we’ve covered a lot of territory.   Maybe it was Halloween, but for some reason I felt inspired to visit the cemetery at Montparnasse.  It’s walking distance and is serviced by several buses, too.  Monday was a brilliantly sunny day, and the trees looked heavenly.
What did surprise us is that there were so many people walking around, plants in hand – but of course!   November 1 is a holiday in France (Toussaint:  all saints’ day) to commemorate  the dead.    We soldiered on, despite my protestations that maybe we were being  irreverent.  Actually, a lot of people enjoyed seeing  us painting, especially the kids, who were dragged along to pay respects to grandma. 
The cemetery at Montmartre is not the stellar attraction that the “Cimitiere Pere Lachaise” is.   But even though Jim Morrison is not buried at Montmartre, several other noteworthy folks are, including Baudelaire and Man Ray.  While I was painting, a woman approached me to ask if I knew where Jean-Paul Sartre was.  Huh?
I managed to paint an alley of turquoise trees, as did Blair.   People walked about, carrying pots of chrysanthemums – the classic grave flower here.  Paris cemeteries are quite beautiful – elaborate flower arrangements and extraordinary chapels and sculptures abound.   An extremely lifelike bas-relief of Honore Champion caught my eye.  I also like the stained glass, and cut metal work of the little chapels.
Holidays here are not much fun for Blair and I – we’re not part of society (in some ways a great advantage).   Finding a croissant on the 1st of November was challenging.  We ended up at the Rostand, where I painted the waiter and barman.  Blair got in a “snapshot” painting of trees at the Luxembourg Gardens that morning.  I wasn’t as pleased with mine.  The outdoor food market took place beneath our windows, as usual, but was feebly staffed.
Later in the week, we took to painting from our  apartment windows.  It is a bit of a challenge, as space is limited.  We try to keep up appearances, in case we need to kick in the “bohemian art gallery” mode.  A woman did stop by on Monday to inspect our premises for art lessons, but didn’t seem impressed.  She was very nosy, and I breathed a sigh of relief when she took the elevator down.
Blair painted a view out the kitchen window, as I looked out at the corner of rue de Rennes and boulevard Raspail.   We are both looking forward to our December soujourn to Collioure, where we’ll have a view of the Mediterranean.

Jazzy   Blair PESSEMIER  Oil on canvas  12 x 12 inches SOLD

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