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Sketches

Well, this will need a little explanation. Yesterday, in my post I made a reference to turning into a “salivating bulging-eyed feminist monster of Rush Limbaugh’s nightmares.” Since I haven’t done a drawing in a while, I thought I’d make a little caricature poking fun of myself. Just so I’m not misunderstood, I do call myself a feminist and I’m just making fun of myself, not feminists in general.

Self-portrait. Surprisingly like.

Self-portrait. Surprisingly like.

Well, I just thought that when sketch day rolled around on Tuesday, I’d head on over to the Louvre. It wasn’t on my bucket list because I don’t have a bucket list, but it was one of those things you think to yourself that you’re going to do one day, so Tuesday was going to be the day except – the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. Therefore, Monday is Sketch Day this week.

My apologies for the poor quality of the photographs. I don’t have a proper set up here for photographing my drawings.

I started in the Cour Marly, which is a court which has been enclosed with a skylight and houses sculptures mainly from the period of Louis XIV. As usual, my subjects were chosen by the location of convenient seating. This is a sculpture of a river goddess.

statue

Here is another sculpture from the courtyard. It is of a pair of wrestlers. I couldn’t find a convenient place to sit, so I drew it standing up, which was a bit of a challenge. The hand of one of the figures is missing. I didn’t just get lazy.

wrestlers

From the Cour Marly, I went into the rooms housing French sculpture from the middle ages. There was a lot of interesting stuff and I regretted not having a stool since there were few places to sit. I began sketching this stone head of an apostle that was located by a window. I had only just begun blocking it in, but I liked the geometric feel, so I left it.

head of an apostle

Eventually, I came across this fabulous sculpture representing death. Death is not simply a skeleton, but he still has some flesh clinging to him. His abdomen is ripped open and you can see his spine. It’s so much scarier than a simple skeleton. Unsurprisingly, this was originally located in a cemetery in Paris.

death

Still in the French sculpture rooms, I was moving forward in time and entered some rooms with renaissance sculptures. This is a statue of what I presume is Diana with a stag.

diana

Eventually, I moved into the Louvre’s other sculpture courtyard, the Cour Puget. The museum started closing while I was drawing and I never did get the name of this statue of a woman holding an infant reaching for a crown. Considering the period, I would take a stab and guess that it shows Louis XIV during his minority, but it could be XV or Jesus, or any king-baby.

king

Every time I took out my pad and pencil, it seemed to start drizzling. If you happen to wonder how I choose my subjects, my method is really simple. I look for a convenient place to pant my butt.

I walked down to the Seine hoping to find a location with where I could get a bit of perspective. It the tip of the Ile de la Cité has a small park where I was able to sit down. A weeping willow tree framed the pont neuf in a way that was decidedly picturesque.

pont-neuf-2

However, it started to rain before I could get very far on my sketch. So I got up an walked along the river. The rain stopped as I was passing by a bench. I started to draw the bridge from the other side.

pont-neuf-1

Then, of course, it started to rain again. So I packed up my pad and pencils and headed for a cafe.

There was a very pretty young woman at another table and when she wasn’t looking I tried to sketch her. When she looked back my way, I put the pencil down, not noticing a slight slope to the table. The pencil rolled off and I lunged to get it, knocking over my coffee. The waiter was kind enough to bring me another.

I’m afraid my sketch doesn’t do her justice. She was exceedingly pretty.

woman-in-cafe

After finishing my meal and my coffee, I headed home.

In part because I am keeping a blog this year, I’ve been photographing far more obsessively than on previous trips. However, it makes a person look at things differently, often less intensely. Your experience is mediated by the camera even when you are not looking through it. I realized that this evening when, shortly after sundown, I was crossing the pont Louis-Phillippe. It had stopped raining and the sky was just starting to clear. The sky was a blue-gray and the river was a blue-gray, reflecting the sky in the distance, blending into a brown or greenish gray in the foreground. The buildings appeared pale, gray, yet almost pink. The towers of Notre Dame loomed to my left and, in the distance, the slate gray roofs of the turrets of the Conciergerie poked into the sky. Over them, spots of pink and orange dotted the sky where the clouds had moved away revealing the day’s last bit of sun. In the meantime, the street lamps were illuminated with their odd orange light and reflected as inverted exclamation points in the Seine.

Taken by the harmony of the colors, I thought momentarily if I only had my camera, then I realized it was better that I didn’t because I could enjoy the evening as an evening rather than as an image of an evening.

I went out with my laptop/tablet today hoping to do a little digital sketching. It was more or less impossible because of the glare on the screen.

A digital sketch of the cité

A digital sketch of the Cité Metro station,

Finally, I just got frustrated and whipped out the notebook I brought with me for writing. Not the choicest paper or pencil, but it was far easier than the tablet.

view_from_cafe

window

man_looking_at_phone

pont_neuf

fontaine_des_innocentes

It’s a bit rough, but I haven’t slept.

a sketch of some people at a cafe.I know this is really rough, but I’m so tired. It was such a beautiful day that I didn’t want to waste it sleeping, but I’m half delerious at the moment.

Whew. Don’t ask me why I haven’t written because I don’t have a good explanation. Anyway, since Tuesday is usually sketch day, I thought it would be a good way to get back in the saddle. I started a drawing, but I didn’t finish is, so I’m posting more old work. This time, it’s a pen and ink drawing.A landscape of some old ruins.