Four days into my six week stay in Paris and all I can say is mon dieu! I am extremely fortunate to be staying in an artist loft in Ivry sur Seine thanks to the generosity of artist/healer/psychotherpist Magdalena Groszek. My first impression of the huge warehouse/converted loft was WOW! Every corner reveals a beautiful tableau of objets d’art and effortless scenes that say “Yes, you are in France!”
Despite the bitter cold, there is something to be said for the greyness that seems to envelop Paris like a second skin during the winter. However, having said that, this is the coldest winter spell in about fifty years, and it is hard to heat up a warehouse. Thank God I brought my fur hat and coat….
One of the most exciting and rewarding things that I have experienced here is the open exchange of ideas amongst the artists and musicians I have met so far. I have been invited to about five artist studios, two of whom live in the communal complex I live in. Check out Francoise Toulouse and Yael Braverman. The three of us are going to an opening I was invited to which will exhibit Argentinian artists working in Paris. Tomorrow I am off to the Musee Rodin (one of the cornerstones of work I wish to pursue on Feminine Sexuality and Aging), and Thursday I will be off to the Musee d’Orsay to hopefully see Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde. I can’t wait to visit the innumerable contemporary galleries but I need to be extremely picky in order to protect the timeI have to actually create. So far I have filmed two very interesting video interviews on my Flip camera, completed two small paintings (just to get the juices flowing), and decided this morning that I will try to keep a sketch journal of the wonderful people I am meeting and drew my first subject this afternoon. (Photos of works in progress to come in the next blog entry I hope).
Despite the fact that my French is not too shabby, it is still a stretch trying to keep up with the conversations that flow around the wine and cheese on subjects as diverse as existentialism, art, love, life, and what is truly important in life….! But every day comes with major and minor lessons in cultural differences. For example, being discretely told by a friend that requesting milk in one’s cafe is a big no-no after breakfast hours. Espresso is de rigueur! Going to the supermarket today I was also surprised and delighted by the lack of calorie content listings on the delectible patisseries! Finally one more lesson anyone visiting Paris should know – when biting into a delicious galette pastry, beware of the hidden feve (a small plastic figurine about an inch tall) hidden inside the galette. Apparently it is good luck to be the one to bite into the slice which contains this hard inedible object hidden inside. I am certainly lucky because I did not break a tooth when I unknowingly bit into my tiny alien creature! A bientot mes amis!!