Paris – where life imitates art

There are many great cities around the world that boast a hip art scene and magnificent museums. But Paris oozes Art through its pores. The city’s history, its architecture, gardens, food, fashion and lifestyle are marked by a finessed artistic sensibility. It is a city that practices a mindful approach to all aspects of life, long before mindfulness became a 21st century catchphrase.

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Fountain at one of the entrances to the Grand Palais
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Reading room of the Keppler Hotel

Van Gogh and Titian are featured in Louis Vuitton’s new line of handbags

musee de chasse demonstration (18)
One couple, two very different fashion statements
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A ham hock ready for carving. Not something I would eat, but I love the presentation
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Statue at Trocadero overlooking Eiffel Tower
French cafe
Neighborhood cafe. Very patriotic with the ‘bleu, blanc, rouge’!

America has the Stars and Stripes but France is all about stripes. One of France’s most notable artists, Daniel Buren, has crystallized the essence of the stripe in his iconic works. “It was the idea to have something very banal, but very strong,” says the artist in Interview magazine. He calls his stripe motif a visual tool that can transform any physical space.

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Painting by Daniel Buren at the Modern Art Museum, Paris
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Stripes play a big part in French fashion. I couldn’t resist…

EXHIBITIONS – TOP PICKS FOR THE SEASON

There’s always so much going on in Paris that it’s hard to know what to see when time is limited. Two noteworthy exhibitions are being shown concurrently at the Grand Palais – Rodin and Jardins. The Rodin exhibition marks the centenary of the sculptor’s death (1840-1917) and covers Rodin’s extensive creative universe. Jardins (Gardens) is a bit of a stretch from a curatorial standpoint, but there is something for everyone, from antique gardening equipment and Impressionist paintings of gardens, to installations offering contemporary interpretations of nature. Below are two of my sketches from these exhibitions.

I would also recommend two private collections that do not often hit the international circuit. On exhibit at L’Orangerie is the Ishibashi collection normally housed at the Bridgestone Museum in Tokyo. Fabulous. The Caillebotte painting is particularly exquisite. At the Jacquemart-Andre Museum you can catch Spanish businesswoman Alicia Koplowitz’s eclectic collection. Handpicked works by Goya, Tiepolo, Schiele, de Staël, Freud, Rothko and Bourgeois are among this enviable private collection.

Bon voyage!

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Back from Thailand and Australia!

I had never heard of the island of Koh Samui in Thailand, till my best friend’s daughter decided to get married there. And all I can say is I am very pleased she did make Koh Samui her destination of choice. Think deserted beaches, warm winds, Thai massages, fresh coconut and pineapple on the beach, fish grilled in banana leaves, lapping waves, and you might get a brief glimpse into a typical day on the resort. However, I did bring my trusty watercolor pad along and an always surprised at how enjoyable it is to paint small, loose watercolors without overthinking or overplanning the work. I gave a lot of these out to close wedding guests, and was even asked by the manager of the resort if I had more for their gift store. It was so fulfilling to see the genuine joy a little piece of art can bring. Here are three watercolors I brought back with me for my own memories.

Koh Samui beach front

Koh samui resortKoh Samui sun worshipper

After Thailand I was off to Australia to visit with my family in Melbourne. Did not have too much time for the art but did see an incredible Ricky Swallow exhibit and of course saw some pretty incredible street art too (I sort of blend into the picture like a Where’s Waldo puzzle!)

Street art Melbourne