Thursday, 31 March 2016

Odette – From Discovery to Capturing in Watercolours

Paris in October? Don’t mind if I do – especially when it comes with free accommodation 5 minute’s walk from Notre Dame.  I turned 50 at the end of September, so the trip became my “50th Present to Self” – all the while knowing that actually it was going to be all about the paintings.

My only goal this glorious Tuesday was to somehow end up at the feet of Rodin’s Le Penseur - the Thinker. 
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So here I was, on Day 4, my host needing a quiet day at home.  I had the day to myself.  All options were open to me having already “done” the iconic necessaries to create a portfolio of traditional sightseer picture postcards.  The Eiffel Tower?  Quirked.  The Arc du Triomphe?  Likewise. The Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur? Also.
Found on rue de Varenne, it was an easy walk from the apartment but I wanted to let my feet take me on an unknown journey before I arrived there.  I was minded to play the Left : Right Game, starting from the foundations of Notre Dame.
Crossing the bridge south with a vague idea that I might cross paths with the Pantheon, I turned left. My feet quickly found a rhythm of lone walking.  Karyn, my dear Australian buddy from WAAAAY back was a good mate to walk with, but it’s a different rhythm when you walk alone.  The ability to look around, absorb the atmosphere, soak up the very Parisian sounds echoing around me was something I hadn’t done until this moment. I relished every second as my eye caught sight of a total juxtaposition that made me giggle – my very dear Will Shake in the middle of a Parisian street!  
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I was so tempted to stop for the longest time and read, but I kept on going, playing the Left Right Game, and within two streets was rewarded with what is possibly one of my most favourite painting muses of all time – ODETTE.
Here’s the view that stopped me in my tracks!
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Odette is a profiterole shop – chou as they are known in French.  But not just your typical chocolate profiterole, they offer every colour, flavour, inners and outers.  If I did eat wheat (or dairy, or sugar for that matter), I wouldn’t have been painting the shop, I’d have been eating the contents!
Instead, it was time to settle and create, through photos and sketches,  my interpretation of this divine corner of old fashioned Paris.
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From there I found my way to Rodin’s exquisite Thinker via all kinds of adventures including a mouthwatering French Sunday market.  I resisted the urge to buy all manner of sumptuous treats, but allowed my camera to take it all in rather than my mouth!
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I walked my socks off. I can honestly say that it was one of those walks where I felt at times slightly nervous that I’d taken on too much. Living with an underactive thyroid can mean that I have all the energy in the world, but as those of you who also live with this condition will know, you can also be in the middle of something, somewhere, and you simply have to go to sleep.
Well it happened – about 200 yards from the exit of Rodin’s Museum, and about 40 minute’s walk from the flat.  A whole system shut down was creeping in around the edges and I had no fruit, nuts or pills with me to “lift” my energy back up.
I CRAWLED my way back to the apartment and hauled my sorry bones up those 112 stairs.  
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When I got to the top, I honestly felt like this poor polar bear!
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Once back, Karyn very kindly was there with tea, fruit and nuts, and I began to revive after a short snooze.  It was time to start creating the painting I could see in my mind’s eye.
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A colour wash begins to create a little shadowing ….
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And then some exploring of the shadows, roof shades and light …
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Beginning to define the spaces …
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… getting splashy! …
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Detail beginning to be introduced …
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A few people arrive on scene.
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The final 10% begins ….
The finished piece can be seen on the website – and is for sale as a card, post card, print, canvas or original.
I do hope you’ve enjoyed the journey with me – please do leave your comments below!
Much love,
Amanda
Do you have any questions or comments for Amanda?