Just to be clear, I’m not spending my Sunday morning in Paris, but instead, I’m preparing work for the week ahead. So I’m going to write this post as the day goes on as a welcome and occasional distraction from the boring stuff!
I’ll start with a couple of panoramic shots of Paris – one of my favourite cities. This one taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe looking out towards La Defense and the futuristic Grande Arche – part of President Mitterand’s legacy.
This shot was taken from Sacre Coeur, looking down over Montmartre and a curiously threatening weather system. My daughter lived on the Boulevard de Clichy near the Pigalle metro station, just along from the Moulin Rouge. Picasso also lived here – at number 11. While Edgar Degas lived at number 6.
Meanwhile, underground, the sign for the St.Paul metro station in le Marais – one of my favourite districts in Paris. Can still remember the haunting sound of Ave Maria being sung in the quiet station at night as a brightly lit train emerged from the dark tunnel. Strangely incongruous while oddly perfect. Le Marais has some excellent restaurants and bars, not to mention some great boutique hotels. I stayed just around the corner from the Place des Vosges in the Hotel des Chevaliers, now the Hostellerie du Marais – http://www.hostelleriedumarais.com/
This Italian restaurant and pizza takeaway was in the Montmartre district. I really liked the colour of the timber cladding.
Still on the slopes of Montmartre – good exercise I should add – you’ll see an eclectic jumble of buildings filling every space. Be ready for some hefty climbing up endless flights of stairs in these apartment buildings if, like me, you don’t fancy getting in tiny old lifts that resemble that device that rescued the Chilean miners.
Autumn was approaching as this picture was taken one Sunday morning – late September – and in contrast to the UK which relaxed it’s Sunday trading laws, Paris still offers a relaxed treat as shops are closed and only cafes and restaurants are open. You get a sense of the city taking a weekly pause for breath.
Here it is again. Barely a pedestrian in sight and the traffic has calmed to a trickle.
Two contrasting pieces of graffiti from Cartagena in Murcia, Southern Spain. The first seems to be some sort of political comment.
While the second is an altogether gentler image if that’s the right word.
Of course, I could be wrong…
Wonder what Picasso would have made of it all?
Ceret is a small town in southern France. It’s also a town with strong artistic credentials, not least as the home of the Musee d’Art Moderne.
Ceret was also a favourite haunt of Picasso. It remains a very attractive and unspoilt town with quite an intimate atmosphere. This piece of al fresco ceramic art is tucked away just off the main street and shows various aspects of the town, including it’s 14th century Pont du Diable in the top left.
For reasons best known to my teachers at Hillfoot Hey Grammar School, my art lessons came to an end at the age of 12 and instead I was to study French. Don’t think I realised at the time just how big a decision this was to be for me. I’d opted out of my piano lessons when I was about 8 or 9, so at least I’ve got no-one else to blame for not playing the piano except myself. But painting, well that’s a different matter. So it was with some trepidation, many years later, that I joined an art class taught by my friend, Peter, who’d trained at Liverpool Art School with John Lennon. Soon I was drawing and painting in class and independently. This painting below started life as a sketch of a rather exotic looking plant in my garden. Working in acrylics and on a canvas about 18inches by 15inches, I decided to try my hand at an abstract painting based on those original sketches. Big bold colours were definitely the order of the day as you can see.
As for influences on this particular painting, I really couldn’t say, but in general I’d have to cite Cezanne as a painter whose work’s always fascinated me. At University in Cardiff, I think I had a print of one of his many paintings of Mount St.Victoire. The picture below is certainly very similar.
Amazing paintings and a real inspiration. Here are a couple of watercolours I painted last year near Ceret in France last year. I’ll blog about Ceret another time, but for now I’ll simply say that this little town was a favourite haunt of Picasso many years ago.
Welcome to red hibiscus – a creative depository.
Years ago, my friend Damian referred to me as ‘renaissance man’ . Had it come from anyone else, I might have dismissed it as a touch of sarcasm. But he’d become aware that I was an aspiring creative interested in all kinds of stuff ; works of literature from Dickens to Steinbeck to Stephen King ; the paintings of Picasso, Turner and Basquiat ; music from Steely Dan to Chopin.
And not just the work of others; I paint and draw and enjoy all sorts of creative writing ,too. Plus photography, of course. I’m told I’m pretty good. You can be the judge.
Finally, red hibiscus will celebrate the creative experiences that travel’s brought me.
Here’s hoping that red hibiscus becomes a happy and inspiring blog destination for everyone.