Audacity. Isn’t that what living is all about? Do it. Be audacious.
Street lamps, sunshine and old buildings make a feast for my eyes. I have wanted to experience this place and have the audacity to paint it. Renoir painted it from a cafe window in the spring of 1872. He sent his brother out to talk with the people in the street to make them stand still for his painting. Monet sat at the same cafe window in the fall of the same year and painted his version.
One hundred and forty one years later, my brother and I walk across the oldest bridge in Paris, Pont Neuf. My first day in Paris. We ate crepes and headed for the Seine. I was oblivious to the people, totally immersed in the sensation of walking on the stone in the shadow of tall street lamps.
My first painting gathered the facts of what I saw but lacked the feeling. How to capture the sensation of actually being on that ancient bridge?
I started again with a bigger brush and larger sheet of Arches watercolor paper.
Swashes of color for the sky. Very wide sidewalk. I hint at the shapes of buildings whispering secrets. Street lamps march to the horizon. I paint the woman walking toward me, but no, she became me and I turn her around. I’m a transparent orange silhouette immersed in my own experience. The world is a kaleidoscope of orange sunshine and blue shadows.
This is what Pont Neuf feels like to me on my first day in the city of light.
Brilliant orange and full of possibilities.
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