Today and tomorrow mark the halfway point of our senior citizen semester abroad. Two weeks in London, six weeks in Ireland, and three weeks in Paris. (Approximately) It has been what I expected in some ways and different in others. While some of our experiences were predictable, many have been unexpected.
Expected: beautiful art work in museums and galleries; beautiful scenery in Ireland; difficulty driving in Ireland; lots of photographs; meeting friendly people; learning new things about painting; having some cramped living conditions with much “togetherness”; dealing with unexpected travel changes/difficulties.
Unexpected: cool rainy weather into July; mastering driving in Ireland; not much plenn aire painting (related to the weather); many new artists whom I did not know about; being more tired with all the walking in Paris than I was 10 years ago; many more panhandlers and pickpockets in Paris than I remember; missing our home.
I think we adapted pretty well to the weather situation. Now that it’s sunny and warm in Paris we can get out more freely, but the heat makes us slow down. Plenn aire painting will be more possible when we take to the countryside later in August. There will be fewer museums to eat up our days and many more sights to stop and paint. I have not been able to get my vision around painting city scapes in Paris. Rural landscapes are much more in my mind. However, as you can see below I have been experimenting with painting people. This started with sketches while out and about.
It has been exciting to learn about many new (to me) painters. The flip side is that my head is filled to overflowing with all of this information. I find I need down days to process what I’ve seen. In Ireland we would just take a day or two a week to stay at home, which helped me mentally process what we had seen and learned. In Paris the walking makes us so tired that down days come naturally.
I continue to maintain that retirement is underrated. I miss some of my friends at VA, but I don’t miss working. However, I have begun to miss our home in Seattle. We have been comfortable and welcomed everywhere and been with wonderful people, but there is nothing like home. I didn’t expect this because I’ve always been content with travel. However, this is longer than I’ve ever been away before and I can feel the pull of home. It may be strong enough to get me through the next long grey winter in Seattle.
Although I haven’t posted any paintings for quite some time, I have been painting. At Rock-a-Doon Lodge I painted some watercolors. Here in Paris we have converted the kitchen into a two-person studio. I’ve managed several paintings while here. All of these are experiments with new styles of painting as well as new ideas and techniques. Each museum visit brings fresh ideas that I try out. The attached slide show is photos of some of my recent paintings. Two impressions of Le Tour de France, two in a series I’m calling Les Parisiennes (I think you’ll see the theme); one from Horn Head in Ireland, Paris geraniums, a Paris street scene, and the Deportation Memorial on Ile de la Cite. Thereare no comments to let you know what I was trying to do with each experiment, but I hope you can see the different styles and techniques I’m trying out. I welcome any comments.