Charles Marville photographed Paris as it was converting to boulevards and grand buildings, and the photos he took show us what was left of a ancient city turned medieval city turned modern city…breathtakingly romantic and festering at the same time.
The drawing above was from one of his photographs that I can’t seem to find now, but you get the idea of the light and darks of the narrow streets, and the deteriorating buildings. You’ll find such narrow streets in the Marais area of Paris still, but the rest of the city has wide streets with grand buildings which replace what would have been many streets back in the day.
It was this setting whose rooftops were the initial inspiration for all those rooftop rabbit paintings!
I love riding into Paris by train. The fields and small towns go by and the modern, depressing tall apartment buildings complexes sprout up out of nowhere. They have patches of graffiti and parking lots huddled around their foundations. Maybe a shantytown. And then the architecture suddenly becomes majestic. It happens so quick.
The Abbaye de Chaalis is a Cistercian monastery, the church of which is now in ruins. It must have been enormous, it had 25 chapels and in the abbey’s heyday of the 1300s the abbots were very successful indeed between the game in the woods and the fish in their many ponds. They also had the benefit of money being donated constantly by their local congregation! Now the grounds belong to France and you can visit the works of art–mostly Italian–and the abbot’s chapel with frescoes by Francesco Primaticcio. We got there at nightfall (before 5pm in winter, such a short day!) and I did a sketch of the chapel through the ruins of the church.
One week to the day after returning from a month-long trip to the west coast my fiancee suffered a heart attack. Luckily he was at work where many people were near and able to help him; not out on his own on a run, like I had suggested he take the night before. What followed was a series of events so large that my small, scattered brain is still trying to fully comprehend. By the time I dropped off our daughter with a friend and made it to the hospital, he had already come out of surgery that removed the block in the artery and placed a stint. He transferred to the ICU and was weak, but recovering, when I left again to take our daughter home to meet the babysitter…this is when inexplicably he went into cardiac arrest and needed resuscitation.
That night was the most scary, he had so much trouble breathing.
Feeling so much better the following day, he was able to sit up and take liquids. The next day he transferred to the recovery floor in Cardiology and was able to get stronger over two days. That’s when I was able to draw him, which was a welcome calm in the middle of a storm of stress, confusion, and activity.
He was fitted with an external defibrillator and was able to go home for real rest…he’s much stronger now but still needs to take it easy. A few weeks from now we’ll be able to get test results back that will tell us of his heart condition, cholesterol and artery health, and we can consider rehab and next steps.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement while we worked through this!
Karen contacted me for a very special Father’s Day commission for a trio of lovely individuals: her husband, son, and their beagle. Her son adores his daddy, and loves the romping outdoorsy aspect of summer. I think we have a farmer on our hands with his love for daddy’s ‘tractor’ (Lawnmower) and barns! I produced 3 roughs for Karen to choose from, below.
Click on images to enlarge.
She went with one of the more fantastical ones, much to my delight!
Here are a few close-ups:
Thank you, Karen! What a wonderful family you have!
Wow, after a super boring first half the second half was ON FIRE. I always cheer Germany, but Ghana wanted this and played a really good game. They wanted it bad–I was disappointed with how Germany played at first, none of the swift organized teamwork that I saw in 2010. It seemed like they were so non-athletic compared to Ghana. I loved the strut! You earned it, lads! That German keeper was ticked.