A virtual door opened to a real world opportunity and I ran tripping over the threshold. Of course I wanted to go to Paris! I knew it would change me; I hoped it would improve my art. I didn’t know it would change everything.
I didn’t study French. No way would I learn it in a month. I re-studied Art History. I dusted off my art tome, found my notes in it, and read the relevant sections. I had no intention of spending all my time in museums. I knew Paris was saturated with art.
I wanted to see what Modigliani saw. I wanted to sit for a future famous artist on Montmartre. I wanted to haunt Pere Lechaise, and these things I did. I romanticized about sipping leisurely cafe au lait, and those darling bits of sugar they come with, though I don’t take my coffee sweet. Sitting at the cafe’ I could absorb everything in photo, drawing, or verse. In this regard however, Paris had other plans for me.
Instead I walked. I am glad I did. Although Paris and I are blood sisters and I fear my feet will never recover. Paris was gritty, it was a black and purple haze and old instruments in shop windows. It was five Euro store fantastic and discount shopping in the dark. It was Salad Grand on the Passage des Abbesses and pear tart with champagne in a travel mug. I found I suddenly saw the light about Starbucks since theirs was the only coffee available to go. I was only ashamed for a moment. Ok, I’ll try it with that adorable sugar.
I crashed in a flat in Choisey-le-Roi, took the train to Tours and spent two days in Amsterdam. I took 1,000 pictures and vowed to paint them all. Things I had seen before in books began to take on shape, space and weight. I started to think about my art differently, and it effected the way I thought of my life. My choices took on a color and my longings a tone, like a pattern coming into focus. I had never admitted to being an artist, but that changed as I sat sketching The Sorbonne’. When done I promised myself I would stop saying “I can’t draw”. I think I began to make art then.
So I saw the tombs of Chopin and Modigliani. I sat for a portrait by a man who captured me all too well. I met the most amazing locals who showed me what “the heart of Paris” really means. I sat facebook flirting from the Rive Gauche and bought street art in front of The Pompidou. I learned more about myself than I did about art, like a bird escaping a cage. Paris changed everything. Oh how I fell in love! I even adore sugar with my coffee.