Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hola from Spain!

Monserrat adventure.
Flowers on the edge of the castle wall overlooking the city!
Mac and I trying so hard to take tourist pictures. We cant get out the reference shot habit!

Hey friends! I made it safely and soundly with minimal complications to Spain! Dane and Mackenzie who took the train from Paris found me wandering aimlessly on La Ramblas and took me to our hotel Riel Roma around midday on Monday. Tuesday we went to Segrada Familia, the highlight of any church ever! Oh man! When I was here two summers ago we just saw the outside, but the inside is absolutely breathtaking! We then took a scenic bus tour to the Montjuic Park where we hiked for 3 hours through endless gardens to the Castle overlooking the city and the ocean. Yesterday we took the train up to Monserrat, but unfortunately couldnt go up to the basillica because the funicular was closed for maintence. So we hiked down to the river and ate peaches, sat in the sun and sketched. We took the train to Manresa and had lunch. We had the best tapas EVER last night. We ate at like 11. Things happen so much later here. We are having a wonderful time. Tonight we sent Dane to a soccer game and Mac and I are going to a movie and going shopping for purses. Congratulations to Mackenzie for getting her internship in Marsielle, France!!!! I am so excited for her!!! Tomorrow we are planning a pilgramage to the Dali museum. Saturday I leave for London!

Love you all! I will write again from London!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Almost done :(

Oh no only three more days in Paris! Sunday morning I leave for Barcelona. And this morning all 4 of us missed breakfast and around 11 find our way out of bed and to the Ed to buy cough drops, Kleenex and cheese tarts. Of course we all have the same cold! We were all kind of cranky as we activated our 2 day museum passes. We made a lengthy list of everything we still wanted to do in Paris. Today we made it to the Catacombs, Pantheon, Notre Dame crypt, Notre Dame top and the tea shop. I like it when we walk with purpose. Wandering is great, but not when you have a painting quota, wet feet and a cold. I was not feeling very good at all so I came back to the FIAP to get some painting and napping done.

Yesterday was a painting day. I slept in and had some much needed alone time. I walked to greek food down the road for lunch. The two men at the greek shop gave me free brownies and candy and practiced their English on me. We had another FIAP soirée at 7. But this was a sit down 4 course meal with live music. I sat with some people from Brazil and some people studying French and architecture from Walnut California. I had the best wine I’ve had thus far. The food was Slavic (the singer was Croatian) and delicious!

Tuesday we had an art demo in the field. We were 30 minutes late because we underestimated the time it would take to get there on the metro. I also underestimated the number of layers I should wear. In my head if it is sunny outside it means I should wear less layers, but in actually there are no clouds so it is freezing! In the demo Michael showed us how to use washes with pen on top to get just the feeling of what you are trying to paint. It frustrated me that my paintings can’t look like his. After the demo I was freezing so I bought 400 degree French onion soup at a café. So good! It started to rain so I went into Sacre Couer to warm up and do some sketching. We took the metro back home. That night we watched the inauguration and had our art show. Yay! Michael gave Karly and I some of the best chocolate ever! Oh man I could barely have one little piece at a time it was so rich! After dinner we went out to celebrate our midterm being over. Don’t worry I am still getting my work done; I was finishing a painting while Karly did my hair to go out. We had a lot of fun at our favorite little American bar in the latin quarter called the Long Hop. It was not a dancing night, but we made it a dancing night! We then had a girls night and watched Sex and the City the movie and snuggled 5 girls on my little bed. Fun, fun!

Tomorrow is another museum day and also Friday! Depending on how much work I get done tonight, I may go ice-skating with a whole bunch of people from our class later! But I have a paper and 4 more paintings to get done before Saturday evening.

I hope everything is well in the states! Oh and I am reading all of your comments! Thank you for commenting friends!!!! <3

Monday, January 19, 2009

Parisian Pastimes

My first almost, maybe, kind of successful watercolor! Hooray! I was sitting in a bookstore window ledge and all the shops in this little market were closed, but then the bookstore guy came out and yelled at me when it was time to open.
This is a poster for the art show that Karly and I designed. They will be in all of the elevators and around the FIAP. If you are in Paris tomorrow you should stop by! I used some of my gallery skills to hang our pieces this morning! We didn't have a tape measure so I stole my roommate's floss and made things happen.

Last night we went to the French movie theater at the Les Halles metro stop, but most of the movies were in English! We saw Australia (Emily I take back whatever I said before)!!! It was indeed better when you see the whole thing through and I may have almost enjoyed it except I had a migraine. The previews were in French though and it was so funny to watch that new Kate and Leo movie when they are speaking French! Haha! But it was good, a taste of home. I walked out of the theater thinking I was in America and then everyone around me was discussing the movie in French.

Saturday we did a lot of painting and drawing. We had class at noon at the copy center. I slept in past breakfast, which is apparently now in the new resturant on the 1st floor. Everyone is getting tired of crissonts and coco puffs. So today they gave us kix and toast! Ahh so much bread! PS Ma I found my meal card someone turned it into the front desk. And yes I am eating good. My poor bank account can attest to the 6-12 euro a day lunch we have to buy.

Friday was so much freaking fun! We went shopping and I bought the most fabulous shoes ever (for only 14 euro!) Haha. They are bright pink barbie doll pumps! At first I had trouble walking, but I got the hang of it (I have a new respect for America's Next Top Model girls!!!) We picked up Sarah's Norweigian friends and went to the latin quarter. We found an expensive piano bar and got free drinks thanks to Sarah's dress. :) Then we found the best dance club ever with great (american) music. We had so much fun dancing with each other and the occasional french guy. Unfortunately the metro closes at 1 so we had to leave. The metro ride home was almost as fun as the dancing.

But now I have to go, we are meeting Sarah and her brother at San Michel after lunch so we can go to the Per Lachaise Cemetery! Yay!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I just booked a plane ticket to Barcelona and then to London! One more week of Paris, 4 days of Spain and then 4 months of London! Life is rocking my face off!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Me being silly with a mirror at the Picasso Museum.
I love so many things about this photo. I really shows the dynamic oddness of our group! Michael being Michael at end of the mirror wall. Alisha fixing her makeup, Ashley being quiet in the back, Sarah being awkward in the front and Mackenzie trying to snuggle with me. Haha! We have a lot of fun together! There are seven of us in our group. We all get along well, for the most part.
Gate at Versaille. The angle is awkward because it is in my sketchbook.
This is a 12 inch little piece of wall at Versaille. I love the little details and all the gold everywhere. I feel like palaces like Versaille and the Louvre could be my motivation to marry rich!
Ashley and I outside Versaille sketching! Everyone's mother wanted a picture of us. I am sketching the gate (see above). Cobblestones are freezing to sit on!

This was right before I ruined any sort of art cred I ever had. Dang it Monet and Manet sound so similiar :( From now until forever I will remember Monet -Water Lillies. In this picture is Sarah, me, Ashley and Mackenzie (and Monet).

This is "my man" who keeps showing up everywhere! Last night we turned a corner at the Arc d'triumph and he was there and huge. He is also at the Louvre. Can't you just imagine his speech bubble saying "She said what?!"
Statue at the Louvre. One of my first sketches. Uh a starting point ... if you will.
RER to Versaille. Cool negative space... But there was someone's shoulder in the way and I didnt conciously realize that I was leaving room for it. The lady in the back made me insane because while I was drawing her she took off her jacket, her hat, put up her hair and started eating something. Dear world, please be still while I draw you.

Watercolor isn't going so well for me. But it will and I will post some. Monday we have an art show for our midterm. I am secretly excited to wear my new dress for the opening! It also means I need to work work work! The other class seriously does nothing compared to us. They have class for 2 hours every other day and we have class for like 7 hours everyday with the weekends off. And in the night we have to finish sketches from that day. Anyway I need to finish a still life of lichee I bought at the market before we go shopping this afternoon!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bonjour from Paris!

First of all, yes I am alive! Not to mention I am completely living out my wildest dreams!!! Let me tell you all about the past 9 days of my life!

So I arrived in Paris last Sunday. I had a kind of a rough start. My flight was delayed and my class and professor left me at the Charles de Gaulle airport :(. Let me tell you there is nothing more frightening than being alone, lost and a non French speaker in one of the biggest airports in the world! 4 hours later, minimal tears and a 60 euro cab later I made it to the hostel. Yay!

Our first day was lost in a blur of stress and jetlag. But the second day we were up at 4 am partly due to the excitement of being in Paris and to our unacclimated body clocks. We had a scavenger hunt around the city. Michael (our professor) basically gave us our metro passes and sent us through the turn style to figure out the metro system. It was rough and ended in a test of my map reading skills and a 5 mile walk in the snow. It was 17 degrees! I was sure my feet had frost bite! That night we had a soirée back at the hostel with some snobby kids from some fancy art school in the states. We were supposed to mingle, but I spent the entire time feeling very sick and pretending to drink the nasty wine they gave us. I ended up spending the rest of the night throwing up over a dozen times (my poor roommate)! I think it might have been food poisoning or the flu or stress or a combination of everything. Whatever it was, it was zero percent fun. The next day was the d’Orsay and I was in no condition to love art.

Wednesday was our scheduled Louvre day. And there is nothing like a promise of great art to get you better fast! The Louvre was better than I could ever imagine. I don’t think I can even explain my elation! Michael literally ran us through the Louvre in the morning. I was almost in tears as we mall walked past these famous works I have studied in art history class. French painting was my favorite section and we did get to spend sometime there. We went to a Richelieu Café and paid so freaking much for some of the best soup ever (see Ma I mentioned the art before the soup). We then sat in the French sculpture section for 3 hours drawing sculptures. People kept coming and looking over my shoulder and giving me weird looks. Hello haven’t you seen someone drawing before?! But there were people sketching all over the Louvre. Ahh I loved it!

Thursday I think I almost died of dream fulfillment! We were invited to the art school where Degas, Van Gough and Delacroix studied and taught, Les Beaux-Arts. Seriously no one goes to this place, but Michael had a friend who was a friend of the professor. We got to sit in on a figure drawing class. For those of you who don’t know, figure drawing is a study of the human body using nude models. It is not weird, it is a anatomical study of the human form as a frame that is essential to understanding how clothes hang on that frame. The class started and the students took their places around the models at huge chalkboards surrounding the room. The time started and they drew as fast as they could and just erased their work when the were done. The students that came in late had to climb a little ladder up to a balcony where they sketched the models from above. There were some empty chalkboard space and the professor asked if anyone from our class wanted to sketch. I said OF COURSE and dragged Mackenzie up to the balcony with me. I tried really hard, but the odd perspective, nerves of being in front of the class and my limited knowledge of human anatomy left me feeling inferior to the beaux-arts students. Ahh you don’t even know how awesome it was to be in that classroom!

Friday was a free day and we went to the Eifel tower. Meh. It was cool, I guess. Lots of tourists and overpriced food. But you have to go right? I wandered the streets and bought a hot dog. I did some sketches and found a nice bench and begrudgingly did the expected and totally cliché Eifel tower sketch.

Saturday we went to the flea market and I learned to bargain aggressively. I bought a vintage Parisian dress and three scarves. We had some weird encounters with strange French men who liked to call us “baby”, but it was overall fun and a totally new experience for me! The girls I was with wanted to go to what we began calling “the button store” at the Les Halles metro stop. It was a very cool notions- yarn-bead-button-ribbon collection of a store. We found a cute hole in the wall café and the girls made fun of me for ordering French fries.

Sunday was Versaille! We took the metro to the RER train out of Paris. It was a 30 minute ride (just enough time for a sketch!) This was probably my most productive day of sketching! Before we went in, Ashley and I sat on the cobble stone outside the gate and did sketches. Tourists started crowding over us and taking our picture. Silly, silly! We did the whole audioguide tourist thing for about half the museum and then got caught up in drawing in a room near the hall of mirrors. 3 hours later we realized that we were starving and ran through the rest looking for the sortie! We found the best little Greek Café in town (which was a total surprise since nothing is open on Sundays here! My vote was on McDonalds, but Mackenzie would not allow it). For 6 euro we had the best chicken sandwich pita deals and spent another 2 hours drawing. We rode the RER back. In the lobby that night we finished our drawings at the bar and met some people from RISD who seemed interested in our endeavors. They were mostly interested in Ashley and then it was awkward because we were with our professor.

Monday we did a sketch crawl with Michael through the city. We went to Cluny Museum and I drew a drinking cup with chicken feet. Not my favorite museum. We then went to Notre Dame and sketched. The darn Bosnian gypsies are so persistent and annoying! I was painting outside and every 3 minutes a woman did the whole “you speak English?” ploy. We followed Michael through the streets like Madeline. Single file that is, he is not nun like in anyway and there was no yellow hat involved. (Speaking of which, C-line remember when you re-gifted my Christmas present?) We went to the Picasso museum. It is so cool to me to see his paintings where he obviously understands the human form and can do accurate, real life representations, but he purposefully chooses to distort and simplify the form. We ended at the Pompidou, the modern art museum. It was a little too much class for one day and we stayed for 20 minutes before we left for home.

Yesterday we went to d’Orsay and did the whole postimpressionism and impressionism thing; Luncheon on the Grass being our main focus. We also looked at different styles of portrait paintings. Some of these paintings made me feel a lot better about how my watercolors are coming out. We then went to the Rodin museum and saw famous sculptures like The Kiss and The Thinker. I tried a watercolor outside because it is a lot warmer this week. I was so wrapped up in my painting that I didn’t even notice that is started raining. I took a reference shot and ran to the little café at the museum.

Today we went to the Louvre again and sketched more statues and copied one Dutch and one French painting. We went to l’Orangerie to see Monet’s water lilies. Tomorrow we are going to a street market to work on our one point perspective drawings and outdoor watercolor.

I hope all is well at home! I am exhausted and creatived out! I am having such a good time and miss you all dearly!