I had the great pleasure of spending five days in the astonishingly beautiful city of Paris last week – hence the lack of my usual weekly post. As much as part of me wanted to spend my days painting and sketching (and I did travel with all the necessary bits and bobs to spend my days doing just that) this was a family holiday; and family comes first. As much as I find my own artistic efforts endlessly entertaining – as often as not for all the wrong reasons – I can’t hold it against my loved ones for not sharing quite the same level of enthusiasm!

It was nevertheless a wonderfully rich visual extravaganza, a real feast for the eyes, heart and soul. This was my first visit in over fifteen years and I’d forgotten quite how beautiful Paris is, even when it’s grey and overcast as it was for most of our time there. Accepting that I wasn’t going to get much sketching done, I was quite prolific with my camera, trying to capture as much as I could that I might bring back to the studio. It will take me a while to sort through all of the photos, and decide what I might be able to work up into a painting but hopefully, I’ll be able to do some Parisian paintings in the not too distant future.

We traveled by Eurostar and, on the return journey, the sun began to shine and really brought the rolling French countryside to life. Holding my phone up against the window I took lots of random photos as we hurtled along, accepting that most of them would be discarded at a later date but hoping I might catch the odd view that might be of interest. With time pushed to spend anytime painting recently, I’ve so far only managed to do this one painting on a quarter sheet:

View from a speeding train… Borre, somewhere between Lille and Calais
The sat nav on my phone tells me that this is a view towards Borre, somewhere between Lille and Calais. After a few weeks away from my paints, it felt great just to be dashing something down and, considering my absence, and that I was just looking at a photo on my phone, I was quite pleased with this as a notation.

I know that I’m unlikely to be able to eke out much more time painting for a short while so I might try a few more of these quick ‘views from a speeding train’ just to keep my hand in!

I’m also aware that with the nights drawing in, I’m going to be even more pushed for time than usual to squeeze my painting in. In an effort to address this, I’m thinking of investing in a specialist ‘daylight light’. I’ve seen a few on the market but, if anyone has any experience of these and any recommendations, I’d really like to hear from you before I make a decision.

6 thoughts on “Paris… and priorities

  1. Hi and thank you for your interesting blog. I have just today received a Daylight lamp from Coopers of Stortford and am over the moon with it. They said it could take up to 28 days for delivery but actually arrived within 5 and was very well packaged. It’s a good size and the spread is more than enough for me to paint at my easel at night with the proper daylight effect. It only cost just under £30 plus p&p and will totally transform my ability to paint watercolours at night. At the moment when I see my painting in daylight the yellows look really off and somewhat garish.
    Happy painting and hope this helps. Do let me know if you get one.

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    1. Hi Carole and thanks so much for your recommendation – I’m really pleased for you that you’re happy with your new light and what it means for your evening paintings – just what I’m looking for too. I’m not familiar with Coopers of Stortford but will be off to check them out now. Thanks so much for taking the time to get in touch and I’ll be sure to post the details of whatever I end up with! – off to visit Coopers now!

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    1. Thanks so much for the recommendation, much appreciated. I’ve just had a quick peek at the ‘OTT’ light website and can see that there’s quite a range to choose from. This might not be as easy as I thought it was going to be! Thanks so much for taking the time to get in touch, I really appreciate it.

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    1. Thanks so much and so pleased you like the painting. So far I’ve definitely got one set of photos from a day when the sun made a brief appearance that I’m confident I’ll be able to work into something, and there are some other possibilities too, but I think I still need to practice my ‘photography with a view to painting’ as I’m having to discard so many!

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