Sketch of the day: Paris au revoir

Our last day in Paris was spent in the Impressionism collection at the top floor of the Musee d’Orsay. Just walking through and seeing all the iconic works gave me gooseflesh: on the left, Manet’s picnic on the grass with that naked lady who looks you in the eye. On the right, Cezannes and Sisleys and a rich supply of Degas, with whom I’ve fallen in love all over again. Made lots of little pencil sketches, trying to figure out what makes a good painting tick. More about that later.

Afterwards Antman, looking a little shaggy, got himself seated in a traditional Parisian barber shop, and was clipped with finesse and aplomb. He came out looking wonderfully French. I approved.

Posting by iPhone is kind of clunky but I appreciate your readership and comments and wish I could have answered. We’ve just returned to Copenhagen and can resume our Nordic lifestyle. But we’ll be back to Paris one of these days. A bientot!

20141019-132444.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Friday sketchbook: Musee d’Orsay, Paris

20141017-183456.jpg

20141017-183530.jpg

20141017-183556.jpg

Amid the late 19th Century sculptures at the great Musee d’Orsay, a group of students sat drawing. From the marble figure of a young woman tenderly kissing the brow of a severed head (she was a Muse kissing inspiration into the mind of poet Andre Chenier, and hope I got that right) to a gorilla taking a struggling, buxom nude woman captive, (which was odd on so many levels and who knows- it might have inspired Edgar Rice Burroughs to write Tarzan) with a chipped flint in its big paw suggesting a tool- using simian culture, to the multi stone woman draping her white marble mantle over a fashionable skirt of polychrome travertine, well, the Muse was kissing many brows today.

The students, as it turns out, were taking a web design class at the University, with drawing as part of their curriculum. Bravo to the Professor and the University for bringing an essential visual skill to those students. And their sketches were awesome.

Happy Friday.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sketches From Paris: A Pope’s Installation

20141016-170751.jpg

At Notre Dame today, a bronze statue of Pope John Paul II was placed facing the Seine. I happened to pass by as it was being lowered by crane. Then it was swaddled in a green tarp. The unveiling is next week. Watercolor over pencil in Moleskine sketchbook.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Copenhagen Culture Night, and an unrelated Paris question

Lights on the harbor, Copenhagen, at the tail-end of Culture Night.

Culture Night lights on Copenhagen’s calm harbor. The city turned into one vast Open House.

Still recovering from Copenhagen’s Culture Night (Friday) and have no sketches to show for it, although it was fun surfing the tide of humanity in and out of concerts, Danish military drills, museums, 12th century ruins under a palace, the halls of power at the Danish Parliament (think: Borgen), and a unique ballet on the Botanical Garden’s lake, where a glowing sprite danced eerily on the water. It was ingeniously done: a projector beamed the will-‘o-the-wisp onto clouds of fog and it danced on the lake to insistent cello orchestrations (which I can’t get out of my head) for a superbly stirring effect.

Brilliant light-play at the Thorvaldsen Museum. Seeing the Thorvaldsen after dark, with dramatic lights and music swelling through the museum, took the sculptures to a whole other plane. I almost think this is the only way to see it.

Brilliant light-play after dark in the Thorvaldsen Museum. This might be the best way to view sculpture: as a performance piece.

A friend took his family to kid-friendly venues. At the Ministry for the Environment, kids made their own crepes in a fire-pit and a deer was gutted and grilled; at an art museum, a room-sized chocolate-colored clay birthday cake complete with lit candles featured the artist herself embedded nude in the frosting.

The Royal Drum Corps beat a night tattoo using glow-in-the-dark drumsticks. At the finish the sticks were tossed in a whirl of pink, green and blue into the the crowd. Antman caught one and slipped it in his coat pocket. Whenever we lost each other in the surging crowds, he held it high as a beacon to guide me back to safe harbor.

Think: Borgen. Great series about the Danish Parliament. On Culture Night, the Parliament was open to the public, with each political party holding a little meet and greet in their own room opening off the main corridors. I took some campaign literature and scoped out the candidates, of course.

The Parliament was open on Culture Night. With lots of political parties in Denmark, there were many festive rooms set up for meet-and-greets. On the sly, I collected campaign literature.

This Wednesday we head off to Paris, our first trip. I’m practicing my bon jours and s’il vous plaits and sharpening pencils, and I have a question for you: what’s your favorite place to sketch in Paris? Let me know, and I’ll try to go there and make a drawing. Thanks in advance for your recommendations.

Happy Monday!

Posted in Adventure!, architecture, Art, Artists, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Diversions, Exhibits, Family, garden, museums, Music, Politics, Pop culture references, Sculpture, self-indulgence, Sketching, travel, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Friday Sketchbook: Copenhagen Zoo and a Night of Culture, Too

Muskox and hooded crows at Copenhagen Zoo. Watercolor over pencil, Robert Bateman 8 1/2" x 11 sketchbook.

Muskox and hooded crows at Copenhagen Zoo. Watercolor over pencil, Robert Bateman 8 1/2″ x 11 sketchbook.

At the Copenhagen Zoo today, drawing many new animals. The rainforest walkthrough was enchanting- rich and properly steamy with living plants and birds that displayed and sang. A good thing to see in a zoo.

Reindeer, Copenhagen Zoo. Pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1/2" x 11 sketchbook.

Reindeer, Copenhagen Zoo. Pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1/2″ x 11 sketchbook.

This reindeer bull was nosing around a doe in estrus. I made a little sketch and added a wish for a future Santa’s helper.

Humboldt's penguins, Copenhagen Zoo, pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1/2" x 11 sketchbook.

Humboldt’s penguins, Copenhagen Zoo, pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1/2″ x 11 sketchbook.

Humboldt's penguins at the Copenhagen Zoo, underwater view. Pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1/2" x 11 sketchbook.

Humboldt’s penguins at the Copenhagen Zoo, underwater view. Pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1/2″ x 11 sketchbook.

Humboldt's penguin, Copenhagen Zoo, inordinately attracted to my red mechanical pencil. Did it look like a fish?

Humboldt’s penguin, Copenhagen Zoo, inordinately attracted to my red mechanical pencil, which must look like a fish.

The penguins were a kick, especially from below.

Crested seriema, Copenhagen Zoo. Pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1/2" x 11 sketchbook.

Crested seriema, Copenhagen Zoo. Pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1/2″ x 11 sketchbook.

Lesser Malayan Mouse Deer,  black-necked weaver, Copenhagen Zoo. Pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1/2" x 11 sketchbook.

Lesser Malayan Mouse Deer, black-necked weaver, Copenhagen Zoo. Pencil on Robert Bateman 8 1/2″ x 11 sketchbook.

It was a good day well spent, and now it’s time for Copenhagen Culture Night, or, rather, Kulturnatten. The city turns tonight into a huge party with music, dance, food, concerts, light shows, you name it. There are big doings on every street in town. Museums open their doors. Concerts, tours, light shows, food demos, endless fun. It’s just starting up- you can hear the roll of drums. Time to join the party.

Happy Friday.

Posted in Adventure!, Art, bird art, birds, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Diversions, Drawing, Exhibits, mammals, natural history, Nature, rainforest, Sketching, Urban Nature, Watercolor, Wildlife, Zoo Sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How those Nyhavn boats keep so nice and clean

Boat washers on Nyhavn Canal, Copenhagen. Standing on floating platforms alongside one of the dozen or so vessels parked- or is moored the right word?- to the quay. Some are tied side-by-side to save space. A channel is left down the middle the tour boats and the mallard ducks' navigation

Two boat washers on Nyhavn Canal scrub the sides of one of the ships moored to the quay. They washed this one for over an hour before moving on to the next one. Some ships are double-parked, tied alongside another to save space, leaving a center channel wide enough for tour boats and mallard ducks. The washers worked standing on their wooden rafts, moving on to the next boat by pushing off and floating gently down the stream. Merrily, even. Watercolor over pencil on Arches 140 lb. cold press paper, 9″ x 12″

Posted in Art, Boats, Copenhagen, Denmark, Environment, field sketching, urban sketching, Watercolor | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sketch of the Day: Gamekeeper’s Cottage, Deer Park

There's a fancy little palace in the heart of the Jaegersborg Deer Park, called The Hermitage. Basically a hunting lodge for the King. This isn't it. It's

There’s a fancy little palace in the heart of the Jaegersborg Deer Park called The Hermitage which was the King’s hunting lodge once upon a time when they had hunts here. This ain’t it. I think this might have been a caretaker’s or gamekeeper’s residence. Either way, nothing says “cute” like a thatched roof cottage. Watercolor over pencil, Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook.

This is the Hermitage- seen from the back door, which I think is more interesting. The front entry is quite grand. Inside it's been restored completely and is open for tours, but so far, not when I've visited.

The view around the back at the Hermitage, which I think is the more interesting side. Rococo, even.

Posted in architecture, Art, Denmark, Drawing, field sketching, landscapes | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments