On our last day in Paris we went to the large department store Lafayette. We scoped out the art supply and craft sections (few supplies; scrapbooking seems to be catching on; lots of felting crafts!). We checked out the fashions: the French spend a lot of money of clothing that is finely made; all the big fashion houses had small in-store shops. In the toy section I found two polar bears that I've been seeking for years. They are realistically modeled and I collect these animals as drawing subjects.
On the flight from Iceland to Minneapolis, since I couldn't watch the movie, I took out one of the bears intending to draw him on this page I'd prepared with the store's wrapping paper. I stuck the bear to my tray clip with tape from my rubbing kit and a hair elastic. (It made for interesting conversation with the young man seated next to me, who finally gave in and took a photo of the contraption after he suggested I use the hair elastic. "You didn't realize we are the in-flight entertainment?" I said. He had the grace to laugh.)
While my friend worked on her knitting, I spent the next 4 hours drawing the bear from different positions using my thin notebook with gridded pages. These are reductions of several of those drawings that I added to this page when I got home.
The evening of my return, and the following morning I finished my journal with collages made up of French newspapers, magazines, store brochures, ticket stubs and the like. All these little bits and pieces remind me of things I saw in Paris and give me a glimpse of how people live there (the cost of food, clothing, apartment rental), the kinds of cars they drive, the edgy and risque level of advertising that is visible everywhere in the city.
Regrets? I didn't draw any bread while I was there. The next time I go to Paris I want to draw the breads I try and I want to visit a bakery to see behind the scenes. Needless to say, bread withdrawal was a hard one for me. The chocolate is good in Paris, maybe even great (depending on your tastes and which shop you go to), but you can get good chocolate anywhere these days, thanks to specialty shops and the internet. Bread doesn't travel. It is always best when you run out the door and down to the corner to fetch it from where it's made.
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Illustration © 2006 Roz Stendahl; All Rights Reserved