playing with scale

This afternoon I've been trying to decide what scale of painting I best enjoy working on. I made four studies of these berries and found that there is some kind of equation going on... the size of the object over the amount of detail it represents, multiplied by the way the paint is applied and divided by my favourite brushes somehow equals the size of the finished painting and whether it 'works' for me or not.

Being someone who has been trained to draw rather than paint, I'm learning all the time. Whereas drawing (for me) is often about line and flat tone, I'm finding that painting is more about areas of colour and light and how the subject matter relates to its background.

When I view it as a learning process, it seems easier to do. Maybe that has the effect of overriding my perfectionism... whatever, I'm glad it works.

If you paint or draw... what scale do you enjoy working on?

city of light

I’m not quite sure why Paris is called this, although of course it is filled with wonderful lights of all kinds, including the twinkling wonder of the Eiffel Tower illuminations which sparkle beautifully once an hour during the evening. We watched them from a little park near the Sacre Coeur and it was magical.

As well as being the city of light, we also found that Paris is the city of very expensive cafes, constant bustling crowds, and energy-draining humidity which rather limited our enjoyment of its delights on this occasion. Previously we have visited in the spring and I think this is the best time to go.

We did our noble best of course, and here are a few photographs that hopefully capture a very little of the undeniable poetic glamour, soft-focus elegance and romantic intensity that seep from every pore of this unique city.

These are the stairs from our third-floor apartment down to the little courtyard that led to the street. We stayed in the Temple district, near the Arts et Metiers metro station... a very mixed, non-touristy area that I might not choose again.

Parisians have lovely weddings... Parisians have lovely everything... but it all comes at a big price. It's one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, apparently.

We trekked all over the city and bravely visited the edgy Canal St Martin area to have a cup of coffee at this very trendy landmark building. It was gorgeous inside. Apparently Johnny Depp has a place near here, but there was no sign of the beautiful one... just a rather persistent tramp who found us apparently irresistable.

The Parisians are excellent at municipal bedding in their delightful parks and gardens... not for them rigid rows of Busy Lizzies or begonias... just look at this gorgeous, frivolous, fresh and airy arrangement of cleome, dahlias, cosmos and grasses.

We spent a morning ambling in the vast labyrinth of the Cimetiere Pere Lachaise... this is where many famous musicians, artists, composers, singers, writers and others are buried, including Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.

Now we are home and I am loving the muted autumn light, coloured leaves, open fires , homemade cake and proper tea. It feels so good to be back in the familiarity of our home with the richness of real life available to me rather than the anxious need to fill the hours with the new and the different. There's nothing like a holiday for helping you to appreciate the beauties of home.

à bientôt

Just a quick post to say that tomorrow I am off to Paris for a well-earned break and I am very excited! I have a new lipstick and a list of places to visit... although this will be my fifth trip to Paris there is still so much to see both new and old... I am looking forward to lots of inspiration, dreaming, sitting in cafes and drinking coffee, and I hope to have some lovely photos to show you when I get back. I am hoping not to have to use my parapluie too much...