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Posts Tagged ‘Notre Dame de Paris’

Folks have responded so well to my little art projects that I thought I would show you a few pages from my sketchbook from the last few days, as I get ready to head towards teh airport. The first one is a little more elaborate and was done at my desk on the basis of a photo that I included in a recent posting. It took a lot longer than the others and I had the benefit of having carefully composed the shot with my camera. Composition is a lot harder when you have a scene right in front of you and you try to decide what part of it you want to draw.

The other two sketches were done outdoors as I stood looking at the Pont Saint-Michel across the Seine and then a few minutes later when I was looking at Notre Dame from an overlook point. They were definitely quick sketches, ironically enough because I was on my way to a sketching tour.

It is challenging but fun to learn to feel secure enough to try to draw in public. I am not paranoid in stating that people are watching you—they are.

This will probably be my last posting from Paris, though I have a few more postings that I have conceptualized that I will probably do after my return. Three weeks ago, I remember warning readers that my postings would be different while I was in Paris and they definitely have been. In many ways, I am happy to be ending this trip with a posting with handmade images, images that are deeply personal and reflective of the way that I spent my time here.

Thanks to all of who have stuck with me on this trip and have encouraged me along the way. It has been a weird and wonderful time. As most of you know, the French word for “memories” is “souvenirs.” These little drawings will help to spark my memories in ways that no mass-produced “souvenirs” could ever do.

“Au revoir, Paris.” It doesn’t really mean “good-bye”—it’s more like “Farewell, until we meet again.” I am pretty sure I will be back again before too long.

 

Montmartre sketch

Pont St Michel Bridge sketch

Notre Dame de Paris sketch

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I knew that doing a painting of Notre Dame de Paris is well beyond my current skill level with watercolors, but I decided this evening that I had to give it a try before I leave this beautiful city tomorrow. I just got done with my little painting using DaVinci watercolors on Fabriano Artistico paper and it is 5×7 inches in size (13×18 cm).

I won’t bore you will all of the reasons why this is a tough subject, but I chose the front view, which made things a little easier and I ended up simplifying a lot of details. The paper is not really flat at the moment, which means the photo I took looks a little warped, but I think you can see well enough what I accomplished.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with the results. I may give it another go from home, but it is recognizable, I think as Notre Dame—I especially thrilled that I completed this while I was still in Paris.

In case you are curious, I based it roughly on a photo that I took today that is included after the painting.

 

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It is finally beginning to hit me that my stay here in Paris will soon be coming to a close. Will this shot from yesterday evening be my final image of Notre Dame de Paris in the fading light of the day? Perhaps I will have a chance again tomorrow.

We’ll always have Paris.

Notre Dame de Paris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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After I did the posting called Sunrise on the Seine earlier today, I realized that it did not truly give readers a sense of location. Yes, it was in Paris, and yes, it was on the Seine River. The image was pretty, but it didn’t really speak “Paris.”

I shot a lot of photos this morning as I walked and stopped on the paved pathway down near the water level of the river. I was hoping to be able to capture an image of Notre Dame at sunrise. The angles and timing did not quite work out as I expected. By the time Notre Dame came into view, the sun had already risen a little too high and was directly in front of me.

When sorting through my photos, I initially rejected this image because the bright sun created a hot spot in the image. Later today, I decided to revisit the image and decided I liked it. Why? It has Notre Dame in the frame, of course, but it also shows the effects of the early morning sun as the rays illuminate the boat on the right and the concrete barrier along the pathway.

So, I decided to break my normal pattern and post multiple images today. It’s Paris, after all—I am sure I will be forgiven if I feel extra inspired here.

 

Notre Dame at sunrise

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Saturday morning sunrise on the Seine River. What a great way to start today in Paris.

Sunrise on the Seine

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday, on the day of my arrival in Paris, I felt drawn to visit Notre Dame de Paris, anxious to assess its current condition. There was a lot of worldwide press on the fire in April 2019, but since that time Notre Dame has  disappeared from the headlines, at least in the United States.

My first view of the cathedral was of the towers, which appear to be relatively intact. From that angle, as shown in the second photo, I had no idea of the extent of the damage the fire had caused.

When I crossed to the bank of the Seine River and walked down to the water level, I could clearly see the massive devastation. There is scaffolding supporting part of the structure and tarps covering other areas. This is a familiar angle for me, and I distinctively sense and feel the loss of the roof and the spire that are no longer present.

I am sure that I will photograph Notre Dame multiple times during this stay in Paris, but it seems appropriate to share these photos today, as I compose my first post from this beautiful city.

If you have not seen my photos of Notre Dame de Paris in 2011 that were featured in my last post, Temporary change of venue, check it out and you can do your own comparisons.

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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The content of my blog will be radically different during the next three weeks because I will be in Paris, France, not Northern Virginia. The “wild life” that I am likely to photograph in Paris will definitely not be the same as the usual (and unusual) creatures that are featured regularly in my posts.

Those of you who have followed me for a while know that in the past I have made week-long work trips to places like Vienna, Austria and Brussels, Belgium. During those trips I generally had limited periods of time to simply wander through the streets. I am now fully retired, so my upcoming trip to Paris is strictly for pleasure, not for business. I do not have a detailed itinerary beyond my airline flights and Air Bnb reservation—I am going to just follow where my feet, eyes, and nose lead me.

Paris has a special place in my heart and in my personal history. I majored in French language and literature in college and spent my junior year of college studying in Paris. During those day, when I spoke and thought and read in French, I felt a sense of liberation from my introverted, bookwormish self to the point that some of my friends noted that my personality changed perceptibly when I switched languages. How else can I explain why I was entranced by 19th century French romantic poetry?

In some ways this is a repeat of a similar trip I made in November 2011, after I ceased working full-time as a government employee. (I worked part-time as a contractor for almost eight years after that.) Both trips were intended to be journeys of discovery and re-discovery. Not long ago I qualified for Medicare, which means I am certifiably growing old, and since then I have been quite contemplative, pondering the past, present, and future and looking for those strands in my life that been consistent.

Anyways, I thought I would feature a few photos of Notre Dame that I took in November 2011. It was during that trip that I discovered the joy of shooting with my first DSLR, a Canon Rebel XT. The first two images below show the exterior of the cathedral as it was so beautifully illuminated in the evening. I took the final photo from behind the altar. It saddens me greatly to realize that after the tragic fire earlier this year, I will not be able to take similar shots of Notre Dame during this trip.

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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