Monday, February 21, 2011

Week 39: Here and There

 Winter trees

Time has flown past. I imagined winter might be endless, but in fact it is passing so quickly I almost want it to slow down. We took delivery on another few liters of fuel for the furnace and 2 more stere of firewood, but frankly the weather has become so mild, we may not be able to use it all up before the summer erases all memory of the cold. 

Another thing which went far too quickly was Margot and Wendy's visit with us. At first we all thought that nine days in the studio sounded like a very long time. Walks and outings were planned to fill in the moments when printmaking projects were finished. It didn't work out that way at all. It wasn't until the end of most afternoons, as the light was beginning to fade, that Margot would look up at the clock and remark, "Well, I guess I better leave for a walk if I'm going to have one." She is faithful about her daily constitutional. I wish I were myself. Instead, Wendy and I would continue to work indoors, me until it was necessary to turn on the overhead lights, Wendy longer still. Much was accomplished, much more left for the next time.

Margot worked exclusively on linoleum, creating three very charming prints. Both Rick and I were inspired to give this technique another try. I ordered a few plates which should arrive late in the week. Margot often works from photos she has taken on her travels as inspiration for her images. They are freely interpreted in her drawings. I like this way of working myself.

The first image she made was of her cat Sam, who, sitting with back turned pretending to be entirely inattentive to what's going on behind him, betrays his interest with ears swiveled around.

The next was a river scene of Lyon, with bikes lined up on the quai and apartment buildings across the water in the background. I love the little white clouds, hooked back by the wind.

The last was of the train station in Paris. She spent a great deal of time on this one. The proof I show here, with her plate, is only in mid-process. She ended up making the ceiling white and a lot more carving out here and there along the plate. I liked it at every stage. It was a lot of fun to watch it evolve.

Wendy's idea from the beginning was to create some plates with details of the village and countryside around us, and put them together in various ways. She works very delicately and her drawings are small and somewhat intricate. I find it very difficult to make such tiny images with anything like the precision that she has.

Rick cut her seven separate plates of 3 different sizes. I loved the way they looked all printed together in a stripe. No plate is more than an inch and a half high and they are all inked separately in browns, blues, greens and black.

She then experimented with printing them individually and in pairs, in several configurations and ink colors. The results were wonderful.

I worked on various things myself during the week, finishing a complicated book project I intend to publish on my family website next month, and started a couple of prints. One is still in progress but the other is more or less ready to print, a village by the sea.


It was Emily´s birthday at the weekend, so we came to Paris to celebrate and provide babysitting assistance while Jos and Emily had a meal alone together in the city. Every time we see Quinn he seems to have grown an enormous amount and uses a whole new group of vocabulary words in his various languages. His new favorite is "À tout", halfway to "À tout à l'heure."

Quinn is absorbed with cars. His latest trick is filling the inside with marbles and taking them out again.

He can also spend a good long time working on a drawing. This one was quite intricate.

When we arrived, Emily was working on a project for her blog post "Nature's Map: a Sewing Project." She used two beautiful fabrics she had bought at IKEA. The blue was on the outside and the white on the inside. She appliqued some of the bird images onto the front.

It turned out very nicely.  

Quinn immediately made it his own.


For Emily's birthday dinner, she wanted to go to dinner at Jim Haynes'. Jim is from Louisiana, but has lived in Paris for almost 40 years. For the last thirty of those he has been inviting up to 70 people to dinner every single Sunday evening. It has become quite a famous event, as anyone who calls him can be put in the list. The idea is to meet lots of people and enjoy an evening of great conviviality in a gorgeous Parisian home. Emily met Jim several years ago and interviewed him for our family web site. We have actually tried to make reservations before, but his dinners fill up quickly.

Jim lives in a very beautiful old atelier with windows from floor to ceiling. It is part of of a row of ten or so others that stand in a very private courtyard. One enters though a tall metal gate from a busy street into a quiet, tree-lined passageway. The noise of the city fades away, replaced by the buzz of people chatting quietly together.

The night was rather mild, so at least with our coats on, we were able to spend time outside in the courtyard and did not need to wedge ourselves into the crowd in the living room. It is something of an acrobatic trick to balance a plate and glass of wine and eat at the same time as standing shoulder to shoulder with a room full of strangers.

Jim sat on a stool by the table and checked us all off his guest list as we arrived, and a friend dished up cassoulet-de-canard and salad. People filed past and picked up plates and then melted back into the crowd to find a place to stand. It was a crazy fun event. We met several interesting people. We all decided we could easily live in a corner of Paris like this.

Rick's oldest son Farid arrives from San Francisco this morning, so I will have a very busy week to report on next post.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this most interesting post. I enjoyed very much Margot's cat picture and Wendy's plate arrangements. I love the prints created with different plates. It's like a suggestion of possibilities but open to changes.
    Emily's bag is wonderfull and seems to announce spring coming soon.