Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jour 11 – A Los Angeles Childhood – Pastels, Le Premier Fois
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 19:50

It’s a day on the cusp of summer. I breathe in the fresh air, a taste of rain, a few drops come down as I walk over to Luxembourg Gardens. This is day one of the pastels for me. I open the box of Sennelier, turn the notebook to the first page of its spiral 40 pages and begin. Grass, dried leaves, dirt/pebble path, three trees, a patch of blue sky, rain clouds, two pigeons, and one statue, all fit in with some forms, an essence. When I finish, I realize I have tried to fit it all in…everything. A cacophony of fighting images and upper right a statue, just white with gray marble base. Pigeons. Too much, but at least I have begun. A way to go before I am happy with my image, but I must say, I am happy to begin.

Then noise out on Boulevard St. Michel, a hundred people on bicycles, police escorts and ah Paris, Sunday. I snap a few photos. Then back to the Gardens. I sit on the terrace in front of Jeanne, Queen of Navarre. I look out over the basin, the children placing their sailboats on the water and the wind taking them this way and that. Many people gather in twos and threes. The sun plays hide and seek in the clouds. The clock on the senate chimes the quarter hour.  A group of young schoolgirls in uniform sing and play. Jeanne watches the hands on the clock. She surveys the time or not. To her it is everything and nothing. She has been there since the 1800s. Off to my upper left the Eiffel Tower.

I return to the apartment, take off my painting shirt and go out to catch the 21 bus to meet my friend Sonia to see Monet’s Waterlillies at L’Orangerie. First bicycles, now roller bladers a couple of hundred of them. “Why do you do this”, I ask one as he comes over when I motion to him. “For fun. Every Sunday from the Bastille and around the city.” Quel concept!

Of course, for me, nothing goes as planned and I do find the 72 bus but it will be an hour before it arrives so I take a taxi to meet Sonia.

It’s all worth it. As many times as I have seen these paintings, I am still wowed by the canvases going around the room, egg shaped to house these fantastic paintings. Last year Sonia and I went to see the gardens themselves at Giverny. Sonia shares with me that her mother was an artist, but never saw these paintings but did her own rendition of them.

We take the metro to Chatelet-Les Halles and Sonia goes off to Gare de North to catch her train home and I go back for one last stroll in the Gardens before coming back to just be in Paris.

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