Saturday, October 24, 2015

Once Upon a Time on the Rue de Lyon

There was a room full of women creating beauty and fun and whimsy and serenity with watercolors, pencils and pens. 
They came together from Australia, the U.S., and the U.K. to be inspired and learn a bit from their fearless leader, Jane Davenport. 
They drew turned faces without a lot of erases...since every line has a purpose.
They spent only one week in this room, but their art will be forever changed with hints of Impressionists or bright Daniel Smith watercolors.

Man, what a week. Thursday was our last day in Paris with Jane.  I tried hard to make it count!  Here's my final but of art from the week...unicornicopia of awesome. I've never tried to draw a horse before, as far as I can recall, but I used a reference photo from our day's adventure and it seems to have worked!
Jane and Angus put together a wonderful treat for our morning: we took the metro to Bercy and were treated to a tour at Le Musee des Arts Forain.  I just love that it's on Rue Lhuereux, which sort of translates to "happy street."

The property is a hidden gem amongst regular office and apartment buildings; it was originally built as a storage area for wine and, according to our tour guide, was rather key in the wine distribution and growth of wine culture in Paris.  Apparently, Louis Pasteur was a local and so wine was described as a "hygienic beverage" since the alcohol would help clear the bacteria from water.  Why drink dirty water when wine is available?  haaaaaaa

The wine storage barns and rails have been transformed to house the private collection of M. Jean-Paul Favand--an extraordinary eclectic collection of amusements and toys and games from fairs and carnivals and shows dating back to the mid-1800's.  Absolutely unbelievable.

It's a wonderland of delights in every direction...just look at this view complete with chandeliers dangling from tree limbs:

The museum supports itself with private tours and reception rentals.  Can you imagine your party guests riding a 150-year-old carousel?  We actually got to ride a lovely carousel, spin on a crazy bicycle ride, hear a traveling carnival organ, and play some games.  I took too many photos for inspiration later, so here's a small sampling...

After the museum, several of us stopped for a delightful lunch at St.M cafee, near the metro stop at Bercy.  We took far longer than expected, but I enjoyed every bite of that dejeuner.

Once back in the workroom, Jane continued the fanciful theme of the day with a lesson on mermaids. We've been working on our faces so diligently all week that it was time to expand...but not so far as to require a full body workup, thank goodness!  Here's my spread from the afternoon starting with a sketched head on an already-collaged page start:
Since the non-hand looked so crazy I gave her some macroons to eat!  Theyy have been a favorite snack this week.  Love the little pastel bites.

Here's a shot of the can see we were well into creating and generally gave up on keeping the tables tidy.  I know I work big and messy, normally, so it was a challenge to keep it even this clean!

After it all got cleaned up in the afternoon, though, we called the class "closed" and spent a bit of time sharing our work from the week.  It was awesome because each of us came to the class from such varied backgrounds with different skillsets and motivation, but all felt the inspiration of Paris and took tons of lessons and tricks and tips from Jane.  It was a really positive experience to be able to create in a time-space-place like this.

Our final group activity involved food...crepes, to be exact.  We all strolled down the street to a tiny little creperie and enjoyed both savory and sweet options.  This was my final crepe view.  Thank goodness for Nutella.  

I went to sleep Thursday night with a fully belly, a happy creative brain, and dreams of returning to Paris to explore some more. 


  1. Your posts have me inspired and excited me. If Jane has another workshop in Paris. I just might sign up for it. From your posts it was worth every penny spent on it.

  2. Lucky you to get to be a member of a fun workshop in such an inspirational place! I'm jealous!

  3. So exciting! Thanks for sharing your adventure!


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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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