Drawing In The Dark

Today was a very full day.  First I went to a four hour life drawing class at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière.

image imageMy drawings at the Académie were kind of hard work today. As is often the case when I have a day like this, the quick five minute poses turn out the best. I horribly overworked everything else.

I hurried home after class, and had a half hour to put my feet up, grqb a bite to eat, and get ready for the ballet.


The sun was starting to set when I arrived and the light was catching the golden statues on top of the Opera Building. There are always a lot of people milling about, taking pictures, or just sitting on the steps soaking up the atmosphere. It was pretty neat getting to walk up to the big front doors, gain admittance, and walk up that grand staircase.

imageIt wasn’t all that easy to find my seat.  Turns out it is behind a locked door with no door knob, that needs to be opened by an attendant.  I am sitting in a beautiful red plush box seat!


That was a surprise.  I knew I had a railing in front of me, but I assumed it was just a wooden railing because there would be a walkway in front of it, or something similar. I feel rather regal, I must admit. I wonder who else has sat in that very same seat over the years?


The painted curtain rises to reveal a red velvet looking curtain.


imageThe Opera Garnier,  also known as the Palais Garnier,  was completed 139 years ago in 1875, and is now the home of the Paris Ballet.  It holds about 2,000 people and is pretty much sold out most for every performance.  I was very lucky to get such a good seat the day before the show, there were only a few seats left.  There are benefits to travelling solo!


The Chagall Mural and crystal chandelier are stunning!  Actually the entire place is stunning.  The pictures don’t do it justice at all.

I took my pen and sketchbook with me and drew in the dark.  I couldn’t see a thing so I had no idea what I was doing until I could take a look when the lights came on at intermission.image

The first half of the performance was very traditional so there were often dancers posed in the background for a few seconds, which made it a bit easier.  Although I was fairly close to the stage, about a third of the way from the stage, the dancers still looked  still fairly small.  I am so glad I didn’t get a  seat further back.  Sometimes during this performance all the dancers were on stage at  the same time, quite the spectacle!

image The second half of the performance was very contemporary, and the dancers didn’t stop moving for a second! I was pretty sure these drawings were just going to end up as scribbles, but I think they actually still give the feeling of dancers.


imageIt was a great evening, watching the ballet and trying to interpret what I was seeing on paper, in the dark!


The Opera Garnier  was very beautiful by night.  I think I am going to have to take a bus ride at night just to see the lights of the city.

I also managed to do some more metro drawing today too, but people kept getting up and leaving.


I was a bit nervous about taking the metro home so late and thought for a while about the best route to take, but it was quite all right. I didn’t get home until 10:45, definitely the latest I have been out so far.  I may even try going to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night, now that I know I can get myself home after dark!


It appears I need to remain a night owl, as the residents in my building come and go until the wee hours and the walls are fairly thin.  I am such a light sleeper that it is 2:00 am by the time it settles down enough for me to be able to sleep.  I’m hoping that this will improve or that I will learn to tune it out.

I decided that a quieter day was I order as I have a bit of a froggy throat and perhaps the beginnings of shin splints.  Nothing serious but all the walking and climbing all the flights of stairs takes a bit of getting used to.

I went for a short walk that somehow turned into a long one.  It is just so darn tempting to see what is around the next corner, or a bit further down the street.  I watched a boat use the locks on the Canal St. Martin, along with a large group of Japanese business men, all in suits and ties.  It sounded like they enjoyed watching it as much as I did.



I was looking for a stationary store so I could buy a highlighter for my map and it took a bit of doing, but I saw so many other interesting stores along the way, like this little book shop.


There are book stores on almost every street and I found a really neat one today with a lot of different art and design books.  Too bad all the ones I like are so big and heavy.

Sometimes my family teases me about packing all the little things that I think I might need on a trip, but this guy at the Gare de l’Est definitely has me beat!


I have never seen anyone travel with a TV before!

Sorry about not putting the proper accents on words, for some reason the IPad just won’t let me do it.  Anyone know how? I tried holding the key down and the options pop up but nothing happens when I click on them.

I did pick up tickets for Giverny, Monet’s house and garden, and the train tickets to get there and back.  It is about an hour outside Paris and I will try to get there in the next couple of days while the weather is nice.

I witnessed a rather unsettling event today, just south of the Gare de l’Est. A young man wearing a backpack had collapsed on the sidewalk and he was not moving at all. He appeared to be on his own, but some people were calling for help. It took at least ten minutes for the police and the ambulance to arrive; I heard their sirens as I came out of the nearby stationary store. He did not look very well at all, and it makes me wonder what happened. Also made me think a bit more about being on my own…

Actually one thing that is difficult when travelling alone is not having someone to share things with. I guess this blog is my antidote for that. I do miss sharing things with Bob and  having him here to carry things for me!  My bag seems to grow heavier as the day progresses.

Thank you to everyone who has sent emails or left comments left on the blog. I really enjoy hearing from everyone.

Bonne Nuit, Trudy