Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Paris and beyond - too much inspiration!

Back in North America after 18 days in France - filled with inspiration!!!  I've been trying to think how to process all the wonderful things I saw...I sympathize now with people who come to a workshop with packed inspiration notebooks!!!  Which to choose?  I do think the answer is to give yourself time, to keep looking over and over and the pictures...cropping where necessary and also desaturating so that the value pattern is clearer.

Here are just a few of my many (600!) photos with some of my thoughts:



a giant wall painting by the Pompidou Centre...very striking - all in black and white...extreme close up and unexpected location....


While I must admit I did get tired of tourists posing In Front of Things usually obscuring them - you've probably got to have one or two images to prove to yourself - at least - that you were Really There in this Magic Place!!


Stained glass in Saint Chapelle...although it looks rich there are really very few different colors - we don't need every last color!! Using a few and using them well...with a dominant color will make for a grand and lasting color scheme.  These gorgeous windows are being renovated, each little piece being taken out of its mount and cleaned and replaced, repaired or a copy being used.  Notice how the geometric division of space gives structure to all these little pieces.



Not a very clear picture, I regret!!  But such a brilliant idea!  squares of black glass - I wonder if one could get away with that at Quilt National!! - strung from thin wire in columns and as the glass squares turn in the ambient air movements they reflect the  constantly shifting patterns of light and shade.
Isn't that grid structure so reminiscent of a quilt??
Grids rule!!!  


always keep your eyes open for funny signs!!
This, loosely translated, says that frotteurism is dangerous!!!

The Chateaux gardens of the Loire valley yield many grid like parterre designs, but viewing them at an angle leads to delicious dynamic diagonals!!   Here the lavender bushes almost look like little foundations and the diagonals contrast with the rows of strange topiaries...
I can see a very strong abstract design based on this....


One of the constants in both Paris and in the French countryside is the allee - rows of trees (sometimes alternating varieties, sometimes disciplined into square shapes) , always giving a great sense of perspective..leading one on into the distance.  These are very formal designs and very characteristic of the French landscape - and, I suspect, the French culture.


More diagonals!!! Large shapes with texture retreating to smaller less defined ones.


A quick snap from the car....a distant row of poplars, the same distance apart but all different shapes with their varied growth patterns..a simple foreground and background.  Looking at the many Impressionist paintings we saw, I could see that simple foregrounds lead you forward into the design much more quickly than something very detailed and textural up front.  Oh yes - I'll be stealing that idea!!


But I don't think I'll be copying this one!  The black bedroom at Chenonceau Chateau is probably very restful at night, but rather gloomy to wake up to!! And imagine if you were in bed sick with all that black around you......









Poppies growing out of the side walk...a natural little arrangement, but so many possibilities for a design. It's a study of simultaneous contrasts. The old paving stones give a background grid upon which the more organic shapes of the poppies and their stems become very relaxed and alive by contrast.  The  bright red stands out against the warm and cool neutrals of the stone...the shadows contrast with the saturated color of the petals to make the flowers brighter, the shadows cooler....




well yes I had to take one of the iconic Eiffel tower photos!!
But making a fresh and interesting quilt design from something quite so iconic  would be very difficult.  Sometimes I think it's better to say the photo says it all, I can't add anything by translating into fiber.


And I think Monet's garden at Giverny would fall into that category too - the flowers are so beautiful and lovely and lush and so (apparently) artlessly arranged!!  It's hard to beat nature in this, and very hard to capture what the eye can actually see and experience.  But the addition of some manmade elements by contrast...here it's Monet's house...giving some interesting geometric shapes against the more organic ones...can lead to some ideas.  Also the flowers in the garden were arranged into rich, but not too rich, color combinations that could easily be stolen for color schemes.
In this photo also, there's a very nice grouping of values that I think would work well in a design.



Here the contrast of pink roses and chartreuse euphorbia yields a delicious complementary color scheme: cool pinks against yellow greens - difficult to do, but so beautiful when done right.  Hmm...that should definitely be on my potential design list!!

In Monet's house many of the walls were painted in unexpected colors, a lot of blue..here mixed with a golden yellow and a deep rose......


Monet's kitchen - well probably Monet's wife's kitchen!! I don't think he had much to do with domestic matters...how beautiful the copper tones are against the cerulean blue and white....
notice also the contrast of repeated circles and the blue/white grid pattern..


Well who could resist the classic pose with parasol in the poppy and cornflower fields behind the house?  Should have worn one of my long square dancing skirts of course with all the frills!!!


A surprise find in the main church at Vernon, the little town near Giverny some modern stained glass.  No particular artist name given, alas, but there were about 20 or more of these designs.  Loose, flowing, different palette per window.


but nothing compares to the blue stained glass windows in Chartres cathedral.  The glorious blue, somewhere between ultramarine and cobalt is SO rich, such an amazing feast for the eye...
this little corner design though would make a great quilt!!! those little floating golden devices on the field of deep sapphire....hmmm....


And in the Pere-Lachaise cemetery, the serried ranks of ancient trees wind around creating intriguing patterns that are both formal and organic.  Take a row of trees and bend....

Interesting designs can be found everywhere...here a wall of peeling posters in the Metro is apparently being viewed with fascination by the man and the boy....is this Art? What is Art? !!!

And now to let some of these images mellow for a while in my imagination...will I work from the great color mixes I've seen, or the formal grids and allees, or the unexpected juxtapositions of glimpsed vignettes......for sure it will take time to know...


I was very blessed indeed by my good friends in Paris to have the opportunity to see and experience SO much - the trip of a lifetime!
And, if you have been, I hope you've enjoyed some of my musings upon the many inspirations I've collected in the last month.   Thank you for reading!!!  All comments are Most Welcome!!!   Elizabeth

6 comments:

Jeanne Marklin said...

It looks like you are having a wonderful trip and the inspiration will last for a long time! I am in Amsterdam and seeing so many things - grids in window and fantastic doors, curving lines in the canals and the lovely flowers outside each door, tiles embedded in walls. The Dutch artists are so impressive too. Traveling is my favorite way to spark inspiration - even if it's just excitement about LIFE!

Beth Mastrude said...

Thanks for sharing your Paris trip with us. Loved your photos ... such an inspiration!

elle said...

Great sharing!

Chris said...

Saint Chapelle was my favorite church in Paris. Walking inside this church was inspiring. I did make a small quilt of one of the rose windows that I called rhythm in glass. I like this small church better than the inside of Notre dame.

We also went to giverny on the train to see the gardens and stopped in Vernon. We walked to the gardens and back from there! I think that was something like 3 miles each way. I think we walked about 80 miles in Paris when we were there last summer. We saw a lot of Paris back streets that most people don't see. Of course we also hiked up the Eiffel Tower and Notre dame. It was a busy, but wonderful week.

debby said...

Well I'm so glad I checked in! You have given me a boatload of inspiration this morning! Have to admit, probably my favorites were the pictures of how Monet painted his house. I am having my house 're-done' one room at a time, and I am enjoying choosing a different color for each. But sometimes I worry that I am not "doing it right.' I will remember Monet the next time that thought pops into my head!

Gillian Cooper said...

Seeing these photos made me really nostalgic for when I lived there - so much inspiration. Loved your explanations of how you would translate them or not into fibre.