In October of 2012, my sister and I flew directly over hurricane Sandy as she was crawling up the East Coast. We were destined for Paris. I had to go to Paris–I won’t bother to explain–and she came with me. It was a beautiful, much-needed vacation, and we were guided by my wonderful ami Tom, who has since launched An American in Paris City Tours. Tom has lived in Paris for nearly two decades, where he earned a doctoral degree in European art and architecture.
Naturally, Tom referred us to the Centre Pompidou–Paris’s Modern-art Mecca. I was most excited to see original artwork from my favorite artist, Marc Chagall, but here I also discovered the first work of Picasso’s that truly captured my imagination and moved me. His 1923 Harlequin:
The Centre Pompidou has a rooftop restaurant that has a 360-degree view of the Paris skyline…the gray, weathered city against an often-dramatic sky. The deck is outfitted with small, white-lacquered tables with simple metal chairs. Everything is industrial–except the long-stemmed red rose situated casually but proudly on every tabletop. My sister took a lot of photos of them.
Red roses aren’t normally my thing, but the rooftop was impressive. Unfortunately, the photos did not come alive. So, thinking of my sister, I decided to try to paint my impression of the rooftop. I can’t say I am entirely satisfied with the painting, but it is nevertheless meaningful to me. I always paint from my heart, and for better or worse, feeling is always more important to me, in both my own work and other artists’, than technical perfection. My Pompidou painting is imbued my a piece of my heart, and it doesn’t strive for photorealism. For better or worse.