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November 2, 2012

Church of Saint Paul



Terry was using a Foders map to navigate various walking routes through the city. The map of Paris never seemed to show the name of the street we were on. I was almost bowled over by a baby carriage and an elderly lady as I searched for my bearings. We were walking on Rue Saint Antoine when we happened across this church which I recognized from Ronald Searle's sketch from 60 plus years before. I pulled his Paris Sketchbook out of my art supply bag and I searched for the exact spot he had sketched from. It was exciting when every line and angle matched up. In his day this was a working class neighborhood with vendors pushcarts and shops. Today the neighborhood has been gentrified with upper class fashion and jewelry shops along with some smaller bodegas.

As I sketched, an elderly man in ragged clothes and a boy stood in front of me speaking in French. I didn't understand a word, so I shrugged my shoulders and kept sketching.  They persisted and the man pointed at the pens clipped in my bag. I decided to give him one of the dried up pens and satisfied, they walked away. If I knew some French I could have asked them to pose. Like everyone else, they seemed in a hurry. It was threatening to rain and there was a light drizzle, but not enough to stop me. Victor Hugo had his first child christened in this church. Everywhere we went, we seemed to be walking in Victor Hugo's footsteps.

- Analog Artist Digital World

13 comments :

ceparie said...

"Dried up pen..." very generous

Michel COLSON said...

I used to live there, just round the corner 25 years ago. It was a studio on the first level, over a horse meat butcher shop. I had an horse head as a sign between the two windows.
Your drawing brings memories back to me. Thank you.

Thor said...

Well it was blunt and thus half worked. I never seem to abandon a pen. It seemed to be what he wanted.

matthew_c said...

Nice post Thomas.
I enjoy the reference to the earlier sketch, it's always interesting to see how a city changes and also remains the same over time.
Perhaps in another 60 years someone will reference your sketch as well as Ronals Searle's?

Julie said...

it would be great to see these side by side!

Thor said...

Julie, here is a side by side screen grab. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thorspecken/8151375866/in/photostream

Don McNulty said...

I love this drawing.

Julie said...

Thanks! I love looking at those "Now and Then" books of photos of famous cities. It would be great to see the same thing done with sketches, too.

Thor said...

That is a fabulous idea Julie!

VHein said...

Beautifully descriptive drawing, Thor, and love the connection to Ronald Searle as well!

Murray Dewhurst said...

Nice!

Isabel said...

beautiful sketch and story I also enjoyed the reference to the early sketch by Ronald Searle

James Richards said...

Hi Thomas! I know the Searle sketch you're referring to, and you have do it justice. Beautiful work that continues the tradition and legacy.