Today, I didn’t feeling like sketching a child’s playground for our prompt, and then it occurred to that Paris is rather a bit of playground for adults. This made me think of a very adult-oriented street here that contains the famous Moulin Rouge. I’ve never actually been to a show there or indeed been brave enough to venture into any of the nearby shops, but it’s fun to pass something so iconic. I had only had a few short minutes today for a sketch so this one is fast, loose and very rough. More impressionistic than my usual fair, entirely due to time constraints. Yet, we did visit the Impressionist exhibit at Musée d’Orsay this afternoon, so perhaps it’s a fitting approach for the day after all. This is actually my first time to visit the museum as the last time I attempted it, the line was so long I couldn’t stand the idea of waiting an hour to get inside an overcrowded gallery. Today, wasn’t very crowded at all so Philippe and I had a lovely tour. It’s a bit overwhelming to see so many master works by a single artist in one room and so many rooms filled with various masters. And as much as I adore museums and galleries, I get exhausted rather quickly so we just head straight to the artists that we know we want to see most as soon as we arrive.

There were far more people taking photos of each painting than I ever remember seeing do so in the past. We would be standing and admiring a piece and I could feel the breath of someone standing eagerly behind me. When I moved out of the way so they could get a better look themselves, they shuffled forward hurriedly to take a photo. I thought they would then stop and admire the art, but they shuffled onward to the next one. This was so bizarre to me. Hundreds of people today were only viewing art through their camera phones and not even bothering to appreciate the pigment on canvas that with their own two eyes. It was incredibly sad to see. In some cases, I knew the primary goal was to create a popular Instagram post when a selfie was the output, while in other cases, it was a complete mystery. Philippe and I just looked around a bit shocked. One has a rare and wonderful chance to see a master artist’s brush strokes up close. To examine the color combinations and shading. This is all worthy of admiration even if you yourself aren’t an artist.

In truth, I’ve only snapped a few photos while I’ve been here, but this is mostly because I’ve already photographed most of the city on previous visits. I thought, at the gallery, I might see art students sitting down to sketch copies of the famous paintings. But, instead, I just just saw people using their phones like they were part of their anatomy. Perhaps, I’m just getting old, and there’s a new way of living that I can’t possibly understand. But, that doesn’t mean I have to like it, of course. I remember being in art school and spending hours in front of a favorite painting, studying each line, color, and brush stroke. And I remember making little sketches that looked absolutely awful of those paintings to practice my skills. Granted, smart phones didn’t exist back then, so I didn’t have another option. To me, life is best experienced when I simply let myself play and have fun, exploring things with my own eyes and looking at them as though it’s always the very first time. Here, miles away from home, across a vast ocean, I’m that kid again more than ever. And it makes me happy to wake up each day, ready to explore and experience new things, thrilled by the fact that Paris is my playground.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, Quinacridone Red, Vermillion, Aureolin, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
Day 18 - Moulin Rouge Watercolor Sketch - Sketchbook Detail - Doodlewash

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34 thoughts on “Paris Is My Playground

  1. I loved the looser more impressionistic “doodle” and what better place to do a quick sketch of than the streets of Paris. Love the sidewalks, the museums, and the “attitude” that there is art everywhere. Enjoy.

  2. Wonderful Doodle tonight, Charlie! Truly captures the spirit of that part of “town”. I was able to spend about 3 hours at the Musee d’Orsay once and was so overwhelmed, by being able to see the brushstrokes and sort of feeling the energy of the paintings, that I viewed most of the paintings through teary eyes. Don’t know how to explain it but It was a totally emotional experience. So glad that you and Phillipe finally able to visit the museum.

  3. Wonderful impression of the Moulin Rouge! I especially love the colors. I don’t get the selfie craze at all – when I’m enjoying something, the last thing I’m thinking about is putting myself in the picture. So sad people aren’t looking at the paintings when in the museum. Photos of the paintings are easily available online.

    1. Thanks, Kerfe! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I always think of the movie as well now! And yeah, weird that people look at the world through a phone now. On the bright side a group of children were there sitting on the floor just learning about the painting in front of them. That made my heart smile.

  4. Charlie says, “To me, life is best experienced when I simply let myself play and have fun, exploring things with my own eyes and looking at them as though it’s always the very first time.”


    btw, if you wonder why the “Charlie says” … a year or so ago, my sister called me to say she had found a quote of mine on google and that she was amazed at my wisdom. I could not imagine having ever said anything wise, so I had her email the quote. It was
    actually your quote, and I had quoted it in my comment on your post…however only doodlewash, my name and the quote appeared. One would have had to visit the post to
    realize your words were being quoted. Since that day, I’ve added the Charlie says. I think it is a pretty special thing to have Paris for your playground!!

      1. You are so generous. I was concerned that people might give me credit for your awesome writing and thinking. I felt like I had stolen something from you. Anyway, with the “Charlie says” there is no misunderstanding who originated the thought. Thank you for the lovely compliment. It puts energy in my ink.

  5. This work is so wonderful. Please don’t tell me it only took 15 minutes! The details! Your trip is making me want to travel just so I can sketch different places. I tried to do it on our last family day trip. My son was taking photographs (with a “real” camera) and I was trying my hardest to sketch something from each spot. Nothing fancy, but pages filled with lots of memories. I love travel journals. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, this one was actually 25 minutes… but if you zoom in you’ll see just how little detail there really is! lol And I agree… even a few little lines of a sketch are a wonderful memory!

    1. Thanks so much, June! 😃💕 hehe… It’s been awhile since I painted a full scene and I realized I should do it more often as I’m a bit rusty. But it’s fun to quickly try to get the idea of something across without worrying too much about it. Fun to see what comes out! 😉

  6. Not sure what you are telling about because that sketch looks awesome! I really like how you always punch up the colors on all your doodles 🙂 And I could not agree more on the phone comment – I have a 16 year old and for the past 3 or 4 years my husband and I have fought (partially in vain) the phone addiction. It is clearly an addiction, there is no other (nicer) way to describe it, and a bad addiction, as it is removing human interaction and as a result, teenagers social skills are at an all time low, IMHO! Can you tell you hit a nerve on that phone comment? LOL!!
    On a total different subject, I will be in Paris for a week, on first week of August, and will do the tourist thing. Can you recommend a couple of good art stores I can visit? Thanks!!

    1. Thanks, Yvonne! 😃💕 This was a quick one… and glad you liked my punched up colors. I tend to use watercolors a bit like gouache when I’m moving quickly. hehe And yeah, I’m with you on the phone addiction… I hope people will learn how fun life can be without it at times. And awesome you’re coming to Paris! I definitely recommend dropping by the Magasin Sennelier on the river. Beyond that, I actually adore a little less known art store called Adam in Montparnasse.

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