For our prompt of “Souvenir” today, I looked around my house and wasn’t sure what to sketch. I looked for some little trinket from a trip somewhere and didn’t see much of the sort. What I did find, however, were lots of art books and art supplies that were purchased on various trips, including ones to visit my family in Paris. It appears that my penchant for art supplies extends around the world. These tiny little art books were found in a large bookstore rather than one of the many art supply shops I like to visit while I’m there. And though I’ve only sketched four of them, I actually ended up walking out of the store with five. They are quite small, and cover lots of different topics from watercolor, of course, to drawing and even art history. Instead of being housed together, they were scattered throughout various sections in the store, so it became a bit of a game to try and collect as many as I could find to build my wee little bookshelf of French art books. A very fun memory indeed!

We haven’t been back to France in more than a year, and with the way the world is heading, it will likely be another full year before we can return. I miss my family there, though we’ve stayed connected via text and video. But, it’s not the same as actually being back in Paris again. Seeing these little books today brought back such lovely memories of the time we’ve spent there. In truth, I can’t quite remember exactly which visit it was when I acquired these books. But, I do remember the little scavenger hunt in the store to find them all. The size of these books was a draw, because there’s only so much we can put in our luggage without getting fined upon our return for exceeding the weight limitations. This almost happened once and I had to transfer some books to Philippe’s luggage. As it turns out, adding lots of new clothes and basically stacks of wood to one’s luggage will quickly weigh things down. But, it’s worth totally worth it! Another reason why I love these little books is that I can mostly read them.

My reading comprehension in French is far higher than my ability to speak or understand the audible version. Thankfully, Philippe does realize that French can be a bit challenging to comprehend for someone who didn’t grow up there. He saw a video of someone who attempted to translate the ludicrous phrase, “your uncle mows your tuna.” Once translated into French it becomes “ton tonton tond ton thon” which, regardless of spelling, anything that resembles “ton” is all pronounced exactly the same way. Truly, it’s indeed a surreal statement, but even Philippe had to admit that without context he’d have no way of understanding what was being said. It made me feel good to know that French can sometimes be so subtle that even a native speaker might stumble with comprehension. And it’s odd to think that English is so far from subtle that even the craziest set of words still end up meaning something in the end. I’ve no idea what all of this teaches me, but I do know that I’ll always cherish my souvenirs de Paris.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink  in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Souvenirs Art Books Paris France Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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28 thoughts on “Souvenirs de Paris

  1. There is nothing better than a book as a souvenir. These look darling. I used to bring home art books from DL. I knew I was paying full price, but didn’t care. They always bring back memories. I don’t do it anymore because of the carryon luggage shrinkage. I barely have room for what I take, muchless when I come home. I even had to mail stuff back one trip. Ha ha ha!

  2. My favorite souvenirs from my semester abroad in London are two mugs and a letter opener. Things that will be donated or discarded after I die. Funny to think about that, but with this virus going around, our will became something we thought about. All we had to do was update some addresses, but it was a good thing to take care of. This really cool thing about our will is that half of our assets get divided between some young adults who will never expect it. I wish I didn’t have to die for it to happen because I would like to see their faces.

  3. This is a great sketch and an excellent idea to paint, Charlie.
    I’ve noticed the title of this post and had to open and read it. I plan to do something similar – to sketch in watercolours our last summer’s trip to France.
    I will also try to join doodlewash’ May 2020 painting challenge… after a while!
    Hope you, your family and all doodlewashers are doing well these days!

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