Today we have a quick and loose little sketch of the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel), since I still have Paris on my mind. Also, there’s no better exercise in sketching than to attempt something impossibly complex in a very short amount of time. Getting all of the details is out of the question, so it becomes a lesson in abstraction. From a safe distance, this looks rather like it has far more detail than is really there and that’s one of my favorite bits about sketching with watercolor. Creating a quick little illusion on paper. It’s actually been several years since I’ve stood this close to the Eiffel Tower because I can’t bear the crowds there and have never returned. The locals don’t usually go near it either so it’s simply become a tourist trap by the time you can see it at this angle. Though it’s an impressive view and certainly worth trying once, trying to dodge all of the people peddling souvenirs and others holding clipboards asking you to sign a scam petition quickly becomes overwhelming. But, if you simply look skyward, all of that disappears and the view suddenly changes to become only a magnificent marvel.
The last time I visited the Eiffel Tower was several years ago when Philippe and I had just started dating. He was working during the day on those trips, so I was left to wander around Paris on my own. In truth, he doesn’t go near la tour Eiffel because of the crowds it evokes, so we’ve never actually been there together. I think my own patience lasted for only about 15 minutes before I was heading in another direction, but I still remember that glorious view. Famous monuments have a sort of magical appeal. We have all seen them in photographs, and they’ve become a bit like inanimate celebrities. So, to see one in person is always such a thrilling treat. I remember experiencing the same feeling when traveling by train to see The Leaning Tower Of Pisa. There is literally nothing else to see in Pisa and so it’s a day trip out of Florence, simply to view it. Yet, I wasn’t at all disappointed. Suddenly seeing something you’d only ever seen in icons and photographs is just a thrilling experience!
Of course, there’s an endless list of monuments and manmade marvels that I’ve still not seen in person. I know I’ll never see all of them in my lifetime, but it makes me happy knowing they’re out there, waiting to be enjoyed. It’s never possible to truly relive that very first time of seeing something extraordinary. The very act of seeing it makes it magical in the moment, but also serves to diminish some of that celebrity once enjoyed. I’m quite satisfied with my Leaning Tower Of Pisa memory and will probably never see it again in person. And though every couple of years, you’ll find me in Paris, I’m equally happy viewing this particular icon from afar. That same distance that makes my little doodlewash seem just a bit more real. And in doing so, I get to preserve all of the allure of that first time. All of the memories of staring up into something towering and grand while hoping that guy named Philippe I’d recently met would end up being a permanent part of my life. That story had a happy ending. So, I’ll always have incredibly fond memories of that singular moment when I found myself standing under the Eiffel Tower.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia 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!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!