An Artist’s visit to Paris in June

What remains in my mind’s eye is the soft champagne and pearly whites of morning

Good Morning Paris  by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 056

with the occasional splashes of reds.

Chez Marie by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 059

But there is much more to Paris France than this isn’t there?

Up by the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur and through the trees is Paris.

A Paris morning through the trees by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 044

She is a grand city that the world loves with a passion befitting its status.

Paris June 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 049

Even if a visitor skips going to see the Eiffel Tower and prefers to remember the flights of spiral stairs as I did.

Stairs to 1st floor studio in Paris France by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 084

Paris will steel our hearts even if we are reluctant lovers.

What artist can resist plein air painting of double courtyard on Rue Rodier in Paris France

plein air painting of double courtyard Rue Rodier Paris France by Terrill Welch 2014_06_17 086
The day before I promised myself that I would photograph and paint this double courtyard. After a full day at Musée d’Orsay, I had little time, light or energy left but decided to make a go of it anyway. To me, Paris is not just about the Louvre, D’Orsay, Jardin Tuileries, Eiffel Tower and street-side cafes. It is not about high fashion either. In fact, I have seen very little evidence of that. Nor is it just good food. What Paris is to me is the ability to share small amounts of private space with such regard and politeness for each other. During the 45 minutes or so I worked on this painting more than twenty people came and went in the courtyard. Some just said Bonjour Madame or Bonsoir Madame but most stopped to say a few words and they did not give me a hard time about not being able to understand everything and were more than willing to switch to English once I asked – in French of course. These courtyards are an intimate connection between neighbours… not quite friends for the most part and not as close as family but more familiar than the street, or the cafe and much more familiar than most North American neighbours are with each other. Once the outside door closes, this is home and it is treated as such even if it is shared with probably more than a hundred people. This is Paris to me. In fact, this is very much France to me. This I know I will remember – fondly.

Double courtyard Rue Rodier Paris France 25 x 35 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch

Double courtyard Rue Rodier Paris France 25 x 35 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_06_17 080

 But we did go to Louvre too. Looking out from one of the upstairs windows we can feel its magnificence.

Louvre Paris France June 2014  by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 048
Walking the halls leaves a person with shivers running down their spine.
walking the halls of the Louvre by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 008
Morning sun rolled into Napoleon III apartments and splashed against the ceiling.
morning sun on Napoleon III Apartments ceiling Louvre France by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 021
This painted wedding-cake style room in the Louvre is so outrageously over-the-top it almost made me laugh but I couldn’t pick my bottom jaw up fast enough to get out even one “ha-ha.” I just kept turning in circles saying unbelievable, look at that, unbelievable! It seemed most appropriate that we happened upon this room shortly after visiting the queen of the Louvre herself… you know, the one with the smile 😉 We hadn’t actually planned on giving her any courtly attention but the morning was reasonably quiet so we followed the entourage along and dropped in for a few minutes. In case you wanted to know, Mona Lisa is doing well for her age and is still smiling. I didn’t take her portrait as I knew the light wouldn’t do her justice.

Where the Musée d’Orsay  does not allow photographs, the Louvre does. So I took just a few photographs of paintings for my own study. These are shared with you for the same personal use study purpose.

A favourite artist of mine was Camille Corot. His landscape from Avignon called “Villeneuve-lez-Avignon La Tour Philippe le Bel” from 1843 struck a significantcord with me as I had stood in about the same place painting 171 years later.

Villeneuve-lez-Avignon La Tour Philippe le Bel 1843 by Camille Corot photo for study by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 033
Across the Way Villeneuve lez Avignon France 25 x 35 cm acrylic painting sketch was a work I had completed just days earlier.
Across the Way Villeneuve lez Avignon France 25 x 35 cm acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_06_012 106
I now have a completed larger studio painting…
VILLENEUVE LEZ AVIGNON FRANCE 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas
Villeneuve lez Avignon France 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2014_08_08 069
Camille Corot is mostly known as a landscape painter but it is a few of his portraits of women that are having a lasting impression. This detail of La Dame en Bleu is from the last figurative painting that Corot painting in 1874.
detail La Dame en Bleu 1874 by Camille Corot by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 118
They are so melancholy while holding a solid kind of inner-defiance that has surfaced for me only after careful observation. I wonder – how did he do this? What was his relationship to these women? Below is a detail from “Zingara au tambour de basque” that he painted between 1865 to 1870.
detail Zingara au tambour de basque 1865 to 1870 by Camille Corot photo by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 110
Corot would have been about 74 years old when this work was finished. Is the answer to my question in his biographical information? I have ordered a book this morning from Amazon called “The Secret Armoire: Corot’s Figure Paintings and the World of Reading” by Mariantonia Reinhard-Felice to help me answer this question.

But there is more the Louvre than Corot and so much more to Paris than the Louvre isn’t there?

Well, we shall have to save it for another day. It is time for this artist to get ready for an afternoon of unrelated meetings on this September afternoon back in Canada off the southwest coast of British Columbia.

What does Paris in June mean to you?

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

23 thoughts on “An Artist’s visit to Paris in June

  1. I’ve been to Paris twice and loved it both times. With some luck I may get to visit her again next summer. I always expected to love Italy, and I do, but France has claimed a large portion of my heart. Your pictures and paintings are very lovely and your love for this country and city shine through as well.

  2. Yes, yes and yes! It is not the big things that make life so amazing it is the small details, the day to day experience that makes life so rich… You have captured Paris beautifully.

    • You will like what you find I think Shirley. He has such amazing colour harmony while being part of the bridge between neoclassical and impressionism. His colour is secondary to form and his strong compositional training gives added strength interest to his work. Have fun getting to know this artist and his work.

  3. What a lovely description and collection of images of Paris, Terrill. Enjoyed it so much. Whetted my appetite (and it was already pretty sharp!) to see Paris again … soon!

    • Ah that is just what I like to hear Laurie! David and I have been watching European based movies and just the sounds of the birds which are different than here takes us right there – and all the train stations of course!

  4. A very nice post. We have been to Paris many times. The one thing that stands out to us about Paris was the best Chinese food ever. I know, what a funny thing to think. The pain au chocolate was awesome too. Do I focus too much on food?! LOL

      • My husband laughs that I remember what I ate almost anywhere I have traveled. This goes back a long time too as I came across an old travel diary from when I was about 11 years old from a 3 week road trip to Disneyland with my family. The diary basically details every meal I had with the odd casual mention of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or Disneyland. Feel free to laugh, it’s pretty funny!

        • I am not laughing Deb as I remember food places like landmarks or road signs. It is a blessing and a curse if your favourite place for pasta is several hours away in a different city. Eating well and the most delicious bites is serious business 🙂

  5. Nice to see that you like that place in Paris, Terrill. I also like to be in Paris (only incredible 3 hours by train), but if you have to do with the French in daily basis and speak their language fluently, then you will soon realise that they can be quite stubborn and demanding. The French believe “we are “la grande nation” and “we don’t care who you are”. Generally said, each nation in Europe is difficult as they all tend to compete against each other, but the French can be very rude (exceptions confirm the rule).

    • Well, I am happy to say that we must have smiled just right and found only the polite, kind and generous French people Ben. Maybe we were just lucky but I would risk visiting again on the off chance we might come into contact with someone that was rude. Coming from the southwest coast of Canada, I may not have noticed their pride of country thinking that everyone must feel this way as a matter of course 😉

  6. I have never been to Paris, but your staggering portfolio of photos and tapestries have brought me to the doorstep of Parisian realization. My absence from this great blog -though temporary- has deprived me of the visual ravishments inherent in this renowned cultural milieu. You claim you get shivers down your spine when you take in some of these famed locales, but that is exactly what I get when I see your paintings that are inspired by your marathon traveling. Utterly magnificent.

    • Your enthusiasm and ongoing support Sam warms my hear on this autumn day! I am guessing that other social media is keeping us connected so that blog posts become bonus reading rather than our first point of contact. This has me posting less and in more longer fuller fashion. The short quick posts are my everyday ones on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and now Ello as well. But I still like blogs for full storytelling mode!

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