Paris, France

I went to Paris, France as my last leg of this European trip.  I spent 5 days there.  I decided I would go to see Paris back in September of 2019.  The last time I went to France was around 2006.  I had such a bad experience  with France that time.  This time I tried to go with an open mind.  I also used six months to learn some of the basics of the language.  I am in no way conversational.  I went to see a friend who I really enjoy talking to.

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So the last time I was in France I had such a bad experience.  There were several factors that contributed to my bad experience.  First, it was my first time traveling to Europe, I mostly touristy things, like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Secondly,  I didn’t speak the language, not even a little bit.  Parisians are known for not being very nice to tourists.  Let’s flip the perspective and see it in their eyes.  If someone comes to your city and speaks another language, that’s not the official language of the country, how would react to them?  I think the reaction is pretty universal.

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Before Sunset

Instead of going to see usual things I went to see the locations I wanted to see.  I enjoy Rodin’s sculptures, so I went to his Museum.  I really enjoyed the Tecahnical Museum in Prague, so I thought the Musee des Artes et Metiers would be cool.  I enjoyed the models and architecture of old buildings.  The movies I enjoy in Paris that I know of are Amelie, obviously, Before Sunrise, and Inglorious Basterds.  I went to the bookstore in Before Sunset and I went to Brasserie in Inglorious Basterds.

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The cafe in Inglorious Basterds. Bistrot La  Renaissance 

I think that’s what makes me enjoy traveling more as I’m older.  I cater traveling more to my interests and feelings.  I try to see things and subjects that I have a general interest in.  I keep returning to Europe because I find it’s history amazing.  I also don’t try to rush so much activities in my day.  I just try to enjoy myself and go into a book shop, and relax.  If the weather was better I would be outside drawing all day.  Here are a few of my sketches from Paris.

This time I learned enough to get by and see what I wanted to.  I learned how to order food, coffee, and my check.  I felt good that I achieved these small steps.  I felt that I was received way better by the restaurants when I spoke french.  The first time I went to Spain, ordering food and interacting with the language on a daily basis was the first step as well.

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I think Paris is a great city to hang out in and take your time in.  There are so many cafes and places to see.  I did get to see my friend, if only for one night.  There was a strike so traveling was difficult the entire time in Paris. She couldn’t hang out the second day. But through coincidence or serendipity  I met a very Australian lawyer in Montmartre. I remember her henna tattoo from breakfast at the hostel. She was sitting at the same table I was sitting at. No one at the table was conversing except the Peruana and Espanola, which I was eavesdropping on the conversation. Fast forward to the afternoon and  She was having a cafe and a smoke outside in front of the Sacre Coeur. We had really deep conversation about her countries history and politics. Later that night we met again at the hostel and had another conversation on life and 2019 over some beer and bar food.

Overall a good experience in Paris, France.

 

Brussels, Belgium

I spend Chrismas in Belgium.  It was my first time traveling to Europe in the winter, much less during the holidays.  It is an interesting experience.  I would like to say that the crowds and tourists were not as much.  The popularity and vibe of the Christmas Markets attract many, especially at night.  I did ate at the Christmas Market in Brussels, visited the Cartoon Strip Center, and I visited the Magritte Museum.

 

I enjoyed the Christmas Market because of the activity and people. It felt I could watch people, eat food, and drink all day.  A few of the foods I had were Argentinian empanadas, white wurst from Germany, Tartiflette, and Tsukune(Japanese Chicken Balls.) I drank some of the Belgium beer, which is quite high in alcohol content, Delirium Tremens and Duval.  I walked around the market drinking vin chaud. Although it was cold for me.  I had a very good experience in the Christmas Markets.  I hope my family can join some day.

This was my favorite place in Brussels.  I love art. I wish I

I went to the Comic Strip Center in Brussels. I enjoyed myself so much. Most of the comics were in French. I admired the art, aspects like line quality and watercolor. I was reading the history of the comic strip. The museum subtitles were in three languages. I was first reading in English then in French, then I gave up reading altogether. Even for an artist, a museum can be too much to take in. It really did inspire me to draw more on my travels. I bought a french comic book, I will steal was much technique from it. I will put the title later on.

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I went to the Rene Magritte Museum on my last day.  When I was in high school, he was my favorite painter.  As a fan of surrealism, I don’t think Magritte gets as much exposure as he should.  When people mention surrealism they usually think of Salvador Dali.  I also enjoy Dali, but Magritte’s paintings have more nuance. I enjoyed the museum, but I get really bored fast. I went through the museum in an hour.  What I took from the experience was the simplicity of his compositions and ideas. I think even his painting skill didn’t blow me away.  He is better than me.  I do think with a few years of constant practice, I can paint as well or better than him in oil.  I say this because I can actually get up close to the paintings and see each brushstroke. Most of his paintings are large i.e. 5ftx6ft.  When you see an image shrunk down from a large picture it hides a lot of the craftsmanship of the artist.  Now I want to visit more museums of my favorite illustrators like  J.C Leyendecker, N.C. Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell.

Learn to draw

This video came on my Youtube video feed.  I feel he should be highlighted for his work and effort.  It’s a long video to watch but that doesn’t mean it isn’t insightful.  There were times I walked away from the computer and I just listened to the sound.  Give it a watch or a listen.

I struggle with what this guy struggled with, learning art.  I went to art school too.  Volen, the artist in the video,  basically wanted to learn about art six years ago.  Fast forward to 2019 and he learned so much on his own as described in his video.  He goes through his processes, mistakes and failures, and what he learned out of all of it.  He explains everything so humbly, as if he was an amateur even though from my perspective he is very good.  He knows there is so much to learn still and he came a long way.  At the end of the video he explains the trap of Youtube and learning from people on the net. As though he was afraid  he was one of those people you shouldn’t listen to.  A self conscious statement but a humble one.  I think because he comes from a place of not knowing anything about art and then becoming very experienced on his own is very encouraging for others.  I believe he should keep posting and inspiring others.  The volume and amount of work he has accomplished is very impressive.

I look at Volen’s work and I realize that if I want to become an artist I have to work hard.  The problem with that is I still think the path is undefined.  I feel like art is so broad that it can’t be taught by just one person.  (Can that statement be used for Jiu Jitsu as well?) For example. He just kept taking classes from different online instructors and sources.  He kept self correcting his mistakes after. There are so many ways to create a picture. I think art school was such a waste because it was a lot of self discovery, and fixing your own mistakes.  It isn’t a black and white test sheet.  I feel like that was the conundrum of art school.  They want you to grow as an artist while completing assignments.  The goal is to learn and grow, not to produce things to grade.  The problem is both teacher and student get lost in that dichotomy.  Maybe the small schools of atelier got it right.  I don’t know I have never been, but I have seen their art and students work. Ateliers are workshops/schools where there are masters teaching apprentices a certain discipline.  I sometimes wonder if that will be a better choice than going back to art school.

This was a good video for me because recently I’ve pondering going back to school.  I was thinking about going back to art school because I was so close to finishing.  No other degree peaks my interest.  Maybe English or creative writing.  I like hedge my bets.  I really enjoy traveling and languages.  So maybe I’ll be an English teacher in South Korea or Spain.  A reason why I don’t go to an Atelier to learn how to draw and paint.  It doesn’t have a degree attached to it.  So I can’t use my GI bill. I want to make the most out of every benefit the military offered me.

What I learned from this post.  I need to produce more volume.  It will be a long road.  Although it seems like the journey is well worth it.