Continuing my project of bringing my older works up to date…
I’m really not sure if this piece ever had a title. It’s one of the few times I ever painted myself though. That’s me, the one in the long red skirt and beret. I’m pretty sure that braid was my trademark some 20-odd years ago, not that I ever knew it. My grandfather pointed it out to me once when I met him and my grandmother in Paris in 1992. I was studying theatre in London that semester and my grandparents took their last trip to Europe together, in part revisiting places where my grandfather had been stationed during and after the war. He described me coming up the street towards him with an enormous backpack and my pigtail swinging gaily behind.
It was during this semester that B came to visit my roommate in our London flat. B is the blonde on the right. Ever baking and concocting strange things in the kitchen, and even stranger plans. That was when I first met her but this painting is really of B’s apartment in Paris where I visited her a few years later. She was originally from Pittsburgh but moved to Paris after college and never looked back. She and I are no longer in touch, but the week I spent with her in that apartment, where I also met M (bottom right) and S (top left) made for some excellent 20-something bohemian artist-style adventures. We dressed funny. We went on crazy picnics in the park. We hired a car and drove to to the sea, and to Chartres where we lay on the floor looking up at the beautiful glass windows (I don’t think we were even asked NOT to!). And M and I bought a 3 day museum pass that had us touring the Paris sewers as well as Chopin’s house in our effort to see as many as possible.
M and I also spent an afternoon visiting with all the dead artists and Abelard and Helouise at PÃ¨re Lachaise. We never did find Jim Morrison though. I was much more interested in Delacroix.
That day I regaled M with all the grand ideas I had for my future. I had recently moved to Los Angeles. I had famous friends. I’d spent a summer working on a charity project for a mega movie star. I had plans. Or so I thought. what I had, in fact, was a muddle. I had no real direction and no plans at all, really, I kept taking the paths life was throwing at me instead. But I did have a lot of fun, angst, more adventures and, ultimately, experience.
Which brings me back here, revisiting my former artistic self like reading old letters.
Artistic notes about this piece: I painted the entire background before I overlaid the subjects which is why the placement is a little wonky and I have my hand in a candle flame. I thought about fixing it but figured it was probably allegorical. The background elements are all objects, patterns, and pictures from the flat. B really did try to paint the gardens of Versailles on one wall of the living room. She hadn’t finished it when I was there. Perhaps it’s all painted over now.
This painting is available as a print on deviantArt.