Artists Dream of Paris

Is it time to live out one of your dreams — the dream of sketching and painting in Paris? We must do our creative work right where we are and we mustn’t pine to be somewhere else. If we actually do need to be somewhere else, then we must do what we can to move; but until we move, we are where we are and we are obliged to do our work right there. If we wait “until we move” we may end up waiting a very long time!

So the prime directive is that we do our creative work right where we are. That isn’t to say, however, that our heart, mind and soul might not benefit from the occasional change of pace and place.

One dream that artists of my generation (and earlier generations) held was to live and paint or write in Paris. Paris held great meaning for us. It was a combination of the painter legacies (Picasso, Chagall), the writer legacies (Hemingway, Fitzgerald) the intellectual legacies (of Rousseau, the rationalists, the revolutionaries), and the existential legacies (of Camus, Sartre). We had a lot of reasons to want to be there.

Plus, of course, Paris is beautiful. What visual artist or writer doesn’t respond to the way Paris looks and feels? As a result, many artists, even today, pine for the dream of the ex-pat Parisian life, even though they understand full well how hard — or impossible — that reality would be. Paris still holds meaning but the reality of the ex-pat Bohemian life is something else again.

What’s in-between? Perhaps a lovely, short “working artist” visit to Paris. If this idea interests you, I recommend my book A Writer’s Paris, which isn’t just for writers (smile). It will help you picture and plan for such a visit. I also recommend my next Deep Writing workshop in Paris, which is going to include visual artists and en plein air sketching, drawing and painting in the great Parisian parks and other Parisian locales. Please take a look to see if this workshop might satisfy that Parisian itch of yours: www.ericmaisel.com/paris-deep-writing-workshop.

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