We slept really late, and then got off to a slow start, having breakfast in the apartment and looking at guidebooks and such, so Day 2 turned out to be kind of short.
We swung back by Notre Dame. Right across the river is the famous bookstore Shakespeare & Co. (about which I’m sure Alison will eventually blog at length, so I’ll say no more about it)
Then we went to a nearby flower market where they also have birds and other animals on Sundays (like these adorable sleeping ferrets).
I drew this cool old church in the neighborhood.
We headed over the the Arab World Institute, a very cool building with patterned metal shades that iris open and closed like camera shutters.
Unfortunately they were closed, so we went on to the Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Garden), where I sat and drew for a while while Alison watched the kids playing. They have a pretty horrifying sculpture next to the playground, of a bear mauling a hunter and his bear cub prey. I guess the message is something like “don’t mess with my kids or I’ll rip your head off.”
Hey, there. Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. Alison and I took a 16-day honeymoon in Paris and London, and since we got back I’ve been trying to catch up with work, scan all the drawings I did, and go through all the photos we took. Rather than write a novella-length post with hundreds of images, I thought it might be cooler and more reasonable to tell the whole thing on a day-by-day basis, almost as though I were blogging in real-time but with a several-week delay.
We flew out on April 23rd, just as flights were starting to return to normal after the volcanic eruption in Iceland. We landed in Paris early on the morning of the 24th. We had rented an apartment in the Marais area (found on VRBO.com), and arranged for a driver to pick us up at the airport and take us straight to the apartment so we didn’t have to do any navigating in our exhausted state. We got unpacked and then headed out into the city, with the ambition of doing stuff that would keep us awake another ~14 hours until bedtime so we could get ourselves on Paris time as quickly as possible).
Our apartment building had a great stairwell (with a TINY elevator running up the middle of it). It is located very close to the Seine.
Great neighborhood, with tons of charming shops.
Not far away is a humble little place called Notre Dame, which was my first drawing stop.
Then we went to Alison’s favorite Cathedral, St. Chapelle (I should mention that Alison had been to Paris before, but I had not). There was some renovation in progress, which slightly spoiled the full affect, but it’s still beautiful, with a number of quirky details.
Then we headed over to the vast, sprawling art edifice that is The Louvre.
After that we had a lovely dinner and then melted into a puddle of goo.
A few months ago I got a call from Harvard’s Widener Library about using a drawing I did of Memorial Hall for a bookplate they were designing. This bookplate (if I understand correctly) is for books purchased by the Katherine B. Loker memorial fund.
I just got my samples of the finished bookplates. I think they’re quite elegant.
Alison and I love dogs. But there are lots of reasons why we can’t have one right now. So we were delighted to discover recently that Fresh Pond has not only a lovely walking path, but a little auxiliary pond in which dogs are allowed to swim. And boy do they! So now one of our favorite things to do on a sunny weekend is to go sit by the pond for an hour watching the dogs play, and occasionally making new friends (of either the two- or four-legged variety).
Here are some recent sketches, some from last week, some from yesterday.
I’ve been playing around with Manga Studio, which is a drawing program specifically tailored to drawing comics. It’s got a lot of crazy features, and I’ve barely scratched the surface, but here’s a quick inking test I did. The pens have a nice feel to them, and this is drawn with vectors, so it’s resolution-independent and fairly easy to scale or manipulate line-by-line.
I just saw ASP’s Othello. Unfortunately I missed the dress rehearsal for this show, so it was just a regular performance. Well, actually, it was a daytime performance primarily for local schools. It was kind of neat seeing Shakespeare with a bunch of high school students. I could sense their confusion at times, but for the most part they got into it. They were most audibly impressed by the fight scenes (very well-done) and the kissing scenes.
This is an emotionally powerful performance. Jason Bowen has the title role, and he starts off as a very mild and genteel Othello, but once Iago turns his mind to jealousy, his wrath is palpable. At the intermission the audience already knows Othello has fallen wholly into Iago’s trap, and it becomes almost an exercise in masochism to return for the second half and experience the tragic conclusion, wherein dread and pathos for Desdemona’s fate is amped up higher and higher before — well, if you haven’t already seen or read it I guess I shouldn’t spoil the ending, but it’s a Shakespearian tragedy.
The set design is interesting, but odd. There’s a weirdly-shaped backdrop that has lines radiating out like cracks, not just across its surface, but out across the whole theater space (above the actors’ heads — see first two sketches). One of the kids sitting near me asked “what are those lines for?”, so at least somebody was paying attention. Most of the platforms are pointy triangles, and have more triangles cut out of them. I read it as a cracked-mirror metaphor, the whole performance being enacted in the cracked reflection of Othello’s broken love/trust. (Not bad, for what I’m sure is a tight budget for set design.)
As usual for ASP, the acting is excellent across the board. Ken Cheeseman does a great job with the juicy role of Iago, and I especially enjoyed Doug Lockwood as the inept Roderigo. It’s somewhat long, at almost 3 hours, and the parking is kind of tough around there. But the show is worth it. It only runs through this weekend, though, so hurry if you want to see it.