Painting in Paris

Los Angeles artist Wessel getting ready to paint abstract art next to the Louvre in Paris

Standing over my empty canvas, paint in hand, I was a bit daunted.

Five days into a 9 day trip to Paris, I had now seen countless masters of art that before then, had just been pictures in books. Awed, brought to tears, humbled, I wondered how I could ever do anything that could ever match them. To make it even more intense, I had chosen the garden outside the Louvre as my location. I mean, talk about pressure...

 

A thousand different thoughts strayed through my head. My friends recommendation to let Paris inspire me...the limited tools I had to work with...the exhaustion from days of intense sightseeing coupled with a neighbor who thought a loud party until 3 a.m. was a cool thing...the music I was listening to...would cops come by and stop me...what would people thing about what I was doing...would I be able to paint something true without my usual warm-up...god, thousands of little distracting thoughts. I wanted to scream, but, I couldn’t. I had to paint.

Los Angeles artist Wessel painting abstract art next to the Louvre in Paris 

Well, wanted to paint.

Not just had to. I mean, when or even if I would get this chance again? I couldn’t let myself be intimidated, shocked, exhausted, out of this opportunity. I had to take all the turmoil and just ride the wave as best I could. I couldn’t let myself get stuck on any one thought, one fear, one emotion...I had to flow. Whatever I decided to do, had to be what I decided to do. The colors, strokes, shapes, lines, everything, had to be from me just like it was at home...but, in Paris, across from the Louvre...

 

It was hot as hell...and sunny. France in the middle of a heat wave, great timing. Headphones on, music blasting, I rolled with it. Most of what happened was a blur, stuck in the moment not thinking about before or after. People walking by, taking pictures, looking, clouds rolling over the sun, back to blazing...The times I did come up for air halted progress and started dissonance. To realize what was being done, painted, rather than just painting, a form of aggressive backtracking.

 Los Angeles artist Wessel painting abstract art next to the Louvre in Paris

When I finally did step back, what had formed on the canvas was different than anything I had done before.

It might not seem it to many, but, it was. I hated every bit of each of my paintings, despite what the other tourists said and their many approving nods and smiles. What I had put on canvas was nowhere near as good as I had wanted, or had aimed for. But, deep in my mind I knew that it was good, for then. To be angry at myself for not being what I really want to be a futile emotion that led nowhere. To try and compare myself to what I had seen in the past days, especially being only at the start of my journey...almost suicidal.

 

The shortcomings I felt, the inadequacy that coursed through my body, something to be swallowed and replaced with the satisfaction of what had been done, accomplished, rather. Baking in the hot sun, letting my paintings dry, I took a deep breath and looked at my paintings for what they were...just another step, another memory, another piece of the puzzle. No matter what happens in my life, I did this. What happens next? I’m pretty excited to make it happen.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about what’s up in this creatives life :)

Wessel

Los Angeles artist Wessel painting abstract art next to the Louvre in Paris

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