Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In which I sing the praises of Paris.

Ah, this city, it just never stops being great. And by great, I mean Great. And by Great I mean beautiful, bustling, inspiring, dramatic, mundane, historic, contemporary, and everything in between. Just the other night I walked back to my apartment from the Concorde Métro station at around 10pm, and I was just bowled over by the dark, silent beauty of the walk home. Few people, little traffic, just a quiet moment between me and Paris.

Now for some photos of this city of supreme awesomeness:

the side of St. Eustache, near Les Halles
"Happy" is a great name for a flower shop... Rue des Martyrs, 9th arrondissement.
Sacre Coeur is visible peeking through the streets way above at Montmartre; here I am on the Rue Lafitte headed south.
On le pont de la Concorde, facing our old friend the Eiffel Tower. At night. Ah!
Ok, more soon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

L'appartement à Rue Dupin + Diane = contente.

My occasional Internet connection issues aside, I haven't mentioned much about the apartment I'm renting here in Paris, in the 6th arrondissement. And how much I love it. LOVE! IT! It's perfect, Diane-sized, and the only thing missing is one Mr. John Feissel. Otherwise, it's lovely. Did I mention it's located mere steps from Left Bank department store Le Bon Marché, along with its magnificent little sister next door, La Grande Epicerie? This provides much temptation, although I've managed so far to play it cool and not go nuts buying all manner of fancy foodstuffs/department store goods. It is hard to resist getting this water, though, and getting my fully hydrated bling on:

Hydramafizzation! Fo' shizzle! God, it is so unfortunate to find this in Paris. Do I need to mention that it's made in the U.S.? Probably not.

There's a Chinese restaurant right next to our front door, actually located underneath our building. Haven't tried it yet, but I'm a bit dubious as it offers not just Chinese but also Vietnamese and Thai food... their sheer lack of focus is a turnoff for me. So is this guy, he scares me a bit:

Here's some more from the apartment interior and building. I'm enjoying myself immensely and want to stay forever.
there's the space right outside the apartment, belongs to the neighbor across the hall
the stairwell/l'escalier
my feet on the ground.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Les Puces.

Spent Sunday doing social things around the city, and it was damn fine weather to do so. Fortunately. Went to the Marché aux Puces at St. Ouen with Susan and Linda from class... glad we went but it was something of a disappointment. Lots of lame/crappy/cheaply made/gangsta clothes and then beyond that lots of pricey antiques – little in between. Maybe I’ll try the one at Montreuil in the future, or some of the brocantes. Anyway, here are some photos nonetheless:

Diane et les mecs:

At Les Puces:

Les Puces:

Doll at Les Puces with a rather disturbing inner movement curve:

The view from Susan and Linda’s apartment in Montmartre:

Later I caught up with cousins and aunts and went out to dinner on the Ile St. Louis. Somehow it seems one cannot go wrong with the Ile St. Louis. That’s a good île.

La famille:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Playtime in Paris.

On Saturday I had time to explore a tad, both in my neighborhood and elsewhere. I made a Tati run for some things I needed at a plus bas prix, and I came upon these lamps:

Surely these specimens belong to the same species as the leg lamp from "A Christmas Story."
And therefore... they must be Italian.

Have you heard of this restaurant "Dans le Noir"? The idea is this: one eats one's meal *completely* in the dark – that is, "dans le noir" – and one is served by waitstaff who are blind. Blind! In other words, they are able to navigate about in the dark and so forth. Presumably a large part of the appeal is the increased dependence on (and enhancement of) one’s sense of taste while deprived of another of one’s senses, i.e., sight. Weird, huh? Neat, huh? I’ve been too chicken to try it though. What makes me even more frightened, though, is the thought that they have a company car, as pictured… one can only hope the blind waitstaff do not drive it. But who knows? They do things differently in France:

Okay, I know someone who will appreciate this one: guess what’s in my neighborhood, about a block and a half away? This is clearly a sign that the stars have aligned:

By the way, has anyone been looking for Oscar the Grouch? Yes? OK, I found him.
Maybe he's been hanging out with Waldo?.

Saturday night, I met with our cousins for dinner in the 6th arrondissement, at a place called La Boussole (the compass). Good stuff. Here’s the lovely C., on the way to the parking garage after dinner:

Fred explained the following sign to me, it's a sort of jeu de mots, a play on words which I didn’t understand at first. Though it's hard not to love any play on words which involves the infancy of lard.

More soon.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Timing is everything.

So. I was planning - planning, mind you, despite my cold - to hear a concert here in Paris Friday night by my cousin-in-law’s band, Greenhouse Effect. Planning. So, apparently I missed the boat on exactly *when* they were due to play… I had the info that it started at 10pm, but thinking that, as with most concerts, there would be some time before they went onstage, I ended up arriving at the club at 10:30pm. Stupidly. Only to miss Greenhouse Effect by mere minutes, it seems. GAAAAHHHH. You see, what was scheduled was a sort of “battle of the bands” format, where each of 8 bands competing performed for exactly one half-hour from about 7:30pm until 11:30pm. Greenhouse Effect? 10pm to 10:30pm. Diane arrival? 10:30pm. I have such great timing. So, alas… however, they tell me it was videotaped, this performance… I shall stay tuned to their MySpace page for updates. And, the good news: despite my absence for the post-set audience voting process, Greenhouse Effect was the WINNING BAND!!! WHOOO! Behold, les gagnants (with serious redeye, excuse the flash):
P.S. One of the other band contenders that evening - listed as being of the genre "Death Metal/Hardcore" - was a band called "Corpse Division". Hahahahaha yesssssssss.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I hab a code.

Apologies for the lack of posts of late - I have acquired a cold, a congestion of the sinus passages which has rendered me quite sleepy and in constant need of tissues. The last thing one wants to be while abroad is phlegmy and snotty; alas, I am both. I kind of feel like this kid, face down in my French Wonder bread:
More soon.

P.S. Who buys this spongy, overprocessed, crappy bread when France is the capital of Bread Awesomeness? I don't get it. Unless, maybe, the above picture is the recommended usage for said bread. In which case, by all means. Looks comfortable. Absorbs drool.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

So much to lurve at the Louvre.

Okay. I wish this could be more of a lengthy post, but damn, I'm tired. And lazy. Drawing all day and again at the Louvre tonight. All good though, all good stuff. So, instead of blathering on here, I'll post a photo or two and call it a night. And also send you in the direction of the blog of one of my classmates, who has done a terrific job of blogging her experience not only in this class but in previous painting/drawing workshops. Voila, her name is Sadie. Enjoy.

And now for some photos:

Such drama.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Great Dane.

In the context of the drawing class I’m taking, I recently came across a French-language monograph on the Danish 19th/20thcentury painter Vilhelm Hammershøi. I LOVE this guy’s work. LOVE. IT. After commiserating with one of the class instructors about the difficulty – and, more to the point, the expense – in obtaining a good book on Hammershøi’s work, the same instructor later directed my attention to information on the upcoming Hammershøi exhibit at the Royal Academy in London this summer. Oh my, how I would love to see that. Barring that, I will settle for the exhibition catalogue. Ahh.

In honor of Vilhelm’s awesomeness, I have for your viewing pleasure/amusement a little painting I did as a tribute; it's a painting of French artist Juliette Lemontey, with whom I exhibited in Grenoble last May:

à l’envers
oil on linen
Diane Feissel

Monday, April 21, 2008


I continue to enjoy the saucy graffiti on the advertisements in the Paris Métro, as referenced in this post. Most of the (legible) graffiti tends to contain some sort of anti-consumerism/anti-establishment message in some fashion or another, see Exhibit A, below:
This commentary, splattered over a poster announcing the opening of a new branch of the Home Depot-like “Castorama” at la Défense, roughly translates in a sarcastic tone to “Great! Another place to buy crap (consume stuff).”

This next poster, though, seemed a bit less creative in voicing his opposition to the world of commerce:

Translation: “Stop advertisements.”

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It is necessary to know that...

I felt it of great importance to inform you, Dear Reader, that the '80s sitcom "Saved by the Bell" is in current rotation on French TV, dubbed for one's French listening pleasure, and it is called: "Sauvés par le Gong". Of course.

In other news, the neighborhood in which my drawing class will be held is great - and unexpectedly quite lively for a Sunday in Paris. Most businesses were open even at 2pm, though when I left the studio after 5pm, it was slightly less lively. Places such as this one had already closed:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Velib', Diane lib'.

It occurred to me at some point late in the day that I hadn't noticed a greater quantity of bicycles around, even though they've implemented that Velib' (free bike) system throughout the city... not five minutes later, of course, I nearly stumbled over a whole fleet of them right near St. Michel, et voilà:

Hopefully people actually use them...

Most of the day I did some errands and ambled about. After doing some errands at BHV Homme (sock shopping! for a certain homme back at home) I exited the store and immediately was dripped on from above by some unidentified liquid... yuck. To my relief, I realized it was just water from this weird garden-on-the-wall fixture they've rigged up on the front wall of the building housing BHV Homme, look:

Truly bizarre but decidedly cool. Even when it leaks onto your head.

In the evening I was going to go see a movie, but Saturday night = long lines. I get impatient, so I opted to do some more walking and enjoying of a lovely Paris evening. Here's a shot I took of ole Notre Dame before indulging in some Berthillon:

Et maintenant, au lit...


Okay. I have managed to resolve the connectivity issues I was having at my rental apartment. Huzzah! Really, I’ve never met a technological problem I couldn’t solve by turning stuff off and then back on again. And then sleeping for 10 hours. I’m a mechanical wizard, really.

Did some errands after my arrival yesterday, which involved trekking around by Métro. I love the ongoing commentary by way of the graffiti on the ads in the subway stations. For example:

Ah, France. It’s good to be back.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Technical difficulties: please stand by.

Ok. I’m having trouble with the wifi connection at my apartment, so I will have to make these updates from a remote location temporarily.

In the meantime, here’s a message for you from the Dublin airport:

I was relieved, SO relieved, to know that I wouldn’t be dragging around any Irish cooties on the soles of my shoes. It must be said that the Paris-Beauvais airport offered no such promises, however… so for all I know, by now I could be infected with all manner of French germ.

I’m ok with this though.

Infected but still unconnected,


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jumping ahead for a second...

Okay, so I'm heading out for Paris tomorrow... but I'm still thinking about the home front. In particular, I'm thinking about this summer/fall and the places we want to check out here in North Carolina when I return - little weekend trips, etc. I'm making a list, here are the first:

1. Shackleford Banks, to see the wild horses. A co-worker told me about this place, and I thought: how cool is that? Wild horses. Definitely on the list.

2. Charlotte. I'm curious about this here city. I hear varying reports, I'd like to check it out for myself. Especially some galleries, including this one. And others.

3. Asheville. For obvious reasons: beauty, nature, culture, Blue Ridge Mountains, cool downtown. Oh yeah, and to see the Biltmore.

4. Pilot Mountain, NW of Winston-Salem, NC. I haven't been there since Easter 1989 (yikes!), so it's time to go back.

5. The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. The animals!

This is, if course, an incomplete list. More to add for sure...

Monday, April 14, 2008

La Chapelle de Duke.

The Duke Chapel, overcast day. Impressive, chapel-y. Actually, more cathedral-y than chapel-y, given its considerable size: satisfyingly large and imposing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Website updates.

Ok, I've finally put some updates on my website with new paintings - here's the link:

I've been getting the fabric for these paintings from this great place in Pittsboro, NC, which carries a variety of French and African imports (fabric, soap, ceramics, jewelry, furniture, baskets, etc. etc. etc.) is their website, go check them out if you're in North Carolina:

Speaking of Pittsboro, I'm fond of this house, which is right down the street from French Connections in downtown Pittsboro:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

One week to go.

Hi! One week until I head back to France for another class with the good folk at Studio Escalier. I'm very much looking forward to it - a 3 week drawing class in Paris, then some time in Dublin (for fun). Here's an example of one of the paintings I did in the portrait class I took from Studio Escalier in Argenton-Chateau last April 2007:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Another painting.

Ok, here's another of these paintings I've been working on:
carnivore overlord
oil on printed fabric
Diane Feissel

Saturday, April 5, 2008

"Facing South" at the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art.

Here are some photos from the opening reception for "Facing South: Portraits by North Carolina Artists" on Friday, April 4 at the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art in Greensboro, NC:
John and Diane chatting; at right, Diane's painting.
A good crowd.
Painting of Jennifer with Gus and Sharon (with Diane's painting of Kevin and Jenn behind them.)
Another view of paintings with John and Diane.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Singing the praises of Greensboro, NC.

We took a trip up to Greensboro, NC (1 hr, 15min WNW of Raleigh) for an art show on Friday, 4/4. I took some pictures this trip because Greensboro, it was charming me. It was throwing charm around. I may have a wee, itty bitty crush on Greensboro (with all apologies to my home of Raleigh):
Greensboro fashion, baby.
Brick, ironwork, funky sculpture. What's not to love?
Angry Beethoven lives on in downtown Greensboro.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Painting at Artspace's "New Works" Show, April 2008.

The painting below is one of two I have in the "New Works" juried exhibition at Artspace in downtown Raleigh:
dream of the exotic
oil on printed fabric
Diane Feissel