As promised here's a post about my WONDERFUL Paris adventure 1-16th December 2012. The purpose of the trip was to create lots of new paintings for my solo exhibition in Japan March 2013. I'd had such a busy year in 2012, full of incredibly exciting commissions (see my 2012 round up post here) but as a result I decided to run away to Paris so I could focus on completing the paintings ready for the exhibition.
It was the best thing I have ever done.
I booked a gorgeous little apartment near Montmartre (see top image) and on the first night I went out and bought a giant bouquet of pink flowers and set to converting the apartment into my new studio. I found it such an inspiring place to work, and the momentum of painting every day combined with a sixteen day deadline led to the creation of a huge amount of new work.
Most days I would spend a few hours in the morning either in client meetings or visiting galleries and museums, before returning to paint all afternoon, evening (and often long into the night). On my first morning in Paris I arranged to meet Anne for a tour of my neighbourhood through Vayable. This was fantastic as I quickly got my bearings and loved all her tips about the best places to eat and visit. Another day I met with Julie from Famille Summerbelle who had recently exhibited in Tokyo at the same place as my solo show in March. She was great and had lots of tips and advice for the Tokyo show as well as great ideas for things to do whilst I was in Paris.
It was one of Julie's tips which led me to visit Legeron (who create all the fabric flowers for couture in Paris) which was the absolute highlight of my trip. I sent them an email to enquire if they would allow me to visit and was delighted when they said yes. The premises were very nearly impossible to find, but I'm so glad I persisted as I was welcomed by the friendly owner. Legeron was began by his Great, Great Grandfather in 1880 and remains a family business. He spoke no English and I speak even less French and so he demonstated every step of the process to create their beautiful creations. It was THE most inspiring thing I saw in Paris. I saw walls of tools labelled for every type of flower you can imagine, watched how they hand dye and paint each petal individually and then shape and stitch them all together. Upon leaving he gave me a handmade white silk flower as a momento of my visit which I really treasure. I was so overwhelmed by the place I completely forgot to take any photos, but I found this one online (by http://thetiltonstudios.blogspot.co.uk/) which shows where they dye and hand paint the each petal - he even showed me the recipe book for creating each shade from the dyes!
I also loved visiting Versailles on one of the double decker trains, it was so inspiring, extravagent and opulent and I think it affected the work I created in Paris. Crazy Deyrolle and the Musee Chasse & de la Nature were fantastic and I loved the outsider art exhibition at Halle Saint Pierre especially the beautiful embroidery which I had begun to use in my paintings. My favourite museum was the Musee de Cluny with the glorious Lady and Unicorn tapestries. I spent over ten pounds on postcards from the taspestries - beyond ridiculous, but I really yearned to have as many visual prompts from the tapestries as possible and they are now hung in my studio.
Whilst in Paris I did do a little commissioned work, I created roughs for jobs for the Wildlife Trust and Holland and Barrett, and completed illustrations (to a tight deadline) for The Times (which you can see here). It was great to know that I can work remotely, and has really encouraged me to travel more in 2013.
Whilst in Paris I met with Le Bon Marche who proposed a really exciting project to create their January 2013 window scheme. The windows launch to the public on the 12th Jan and I'm so excited to show you what I've been up to! This commission has also given me a great excuse to return to Paris, so I'll visiting the windows later this month HURRAH!
Crikey, sorry what an essay! I'll be back next week to show you the Le Bon Marche windows x
P.S. You can see the full series of paintings for the exhibition on my website here