-First let me premise, I’m sorry for all the typos in the preceding posts. I am dyslexic, but I’m afraid those were errors of being in a hurry and not proofreading what I had written. In my defense, wordpress doesn’t make it very easy with the tiny window and type…does that sound like I’m getting old or what!?

-There is no way to describe the events of today except for magical. My only goal today was to go to the Ecole des Beaux Art, or the Academy of Fine Art in France. The institution has been around since around the 1600 in one inception or the other. Every great French artist of the past has come through those halls. It was modeled after the sort of slapdash academy that the Carracci’s put together in the 1600’s in Italy. The French put together an academy in earnest, soon Russia, Germany, Spain, and a host of other countries followed suit. But this is really the grand daddy. This is where Gerome and Bouguereau taught. It is where all the Prix de Rome contestants locked themselves in the loges for 72 days to complete their “Monsterpieces”. I was praying the whole way there that I would be able to get in, and that I would be able to see the Hemicycle of Delaroche. Delaroche, one of my favorite artists if you can’t tell by my previous posts on him, painted a monolithic painting in the lecture hall of the Beaux Art. The room is one quarter of a sphere sitting atop a cylinder basically, and this painting is on the upper part of the cylinder and wraps around the room 180 degrees. I have wanted to see this painting for so long. This in the Louvre were my only MUST DO’s in Paris. However, getting in to see it is very tricky. They only open the room about 20 days a year, I could have called ahead, but I don’t speak French well enough, and who knows if there would be anyone who spoke English…and well frankly, that just isn’t how I roll. šŸ™‚ Seat of my pants would be a more appropriate term.

I found the room, and voila! It is open!!! I stand in the door way and here a student orientation is going on, I take a seat right by the door and just admire the work. Content that if this is all that I get, I will be sooooo happy. After the orientation, I tell the lecturer my intentions (she spoke English) and how I came all the way from SF, and how much I love this piece, and yada yada yada. She says I have 5 minutes till her colleague comes. 300 photos later, I am a happy man.

But wait it gets better. After the other lady kicked me out, I went and found the first lady and asked her if I could tag along with the orientation group, she saw my excitement, and after talking to her later I think that she shares the same excitement about the place and found it nice that I was so “in to it”. So, she agreed to allow me follow along. The next place we went was to library. This is no ordinary library, it is only art, and it has changed since the 1700s except for some computers and electric lights. But, the same desks that Picot and Lefevbre sat at. Along the walls are hanging the the winning paintings of the Prix de Rome contest winners from years past. Holy Grail. In their archives they have actual Rembrandt, David, Michelangelo, you name it artist that you can actually pull out and examine. I felt connected to the past, a member. After working all year on my monsterpiece, I had felt like I knew what they went through, and now to be here as little chance as I had to even be standing there at that moment. It was like joining the club, it was like validation, it was admittance that I too have done the hard work. I don’t know how to say it really, it was a sense of belonging to a grand tradition of painters.

After that, I checked out some churches where the rectors noticed my interest in all the paintings, and they went out of their way to get me documentation, and then documentation in English on all the works in their possession. Like I said…magical day.

Then, I went to the Maillol Museum. He is my favorite post impressionist sculptor of that era. His museum to be truthful made him fall in status a little. But, they had an interesting show going on, and I got to see a Caravaggio, so a plus.

Next, as a random thought I decided to go to the Delacroix museum. He is one of my least favorite Academy painters. But, his museum was all bonus. The works they had were all great in helping to understand his process, plus his studio was open like when I went to Leighton’s studio in London. It is of so great a benefit to see how artists whose output you admire worked. Delacroix output isn’t my favorite, but I thoroughly enjoyed his studio. In addition he had some of the finest pastels I’ve ever seen in his collection from other artist. I’ve seen some pretty amazing pastels already on this trip. (I haven’t discussed everything that I’ve done on this blog) But, these pastels are worth mentioning, and by someone I’ve never heard of. I think this one speaks for itself. Sorry about the reflection in the glass. There was nothing I could do about it.

Lucking again right. Well, it gets better.While I was in the museum a thunderstorm rolled in with thunder, lighting, and torrential rain. Had I not visited this museum I would have been in it. When I left the sun was out and shinning. So, I walked up to the Luxembourg gardens. Nice gardens! I saw some old men out playing bachi ball I rather liked this guy.

Then I found this boy feeding everything! A veritable young Grizzly Adams. So cute.

So then I heard a band playing, I mean a real band like a marching band. So I made my way up to the band stand and there was a school band complete playing, then out come the hula dancers. Man, magical. All the way here in France and I meet up with some local brudhas and sistas and get to spread some Aloha. On my way out of the park I found this lovers pool. Couples were sitting all around it kissing, and I missed Chaz terribly. The pond is kinda dedicated to stolen kisses.

I made my way down found a nice place to eat a small quiche and a beer, and voila! I discover a STARBUCKS and a pipe store. It was too late for tea, so I settled for a French Pipe to the trip. I got a nice one, at 1/10 the price I payed for my English Dunhill. I walked back to my hotel smoking my pipe…happy.

Thank you all for sharing this journey with me, and thank many of you for helping me make this journey possible. You all are missed and loved.

(Oh, and again sorry if there are glaring grammatical errors)