But is it Art?

On my first visit to Paris, I went to the zoo at the Jardin des Plantes. I couldn’t believe the whole city was as beautiful as the neighborhood I was staying in — the view from my room, a room without even a private bathroom, was of the gardens of the Prime Minister’s official residence — so I wanted to get out to a few other areas. Back then the Jardin des Plantes was considered pretty far out there. Anyway, it was January. It was cold. The animals and I were staying indoors. The chimps were bored. When I walked into their little building, they noticed. After all, I was the only person there. They ran over immediately, so excited, and spread shit all over the 5-meter-high windows, pooped in their hands, even, to provide themselves with more, um, artistic media. As I look at this wall I wonder whether I haven’t come back to where I started.
Pretty soon this wall will be covered with this paint. The furniture and silkscreen will return to their usual positions. I live in hope that it no longer looks quite so, well, poopy. The idea was to have the wall disappear behiind the clutter of stuff we have in this room. We shall see and I may update this post with an “after” photo. Meantime, I’m having a lot of fun. Making art is real work but this, this is fun. Though I am starting to wonder whether my Painter friends, Sharon and Frank, have been keeping a little secret from me: once they have worked up the general idea, I bet they’re having a lot of fun, too.

Four hours later, there it is, missed spots and all. The color is less poop, I hope, and more ’70’s almost-avocado, which makes it appropriate to the age of the building. The sofa is calling my name. Jacques’ cushions, the ones he loves to attack when dogs appear on screen, await him. And if you are wondering what the big kids do when they paint, there is one of Frank’s silkscreens. I’m tired. Time to watch Wimbledon.

20 thoughts on “But is it Art?

    1. Jacques handles heat no better than do I. He spent the day flopping on the coolest floor surface he could find, that or trying to talk us i to taking him for a walk. At think at this point he was annoyed that I made him get off the floor and onto the much warmer sofa. Two seconds after I took that shot, he was down, moving toward the tile in the hall.

        1. Funny thought. It fits, though. Those are the days when Jacques and I both get ice cubes and I’m laying around flat as I can, just like him, until it cools down.

        2. The Bean often sends a postcard to my mother … she has always anthropomorphisised the dogs and it amuses her. The last card she sent bemoaned the rudeness of calling a heatwave a Canicule which has it’s root in Canine and possibly explains the term ‘dog days’. Mother is not a fan of the heat these days!

  1. Lynn

    Love the memory of your first time in Paris and your visit to the zoo.

    The after picture of the wall, with the silkscreen is a definite improvement.


    Apologies for any typographical errors – sent from a small mobile device.


    1. Thanks. Interesting how color affects our perception of a space. I don’t know why folks are so partial to white.

    1. Hahaha. No, not me. I once took a class on how to do those paint effects. I enjoyed it. One of the main lessons was that a little goes a long way. I might try some sometime, somewhere, but not with such contrasts.

      1. Please not with those contrasts. I would have to unfriend/unfollow/unblog you or what ever one does when one’s artistic sensibilities have been trampled all over…

        1. I’m not sure which part of it bothers you. If it’s the “after” photo, maybe you just have to see it. Maybe the photo doesn’t accurately represent the situation. it doesn’t actually read as contrasty, though I can see how you might get that idea. The darker paint wraps around much of three sides of the room, much of the rest being windows. The wall behind me, which obviously you can’t see, is nearly all glass. Plus it’s not a simple wall. It opens into a wide circulation area. The ceiling is white. The remaining white walls do not read as part of the space. The floor is oak. The walls are not as dark as the photo may make them appear.

          So instead of the formless mass that we had before, with furniture plopped into an ill-defined space, we have a sense of enclosure anchored by the sofa. It actually feels less contrasty because the new paint blends well with the furniture and Frank’s silkscreen. The TV disappears into the alcove; it used to protrude into the space. The weird angles and all disappear into the darkness. So it’s not really a white room any more, for which I am grateful. Honestly, it’s only because the paint defines the space that it feels like a room at all.

          Remember, this is a rental. If we owned the place I’d knock out walls and change the entire floor plan. It’s not like my house, which came fully formed and beautifully proportioned. I’m stuck with an awful lot that I don’t like, the upsides being the excellent location and a nice balcony for Jacques. It’s a cheap fix, a way to make the best of an awkward area.

          Come see it before you make up your mind. You still may not love it but you’ll be able to see how the paint solves a lot of problems. And if you can come up with a better solution for under 100 euros, I’ll do it. Repainting is easy.

          1. I was joshing, just my Brit excuse for humour.
            Lordy girl you do not have to justify to me!!
            I know all about using paint to mould spaces, I’m doing it right here with the bits I can’t amend

  2. I attack cushions when I see certain politicians on television …. love the Colour – love the painters picture and love that doggy more each time I see his squidgerlicious visage!

    1. Frank and Sharon spend months each year at their house near Montelimar. They are great fun and they don’t push product, bless their hearts. Maybe we can arrange a meetup — sometime. If you are like me, the next couple of months are pretty busy. Think about it.

      1. IOU an email. It’s been stupidly busy the last few weeks but after tomorrow when I watch my daughter Graduate in Fine Arts at Liverpool Cathedral complete with my elderly mother as raucous accessory, I should be a little more organized. I would love to meet up is the answer.

        1. Wow. Congratulations, daughter! I bet your mother won’t be the only raucous one in the audience. Best of luck to her.

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