The great bell of Notre Dame sounded today on the one year anniversary of the Cathedral fire.
I posted my painting of Notre Dame in November 2015 under the title Je Suis Paris in response to the terrorist attacks that had taken place in Paris on the 13th of November that year.
Today, seeing the sorrowful scenes from Paris of this iconic, majestic landmark engulfed in flames, a landmark that means so much to so many not only in Paris and France but around the world, Je Suis Paris once again.
The Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, 31st August, 1962
One more page of drawings from my summer in Paris in 1962. I somewhat foolishly imagined myself as a young Toulouse Lautrec as I sketched the cast of characters in the gardens and around the fountain that day: the young boys sailing their model boats, the loving couple out for an evening stroll, the guitarist filling the air with his music and the lady sleeping soundly on the bench. The drawings may be primitive when looked at today but they capture a peaceful precious moment in time in a city that continues to be very much in my heart and thoughts today.
I wrote, on Studio 365: Day 11 after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, how I fell in love with Paris on my first visit there as a young boy in August 1962. I posted a drawing I had made sitting in the Tuileries Garden on a beautiful summer’s Day. Now, here I am on Day 319 once again expressing solidarity and sympathy through the best way I know how with all those mourning today in Paris, in France and around the world. The drawing from that same never-to-be-forgotten visit in 1962 is of one of bridges over the Seine, when one of the most beautiful cities in the world inspired a young boy who has felt that inspiration ever since. Je suis Paris.
In the studio today my thoughts are very much with all the citizens of this great city as they walk in their millions for remembrance, for freedom, for tolerance, for love, for mankind, for the future. In the words of Francois Hollande, Paris truly is “the capital of the world today.”
I fell in love with Paris on my first visit there as a young boy in August 1962. I remember as if it were yesterday sitting and drawing in the Tuileries Garden after being inspired by all the French Impressionist paintings I had just seen in the Jeu de Paume, a stone’s throw away.