For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with all things french. Visiting Paris was always a dream of mine. When I was a teenager I had black and white posters on my wall of the Eiffel Tower, and a collection of books and photos of Paris. Those posters probably started my admiration for black and white photography. I love the way they capture a moment, making it feel like time is standing still in that very spot, just waiting for me to walk right into it. I spent years day dreaming about being in those photos, walking the cobblestone, romanticizing the most romantic city in the world.
When my husband and I got married, he took me there for our honeymoon. My lifelong dream was finally becoming reality! I was excited with a little apprehension. What if I set expectations too high with my years of fantasizing? What if I’m disappointed? Maybe it was better to keep my affair with the city in my dreams so it never ended. But it’s Paris. The city of love. Of course it didn’t disappoint! It was trés romantique, just as expected!
This painting is reminiscent of our first day there. We dropped off our luggage at the hotel, with most of the day still available to us. All I could think about was seeing the Eiffel Tower in person, I couldn’t wait! I knew our hotel was on the other end of town and we wouldn’t be able to go that day, but my excitement remained. I just wanted to be out there, anywhere in the city! We went for a walk, not really knowing where we were going, trying to get the lay of the land. We wandered out of the arrondissement onto a busy street where we saw a park across the way. We started to walk towards the park when my husband stopped me, pointed and said, “Look!” When I looked up, the bustling of the passing cars subsided and the Eiffel Tower appeared in the distance. We stopped and sat on a nearby bench to take it in. That was when it hit me, my dream of being in Paris had come true. I was standing in the middle of the black and white photos of my childhood. All the moments that were paused in time, suddenly coming to life around me. I’m in a postcard, I thought to myself, I’m finally here.
I still dream about it, but now as a happy memory instead of a distant dream. I painted this scene as a mural in the powder room of our new home. The entire room is decorated in French theme to preserve the memory of our trip. Our houseguests throughout the years always admire it, so I decided it was time to paint it on canvas to exhibit outside of my home. Repainting it in black and white brought me right back to the park bench, and I remembered that day so clearly. Another moment paused in time, waiting for me to return. I wanted to revisit all of it, so I pulled out our honeymoon photos and that led to the creation of this series. These memories wouldn’t be the same in color, I had to create these in the same light that originally captivated my love for the city, black and white.