Alone in the Upper Marais

"Alone in the Upper Marais" Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle. December 2016.

“Alone in the Upper Marais”
Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle.  200 x 250 mm.
December 2016.

The best time to get up super-early in Paris is just after one has arrived from the other side of the world.  In those first 48 to 72 hours, time is upside-down.  One is wide awake at 5 a.m – so go for it – out into the pre-dawn streets.

“Alone in the Upper Marais” is a street-scape in the vicinity of our accommodation.  We were in rue de Poitou in the area known as Upper Marais or Temple.  I had stepped out and was quickly interested in a solitary figure in the distance.  Technically, neither she nor I were alone, as the other one was there.  But I’m sure we each felt alone.  Up ahead, she was unaware that I was observing her and she will never know that she is now a shadowy shape in a coloured pencil drawing.

This is the fourth drawing in my Paris Revisited series.





“Alone in the Upper Marais” is the first of the four drawings in which I didn’t struggle.  I enjoyed the drawing from start to finish so I must be submitting to the pencils-without-borders state of mind at last.  It is a zone with no cut-and-dry boundaries; colours merge, dance and dissolve into one another.

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8 thoughts on “Alone in the Upper Marais

  1. sherrytelle

    What a special treat it is, to wake up to a Julie Blog. I am so very drawn to your Paris drawings. I think it is because I too love to be out and about first thing in the morning on empty streets, or empty parks, or empty beaches on my own. The smells are different, there is a dampness in the air that goes away when the sun comes out. The colours merge and blur leaving one with a feeling of anonymity that is somehow relaxing and comforting. Usually in night scenes there is a feeling of intrigue or danger of what is lurking in the dark recesses. In your Paris drawings I get the feeling of anticipation of what lies beyond, and the freedom to explore on my own. Love this new direction of yours.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Cousin Sherry, thank you! You know, if I was in an uncomfortable situation, I don’t think I would be able to make a drawing from it. Every single drawing I ever do comes from a situation in which I was inspired and therefore happy. I want to recreate for myself the way I felt wherever-in-the-world I was at that moment – remembering all the sensations I experienced. So you can be sure that in all the night drawings you see, I felt secure from harm. You are so right about the early morning. It is pure magic.

  2. anna warren portfolio

    You are really relaxing into this technique – this one has such an air of insouciance (isn’t that a nice word!). The sense of early morning or evening is there, the time between artificial light and natural light. Just lovely, so nice to look and interpret that which is hinted at but not spelled out. (Limited internet access here in the wilds of Tasmania, hence the late response.)

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Insouciance is such a good word that I had to look up the specific meaning. Yes, it does have that feeling – and in that spirit I didn’t labour over the finish – just went, “piff — it’s done” – with a toss over the shoulder. May insouciance be my companion more often!


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