Café des Arts

Café des Arts    coloured pencils      35 x 32 cm

Café des Arts” is a true story.

I saw these two couples (one painted and one real) at the Café des Arts, 3 place de la Contrescarpe, near Panthéon.  I had to surreptitiously acquire my source photo by pretending to focus somewhere else and then quickly swing my lens to the desired spot.

I wonder if the absinthe drinkers in the painting “Dans un Café” were aware of being watched back in 1875?  (The painting by Edgar Degas hangs in the Musée d’Orsay.)  My human couple remained oblivious to me.

Artists have to break rules in the quest for a good visual story whether the year is 1875 or 2018. Life imitates art.  Art imitates life.  And sometimes they both end up in the same picture.

Here is the source photo for “Café des Arts”.  If you look closely, you’ll see that I made a few simplifications by reducing details.




7 thoughts on “Café des Arts

  1. Robyn Varpins

    this is such an interesting image. both as a story and full of mini compositions that are complete in themselves. and it works overall. well crafted.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Nick, thanks. It WAS brave – because this was a difficult piece. And while working on it, the drawing was never “in the bag”, it teetered on the brink!
      I took the photo two years ago so it was a long time between idea and execution.

  2. anna warren portfolio

    Well done for completing this one in such short time! It has an intensity to it that maybe came from that. Having people as the main focus is different from so many of your other works, in which people are part of the landscape/streetscape. You really make use of your source image, enhancing what is there, I see so many repeating patterns, geometries, circles, rectangles. This is a real story image, you want to know more …

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Anna, it is nice of you to go to the trouble of commenting while you are overseas. it is much harder to comment, I find, when one is away from home. Thanks to you comment I decided to pop the source photo into the post.
      I totally ignored the source photo for the best part of two years, not even printing it out to put in my album when I first returned from Paris. But one day quite recently when I was scrolling through my photo images on the computer, I bumped into this one again – and was rather taken by it. But it still took me about three months after noticing it again to have the courage to try to draw it, mostly due to several parts which looked difficult. They DID prove to be difficult too – and some bits were deadly boring like the chairs! Boring and hard at the same time!!
      But I so loved that faux Degas that I persevered! I’m very glad I did. Rarely do I feel the sense of triumph that I felt when I finished this drawing. And rarely do I feel that drawing is hard work, as opposed to fun. This was hard work.

      1. anna warren portfolio

        It’s interesting isn’t it, some drawings almost draw themselves, others are much more demanding. I think I often feel more satisfaction ultimately with the difficult ones, assuming they work of course! And this one has.

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