"Almost Winter, Montmartre", 16x20, oil on board, (Copyright, 2015)
This scene has been painted thousands of times by artists all over the world. It's easy to see why. This is the Artists' Quarter in Paris, though Montmartre is truly a village unto itself at the north end of Paris. You can see Sacre Coeur lit up in the background, and if you don't know your history, you may not know that many of the residents of Montmartre were not happy when it was built in the early 1900's. It's not hard to figure out why, of course. Down the street a few blocks is the Moulin Rouge, a dance caberet hall where the "notorious" Can-Can was born. (I personally love the Can-Can myself and have been known to perform it on street corners at inopportune times.) Certainly the devil was NOT in the details when the church's founders were drawing up the plans!
At any rate, the scene above is the famous Place du Tetre where numerous artists, writers and poets would come to paint and frequent the coffee houses. It's still a haunt for the bohemian crowd, though it's become a horrendous tourist trap as well. In this painting, I really wanted to try to picture Montmartre in a gentler time, before dozens of tourists crowded it's narrow streets year round.
I wanted it to be a contemporary painting, while still maintaining vestiges of the older days. I hope I was successful.