My presence at the party was in no way mandatory. Denis was invited to work there, drawing guests at the anniversary party of Faber Castell, an art supply company that has been around for 250 years (in other words, about as long as the last time I blogged). But I tagged along as a curious spectator. I'm happy I did for a few reasons:
1. Watching people make art with old fashioned things like pencils and paint is fun. Denis used pastel, which gets all over your hands. We didn’t think to bring baby wipes, so when people shook hands with Denis, they got a hint of pastel smudge as well. I liked that the person walked away with a bit of the debris from the project on their hands. Since most of us work on computers, with our outputs dematerialized, and since the point of the evening was celebrating these lovely art products, it seemed to be a cool upshot. 250 years is a long time and I hope the company is around much longer, but you never know. Maybe in the distant or near future people won’t use art supplies at all but will do everything on a computer, even drawing and painting.
2. It was held at the German ambassador's house. Entering this sumptuous hotel particulier, the Hotel Beauharnais, is like entering some old fashioned royal kingdom, combined with a sort of Candyland feeling that comes from the lapidary rooms of different colors. Denis stood in the Baron Von Bismark room under a portrait of Louis 18th while he worked.
The drop dead looks of the Hotel Beaharnais are certainly enhanced by what’s behind it: a large garden overlooking the Seine. The garden gives off some nice grassy odors (this party took place months ago, when it was warm) and the Seine gives super bright light that moves on the walls every time a péniche passes, casting a carnival feeling over the room. I couldn’t capture the garden at night, but at the end of the evening we snapped a couple of cheesy, posed shots, which give you an idea of the décor.
3. It was the chance to meet some interesting people. Unexpectedly, the party’s hosts came in at the tail end to have their portraits made: The German Ambassador Reinhard Schäfers! The count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell! Denis drew them and got a good likeness, I thought. The ambassador said something to Denis like “My wife will frame this!” which is a perfectly lovely response. But also impressively diplomatic. And then for some reason, a Tom Swifty popped into my head: “My wife will frame this!” the ambassador said artfully.
If you don't like Tom Swifties, then please don't judge me -- it is an illness.
Next time I will tell you about the cake.