I first felt like I could really draw in France in the early seventies so it all goes back to that time. We went to England on that trip as well and I drew there too, but Paris was the beginning for me.


Here are some drawings from France in the seventies. We went to Europe a lot in those days. We had some good friends who had moved to Los Angeles and every year we would promise to come out and visit. I would explore flights and hotels and we would realize that we could spend a week or two in LA or a month in Europe, which we loved, so we went to Europe.


Since television is broadcast every day and doesn’t shut down for holidays, I would wind up with two or three weeks of comp days every year, in addition to my vacation time. Gerry was able to take some leaves of absence while she had a staff job. After Amy was born she worked freelance so taking a long trip was just a matter of scheduling.


We always brought Amy, and later Adam, but he was only seven the last time we went so his European memories aren’t as strong as Amy’s.


I learned from the Metro sign that I should either start with the most important part of the drawing or make sure I leave room for it. I find myself holding the paper up to the scene a lot, not so much to see if the drawing matches reality but to see if I’m going to get everything in.


I did a much larger version of the mill in Pont Aven. It was so big, in fact that half the water wheel (paddle wheel?) is on another sheet of paper. I once drew the Coast Guard schooner Eagle at the South Street Seaport but was forced to omit one mast in order to get the bow and stern on the paper. I figured I wound up drawing the Eaglet.


I drew the montage in Paris in 1976 because there were so many little bits of things that fascinated me. I had intentions of doing at least one montage each trip but this is really the only one I ever did. I guess a menu written on the window of a restaurant is a lot more interesting to me in Paris than a lot of other places.


Amy was only 15 months old when I drew the Arc de Triomphe. She loved picking up Metro tickets. I can still hear the maid coming into our room with breakfast or towels and seeing Amy playing. The maid would say, “Bonjour petit bebe”. She didn’t mind that I had moved the furniture to make a corner for Amy’s crib. We had found folding wooden crib sides that fit in a huge suitcase. They were made to strap to a bed but we often would put them on the floor with crib sheets under them. Anyway, Amy certainly got a lot of smiles.

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All material copyright 2008 Neil Borrell