Looking from the balcony of my apartment, Paris, 2001, photo Jill Sampson.

Pata Paris Residency,
9 September – 7 October, 2001

Awarded by Daniel and Anne Pata and the Sydney Gallery School, Meadowbank, NSW. 

In 2001 I was awarded a month long artist residency in Paris. Throughout that time I walked and explored not only the city of Paris, but as many of the museums and art galleries that I could. Each day I drew and wrote in my sketch books, while in the evenings I took some of the drawings from my sketchbooks and recomposed them as these ink drawings. 

I visited printmaking Atelier Lacourière-Frélaut with the hope of returning in the future. Sadly the Atelier closed in 2008.  I spent one day with independent, master printmaker, Olaf Idalie.

Around this residency I took further travels to other places in England and Europe to look at the work of particular artists including: Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and the Mark Rothko room at the Tate Modern (England), Edvard Munch (Oslo, Norway), Rembrant von Rijin (Amsterdam, Holland), Kath Kollwitz (Berlin and Cologne, Germany), Fra Angelico (Florence, Italy) as well as many other artists. I also visited the Bayeux Tapestry in France and the 2001 Venice Biennale. Many more historic sights, museums and art galleries were an inspirational part of my grand tour. It was an incredible experience for which I am grateful to Daniel and Anne Pata.

Most of these ink drawings were exhibited at:
Handwriting – an exhibition of work by Jill Sampson and Elizabeth Pozega
A-Space on Cleveland, Surrey Hills, Sydney, NSW
4 – 21 September 2002

Indochine, 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo by Irena Conomos.
Chartres, 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo by Irena Conomos.
Darkness, 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo by Irena Conomos.
Gargoyle , 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo by Irena Conomos.
On the Train, 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo by Irena Conomos.
Mask, 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo Irena Conomos.
Montmatre, 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo Irena Conomos.
Night, 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo Irena Conomos.
Guide (statuette at the Louvre, Paris), 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo by Irena Conomos.
Petals, 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo by Irena Conomos.
Paris Streets, 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill, Sampson, photo by Irena Conomos.
Walking, 2001, ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, photo by Irena Conomos.
Balcony, 2001, Ink 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, scanned artwork.
Mummified, Louvre, 2001, Ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, scanned artwork.
Jorg (on the train to Berlin), 2001, Ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, scanned artwork.
Louvre, 2001, Ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, scanned artwork.
Ship Rigging (Amsterdam), 2001, Ink, 31 x 24cm, Jill Sampson, scanned artwork.

Note: Photos have been scanned.

Paris evenings, 2001, photo Jill Sampson
Place Edith Piaf, Paris, 2001, photo Jill Sampson

Pata Paris Residency, 2001
Extract form an Email dated 28 September, 2001

And then Paris…
I think I have put off this email because Paris is such a huge thing to write about. When I arrived it was absolutely full of tourists and so many of those Americans. There are still many about, but I am hearing more Australian accents around. The first week was one in which I tried to catch up on myself and start to get to know this new city. It takes time to know a place and of course there is only so much a visitor can see and find and learn. 

Paris is many things. It is the Eiffel tower, Sacre Coeur – both overlook the city and both attract modern ‘pilgrims’ from all over the world. And because of these ‘pilgrims’ come the trinket sellers, the buskers, the weekend portrait artists and the beggars. 

Last Saturday was a beautiful day and I spent the afternoon at Montmartre. There was a carnival atmosphere in the square and around Sacre Coeur. I sat on the steps and watched the people coming and going. An old woman was doing a roaring trade at begging as the pious came away from their visit to the church. But then a trio of musicians and singers started up and the whole mood became upbeat (this swept away ill feeling in the wake of a fight between two trinket sellers). This business of begging did not do so well until the men in black with white collars moved the musicians further down the hill.

Then there is the Paris of Place Edith Piaf. I am staying in an apartment on the second floor of a building that overlooks this little square. From my window, over the flowering geraniums, I can see the daily goings on in this little part of Paris. I enjoy sitting at the window and watching life pass by.  There are markets twice a week that fill the square and stretch along the street all the way to the next metro stop. There are fruit and vegetable sellers, fishmongers, cheeses, pastries, haberdashery, cuts of meat, some clothing and much more set up on the streets. 

Last Saturday there was a flea market in the square, set up early in the morning and the last store holders to leave were packing up in the darkness. When I returned from a day of looking at art it was to a busy little square with smoke billowing into the metro station from corn cooking over braziers and the smiling faces of children holding the doors open for the commuters emerging from the metro tunnel.

There are all the shops anyone could need in Place Edith Piaf. There’s the bakery, butchers (with painted pictures of a sheep, a pig and a cow on the metal shutters when they are closed), a florist, a Pharmacie, Chocolate shop, bottle shop, Chinese take away, fish shop and fruit and vegetable shop. The young Tunisians at the fruit and vegetable shop work very hard and are welcoming and friendly. They are open early in the morning, always before I am awake and only start to pack up around 10pm in the evening. It takes them ages to pack all their produce away and move their stalls back into the shop before pulling down the shutters. Of course a few hours later they are setting it up again.

When I go to the Laundromat I feel as though I am participating in some female ritual. There are a couple of males that come and go, but often I see the same women and I can feel a sense of solidarity between those that are there for the long haul of staying with their washing and getting it dry. It is all about getting your washing into the machine and using the dryers that are working, then helping each other to fold the large bed sheets so they do not drag on the floor.

The apartment that I can call home for a month is just the most perfect place. The smooth amber coloured wooden steps wind like an oblong corkscrew, continuing upwards from where I stop to enter my apartment. There are four doors on each landing – all identical and with no numbers. I have only met a few people who live behind the identical doors. There is a woman with a tiny little dog that yaps as it has to leap up every stair. There is the quiet spoken Philippe who was such a huge help on my first day, there is Laurent who left me a note in French to say the postman had given him a parcel for me, there is the young man next door who plays Middle Eastern music which sometimes starts me dancing on my side of the  wall and there is the elderly woman who calls me mademoiselle. 

Last week someone left me a tiny flower in my mailbox.

At night I mostly sit at the dining table, reading, writing or drawing. When I go to bed I can hear the pattern of footsteps of the person in the apartment above me, who I have never met, and I wonder if the person in the apartment below notices the pattern of my footsteps as they lay down to sleep. In the darkness the light that pools into Place Edith Piaf. The light traces the pattern of the lace curtains and the iron railing onto the blue curtains at the window. It is a beautiful soft pattern that I would love to reproduce as an intaglio print. Outside the sound of voices, footsteps and traffic continues.

Of course Paris is so much more than these two places that I have spoken about. Her museums are fantastic and the shops seductive to anyone with a credit card. There is so much to see just by walking and walking. Notre Dame was a shock – it has been cleaned! No more the darkly stained Gothic façade that I remembered* – it looks brand new.

Yesterday I spent time with the master printmaker Olaf Idalie watching him work and asking questions. He was preparing to print some 17th century plates from the Louvre…

 * I visited Paris briefly in January 1990.
**A very special thank you to my friend Ruth Tobler for keeping copies of the emails from my 2001 travels and posting these back to me in 2020!