Painting Montmartre

Ah, the cafe life in Paris!

This won't exactly be a newsflash, but I just have to say it: Paris is awesome.  There, I got that out of the way early in this post!  And it is so true.  You hear it so often that it's essentially a cliche now.  But that is how things become cliches - they are just plain true.

Paris. Is. Awesome.

But Paris is a large city with a lot of things to see and do (and I have a list of places that are great for photography in Paris - hopefully I can return and add more to it!), and there are a lot of different areas to explore. You really never can see it all, but it's sure fun to try!

I loved the long shadows that the building cast on the street in this one.

I loved the long shadows that the building cast on the street in this one.

I was there last summer with the family for about a week (that would be in June 2013, not this most recent summer - time flies!) and while I have shared some shots from there, I haven't really shared that many.  And I do not know why.

It's probably that because of my travels, I am frequently shooting, and when it comes time to process photos, I generally think of the recent ones first.  With a lot of trips over the course of a year, you can see how I start to forget about things.  I get busy and process a few of the new shots, then move on to the next trip.

Here I liked how "Le Ronsard" is clear but most of the rest of the details are much softer.

Today I am going to correct that a slight bit and get these shots from Paris out there for ya! Specifically, I took all of these one afternoon while wandering around the Montmartre section of Paris.  The area is best known for Sacre Couer, but today's shots are mostly just street scenes I came across and found interesting enough to shoot.

Interestingly, I had processed all these shots and had them sitting on my desktop, ready to be posted.  But whenever it came time to create a blog post, I kept skipping them in favor of other shots from other places.

In other words, I wasn't inspired by the photos that I had taken.

Sitting at cafes in Paris - it's the life! (though I was busy shooting mostly)

So, I did what I have been doing more and more of lately - I decided to get creative.  With the exception of two of these (which two should be fairly obvious I hope!), I processed them in Topaz Simplify so that I could turn them into a sort of digital painting.  They became works of art, instead of just photographs.  They came to life.

And now, I love them.  Thank you, Topaz Simplify!

And by the way, I have a full review of Topaz Simplify here.  It's a great product, and I am using it a lot now to bring life to an otherwise dull photo.  It really gets me thinking creatively.

This is the HDR photo that I used as the basis for the painted version below...and I liked this one as an HDR...

...and this is how it looks "painted".  I like it even better now!

And then you know what I realized?  Montmartre used to be the home of some of the greatest artists ever - Picasso, van Gogh, Monet and others.  I guess that's why I had never been able to get them off of my desktop and onto the blog.  Something was keeping them there.  Something kept me from sharing the photos.  I guess they just needed to be turned into art.

Funny how things work out, isn't it?

Window shopping in Montmartre.

And in case you are the curious type (like me), I figured I should share at least one photo of Sacre Coeur.  This was previously shared here a long time ago, so perhaps you missed it.  And then of course, below it is the painted version, since I am in an artistic mood today!

I will have to come back and do another post on Sacre Coeur by itself.  It's deserving of course, and I do have quite a few pics of it, as you can probably imagine.  Sadly, there is a strict rule of no photography inside (and it's got an INCREDIBLE interior), so all my photos are from the outside.  But, that's ok, I still love them.  

This one has been shared here before.  It's an HDR photo of the facade of Sacre Coeur.

And here is the painted version.  It's quite a bit more colorful, but that's half the fun with art, right?

I will end with a quote about art that I really like:

No great artist ever sees things as they really are.  If he did, he would cease to be an artist.

- Oscar Wilde