Location | Paris: Meet Field School Blogger Yvonne Littlewood

Meet Yvonne!
Tell us a little bit about yourself—school, background, major, reasons for taking this trip, anything else interesting you want to share.

My name is Yvonne Littlewood and I am studying Interior Design at the Richmond campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I am very passionate about the architectural experiences that I can gain from travelling and trying to experience the world of design. Starting from a traditional art background I learned that my infatuation was not necessarily about the art work but, instead, the design process. After much research and time I discovered my love for architecture. Originally I was planning to take my last upper level elective for my program as an art history class. Already having Dorothy as a professor previously, I was excited to fill my summer with her inspiring and profound lectures. Little did I know this summer is the first Fine Arts Field School from Kwantlen, led by Dorothy and Nancy (Duff) to Paris, for the most beneficial and true experience of the Parisian life style. With little convincing I decided having art history classes inside the Louvre and Osary was the most exciting trip I could ever dreamed of. Though the trip is very expensive, especially for a student, the pros out weighted the cons. As a group you are able to experience more with a sense of safety and comfort. Daily during the evening times you are free to explore as much as you can! Groups disperse and lose themselves to a city with endless character. Like the members of this class, each story is unique to the individual.
Yvonne (far left) with Tessa, Amanda ans Shannon out and about exploring Paris.
(photo courtesy: Kyubo Yun)
What has met or exceeded your expectations or surprised you about Paris so far?

The first day, for me, was the most surprising; everything was done in such a rush I had no time to take in such a contrast of Paris to my home, Vancouver. Whether it is was the lack of sleep or the couple glasses of French wine, our group gathered in joy and excitement for the future of our trip after unpacking that night. After weeks of compressed classes, endless readings, saving every penny, I was standing side by side with my peers in Paris. I am unashamed to label myself as an over excited nerd for design and architecture so it was no surprise that my favorite museum/attraction was the architecture museum in Paris. Every attraction we have seen so far has been unique and interesting in its own way.  Something that I will take back with me from Paris is the idea of leisure. Parisians spend many hours in cafes, meeting up with friends and go out shopping each day of to buy groceries for that night’s dinner. The cafes and bakeries line every street in Paris, which is something I wished we had back at home. Every restaurant is smaller in scale but offers a grander experience with its boutique look. If I could describe the streets compared to home, Gastown is the best description. The people are not as friendly compared to Vancouver in the sense that the metro is virtually silent, however people are always willing to help if you ask. I speak only five words in French but I haven’t had a problem getting through the city because most people can speak some English. Overall a two week trip sounds short but I have so many experiences vastly different from each other that I can’t chose just one as my favorite because they are all equally special and something I can never forget.
Laughing it up on top of the Arc de Triomphe! From left to right top: Tessa, Yvonne, Shannon, Jessica
bottom: Kenny, Andres, Charis, Amanda, Wei (photo courtesy: Kyubo Yun)
Give us some insight into your assigned art work from the Musee d’ Orsay. After seeing the work in person, what struck you most about it and/or how did the art work’s form, content, and context shift for you when seeing it?

Louis Welden Hawkins, The Eiffel Tower (1889)
I was assigned a late Impressionist painting by Louis Welden Hawkins, better known for his symbolist style of painting. In his painting (The Eiffel Tower) a statue sits on the edge of the Orsay facing the Eiffel tower and is known as the first advertisement for the famous landmark. Hawkins knew the world was coming to Paris to see the World’s Exhibition in 1889 and the Eiffel tower was the main spectacle. Hawkins was a smart man who adjusted his style and changed his subjects to have his work on display in the Orsay for the world to see.  Online, my painting is said to be on display in the Orsay but sadly hasn’t been for the last ten years. I feel as though I know the Orsay like the back of my hand from running around taking pictures inside the historic building for over six hours. I did find a mask of Hawkins’ face completed by a close friend of his. I also found the statue in his painting outside on the foregrounds of the Orsay. On top of that I found another painting of his but surprisingly nothing of his work in either the symbolist, impressionist or late Impressionist section. Disappointed but still so excited from seeing paintings of masters I have been studying for years, I accepted the fact that the painting I studied was hidden underneath the Orsay in storage. I do hope that Hawkins La Eiffel will go on display again for the world to see as a great example of the popularity of Impressionist paintings had during this time.

Today’s activity ended up allowing for an unscheduled free day. What were your impressions?  What will you take away of the experience?  What, if any are the memorable moments for you?

Place des Vosges is an amazing architectural site to visit in Paris.
(photo courtesy: Dorothy Barenscott)
Tuesday, June 12th’s events were drastically changed. The museums and attractions we attempted to go see were not open. So this day turned into a free day. Much like any class everyone is expected to attend what is planned for each day other than free days. So for some peers and myself, we wanted to get lost in the city and go out for dinner afterwards. In much need of coffee, we stopped at a cafe and ending up spending so much time there chatting away, we treated ourselves to lunch as well. Energized and refreshed we headed for the St Paul’s metro stop to find the oldest square in Paris (Place des Vosges) . The streets are lined with endless boutiques that caught our attention as we found our way to this hidden square. As you walk into the central garden you are surrounded by identical townhomes. Taken after the Romans, the first floor of the homes were stores facing the inside of this square. Today we were unable to see any museums, however, we found over 15 galleries of local artist. Keeping stores in mind for future purchases, we headed home exhausted from hours of walking. I took a nap before dinner and headed with my sketch book and media in hand to one of the groups’ rooms for a “salon party”.  Drinking more French wine alongside friends, together we spent another late night laughing and sharing the experiences of our day. 
Interior shot of one of Yvonne's favourite spots, The Architecture
Museum of Paris. (photo courtesy: Dorothy Barenscott).