Le Panier des Rêves
the basket of dreams

The character in this painting was created in poetic response to the itinerant street sellers of today who jingle their miniature Eiffel Towers in front of the Louvre and hover above blankets of knock-off handbags in the Tuileries.  When the weather turns, they appear everywhere, carrying sacks of umbrellas or gloves or water; hawking creature comforts to the wet, the cold and the parched.

This little girl offers visual delights to comfort the soul: flowers in celebration of the first snowfall of winter. She's standing in a setting that is especially meaningful to us, the exact spot where, 32 years ago, Ted painted his first landscapes en plein air.

It was on our first trip to Paris in 1980, the year that marks the beginning of the end of Ted's life as an illustrator. After  years of satisfying the visual needs of others, Ted realized he needed to more fully develop his own vision. To avoid being tempted by the next interesting assignment, we headed off to live and work in Europe.

On our first day in Paris we went to the local art store and acquired everything Ted needed to begin painting. But as he started to set up his studio, he realized he needed to truly begin at the beginning: leave behind the quiet and controlled environment of a studio and subject himself to the distractions and uncertainties of the outside world. 

As a further challenge, he wanted to paint something that had been painted a thousand times before; a setting so overdone as to seem banal. He settled on a spot on the Left Bank, directly across the Seine from Notre Dame, and began the first of four views along the river.

Ted has long since retreated to the solitude of his studio, and he still prefers figurative work to landscape. But on our last trip to Paris he stood where he had painted all those years ago and did a series of drawings as inspiration for this painting.

(We can't resist adding…all that is so much water under the bridge.)