Crying Woman In A Paris Hotel Room



A few years ago I went to Paris for a week with my mum. Though we had a view of the Eiffel Tower from our balconies the hotel was in a tired area near Longchamp Racecourse. I remember a few things:


(1) the cues for the pool tables had no tips so you could not employ any screw/back spin.


(2) I bought a small radio in a market and my mum asked, "Won't it only play French music?"


(3) the tap water was not very undrinkable which is why we saw people buying bulk packs of Evian.


(4) the prostitutes were friendly and when the coach shipped us into/out of central Paris each day they gave everyone big smiles and waves.


(5) In The Louvre I saw the Mona Lisa encased in glass and it was much smaller than I thought.


(6) The walls in the lift had been fitted with a thick carpet.


(7) I saw the French policemen really did wear those flattish caps.


(8) A man in a café tried to contain his laughter when I ordered the meals in French (my mum refused to try a single word.)


(9) I saw a woman crying.


This painting relates to the number 9. On the final morning we packed our cases, checked we had not left any 50 franc notes under the mattress, and closed the doors for the last time. As we went down the corridors some of the doors were open and the maids were already at work stripping beds, pushing trolleys and vacuuming.


Walking down the corridor I was glancing in the rooms to see how big the rooms were when I caught sight of woman sat on a bed slightly hunched over, crying. By looking at her body language she was not crying with pleasure. She was probably French so if I had asked if she was okay I doubt she would have understood me. My secondary school French was only a little beyond “blanche velo” (white bicycle) which would not have been useful. (From German lessons I remember “bremsspuren” which means “skid marks”. I have not yet come across an occasion when I could use this word.)


So here is a painting of a weeping woman on the bed. I had almost finished it but kept looking at that bed crying out for something else to be put on it. I painted in a letter and thought the woman would be sobbing having digested some bad news.