I explained in my last post “Back To My German Past” that I had recently found some sketches from one of my many previous lives… more exactly from the one in Reute, a municipality about 10 kilometres away from the wonderful town of Freiburg, in Baden-Wuertenberg and on the edge of the famous Black Forest. And I promised some insight into the cafe life in and around Reute, based on some of these sketches done on site… some of them probably drawn while drinking one of those fabulous big Weizenbeers! I certainly was having one as I painted the above sketch! “Cafe Filou” was the main Gasthaus in Reute, a very cool place, where the whole town, young and not-so-young people gathered most every evening, to have some drinks or a meal. Or to have a date. This was THE place where to find a new girl or boyfriend if you had inadvertently lost one. A typically German place, with loads of wood and beer and solid tasty food… and allowing intimacy as well as social interaction if you needed to… I just loved it! And of course I loved the name, “Filou”, a French word, which my dictionary inelegantly translates into “crook, cheat”. Well, I suppose you don’t have any filous in English speaking countries, as a filou is nothing of that. It must be something typically French. I don’t know if you have heard from Arsene Lupin, the gentleman thief, but he was a typical filou. In fact, a guy doing very naughty stuff, but doing it with such a charm that one can’t help forgiving him, and even loving him! Normally used for a guy, but my mother sometimes calls me that, when I am especially “cheeky”… and honestly, I am, deep inside, a filou… but so deep that only my mother can know… and Kevin of course – who just told me that ‘rascal’ is perhaps the closest approximation to filou! But this, to my French ears, is far less delightful!
The above sketch was drawn in Cafe Conditorei Cappuccino, in Hochdorf-Freiburg. This also was a great place, but more for the morning or the afternoon. The Milch Café were served in immense bowls with much foam on top, gargantuan mueslies and fruit-salad yoghurts in huge crystal dishes .The cakes you could get with them were just soooo tasty, lecker as they say there! Most people indeed went there for breakfast, especially business men when they had their morning break like the guy with the tie in the background. I do miss sometimes the food from Germany, there was something quite gemütlich in it. Gemütlich, a word I could never find an appropriate translation for in French. In English I would say something like “cosy”… well, I guess the French don’t like it cosy, they just like it filou!
But even though it was more of a breakfast or afternoon cafe, you could also see people drinking beer there, at any time of the day… and when it happened to be in the morning, it was usually a lonely person and a very sad view indeed…
And now a last sketch from that time in Germany. I believe though that the subject is universal!
I am wondering though if times have changed since 2000, the date when that drawing was done … is it perhaps more the men nowadays moaning after their women that they drink and smoke too much? Possible, isn’t it? The world has changed so much these last 10 years…
So, this was my trip back to my past in Reute. It was fun to relive this time through these sketches. As I always notice, sketches and paintings have a much deeper and much more emotional memory value than photographs. Probably because when one does them, one generally goes much deeper into the subject, and stays much longer on it, even if the sketches are quickly done, like mine normally are.
These artworks are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widget below to access my FAA Gallery
And more generally you can see ALL THE STUFF I paint by going to my gallery “Miki’s Enchanted World”.