November 12, 2014 - Truly one of the best days of my life. There was a crowd at the reception, half of whom were people I knew and their friends, and half of whom were total strangers to me. Such a nice mix! Everyone loved the artwork and asked lots of questions about my process, inspiration, etc. Most people spoke in French, and I did my best to reply to them in French.

During the reception, Christina, the cultural events coordinator, gave a talk about my work. Below is the text of her talk (translation courtesy of Etienne and Christina):

"I think René's artwork is very interesting. The pieces give a strong atmosphere , and you don't see people in the prints and paintings. There may be a dog that walks around, but otherwise you see only glasses and coffee cups. With these cups one can imagine the people behind the coffee; those who have prepared the coffee, or those drinking it. These art pieces are 'inhabited.' They invite us all to pick up the cup and enjoy some coffee.

I am very happy to introduce René to you all. This reminds me of the saying, 'Tell me what you drink (or eat); I’ll tell you who you are.' René embodies this idea. She travels through taste: she often comes to France, and she drinks good wine and good coffee. This is how she came to La Caféothèque: because she was looking for some good coffee to drink. That was one year ago. We communicated through e-mail and we met each other only one week ago. We actually found out that we make a great team!

I also  want  to thank Laure, who helped us a lot. She is a very sensitive person with art; she has good judgment and she can create stories through what she sees to share with others.

I am very happy to be here and share this time with you. The exhibition will be on display until January 7. I invite you all to have another look at the pieces . Enjoy!"

-Christina Chirouze Montenegro


Working with my "team" in Paris


November 7, 2014. I AM SO HAPPY TO BE IN PARIS!! Met my "team" tonight - Christina Chirouze Montenegro & Laure Jubert. We looked over my art, decided how to hang it, and discussed our philosophies on art and life.

Christina & Laure loved their t-shirts I brought for them. I can tell that these two talented women are going to make great things happen!


November 8, 2014. Out shopping for picture frames, and having a coffee (of course!) at café Loustic in the Marais - where Laure works during the day. Event documented below -  with the inimitable Christina Chirouze Montenegro!

I'm exploring France and calling it research - how awesome is that?  What artwork will come from my current experiences? In just a few days we'll be celebrating the opening of my first exhibit in Paris!




Un Cafe, s'il vous plait

A Quiet Visit to a Café

Shoemaker-Kate+BenCafeotheque-Paris Today, a year after my last visit, I quietly returned to La Caféothèque de Paris. I didn't let anyone know I was coming. I wanted to see this magical place again by myself: explore the rooms, study the walls, feel the space, and find out whether the coffee really is as good as I remembered.

It is.

The espresso I had today was full of body and smooth as silk. No acid, no bitterness; just pure, gentle coffee flavor. It really is the best coffee I have ever had.

The space is also as wonderful as I remembered. It has four connected rooms for enjoying your beverage, each with its own personality. Today I sat in the "Green Room," a setting with rustic wooden tables and plants - including coffee - growing everywhere. The cafe was pleasantly busy; there was a buzz of soft conversation from some of the patrons, while others read or spent time with their work before them.

As I sipped my espresso, I watched the activity on the city streets through the large windows overlooking the Seine and Île Saint-Louis. I watched the cycles, the motos, the little Fiats and Peugeots go by, as well as the pedestrians: the office workers, students, and tourists. The streets were alive, and all who passed by looked as though they were enjoying the day as much as I was.

I'm exploring France and calling it research. What artwork will come from my current experiences?  In just another week we'll be celebrating the opening of my first exhibit in Paris!



Beyond Excited!

La Table a la Cafeotheque de Paris, 4th

I am beyond excited

about my upcoming art show

in Paris!


I've been trying to remain calm and stay focused on my work, but now that the time for departure is near (October 14th), I find myself dancing in my shoes without moving my feet. (Did I really just make up that saying? - But, it's the way I feel!)

There is a Facebook Page for the exhibit & reception created by the venue; the reception will be held November 12, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. Please share the news with your friends who might be able to attend; I'm sad that my U.S. friends won't be able to be there with me, but I am certainly intending to make new friends while I am in Paris. I love art receptions!

I've been working hard printing all new beautifully colored prints for this exhibit, and I'm very happy with the results. I will have all the new café prints uploaded to my website before I leave, so you can see the results of this labor of love.

The image, above, is of the café table at La Caféothèque in Paris. Their coffee is superb! You can see the bag of coffee beans I bought and the delicious latte I was drinking when I made this sketch. Très fantastique!

Un café, s'il vous plaît 

Lino prints of the café experience by René Shoemaker La Caféothèque de Paris 52, Rue de l'Hotel de Ville Paris, France November 12, 2014 - January 7, 2015 Reception: Tuesday, Nov 12, 6:30 pm

Do You Love to Travel?

Cafe Cassette, Paris, France  

Travel is a gift - do you feel the same way?

To explore a new place; even if it's in familiar territory.

To sit in the sun on a street you've never been to before.

To notice that the trees you are seeing on the horizon are totally unlike the ones you pass on your way to work every day.

To smell unrecognized spices wafting from a restaurant on a crowded city street.

To recognize the hum of conversation all around you, but maybe not all the words.

To sit at a quiet café on the corner of Rue Cassette & Rue de Rennes

                                                                                                            in Paris, France.


My cafe' prints and I are traveling to France soon for their exhibit starting November 10, 2014 at La Caféothèque in Paris. A selection of the prints are currently on exhibit at The Grit, in Athens, Georgia through October 5 for you to enjoy now.

Paris Rooftops

image Who doesn’t love the rooftops of Paris? Even if you have never visited Paris, most likely you have seen photos of the Parisian roofline. If you can get up high, and look out a window, or standing on the top of the Pompidou Center, the Eiffel Tower, or Notre Dame, your eye travels as if you were looking over a field or a valley. Most of the Paris building heights are relatively standard, creating a space that feels good for people in the street. Somehow this rooftop view is quite romantic, and adds to the attraction Paris has for those who love it there.

This is the view out the back window of our apartment where we stayed - not very romantic maybe, but pretty beautiful anyway. I watched the moon travel the sky from this window, and saw the stars sparkling in the night.

[Art exhibit now at Aurum Studios in downtown Athens, GA for the month of February. ‘Widening the Horizon’ exhibit with Suzanne Gernandt, textile artist extraordinaire, of Waynesville and Asheville, NC. Reception: Thursday, Feb 6th, 6-8 pm, 2014 - this week!]

Illustration: Rooftop . Paris . 14th.  Hand-painted silk charmeuse. 2014. by René D. Shoemaker

Rue Campagne-Première - Paris - 14th

imageSome of the best parts of the trip were when we did something that was absolutely normal, yet somehow different, because of the fact that we were in a different country with a different language and different customs.

And now, here I am, back in the States, sharing these images of my experience with you. There are only two days until the art reception at Aurum Studios, where you’ll be able to see all this paintings for yourself. But only two more days allows only two more images that I can share with you until that time. How can I choose just two?

This painting was inspired by the laundromat on the street where we stayed. I enjoyed doing the laundry there and soaking up the atmosphere. The neighborhood was great. I would go back in a heartbeat.

[New art exhibit up now at Aurum Studios in downtown Athens, GA for the month of February. I am sharing the space with the fabulous textile artist Suzanne Gernandt, weaver extraordinaire, of Waynesville and Asheville, NC. Reception: Thursday, Feb 6th, 6-8 pm, 2014 - this week!]

Illustration: Rue Campagne-Première . Paris . 14th . France. Hand-painted silk crepe de chine. 2014. by René D. Shoemaker

Rue Bièvre, Paris

image My favorite street in Paris is Rue Bièvre, on the Left Bank, in the Latin Quarter. The street is short and it winds, giving an air of mystery and intimacy. Walking from Boulevard Saint-Germain direction, you come out to the Seine River, with Notre Dame Cathedral sitting right in front of you, a huge presence in the river, looking over the town of Paris. A canal from the Bièvre River used to run along where the street is now, and the river was the source of water for many dye and weaving houses. President François Mitterand lived on Rue Bièvre - he had good taste, too.

[New art exhibit going up at Aurum in downtown Athens, Ga for the month of February. I am sharing the space with the fabulous textile artist Suzanne Gernandt of North Carolina. Reception: Thursday, Feb 6, 6-8 pm

Illustration: Tailleur . Rue Bièvre . Paris . 5th - hand painted silk twill - by Rene Shoemaker - 2014

Paris - Wooden Steps

image In our building in Paris the top turn of the wooden stairway was so beautifully worn, so beautifully hand made, so varnished by so many feet over so many years, that I was struck by the glistening patina every time I walked the 4 floors to our apartment.

The design of the steps were pieced together and created an almost abstract design that I felt compelled to document and share with you.

[New art exhibit going up at Aurum in downtown Athens, Ga for the month of February. I am sharing the space with the fabulous textile artist Suzanne Gernandt of North Carolina. Reception: Thursday, Feb 6, 6-8 pm]


Steps . Rue Campagne Premiere . Paris . 14th - hand painted silk broadcloth - by Rene Shoemaker - 2013