Sunday, July 20, 2014

Paris Locks of Love Bridge

A couple of months ago I was commissioned to decorate a lock for a woman's 42nd wedding anniversary to attach to the "Locks of Love" bridge in Paris, France.  She wanted to surprise her husband on their upcoming European vacation and found a reproduction of an old vintage lock on EBay that looked like this:

When the lock arrived it was a lot larger than she had imagined it would be -- nearly 10" tall and weighing over 8 pounds!!  Could she get this huge contraption from the States to lovely Paris without her husband finding out??

I admit I hadn't known of the landmark until I had watched an episode of "Beverly Hills Housewives" and saw one of the couples adding a lock to the bridge, so I was very excited to help her out with her secret mission.  I Googled photos of the bridge to get ideas of what others had done to their locks but didn't see much that inspired me so I pulled out my paints and got to work.

A little gesso, acrylic paint, a clock stencil and a permanent ink calligraphy pen transformed the metal lock into this:

After the Tiffany blue paint dried, I took sandpaper and removed some of the edges to give it a worn look.  Then I mixed some burnt umber acrylic with matte medium and added some Indian Yellow paint to glaze the base color for a mottled look.  After the glazing dried, I added two coats of UV protective varnish to the lock to protect the paint from fading in the hot Paris sun.

My client carefully hid the lock in her luggage and managed to get through airport security and customs without alerting her husband to the locks' presence.  On the day they went to the bridge, he was thoroughly surprised and overwhelmed when she pulled the lock out of her bag.  Holding hands,  they found a place to secure the lock then threw the key into the Seine. 

There are two lock bridges crossing the Seine River in Paris -- Pont des Arts and Pont de l'Archevêché.  The "Pont des Arts" bridge is for long lasting love, and the "Pont de l'Archevêché " is for lovers.  Apparently the lover's bridge is filled to capacity, while there is still plenty of room on the bridge for long lasting love.  Yet in June of this year, part of the "Pont des Arts" railing collapsed from the weight of the locks and the government is now in the process of removing them to make the bridge structurally sound again.

Hopefully John and Madelyn's lock was not the reason the railing collapsed, and at least they were able to partake in a popular tradition while they were enjoying their romantic vacation.  Happy Anniversary, John and Madelyn -- may your love continue to grow through the ages and till the end of time.