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Gay Paris' 1980 -1993

Gay Paris’

1980 -1990

Imelda Maguire, Northants England, on the way to Gay Paris, photo by Richard Briggs 1980.

Gay Paris’

Sunflowers (Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers) 92.1 x 73cm - 36 x 28, oil on canvas,  
Vincent van Gogh Famous Dutch artist - Post Impressionist painter,1888

It was a glorious spring morning of early April 1984 In Metro Paris.

Since I was just a young girl, it had been a dream of mine to visit the Paris Louvre to see the famous Van Gogh SUNFLOWER which was the beautiful image of a puzzle my father had given me for my tenth birthday.  I love the Van Gogh Sunflower so free and full of life.

While I was there in Paris I set out to research the French Impression.  It was my thought that it was a painting until I found Montmartre Square; where right before my very eyes I finally understood what everyone I knew working in the creative field was buzzing about.  It was never just one painting, as I so naively thought, (not having any knowledge of any art history) it was an entire art movement. 

The day was wonderfully fresh, full of the hope and renewal of spring.  It had rained heavily the whole day before, well into the night.  

The hotel desk clerk drew out a map that would walk me through the streets of Paris along side of the River Seine, to a landmark bridge where I was to cross the river to the entrance of the historic Louvre Art Gallery.

How wonderfully exciting it was to experience all the enthusiastic shopkeepers that hustled about at the break of day to hose down their walks in preparation to receive the first customers for the day as they opened wide the shop doors in the hope of many new sales.

Canopies of many bright brilliant colors and shapes rolled out over the shop entrances showing off all the new and exciting gift ideas and latest products that beckoned to the passerby, enticing all with fine food and pastries baked fresh for the daily menu fare filling the air with a grand scent of celebration.

Designer clothes, exquisite lingerie, the latest styles of real leather shoes with matching handbags, beautiful one of a kind jewelry and perfume dressed the shop windows and sidewalks, leaving the senses rich with temptation that lured the shoppers on into the stores to spend their hard-earned francs.  A stunning feast it was for any sore eye!

Imelda Maguire requesting a passerby to take a photo in front of Exposition Square, Paris 1980.

The River Seine Paris, photo by Imelda Maguire, 1980


To my delight, the bridge to the Louvre was right where the desk clerk’s map said it would be... and so I crossed. 

There it was, as big as life itself right before my very eyes The Gallery Louvre.  My heart was pounding with anticipation, knowing in only a very few minutes the feast of that beautiful Van Gogh Sunflower would be before me in all it’s glory as well as the infamous French Impression painting that I waited so long to view.  

I had been using the palette knife for some time in search for the perfect way to express the wet of healing nature on the earth’s beautiful flowers and trees, n

ow even the wet rain on the streets of Gay Paris I would learn how to make visible to the eye on the finished canvas. 

 River Seineoriginal oil on canvas, palette knife, 32 x 48, 1980.

Collector not recorded

As I reached the top step at the entrance of the magnificent Louvreit was only to discover that a sign on the Gallery door read;

Closed to the public on Tuesday

  Well wouldn't you just know it,  right there  I was on the step of the Louvre and it was a Tuesday.

  Having to leave the next morning for a return flight to England truly changed everything that I had dreamed about. 

River Seine Paris 1980

Imelda Maguire taking a moment to contemplate alongside the River Seine Paris 1980

Instinct was to rise above this sense of disappointment.

Heck, I was right here standing in front of the most exquisite Art Gallery in the world!  That in itself was so very satisfying.  Besides, it was a grand day for a walk through the beautiful Gardens of the Louvre, then to the Eiffel Tower and of course, unbeknownst to myself beyond that wondrous landmark was indeed Montmartre Square.

It was my thought that it just might take a whole of the day to peruse through the Gallery Louvre that perhaps, I might not even make it to this landmark of Montmartre, which the hotel clerk surely wanted me to experience.  There was no doubt in my mind or heart on that spring day that Destiny was surely in the air.

So then... why, on earth not take this sauntering journey along the lush garden pathway that beckoned my name? 

How so like life flows the curious of heart!

Man and squirrel on the way to the Eiffel Tower Paris, 1980.

So I took time out to bask in the haunting melodies of an accordion player echoing from somewhere in the distance.

Lost I became in observation of a man sitting on a bench feeding the squirrels and pigeons. With feet bare, burrowed onto the fresh scent of grass with face to the sun it was all one could do to just simply surrender into the joy of the moment filling the soul with the sweet scent and sounds of a bright spring day in Gay Pairs.

Man feeding Pigeons with young girl monument to the left, Paris,  1980.

‘Young Girl Monument sketch’, artist sketchbook, taken from photo of Man feeding Pigeons Paris 1980.

Gardens of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1980

Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1984, photo by Maguire

‘The Eiffel Tower’16 x 34 palette knife, oil on canvas, 1984.

Collector not recorded

Steps to Monmartre Sq., Paris, 1980, photo by Maguire 

Just for a wee bit of romantic history;

The desk clerk at the hotel explained that Napoleon Bonaparte had shipped rose quartz from Egypt to build the New Paris in a rose glow over the entire city for his beloved Josephine.

As I walked through this wondrous history of love, I could not help but think the rose quartz was indeed a brilliant success, not to mention what a wondrous romantic declaration of a love for a woman was this gift to receive from her lover.

Steps to Montmartre’24 x 42, original oil on Masonite, 1980.

The unmistakable aphrodisiac, the scent of turpentine began to waft down the historical Montmartre stairway.  As I look back now, I realize how green and sheltered my life had been before this journey to my Gay Paris'. Little did I know what magic was about to unfold before me. 

One of the many artists, setting up display for a memorial day at ‘Montmartre Square’ Paris, photo by Maguire 1980

Stretching out over both sides of the huge city square, were artists with easels, with their stocks of brushes, knives and canvas next to their magnificent paintings for sale everywhere.  What a vision for the eyes to behold as well as the eager heart and soul to feast upon all the many grand expressions of other artists that were sharing the way they feel the world!

More surprising than the artists at work, was the deafening silence and comforting peace that had manifested itself in a quiet hush over the many viewers that so complimented the intense focus of the artists at their work.  I could not help but think, what a grand demonstration of respect this was for those in mindfulness and concentration. That in itself, could hardly go unnoticed.

There I stood for quite some time breathing in this timeless moment deep into my soul, filling forever the heart with the memory of this great scene before me filling all of my senses so full.

Passerby’s stood in awe at the brilliant work that was happening like magic before them, as well did I.

The entire atmosphere was nothing short of spellbinding.

Artist pallets were full of raw pigment as they worked their canvas two and three at a time while loading their thoughts with great concentration intent on sharing their personal expression with another.

The seekers were there to be present bearing witness to this amazing creative moment amongst the artists in search of the timeless cusp.

Spellbound we all were!

Artist on location, performing charcoal portrait drawing of Imelda Maguire, Montmartre Paris, photo by Maguire 1980.

Charcoal sketch of Imelda Maguire at Montmartre Square 1980 

Artist at work on Montmartre Square Paris, photo by Maguire, 1980.

I came upon this gentleman painting a portrait of a man with such great passion coming to life on his canvas.  

Quietly I sat down on some nearby section of grass to watch the artist adding his highlights and finishing touches to the masterpiece, or so I thought.  

Feeling a little hungry, I noticed a little shop just beyond with some old cheese, fine wines and fresh French stick.  I decided to seize the moment.

My jacket was spread out on the grass, with my humble bread, cheese, and wine.  With a waving gesture of my arm I invited the artist to join me hoping that I was not being too much of a bother.  He eagerly accepted excited to explain with broken English ( I could not speak a word of French )  that he was waiting for the subject on his canvas to come out of his retreat and into the square in order to catch the finishing highlights to his work on the easel. 

He continued his story sharing that the man on the canvas was a bit of a lunatic as well as a fellow artist that comes out every once and while from his safe abode, with his long black coat flying in the wind as he swirls around and around swearing “Fook the peeshons.”

Pondering for a little while to grasp what my new friend was trying to explain,  out of nowhere came this man on the canvas right out into the square, with his long black gabardine with grey fur collar blowing wildly about, yelling in his very rich and passionate expression as he gestured to the pigeons in his husky way,  “Fook the peeshons!”.  

The bell went off…I got it! crystal clear the story had become.

Who said I couldn't speak French?

Seems to me that if a story is told with great passion, one can speak any language and be understood.

My friend would wait for hours for this madman who was also an artist, to come out of his private world to rant and rave to all of his madness.  Friend finished the portrait of Fook that day while I witnessed in wonder at his brilliant accomplishment of catching the magic of a timeless moment.  

We had a really good laugh about the whole synchronicity of our Fook event, as we drank wine together washing down our cheese and bread.   I took this snap shot of my artist friend whose image is welded to my memory forever.

Hotel room with the empty bottle of wine souvenir of a day in Montmartre with ‘Fook,’ Paris, photo by Maguire 1980.

As a study in life drawing, I came home to attempt to capture the moment of ART on ART on canvas.

The experience in its entirety marked my journey to the Louvre.  I cannot help but reflect on what joy I would have missed should I not have gone for a sauntering walk that glorious day through the timeless Paris city and monuments of Gay Paris to discover the amazing Montmartre Square.  The Louvre was most assuredly happening right there before my very eyes. 

 Celebrate Life and Love

Art on Art on Art, 38 x 46 oil on Masonite, 1984.

 Timeless Expressions by Maguire 

Art on Art on Art, close up of the brushes, 38 x 46 oil on canvas, 1984.

Gift of Great Gratitude to
Gary Smith
 Builder, Designer, Contractor and Good Friend
to Timeless Expression
Minden Ontario

~ Shandy-Lynn Andrea  ~ 

Montmartre ~ Gay Paris ~ 2002

How To use Yoga to find your inner voice

Shandy-Lynn Briggs
Registered Yoga Teacher
Motivation Elite Incorporated

Increasing Resilience
Ability to manage Stress & Be Assertive!

"You are stronger than you think"

Bonnie Brae'

There is an old house on the top of Bonnie Brae' point in Oshawa overlooking Lake Ontario.  My children and I would hike there from our home, to climb the hill cliff to the top and lay in the long green grass dreaming the day away, then sharing those dreams with one another.

I would like to take this opportunity to share that magical time spent on Bonnie Brae with the children to encourage others to aspire and surrender into their dreamy moments where time is no more, where one can just lazily be, feeling safe and loved without a care in the world.

A Sunny Day on Bonnie Brae'


I lay upon soft whispering grass a`top the Cliff of Bonnie Brae`

A'gaze I am
 upon the fluffy white cloud drifting so peacefully away

O'h but for the lapping wavy sound
Somewhere else lost in mind I'd be

Spread wide am I, as wide as I can be

Amongst the rustling grassy waves
A`top of Bonnie Brae'

Ventured a look I did into the blazing sun

Thinking a lot about shapes, shapes that grow and blow and come

A buzzing bee sips sweet pollen from things blowing right next to me

Right from the centre of all the yellow flowers
Blowing, blowing, blowing

Buzzing and blowing, and flowing

O'h how sweet the buzzing and blowing be

Drowning in the sea of knowing

A'h but what will be, will be

Lost am I,
In the sounds of the buzzing and blowing

Blowing, flowing knowing in this sea that is me

Lost among the loving memories of Bonnie Brae' just you and me

Yes, oh yes, how sweet this buzzing be!



Red Sunflower

November 23, 2011

~ Red Sunflower ~

Celebrating the life of  the Hungry Child

A Life without hope is more painful than a body full of broken bones

60 x 60 oil on canvas

Private Collection of Shandy ~ Lynn Andrea Briggs 

Oshawa Ontario

Presented to Shandy-Lynn Andrea Briggs
 Ambassador for Children of The Light

Marking with great joy Shandy's 40th Birthday 2011

Timeless Expression by Maguire

Briggs Shandy LynnBRIGGS, Shandy-Lynn Andrea  - (November 23, 1971 - May 1, 2020)

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Shandy following complications related to a cardiac arrest.

At the young age of 48 she passed peacefully with her supportive Husband by her side.

Shandy is survived by the love of her life and Husband Ray Van Schyndel.

She will be deeply missed by her Father Dave (Deb) Briggs and her Mother Imelda Maguire (Dave).

She was a loving Mother to Ray’s children Kristin (Justin) Powell and Derek (Kerry) Van Schyndel. An adored Oma to Hunter, Parker, Hayes and Holden. Beloved Sister to Brye (Leah) Briggs and proud Aunt to Kaelham, Ayden and Seamus.

Shandy was always happiest surrounded by family. She shared a close bond with all her cousins. She leaves behind her step brothers, step sister and their families, as well as many relatives from Canada, England and Ireland.

The Van Schyndel’s will all feel the loss of her spirit, dynamic personality, amazing hugs and bright smile. She will be fondly remembered by all her close friends and “her girls”.

Shandy contributed immensely to her role as the Ontario Regional Director of Public Safety. Her colleagues will feel the loss of her exemplary leadership and dedication.

A Celebration of Life will take place at a later date. Arrangements entrusted to COURTICE FUNERAL CHAPEL, 1587 Highway #2, Courtice (905-432-8484). 

Online condolences may be made at  

You’re beautiful, you’re endless,
Now stretch your wings and fly,
You’re loved by so many,
It will never be goodbye.