Monday, October 30, 2006

Paris Chiens...

Is there anything like Parisien dogs?
Anonymous commented...Could you do Parisien dogs perhaps? Absolutemente! I guess if you're around chic people all the time if rubs off on you. And so well-behaved in the Metro no less! I'd often see les chiens au café sitting out in front on the pavements - a sort of the maitre'd of the place. There's a strong propensity for red collars and leashes in France. This great little Japanese Peke has a smart red collar much like his French brothers. He's from a woodblock print in case you were wondering. Who does better doggies than David Hockney? This painting is so contemporary and yet you could reach over and pet these pups, they're that endearing. I picked up the little dog on the far right last trip. He's made in the Ardeche. I think I better pick up a red collar for him this trip or else..

Thursday, October 26, 2006

On Japanese Woodblock Prints

Japanese woodblock prints have long influenced in my still life watercolors. The French Impressionist, particularly Manet, collected Japanese prints like mad.
They admired the strong abstract areas of black in the prints.
Their mastery of balance in composition,
achieve serenity and intensity at the same time. Japanese prints on my studio wallMy studio walls are covered with print reproductions.
I love looking at these.
Utter simplicity and wonderful negative and positive shapes here... I bought this facsimile ages ago.
The colors are so soft and delicate, yet the composition is strong.
Artists began making still life prints after Commodore Perry "opened" Japan and the new influx of European painting. I can't resist Japanese objects either;
the shiny, deep reds, pale greens + blacks.
Plus all the wonderful surface textures.
I bought all of these...
The book that got me going:
The Great Wave:the influence of Japanese woodcuts on the French, from an exhibit at the Met. Japanese prints first showed up in France as wrapping paper for shipped pottery from Japan. Their strong patterns and asymetrical compositions captivated the Impressionists.
Van Gogh copied them exactly in oils to better understand them. I started collecting prints after that show
and they still hold my attention...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

On Painting Glass

I painted this Café Flore watercolor a year ago and I wish I could remember how I did that glass... I'd love to paint just glass for a month or more. Reflective objects facsinate me no end. We painted a ton of glass objects over the years in David Dewey's watercolor class. He used to tell us:
  • You have 5-6 lines to create the essential patterns of a glass.
  • Leave open areas..paint the light.
  • The negative shapes hold everything together like a glove.
  • Your reflections always want to reflect the outward shapes and the inside pattern.
  • Change the character of the edges as you paint your shapes.

  • Where are your patterns? Do they they touch, butt, overlap or form new shapes? I think I took more notes than painted...
Here are 3 terrific "daily painters" who have glass nailed down beautifully. Darren Maurer is a master at glass painting. Jeff Hayes is always painting glass and I love his loose approach... Peter Yesis has a fine command of the quotidienne (everyday) object, like this pickle jar and his painting stories are always amusing. I'm going to really look at glass in Paris, and who know's..that's all you may see from me for a while... Qui sait? :)


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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Almost French

 Mother's Day/fete des Meres was about to be celebrated last May and every window was full of candied almonds or dragée.

A traditional gift for any French celebration: weddings, babtisms, anniversaries and of course Mother's Day. Dragée originated in Verdun in the Lorraine and goes back to the time of Louis XIV. Made first as a sort of drug by apothecaries, their purpose was to purify the breath and facilitate digestion.

While in Bayonne I spotted this huge poster outside one of the best chocolate shops, Daranatz,  demonstrating the process. Always in France great attention to detail.

  Pretty cornets full of dragée in a Paris vitrine/window.

  Les Bonbons in the 6th arrondissement had jars and jars of them as does Au Bonbon du Palais.

In Sarah Turnbull's, Almost French, you step into her shoes and live her life with a French boyfriend in Paris. A vibrant, young Australian journalist, Turnbull makes all the faux pas of any foreigner adjusting to France. On one occasion her Frenchman sends her out to get dragée for a celebration. She brings home the wrong color and a great fuss is made. Attention to detail is key in France.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Paris Grey Skies


Paris is a grey city - overcast skies, grey cobbled streets with grey Baron Haussmann buildings. Citizens dressed in grey neutrals with just a dash of color at the neck. Why is this a good thing? Because grey acts as the perfect foil for brilliant colors. Grey makes colors sing. We adore Ladurée's pale green, Hermés' Orange, Hediard's redFauchon's hot pink. Strong colors radiate against this serene grey backdrop.
It's color basic theory. And why do we love to wander aimlessly down Paris' streets? Lois Swirnoff explains in THE COLOR OF CITIES;
Elegant, gracious and stylish, the great lady reveals her distinction facially. The aesthetic is one of dignified composure. Close range colors in these facades impart a sense of unity, rather than commercial competition (like New York).
Restraint and refinement is the urban message. Par hasard /by chance I passed this art student sketching in the Jardins du Luxembourg. Tout en gris. Note how GREEN the greens look surrounded by all that gris (grey).




 King of Paris pastry, Pierre Hermé uses pearl grey for his pretty boxes. THE COLOR OF CITIES is a fav book of mine because it explains why we love Paris, Rome, Venice, or any extraordinary city. For reasons usually never considered like longitude, angles of light, shadow shapes. Paris' low-contrast light is softer, more atmospheric, more moody and best for still life painting. Thanks to overcast grey skies.
a tout à l'heure

These grey cheeses are aged in charcoal. They look a bit like corrugated cardboard left in a cellar. But on a tartine (slice) of fresh baguette..YUMLook in any Parisien shop window. Close range colors make for harmony, balance, calm. My friend, Christiane, is outfitted in her crazy, grey LILITH jacket. Can you get more French than this? Note the little touch of red at the neck.



 

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Please Paint a Peony

One happy peony sitting nest to Pierre Hermé's Carrement

Pink Peony, 12" x 15" watercolor more...
You give me ideas. Not so much directly when you tell me what to write or paint. More indirectly, more intuitively, when you mention something in passing, and it strikes a chord.  Heavens! I just gave you 3 peonies in one day. OK more peonies.I remember a peony I met in Paris last May...
Next door to my pied à terre was a tiny flower shop, just a closet really. I wanted one flower for my still lifes so I went in for a look.
The owner was cranky...
Was he going to let me buy one flower?
When I heard the price for a bud, I hesitated..
M. said, Oh you didn't go in there?
Trop cher (too expensive!)

That one bud lasted for 2 weeks. Opening a little more each day, quite happy to try different poses and very pleased to sit beside Paris' best desserts. Manet's lush peony There's something about a peony.
The Last Flowers of Manet (Abradale Books) Manet was smitten with peonies and painted them over and over, all colors. During the last 3 years of his life, while gravely ill, he painted on a smaller scale. Friends would bring the convalescing artist bouquets of flowers. Those flower paintings are his most poignant, most evocative, most intimate.Did that cranky florist whisper sweet nothings to his flowers when no one was around? Yesterday, Naturegirl said...please a...peony!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

MY STUDIO

My colors are arranged according to the color wheel Brought to you by special request. YOU ASKED FOR IT! My studio.
Steve of
Puhiava's Sketch Journal said...Carol, what is currently on your palette? ...if you could let us know what you're using it would be appreciated.
I put my colors out according to the color wheel. They're just your standard colors: Cad red, Cad yellow, Cad orange, French blue, Pthalo, Cerulean blue etc + a bunch of earth colors. Most are Winsor & Newton paints.
I made most of these myself My paintbox on the other hand is more eclectic, more experimental. These pans I've made myself, so I'm not limited to any manufacturer's color chart and I can choose from 100's of pigment colors.
morceau de sucre Remember the sugar cube post from last week? And remember my search for the Deux Magots ashtray-paint pan? These souvenirs hang out on my drawing table as friendly reminders of Paris adventures. Maryann gave me the white Fauchon paté container...
I love Japanese prints Since I was a kid I've always hung my walls with inspirational pictures, every inch of it. I love the simplicity of Japanese woodblock prints...
I nicked that paper placemat from Café Luco on Blvd St. Michel More wall stuff here. The paper placemat of the water glasses I nicked from café Luco last May :)
Voilà! Toni of A Spattering said..No don't straighten the studio! I want to see how you work and work in progress in the studio. Not a problem on this one. I'm a sloppy painter. I constantly lose stuff right under my nose -- important bits of paper, brushes, you name it.
This guy beats me out in messiness
7 Reece Mews: Francis Bacon's Studio

The all time master slob painter was Francis Bacon. He did paint tests on his own door for God's sake!? 7 Reece Mews, is a book on his messy studio. It records the efforts conservateurs made to catalogue and preserve his hellhole of a studio, every scrap of it, over 7,000 items. I'd go here anyday before the Eiffel Tower. I especially like this notation,
"1,300 leaves torn from books"...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Your Comments...2

I got this silver tea server-spoon at Mariage Freres.. On the 12th, I posted that your comments often inspire blog posts. And I asked you to throw some more ideas my way. Hmmm...this didn't turn out as expected. I got quite a few foul balls from left field..

BTW this is not a painting of a cup of tea and a flower. This is an homage to a Paris monument, the monument of a
Mariage Freres black tea tin...
This tour de chocolat is the closest I'm ever getting to the Eiffel Tower again Corey said... ParisBreakfasts, you could paint anything and I would love it! But since you ask... how about the Eiffel Tower?
Non, no, niete, nada, niente, JAMAIS!

This is not what I meant at all! Have you ever seen a monument painting here at PB? Unless you call a painting of macaron a Paris monument and I do.
HELLO? This Tour Eiffel du chocolat is as close as I come to the real one. And I've complained way too many times what a bitch it is to paint chocolate..

I still haven't gotten this Paris monument yet to my liking.

I usually have to paint something over and over until I get it :(
Ilva of Lucullian Delights said...paint Cheese please!

At first I agreed, but after thinking a bit, NO, sorry, not possible. Aside from the adorable sheep parked on this chunk of Reblochon.. Most cheese looks like corrugated cardboard that has been sitting in a cellar somewhere. The colors are not pretty nor is the surface texture and forget about the smell. Sorry Ilva

Anonymous said...Parisian dogs perhaps?

Now this I could go for. The chien in the chic red collar was guarding his café like Cerberus at the gates of Hell -- the first Parisien I saw after landing last May. I Ihave lots of doggie pictures :) 3rd try at the Mariage Freres monument..not there yet.

Some other suggestions that came in:

cityfarmer said...My heart beats a little faster at the photos of doorways and the architecture of doors in Paris. I wouldn't mind seeing a watercolor off your brush depicting beautiful entrances!!! Nope, I don't do windows and I don't do doorways. Désolé.

Shannon said... I'm wondering if you can paint people...a person you saw in Paris as best as you can from memory. Uh huh. No more figures if I can help it and I don't do "memory" either. I'm smitten with coffee cups.

And Lin said...Do you do landscapes? I will if I'm in Tuscany..meanwhile I'm hungup on painting café table top landscapes, preferably in Paris..

I could hug this elephant... No one asked me to paint an elephant playing with a blue exercise ball, but I couldn't resist throwing this into the menagerie here :)

Another request - Let me know if you have any special, favorite Paris addresses you'd like me to visit NEXT WEEK(!), since next Tuesday I'll actually be there, not just dreaming about it...