Sunday, August 18, 2019

August Paris letter

There's no ignoring the August tomato
Immersion in Paris.
They come at you in every color of the rainbow . Red, yellow, green, violet. No blue yet but I bet they're working on it. Its no surprise I've done many tomato Paris letters.
I love painting them almost more than eating them.
When David Lebovitz put up a tomato tarte recipe 
Action must be taken.
I went with his older, simpler tarte with slices of chevre on top.
Warning: get your chevre from the fromagerie.
Not the supermarché. The taste will be far superior. Following recipes is not my forté.
I should have 'ironed' the slices. Or at least drained them in a colander as David suggests and then place on paper towels. My tarte had a soggy bottom 😳 The crust was easy, peasy store-bought Herta pâté brisée. The cooked edges tasted as good as a cookie. Now go make a tomato tarte PBers! Thanks for reading and sharing Parisbreakfast. 
Subscription Paris letters 💌, maps and watercolors are in my Etsy shop. With love💋from Paris🐻

Friday, August 16, 2019

Imagine Van Gogh, Le Havre

Earlier in the week Lois Bender and I ran up to Le Havre for the day (a 2 hr train ride) to see the Imagine Van Gogh Immersive on till September 1 at Carée de Docks and just a short walk from the train station. We went to see the Dufy Retrospective at the Musee d'art moderne André Malraux later but that's another story. Le Havre is always a shock. Completely flattened in WWII. Industrial but with a wonderful harbor full of boats of all sizes. Of course I saw the l'Atelier  des Lumieres Van Gogh show in Paris, but something drew me to see the Le Havre version.
And I was right. It was a much more immersive experience showig 200 paintings large scale.
And I preferred the all-classical, mostly French background music .
Simply perfection.
It would have been nice to have seats like the Paris animation but then maybe people would stay all day instead of 30-40 minutes.

I sat on the floor like others and let the experience float over me. Deeply emotional.
It was good to see related images (like groupings of his sunflowers) instead of just one image repeated in varying sizes. More immersive that way.
Natch I felt compelled to get out 'Vincent's bedroom' and paint it again and again.
Food-wise we hit it lucky. I had been dreaming of a seafood shack like Surf City, NJ etc. While traipsing over to the Dufy exhibit (everyone told us, "Oh its only a 5-10-15 minute walk"). It seemed more like 35. We stumbled on a small place sitting right next to the fish markelt, Bistrot du P'tit Port. Very unassuming to look at but when I saw the lunch formule (18,50€) included a starter of fruits de mer + moules (or fish)I was happy as a clam. Trip Advisor gives it a 47 out of 148 Le Havre restos. Top that! (Proper cherrystone clams are so damn hard to find in France. Its deeply frustrating, though they do have them in Amsterdam so all is not lost). Thanks for reading and sharing Parisbreakfast. 
Subscription Paris letters 💌, maps and watercolors are in my Etsy shop. With love💋from Paris🐻

Monday, August 12, 2019

Berthe Morisot - musee d'Orsay and the July Paris map

Of course Berthe Morisot at the musee Orsay has absolutely nothing to do with the July Paris map.
I got the July Map off finally on last Thursday (8 August)and the museum is open till 9:45 pm. And the 87 bus stops in front so I went (finally to see something!). The Morisot retrospective is a collaborative effort that originated with the Quebec museum, the Dallas museum and the Barnes Foundation. Frankly I did not expect to be surprised but I was immediately taken with how abstract her compositions were.

Her subjects are classic 19th century feminine subjects much like her contemporary, Mary Cassatt.
Mother and child, well-to-do women in fancy dress or relaxing in the countryside. But look how abstractly she composes this picture.
A plethora of triangles. can you count how many? I had to make a doodle on the spot. Her training began early with the best, Jean-Babtiste Corot, since women were not yet allowed into the Academy de Beaux Arts.
Edouard Manet painted her at least a dozen time. Here in a detail from 'The Balcony'. His strong graphic black and white paintings must have had an influence on her. She married his brother, Eugene so he was around for consults no doubt. Degas too was her champion.

Yet she evolved her own Impressionistic style.
A master of painting white diaphanous fabrics, Morisot captures the multi-colors in those whites. She paints grasses, trees like the eye sees. Backgrounds fade in and out of soft focus.
Even her brushstrokes are distinctive and fluid. Sometimes the backgrounds are left empty in her portraits. Critics called them unfinished but she knew what she was doing.
I wish there had been more photos of her, and not the tiny ones placed above tall boards of text. I wish French museums would consult me on some of these things. Who wants to do squats to read a descriptive label (even if it is good for your hips) or use binoculars to see a photo? Coming home that night, Notre Dame, with or without her spire, is still glorious. If you enjoyed this post, share with a friend. 
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Cheers Carolg and Bear in Paris 🇫🇷

Monday, August 05, 2019

Long Live Rembrandt, Rijks Museum Amsterdam

The very cool Rijks Museum became my HQ during the heatwave in Amsterdam two weeks ago. 
Long Live Rembrandtthe Summer exhibition is on through 15 September, a world-wide homage of love for Netherland's greatest painter.
It may be 350 years since his death but as a source of inspiration to artists around the world he remains immortal. The call went out. 575 selected works from 8390 entries from 95 different countries. The youngest participant was three years old. The oldest 91.
A vast diversity of materials and approaches are explored, some meticulously rendered.
Others loose impressions.
A jaw-dropping exhibition of virtuosity and talent. There are 8 categories:
The Night Watch, People,
Master of light, My Rembrandt,
Landscape and Animals, (copies) After the Master, Self-portraits, Storyteller.
The Rijks encourages you to try your hand at a Rembrandt portrait or paint yourself on their RijksCreative Youtube channel. I tried a rough ink drawing above.
Along with the mint tea, I can also recommend their Green Gazpacho while you're chilling.
The heat made exploring difficult but Amsterdam's doorways have wonderful sculpted decor. Remember to look up. Thanks for reading Parisbreakfasts. Please share. If you'd like Paris watercolors or Paris letters look on Etsy🥂🍾🍒. Love❤️ from Carolg ☕️ in Paris

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Amsterdam and the July Paris Letter

Last Wednesday morning, while madly trying to finish the July Paris  Letter (I did not)I ran to catch the train to Urban Sketchers Amsterdam symposium.
What I ran into was a huge heatwave that messed up lots of my plans.
Here is your classic Dutch cat napping amongst the Edam. Did you know the Dutch are the tallest people in Europe?
Chalk it up to drinking tremendous amounts of melk. And kass/cheese. And ice cream. Evidently they are also very fond of  Pindakaas/ peanut butter. Be prepared to look up when you ask directions. You'll be doing this many times over. If you're shy go somewhere less confusing.
I found what I think is the best apple pie in Amsterdam. I know...its really a cake but if they insist on calling it pie, let them. You must try it. Or try several as I did to get a broader perspective. And a broader something else. I loved the home-made pie at Broodbar at the end of Koestraat close to Metro station Nieuw Markt. This pie is neither too moist nor too dry and the crust is like hardened crumble. True a sledgehammer would help cut the crust but one mustn't grumble.
I had the famous Patisserie Holtkamp pie at the Rijks museum restaurant and it didn't co
me close. By the way hanging out at the Rijks is a good idea. They have AC and stay open till 6. Def a fun, chic spot for watching the Dutch and easy to get to at Museumplein.
Here I discovered the joys of 'verse munt thee' or mint tea. What I thought was a mojito is one of Amsterdam's popular drinks if you're not imbibing Amstel or other beers. Simply a bunch of fresh mint jammed in a glass mug (I'm getting one tomorrow). Then pour hot water over it. Voila. Honey can be added. Terrifically refreshing and you don't have to go to the Netherlands to find the ingredients either.
I became obsessed with sketching and painting it. So much for my Urban Sketcher ambitions. Almost all trams seem stop there.
Hanging out in Amsterdam's very cool new metro stations is highly recommended in a heatwave. Imagine the Branly museum. Space is vast. New York MTA should visit. Escalators
 as long as city blocks.
And so breezy. I bought a 4-day transit card for around 24€ 
I moved the last 2 nights to the rather unusual Lloyd'sHotel near the docks. All the rooms are different. It was formerly a way station for emigrants going to America. Then a prison. My 1st room was prison-like. They upgraded me to this lovely room with AC.
The last morning I happily painted like a maniac. Only mint tea of course. The July Paris letter is done and will hit the post tomorrow. I'm sorry for the delay. July has been problematic with sciatic etc. The Paris map is coming SOON! Thanks for your patience PBers ❤️ And thanks for reading Parisbreakfasts. Feel free to share. If you'd like an Amsterdam mint tea watercolor or Paris letters let me know🥂🍾🍒. Love❤️ from Carolg ☕️ in Paris