Friday, August 28, 2009

Champagne Daze


Yesterday K & S said:
you've had the coolest jobs!
You ain't seen nothin' Sweetie Darling.


Paul Bocuse, Champagne Mumm's ambassador,
suggested I do artwork for them and made introductions.
They gave me a test assignment. Come up with a big group drawing they could gift their employees of tons of celebrities drinking Mumm. Can you spot Kate Moss? One of the Seagrams brothers is embracing a big bottle.
*Note everyone is holding their glass by the stem. Never hold a champagne glass by the 'bowl'. Mustn't warm up those bubbles.


The group drawing led to a portrait promotion program. Mumm wanted portraits painted directly onto Mumm bottles. I imagined my living room a sea of Mumm jeroboams. Last minute I suggested they printing their label design on my watercolor paper. I ended up with neat stacks of printed Champagne labels.


One of the perks? I stayed at the Mumm mansion in Reims.

The Champagne countryside is magnificent. There's a new fast TGV from Paris that takes just an hour. Don't miss it.
I also stayed a week at Veuve Clicquot's country estate in Verzy.
Moi and a giant refrigerator full of Champagne 
jeroboams.
They said,
"Do help yourself"
Right!" 
 Someone popped with petit dejeuner in the morning. The rest of the time I communed with grapevines. They still use straw baskets to pick the grapes in Champagne.


There's a lot of partying in the Champagne Biz. Servers are dress up as old-fashioned cellar men. They used to turn the resting Champagne bottles.

Very fun to draw.

 This is not me embracing the giant Mumm bottle. That's my French boss.

This is me partying at the Chelsea Arts Club Belle Epoche Ball held at London's Albert Hall. We dressed up as characters from Degas/Lautrec paintings. I went as a Degas dancer.
Roger, the club concierge, said,
"If you add one more ribbon to that outfit, you'll look like a dog's dinner."
Don't you just love the Brits.
Pass the Bolly Sweetie Darling


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bonjour Macarons!


Afternoon Macaron Tea, original watercolor
A few days ago, when I gave the lesson on Macaron Mathematics , I got a challenging request.
c_fluffy said:Gorsh... that's a lot of Pierre Herme mini macs. Can we see all your miniature macs piled together?
Well Fluffy, this post is for you. I am proud to admit I've got 66 mini macarons.
I probably have the most mini macarons ON THE PLANET.Not that I have ever eaten 66 REAL macarons. well not at one sitting. I was toying with the idea of creating one of these towers of power with my minis. Hmmm...should I or shouldn't I? Now for some REAL macarons and from Pierre Herme too.Remember how I was telling you his macarons are "FAT"?
The picture says it best.
I've never gone in much for the big individual or grand macaron (note at 3.20 a piece). Why ever buy one, when you can get 6 different flavors/ parfums for 7.90 euros like at La Maison du Chocolat? Course there is nothing wrong with these little pups from the Champion Supermarche either and you get 12 for 6.50 euros. It requires all your French politesse to divide those cookies in a genteel manner, without grabing your favorite flavor first. You always turn the plate to your guest and offer her/him the first cookie. I guess that's why I always go alone - no sharing. Except in this case. Please do take one?
Hand made by Marie-Paule MaurinMore from Marie-Paule Maurin in Paris today - she made these little cuties! I want! Don't you?BONNE JOURNEE MINI MACARONS!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

BONJOUR AUGUST ROSES!

English Tea Rose I've been desperately seeking roses in my neighborhood, Astoria...

It's ain't like Paris here :(
True we have been having heavy rains. Here's a bud desperately trying to become a rose...
Rose des PeintresSome other people have all the roses!
WAIT! A budlette is trying desperately to open! You rock BUD!!!
Yellow Rose of TexasI thought roses and macarons would make a good watercolor combo.
Little did I know the local roses would elude me...
Et voila! A local rose has decided to show it's pretty face. Merci!
Reflection of a cherryA lack of roses meant the spoons and cherries get a SECOND ACT!

Et voila! PB reader Marie-Paule Maurin sent me these exquisite photos she took of Paris roses!

"12 km from the center of Paris (west) last Saturday - Roses and...Summer plums"

Merci beaucoup Marie-Paule! :)
BONJOUR AUGUST ROSES!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

BONJOUR LE PAIN!

It's not just my Moleskine who likes to hang out at Le Pain Quotidien. I'm a fan of the 1131 Madison ave. branch near 84th street. The light is particularly good there for doodling, reading and taking table shots. Here's a café au lait bol hanging out!
I love the long spacious common tables. The condiment bottles sail across that broad expanse like ships - think the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria..it's a landscape to my eyes.
You can pretty much pick out what you want to eat by looking over at your neighbor's plate. Guess I'm "outer-directed" but it always works for me. "Ah..I'll have what he's having please?" This is the Paris Jambon with 3 mustards plate. The food is delicious and plentyful. Though an overseas Le Pain fan says we're getting bigger portions in the US.
Hmmm..that's not going to help the national waistline problem Le Pain. Please give us those tiny postage stamp portions the French are famous for. OH heck nevermind. Just look at this lush plate - the Mediterranean Tartine - Ricotta, Prosciutto, Pesto, Olives + Tartines. What's a tartine you ask? It's a hunk of bread on which you can slather anything you like - an open face sandwich that works for breakfast or lunch. Le Pain usually gives you 3 different types of bread, all very homey, all made from organic stone ground flour. Le Pain Quotidien is a Belgian company started in 1990.
Quotidien means everyday things and Le Pain's common table is full of them. I fell so hard for this little milk jug that I went on a quest to the Bowery restaurant supply stores and bought 4 of them. I love the reflections and metal is always a challange to paint. The common table allows you to overhear conversations too. Often strangers start conversing across their tartines and by the end of they meal they are exchanging email adresses. Where else can that happen in New York?
I used to focus only on Le Pain's desserts (the Belgian Brownie was a favorite) I'd walk in, get my brownie and walk out. Then I discovered the the joys of sitting down at the big table and multi-tasking eating, sketching and shooting.
There's always a delicious trio of Le Pain's homey brand of apricot preserve, real hazelnut nutella, and 4-red fruits preserve just waiting for you on the table. And if you've got a bit of leftover crust from your savory tartine... Well you can end your meal with a sweet by dabbing on spoonful of jam or a glop of their outrageous hazelnut nutella. YUM!
This is a repost from exactly 3 years ago...ahem
BONJOUR LE PAIN!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Velib Paris

On Sunday fashion photographer Bill Cunningham in the NYTimes, was delighting in all the bicycles on the streets of New York...
It reminded me of the streets of Paris - did you know there's a VELIB station right in front of Pierre Herme Cambon (#4)!?
And inside appropriately there are wheels full of macarons!
The shop is circular in design too...
And just in case you're looking for a macaron or a bike...
Getting around Paris on wheels can start with a horse-drawn carriage...
Or a rented Velib like this one...
Here mom is relegated to wheeling the 2-wheeler...ahem
A very tiny 2-wheeler...
Scooters are everywhere...
I have yet to see a hound on a scooter - I probably wasn't looking hard enough...
Motor bikes galore everywhere - take your pick.
Smartcars - there are a gazillion of them in Paris...
I test ride my P.Herme ice cream in a velib...
Take your pick!
for a look at Bill's New York bike report just click: