Sunday, July 29, 2018

Painting Portraits at a wedding at Chateau de la Tour, Chantilly

July has been quite the month. First the terrific surprise of seeing my watercolors in the Paris Metro. Then playing performance artist at a champagne tasting painting bottles and pastries onsite. When MING from my pool asked if I'd like to paint guests at a Chinese wedding at CHATEAU DE LA TOUR in Chantilly, I thought why not? Ask me to do the tour de France this month and I'd have said OUI!
But how to dress rehearse for this event? I needed a sample piece to show the groom.
First I bought a bunch of French wedding magazines - useless. Then I sketched guests at Duchess Megan's wedding like Amal Clooney...getting nowhere fast.
Have you seen KILLING EVE, staring actress Sandro Oh. Thank you Sandra for getting me on the right track.
How to draw Chinese men? Luckily I found a story on China's top 10 billionaires! Perfect sketch material. Love you Google.
Voila my wedding guest sample watercolor of Sandra Oh + billionaire. We decided a small vignette of the chateau should be on every portrait and they could be painted ahead of time. 25 chateaux drawings later, once on the premises on Tuesday I realized this was not going to work.
First of all it was a morning brunch the day after the wedding. Everyone was dressed casually in shorts and polo shirts. Did I mention it was a 'destination wedding'? Half the guests had come in from Shanghai. Sebastien, my taxi driver from the train station told me he was taking many back to CDG later. Oh.
The red striped awning became my portrait setting. I simply used the backs of the prepared sketches.
When you're a performance artist you have to improvise seat-of-the-pants style.
And perform and entertain. Guests gathered round my little table watching me draw every line like I was a magician.
I couldn't possibly say, Hmmm..you're standing in my light. I just kept drawing.
And prayed a little...
They seemed to like them fortunately
The bride and groom are on the lower left. Doesn't he look like the Mongolian warrior, Genghis Khan? Chinese men are handsome and have the most fabulous hair and haircuts! I still have to tell you about my Friday watercolor class held in my studio, but that's another July story. Meanwhile I'm celebrating. I survived painting wedding portraits. You can get the Champagne of your choice among other Paris goodies on Etsy. Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast.  If you liked this post please share. Bon Dimanche

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Calligraphy of Yu-Ichi Inoue

Last week in the metro I saw this poster for japanese calligrapher, YU-ICHI INOUE at MAISON DU LA CULTUREDU JAPON A PARIS. 101bis Quai Branly 75015 Naturally I had to go.
Huge gestural life-size characters from the Japanese alphabet. As big as a man, full of energy.
Some canvases were full of characters.
An action painter of his time in the years 60s, 70s. I love the ink on his feet. Whole body gestural painting on the floor. His studio was a complete mess too. I can so relate.
Look at his mammoth horsehair brushes. Hokosai used brushes like these. Feelings of deep envy.
Last year i had a 6-month obsession with calligraphy, all in the hopes of improving my handwriting on envelopes I send out... This little Guerlain perfum bottle was the catalyst that led to daily hours of practice.
Finally I gave up when writing expanded off the front of the envelope. They say if you keep practicing you'll find your own individual way of writing. I think I have and its much more fun now.
The museum is in the 15th where. I lived when I first moved to Paris in 2013.
The 6 line runs above ground in the 15th. I bet you've never been there...a deeply residential area of Paris.
Les Blues are celebrated.
I could fall out of bed on rue Lourmel into my marché Grenelle - a lonf wonderful market few tourists discover.
My first 8 months in Paris i lived on radis
And soupe de raviolis crevette
With ocassional visits to the wonderful Alcasian boulangerie Maeder. I went back for nostalias sake of course and ate these again last week. Who says you can't go home again?
I'm still obsessed with painting Champagne bottles...love that 'bottle green'. So many obsessions. So little time.
If you have a favorite Champagne brand you'd like me to paint, let me know.
Did you know la Poste was originally delivered by ballon in France? Of course I made the balloons into cherries, another obsession. The new July cherry letter is on Etsy. You can get the Champagne 🍾🥂 of your choice in your mailbox. Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast.  If you liked this post please share. Bonne cerises🍒.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dress Rehearsals

Lots of bouchons/corks were popping on Sunday when Les Bleus won the world cup. There are signs around Paris thanking the team, MERCI LES BLEUS! And digital signs thanking each team member by name. Yet the leadup to the big game was a bit like a dress rehearsal. There was uncertainty as to whether they would make the big win.
The week before the champagne salon, I figured I shoud get into fighting shape and make the rounds of some of the salon's patissiers. Do a sort of sketching dress rehearsal. It seemed a trek out to the 17th to KL Patisserie 78, avenue de Villiers.
Well worth it in fact. Kevin Lacote's pastries are delectable. A mini version of the raspberry-grapefruit dome showed up at the salon. They suggested I try the Kara Maca - Caramel with madademia nuts.
So good, I ate it minus a fork or spoon in the metro station. Irresistable and beautifully boxed to not move an inch on the route home.
Philippe Conticini uses a specially textured paper to keep his pastries from listing enroute to home.
I fell hard for Conticini's chouquette creme pistache. So hard i went back for another the next day. It looked trés petit next to my painted 'Mt. Everest' version.
Chef Nina Metayer from Cafe Pouchkine made this meringue Pavlova filled with raspberries and red  currants. Pavlovas are trendy this summer PBers.
While munching my Pavolova in their outdoor cafe at Madeleine I spotted a big poster announcing a 3-day exhibit of Dior jewelry at musee d'Art Moderne. I ran there next day.
The artistry of fine jewelry and fine patisserie is not unrelated. Precious, rare ingredients match precious gems, though one luxury is definitely more affordable. Many Paris patisseries look similar to fine jewelry stores though I'm happy to see less and less black interiors.
Only 30 visitors were allowed in at one time to the free exhibit. Many men in black (security guards) guided us through.
Just three rooms, very dark, to set off a Pandora's treasure of 222 sublime jewels designed by Victoire de Castellane.
I would have loved to sketch onsite but there was no time.
As we left each room, attendants came and cleaned the glass for the next group. A spectacular very brief exhibit. If I had not seen the sign (and taken a picture of it) I would have missed it altogether.
Quite a while back I got to stay for a week on my own at Veuve Clicquot's newly refurbished manor house in the vineyards at Verzy.
At the time I didn't know I was doing a dress rehearsal to paint Champagne later on.

Every morning someone came and laid out croissants, jam and coffee for me. Otherwise. I was told to help myself to anything in the fridge. There was nothing else inside other than big champagne jeroboams!
This week I've been painting the one bottle of Champagne I own over and over. It can be hard coming down from Mount Olympus ... And I've been painting up a storm of Paris cherries for the latest Paris map. Thank you for reading Parisbreakfast. If you enjoyed this post, forward to a friend. Subscribe to Paris maps or letters in your mailbox + French souvenirs at ETSY.
I wish you un Bel Été