Sunday, February 16, 2020

Map of Paris, Women of Paris Tours

Picking a subject for February's map was easy this year - Parisian women of note .
The drawing was not so easy. Deciding who to put in and who to leave out. My choices are strictly personal.
Since I pass Sainte Genevieve daily on Pont de la Tournelle and adore her statue by sculptor  Paul Landowski (who created the far better known Christ the Redeemer in Rio) she is included. After all she is Paris' patron saint, plus she saved Paris by diverting  Atilla the hun's army. I loved Yvette Guilbert's yellow dress. One does need some color.
To help choose other Parisian women of note I took Heidi Evan's SUGAR AND SPICE tour of women writers on Wednesday (42€).
Writer George Sand was already a choice. She lived for a while at 31, rue de Seine.
I didn't know a license was required from les flics to crossdress. Nor that she is still France's second most-read writer.
We stopped outside writer Colette's apartment on rue Jacob. She was more or less kept prisoner here by her first husband, Henry Gauthier-Villars (1859 – 1931) to keep her writing the Claudine stories, so he could collect the fame and $$$.
Intermittently we stopped for pastry and candy delights to fortify us for the 3 hour tour. I abstained. But note that Popelini colored all their creampuffs lovely shades of pink for St. Valentines day.
At Henri Le Roux I could have easily taken over for Heidi and talked an hour about French caramels but it was not my tour.
Here we visited the original site of Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company on rue de l'Odeon.
We stopped briefly at Restaurant Procope, Paris' oldest restaurant.
Daniele and I lagged behind admiring the windows/lechë vitrine at fabric designer Pierre Frey. Dubliner Rebecca Devaney leads textile tours of Paris and formerly embroidered in the haut couture (but not on Natalie Portland's coat of the famed 900 hours). I hope to go and report back on her tours too.As a reward for abstaining from all the sweets on the tour and going back to work on the Feb Paris map, I got a vanilla dixi cup 😳 I'm turning it into a piggybank and will deposit 2€ daily instead of at Picard frozen foods. I may get to Lisbon yet🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼 Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. Please share with a friend. Get a taste of Paris letters 💌and watercolors in your mailbox 📮Xxx❤️Carolg🐻Bear  

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Valentines Day menu for Russian Tea Room

I spent most of January Desperately seeking ❤️ Valentines ideas for THE RUSSIAN TEA ROOM menu cover.
The usual tearing of hair...
I studied RTR's Valentine menu. Yum.
Do I paint RTR scallops?
I looked at old PB Valentines posts
I went out looking for ideas and inspiration trying not to eat🍫😳

Look at this adorable et pas cher china at Monoprix❤️
RTR suggested something with roses🌹 Hmm...
Finally 6-7 heart/roses❤️🌹sketches. Ta Da The response: No, we don't like those and no, we don't have any suggestions but we know you will come up with something wonderful😳
Maybe the RTR facade like you did before(yoo hoo this was 10+ years ago). Wha'? More hair tearing.
Where Did I find  this photo of❤️ balloons in Milan and who did it?
Ta Da. We LOVE ❤️it. YAY But the boss isn't sure about the taxi🚖.
I did a poll on Instagram. The Taxi won🚖 YES! Isn't the creative process wonderful? If you go to the RUSSIAN TEA ROOM for St Valentines say "Parisbreakfast sent me" Maybe you'll get an extra glass of Champagne 🥂🍾🙏🏻
Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. Please share with a friend. Get a taste of Paris letters and watercolors in your mailbox 📮HAPPY VALENTINES DAY PBersxxx❤️Carolg🐻Bear  

Friday, February 07, 2020

Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, 'Chine'

Going to photography exhibits helps your art, educates your eye and will inspire you - the best mix of history and art. Last Sunday I saw Chine at the Cartier-BressonFoundation in the Marais. This exceptional exhibit of 130 photographs on his time in China during historic change is closing Sunday, the 9th. If in Paris, go see it.
HCB shot the last stage of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, covered the last six months of the Kuomintang administration and the first 6 months of the Maoist People’s Republic.
A world-renown photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)was born in Paris in the 8th arrondissement to a well-to-do family. He started painting at 14 and continued studying art and sketching at the Louvre till he was 24 when he picked up the camera. He considered it a sketch tool and shot for the next 50 years of his life.
"Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.”
"Poetry is the essence of everything, and it’s through deep contact with reality and living fully that you reach poetry. Very often I see photographers cultivating the strangeness or awkwardness of a scene, thinking it is poetry. No. Poetry is two elements which are suddenly in conflict — a spark between two elements. But it’s given very seldom, and you can’t look for it. It’s like if you look for inspiration. No, it just comes by enriching yourself and living.“ 
"Technique is important only insofar as you must master it in order to communicate what you see… The camera for us is a tool, not a pretty mechanical toy. In the precise functioning of the mechanical object perhaps there is an unconscious compensation for the anxieties and uncertainties of daily endeavor. In any case, people think far too much about techniques and not enough about seeing.”
HCB used a framework of geometry to set off his evocative figures. You have focus to see the repeated patterns, leading lines, dark and light contrast, figure-ground relationships.
I tried analyzing some of his images by overlaying leading lines, angles, triangles, repeating patterns. Its a good way to learn.
Or try sketching directly in a book. I've always been a book-wrecker. Lagerfeld said he always bought 2 book copies - one to wreck and one to keep.
A layout from Life magazine. 
Some things to consider. - HCB never cropped his photos. He didn't printed them either. He let the lab do that. There was no image fiddling. And no photoshop  then. He stuck with a simple hand-held Leica using mainly a 50mm lens.
The camera's metal parts were painted black to appear less noticeable in the street. He considered luck, timing plus intuition and his knowledge of art the essential ingredients to his success. A modest, street-smart man. He tells all in this rare video interview when he was 90. Its well worth the watch.
"I have always been passionate about painting,” writes Cartier-Bresson. “As a child, I painted on Thursdays and Sundays, and dreamed about it every other day.” At 74 HBC put his Leica down, picked up the paint brush again and painted out his window on 198, rue de Rivoli facing the Tuillerie gardens the rest of his life. Why am I telling you this? Because much of his mastery of "the decisive moment" was the result of years training his eye to look. And copying old master paintings in the Louvre.  Shall I go sketch at the Louvre tonight? It's open to 9:45pm on Fridays.Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. Please share with a friend.Get a taste of Paris letters and watercolors in your mailbox 📮. xxx💋Carolg and Bear 🐻 

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Nourrir Paris, une histoire de champs à l'assiette, Bibliotheque Forney

NOURRIR PARIS just ended yesterday - an indepth exhibit of how Paris fed itself through the ages, from farm to plate.
Shown in another smaller exhibition space in Paris (free entry) the Bibliotheque Forney Hotel de Sens was built in 1475 by Archbishop Tristan de Salazar. Its many transformations include complete rubble, a laundry, St James Marmalade factory for 20 years, even a glass warehouse. Its been an arts library since 1962. Anyone can borrow books with a passport photo. I'm geting a card tomorrow. The Forney can be counted on for wonderful graphics exhibitions. I showed you last year the Loupot posters. Its located at 1,rue du Figuier, 75004.
After historic background on Paris farms, seeds etc. the exhibit gets going with Les Halles, the grand marche, the 'belly of Paris', covering the various trades, the architect Baltard, who build the giant shed-like halls.
Scenes of the bouillon lady dishing out bowls of steamy beef broth to the workers on film no less.
I loved the child's miniature cremerie shop. So much of Parisian quotidian life is shown.
The bread lines during times of famine. Menus from the soup kitchens.
A traditional absinthe cafe.
The giant colorful French posters really grab your eye. The Forney is renown for their graphics collection.
Try to imagine Paris' streets full of these posters back in the day. Each one tries to outwit the other with humor, design and color. The tradition of superb French graphics is long.
What caught my attention, out of so many food subjects explored at NOURRIR PARIS was the manner in which large groups eat both high-end and low.
Last June at the Urban Sketchers France meetup in Dijon, there was promised a final dinner offering all-Burgundy specialties. I imagined a table spread with local wines, cheeses, mustards, whatever. When I arrived I saw big long communal tables. No splendid Burgundian buffet. Everyone was served the same meal. Reminded of college dorm dinners I and ran out 😳 Little did I realize banquet-style is how the French eat in big groups. Next time I'll be brave and join in.

The French tradition of big, convival eating ensemble continues. The annual White Dinner /diner en blanc in Paris for example. And the annual  Champagne Tasting at 3-star Pavillon Ledoyon(15€). Thank you for reading Parisbreakfast. Please share with a friend.Get a taste of Paris letters and watercolors in your mailbox 📮. Why not?xxx💋Carolg and Bear 🐻 We are stuffing out faces with babka this weekend!