Monday, July 10, 2006

Le Couleur Noir

Jérôme Dumoulin, said I mustn't miss Hediard and Pierre Marcolini (a Belgian chocolatier) in Paris. Hediard knows to add a touch of BLACK to their orangie RED. When you put Black next to a bright color it will enhance it
I'm not writing about LE NOIR because LES BLEUS lost yesterday but...while BLACK has many dark connotations, it can also be the epitome of sophistication, refinement, urbanity. Designer "Coco" Chanel gave us the elegant little BLACK dress (la petite robe noire) in 1926, an essential to most wardrobes.Marcolini on the other hand uses BLACK in a big way for a very sophisticated look.His jewel-like chocolates are pristine in design and rich in flavor and aroma.My favorite is the red heart - a ganache filled with raspberry purée and coated with white chocolate.I was surprised to find a children's book with a BLACK cover. The title, Du coq à l'âne literally means jumping between rooster and donkey. Figuratively, jumping from subject to subject without obvious connection -- i.e. a racing, intelligent mind. Over here we say "scatter brain". I've heard that one more times than I can count...Most watercolorist will tell you they mix their own BLACKS.You'll rarely find Lamp, Vine, Ivory, or Mars Black in their paintbox because they tend to go DEAD on the white paper :(You can make your own black by mixing the 3 primary colors
Though BLACK is said to be without color it makes other colors look brighter and lighter. Just look at how precious jewels are set out on BLACK velvet. This effect is called irradiation in the color world. The Impressionists avoided BLACK like the plague, while Manet, Braque, Redon, Goya, Picasso, Dubuffet, Pierre Soulages made it their best friend. Matisse said, "Le noir est une couleur" and if you're near Vence stop at La Foundation Maeght. There's a show on that subject until 5 November.
The "Look" in May was a simple BLACK T-shirt worn with jeans. But as M. reminds me, the jeans must be accompanied by excellent shoes, bag, and haircut. I noticed an anti-earring movement going on, though shop windows were filled with des boucles d'oreilles. Like any good New Yorker I was dressed in BLACK and as soon as I removed my earrings I got asked directions in French right and left. Luckily I'm good with maps even if my grammaire stinks is just OK :) Je suis désolé de LES BLEUS


  1. Miam, Miam! that heart-shaped ganache looks adorable! As I'm typing this I hear cries of "Italia, Italia!" and a loud bang. Yes, there are a lot of Italians here in Cannes! I feel really bad for Zidane, I really don't know what that head-butt was all about :(

    Anyway, Thank you for another fabulous post (and for including my favorite fashion icons, Coco and Audrey).
    Also, I'll try to go the Fondation Maeght!

  2. OH MOI! You lucky duck :)
    Just a jump away from Vence...Yes who doesn't love Audrey & Coco?
    Well please wave to all the NOIR paintings at the Foundation while I struggle on here trying to paint BLACK -- cherries were way easier. And forget about painting CHOCOLATE!:(

  3. My Mother wore black mostly when I was growing up, as well as my Grandmothers, but they sported black for a different reason.
    My childhood home had a black bathroom, a black kitchen and two black bedrooms, the living room couch was black too. This is before my Mother went country.
    Those childhood memories have me still wearing black mostly.
    Thanks for the tip about:
    "... the jeans must be accompanied by excellent shoes, bag, and haircut."

    You just reminded me of an old ex-Brit-boyfriend who had an all black bedroom...
    AND he kept the blinds down
    If I mentioned anything astrological he'd rush to take a Valium
    A highly sensitive guy.
    He made horror movies and insisted I always dress in black.
    Go figure -- one's lurid past :)

  5. Anonymous1:35 PM

    Carol, I'm thrilled to have discovered your blog (have subsribed to it via Bloglines)---for many reasons. We have lots of interests in common---France, painting, food, etc (if you have a sec, click on my link and you'll see what I'm talking about ;D.) I wanted to ask you about the painting workshop you took in Provence and I'm sorry to hijack this post while doing it! Did you like it? I'd love to know a bit about it, if you don't mind---at your leisure, of course---whenever, whatever. I'm not sure if my email address is available through blogger, but it is through my blog, if, as is likely, you don't want to answer here. Hope this isn't too much of an imposition, this request. Anyway, thank you, thank you for sharing such effervescence and color with the rest of us through your blog!

  6. just beautiful, carol! besides, how can i possibly resist, seeing as you've so wonderfully captured three of my favourite things - hediard, m.f., and pierre marcolini! now if only i could take watercolour lessons from you ;)

  7. Dear J- DEAL !
    Where do you want to begin on your watercolor lessons?
    If you're serious -
    Take just 1 warm color= Winsor&Newton Burnt Sienna
    + 1 cool color W&N Fr Ultramarine Blue.
    Then start to PLAY with just 2 colors..dropping them into a pool of clear water
    Or mixing them together on the palette 1st. Every which way. It's a lot like cooking :)
    More lessons to come.
    BTW any paper will do to begin with.

    Thanks Laura for stopping by-as soon as I get back from the Fancy Food Show I'll drop in :)

  8. I like black made with the primary colors, gives you "nuances" that other blacks don't have.

    I never had a little black dress.....:)...I come from a tropical country and we NEVER use black.......not even at and white is used from some very elegant occasions.

    I love all this colour posts!

  9. Anonymous1:05 PM

    I love your descriptions of how to make the various colors - fascinating to me who knows very little about painting. You capture the spirit of Paris so well with your photos and paintings!

  10. Thanks Coco - just mix your primaries in varying voilà! very nice brown tones..of course I forget to do that when I'm painting chocolate..I'm going to try harder!

  11. Anonymous7:42 PM

    P.S. I love your ever-evolving blogspot!

  12. Chocolates are like Parisian diamonds. I visited La Maison du Chocolat and found myself at loss....where's the Hersheys bars? Haha. I love European chocolate for the reason that they take it oh so seriously. :)

  13. OH J.Lo-so true. & La Maison thinks they are the Maison Blanche of chocolat AND THEY ARE but way better. Also Pierre Marcololini and Jean-Paul Hévin are other overly serious chocolatiers and a do-not-miss! But the attention to detail is what makes them FRENCH HEY! All that fussing about small things is why we love them. Well the small things anyway, like a fab macaron :)

  14. Carol,
    hahaha, sorry, i'm having a little laugh over the comment you made on my blog about the black teapots at AOKI. I can only imagine how difficult those are to paint without making them look like black splotches on canvas. :)

  15. Anonymous7:38 AM

    Yes wearing black is appropriate..what a pity and such unfairness..ah well..déception, quoi!

    love your painting. You make me want to go back to my brushes. If only I could take the time between holding my pots!

  16. Bea = holding pots & pans of paint are very light..escpecially if they are could try painting your gorgeous dishes FROM the photos! Your compositions are perfect. Just a bit of color matching. Very soon I'm doing a post on my watercolor class' efforts at painting XMAS desserts. You'll see how loose you can go.. but getting the composition right is 60% of the battle!

  17. When I was an undergrad at Barnard, it was almost mandatory to wear all black. Of course it was the late nineties in New York; still, we referred to it then as now as Barnard Black.

    --And it goes so well with [bottle] blond hair.

  18. It's still mandatory to wear all black in NYC and no splash of colorful relief is allowed as in Paris. I remember my Californian Aunt visiting us, dressed in brilliant color and always a large insect pin on her shoulder-flamboyant! She played bit parts in the movies. Her shock at the generally dreariess of Easterners...


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