Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Painting French Ribbon, April Paris letter

I've been coming to see Parisian Easter chocolates every March for at least 7 years.
An annual trip to admire extravagant chocolates and especially the adornment of French ribbons.
The French have a long tradition of adorning with ribbons.
Tied every place, fore 
And aft.
Last weekend I went inside a wonderful store I've passed many times. Have you been in La Droguerie? I thought it an outlandish drugstore. Instead they have the most marvelous collection of buttons, trims, beads, knitting patterns. 
And gorgeous ribbons. At 9-11, rue du Jour 75001 (near Les Halles)
Wrapping with ribbon be it a box of chocolates or the Eiffel Tower comes naturally in France.
This huge wrapped egg by Swiss sculpture, Beat Zoderer.
Was the inspiration for Pierre Hermé's limited edition (just 15) Easter chocolate egg.
I bought a much simpler chocolate egg from Gerard Mulot because I love the way he combines brilliantly colored wired ribbons. Last year was rose and green - the sales person told me the color combo changes every year.
I picked up my egg by the ribbon this morning planning to take a better look. It slipped and fell to the floor and broke. 
ET VOILA ! Anatomy of a French Easter egg.
The ribbon is not merely decorative but holds 2 halves of the egg/rabbit/bell/fish together! Inside are hidden the little chocolate fish/friture, praline eggs etc.
This hard working French ribbon has taken on a new meaning. It deserves to be painted.
Time for tracing paper. No pencil needed. 
Just draw the curvy lines with a brush pen  (Aquash brush by Pentel Lots of water. Then drop in blobs of watercolor. 
Be sure to leave bits and pieces of white paper for sparkle. 
WIP - work in progress.
More and more French ribbons later. This month's subscription sketch is my homage to French ribbon and it's vital contribution to holding together the French Easter egg. 
If you'd like to receive an original French ribbon watercolor (4.5" x 2.75") with your name on it, do subscribe to the SIX(6) month or TWELVE(12) month sketches available on Etsy.
Bonnes Rubans


  1. Your "chocolats" aquarelles are a beautiful as your ribbons..
    I must admit those Pentel pens are faves of mine..Just did a little book w/ them.
    My little grandsons love them too.
    Max told me I was SO LUCKY to have one..
    So of course I wanted them to feel lucky:)
    Your really in today's jargon..:"A Deconstucted Egg"..
    Very hip:)
    I still don't get how you get from tracing paper to watercolor paper?:)

    1. The LIGHT BOX is essential for tracing onto the watercolor paper. I thought you got one.

  2. PS cute cute the video..I bought a few tiny yr.. this one:) Love it!
    Especially when I have 6 searching for eggs out back:)

  3. Carol, I am still planning to find time to photograph some of the NYC choc bunnies (and duckies, too) but this will have to wait for this weekend.

    Meanwhile, I loved seeing that all looks tres facile, but I bet it is not. I use one of those little star cookie cutters to "stencil" red or green sanding sugar on to my Christmas cookies. Good to see that this little tin cutter has multiple seasonal deployments in its resume.

    Love those painted ribbons.

    Knitting away even as the weather gradually warms. When will I return to my watercolor paints and brushes and paper. Or even oils and canvas.

    Lots of time for everything, perhaps.


  4. Great watercolors, Carol. I love the museum paintings, too.

  5. Thank you with this article, I got a very useful new knowledge

  6. Louisa7:21 AM

    I love your ANATOMY of a French Easter egg.
    Wo knew it was a rattle too?

  7. Thank you Table de la Nana for asking about the tracing. Is the Light Box a script or is it a craft projector where you would have your transparent copy and project onto the tracing paper? I love the colors of this month's letter. Cannot wait to get it. I think a gift subscription is in order for my daughter. Thanks Carol

    1. LightTracer by ARTOGRAPH
      It's just a slanted box to put on yr lap
      12 x 14 x 2.5 inches
      They used to be like $ $43 but worth it. On Amazon here:

    2. Basically they were used to view slides.
      works fine.
      Don't spend any more than this!!

    3. Thank you for the information, Carol. It is ordered. Cannot wait to try it.

  8. I much prefer your paintings of ribbons to the real thing!

  9. and lace in my collection. The history of antique handmade lace is absolutely fascinating. It was stolen, smuggled out of countries in coffins, people were murdered for it... At one time only royalty was allowed to wear it (certainly never the lace maker) and it was worn by men as a show of wealth, being considered more valuable than land, gold or jewels. It might make for a fascinating article if you decide to delve into it (danger: you might just get the bug).

    1. Very interesting Judy
      Thanks! There is a small vintage lace shop not far from here but I'm not the lacy type ;(
      I don't wear ribbons either but they are so colorful and pretty..
      Hard to resist.

  10. My 2nd envelope just arrived -- tres jolie!
    My favorite Easter chocolates are the laughing bunnies with crinkly eyes.
    Joyeaux Pacques --

  11. Love, love the ribbons! I agree with another commentor that the painted ones are better than the real! And Le Droguerie, it was your first time? Oh, la, la, la, la, la. It is a great little shop! One of my favorites.

  12. Brings back memories from the time when I was working at Ladurée.....had no clue to work with ribbons before but my friend and collegue teached me to tie the most perfect bow with the ribbons....Yet another thing I learned at Ladurée ;-)

    1. Ooooooo
      I want ribbon tying lecons Solli!
      Lord knows I have enough Easter ribbons here to sink a ship...
      Just say when

  13. Love La Droguerie! Sort of a cross between Tender Buttons and Hyman Hendler!
    Trace?? I didn't know watercolor paper is thin enough to trace, even on a light box! This opens up many new worlds, since I have a light box saved from when my son was in elementary school and the came with stuff to trace cars. I was always trying to get him interested in art, but it never "took". Well, except that he buys art and loves art museums. Just doesn't make it. Except with his sax. Hmmmm,
    I have to re-think this

  14. My letter arrived yesterday with the loveliest bits of ribbon from one of your jaunts! Proudly displayed, of course! I do love your Easter windows. They enchant me -- and the eggs don't look half bad either!


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