Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tomato Trouble - Paris Sketch Letter


Some months the Paris Sketch letter ideas come easy, almost effortless. July's cherry airmail letter art was inspired by a paper napkin I found on rue I'Ile St.-Louis.

Artwork by Henri Avelot
This month the creative juices were struggling.
365 Creative Dresses said in response to my moaning,
"That's very interesting to hear about the sketches. I assume since you are really an artist it just sort of flows out of the brush with nary a thought".
Ha. If only it were so.

August's inspiration came from a tomato watercolor pinned on my wall.

Plus Paris' marchés are awash in tomates ancienne of every size, shape and color.

Impossible not to think tomatoes in Paris in August.

French Girl sent me photos of her dad's tomatoes in Limoux.
PAINT THEM! she commanded.

Here's a peek at the mad pursuit of the creative process:
I started imagining tomatoes as a sea of air balloons floating over Paris. I watched a lot of NM balloon festival videos to get into the spirit.

Michele's balcony provided inspiration.

Vivian Swift reminded me I needed to do a 'Juliette' balcony like shown in her book, Le Road Trip.

Sky writing for the August title like the planes zooming overhead on Bastille Day.

This Metro poster made me think I should get a few tomato plants and start watering...

I went to Marché President Wilson to take photos of famed vegetable marchand Joel Thibaut. I knew I wanted him in the watercolor.

First sketches. So many elements to figure out...

Of course I went overboard with too many tomato balloons.
Back to the drawing board for another re-do. August's sketch letter finally came together with just the right amount of tomato balloons...I think.
If you want to see the finished artwork please visit Etsy.
Or wait for yours to arrive in the mail. Meanwhile my local post office are hanging the letters on the wall. Who wouldn't be tickled pink? I hope to paper the post office walls with Paris sketch letters!

39 comments:

Sandra Mehl said...

Gorgeous tomato balloons Carol!

365 Dresses said...

Love the tomatoes, but even more I love the peek into your creative process! The end result must be wonderful!

Vivian said...

Fun fun fun. All those tomato balloons AND A CAT!! August is tomato harvest time here too and the cats love to nap in the shade of the plants in our tomato garden. Yes, my view is almost as whimsical as your Paris belle lettre except, you know, it's only Long Island. So no, it's really nothing at all like Paris.

Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

Fabulous peek into the Mind OF.....luscious washes!

La Table De Nana said...

Love.

Parisbreakfasts said...

The end result is a sigh of relief and start thinking about September...

Parisbreakfasts said...

I'm sure it's every bit as whimsical Vivian

Parisbreakfasts said...

I forgot to show the notebook with a Japanese woodblock print on the cover and lovely color gradations...I also forgot to show the photo of the guy surrounded by rolled up balls of paper on the floor. You always forget something...

Barbara Lilian in France said...

Love the so many varieties of tomatoes that are at les marches at this moment and the way you have interpreted them as air balloons is fantastic. I know you said you needed to be inspired, but you found inspiration from your friends suggestions, nice to know it's not just me who is lacking in inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to decide what to do with mine. At the moment I fold and slide them back into the envelopes which I love as much as the letters. Then I "casually toss" them on my tray of special images and they are buried eventually, but I know they are there for rediscovering... and then, ah! , another arrives to top the pile!

Cris, Oregon Artist said...

Love this post. I love them all but this one is so much fun. We grow tomatoes and this year we added chicken manure and all our tomatoes went crazy growing huge with tons of the the fruit on each bush. I was visualizing them exploding from so many growing and encroaching into the next bush and raining down cherry tomatoes to the chickens delight. This just is perfect. Lol

Frances said...

Carol, it's fun to follow your telling of how original inspiration gets watered and cultivated and even sometimes weeded a bit and then...voila! A lovely, sophisticated, witty image is created, showing ripe tomatoes aloft over Paris.

Bravo, do take a bow! It's fabulous that your local post office is now aware of your creativity. i foresee much future goodness as summer turns to autumn.

(Hoping you did get my NY Times email. I can try again if you'd like.)

xo

Nikon said...

Great watercolors, Carol. Lots of great drawings in this post.
Tomatoes all over Paris as Frances said, and you make summer look so good :)

Cris, Oregon Artist said...

I forgot to mention the sweating painter cartoon. I love it. I guess we all have moments of creative brain freeze. :)

sillygirl said...

I can hardly wait for mine to come since my husband gave me a year's worth of letters for my birthday - I longingly check the mail every day!

Parisbreakfasts said...

Give it at least 5-7 days Silly. They went out Monday, Tuesday. Let me know when you get it. Sometimes I almost wish I could go along to make sure everything arrives perfectly!

Carolyn said...

I am so looking forward to my August letter, however, I don't think you will ever do better than the fabulous July, cherry masterpiece!!! I held one hand over my face and scrolled with the other hand because you know me....always waiting for the big surprise when I open my envelope!! I must admit, I couldn't resist peeking! Looks fabulous! The heirloom tomatoes are just so much more interesting in appearance, as well as taste, compared to the hybrids with which we have become accustomed. Amazing watercolors Carol!!!

Parisbreakfasts said...

I LOVE yr comment.it was not Fun creating this.
A lot of tomato torture. Not sure I can eat a tomato for a while...

Annie from Edmonton said...

I LOVE to see your creative journey!!
Also Love the Balloon video..I can easily see how you were inspired to float the tomatoes skyward. Loving my monthly letters from PARIS!!

Anonymous said...

You are so talented and I wonder if you know all of the various emotions your Art evokes....First awe at your talent, then ,a cozy feeling of "all is well with the world" and everything has an intrinsic prettiness or Beauty with a pinch of whimsy and a chuckle at the humorous characters you create. It's a banquet of lovely. Who else could give tomatoes panache?

sillygirl said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful to go along with each one and see the smiles on faces as they opened their mail box!

Unknown said...

It's great that you shared your creative process, Carol, really fascinating. And so proud of your work being exhibited in the local Poste! that's really an honor and shows how much they love it. I bet Joel Thibaut would love seeing himself in your painting. Bonne continuation, hugs, Rosemary

MesvitrinesNYC said...

Fabulous post today and amazing piece of art with these tomatoes! My father lives it! You are a wonderful artist.....kisses from Barcelona

cyndi from SD said...

So creative.Love it.

sukicart said...

Such a fun post - love watching the creative process. I think it's fantastic that your Post Office is hanging your letters, what an honor.

Madonna/aka/Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

How wonderful that you shared your process. I have a couple friends that when meeting new people, one says, "This is my friend, she is so funny." She turns to her friend and says, "Say something funny." Our funny friend says, "It is not easy, it is a process." Creativity can't alway be as spontaneous as others would like.

Madonna
MakeMineLemon

Kathleen said...

Love the tomato hot air balloons!!!

Parisbreakfasts said...

I have to admit I go there as much as I can even though it's not my 'local' post office to take a peek

lee kline said...

Just got back from our favorite city and this time made a tour for myself of as many Passages as I could find on the right bank. Found 14. Someplace I read that there are 15, but there must be more. Would Passages make a theme? There are some interesting shops and cafes in some of them. My favorite is Passage du Cerf, about a half block from our apartment on rue Marie Stuart.

Janice MacLeod said...

Gorgeous! I love seeing the concept come together. And that red tomato sparkles.

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Hey Carol, well. of course, I just love this...love how you put together all the different elements incorporating imagination with observed renderings.. And the image speaks of such a cheerful land! I always appreciate when you share the creative struggles as well as the times that the process flows, easy peasy.The process of editing & revising, people don't realize...Work & persistance as well as natural talent, n'est-ce pas?. (PS Glad your Maine Mail arrived!)

Kiki said...

oh Carol, this is the BESTEST post ever.... What fun and how well I understand your brain freeze which catches up with all of us from time to time - same thing with writing, photo-taking, cooking, and of course, decorating, painting etc. I often have a 'clean'-freeze, lol....
I LOVE, LOVE LOVE this post and your toms seem to have such a hoot.... absolutely beautiful idea and execution. Wish I had your letters....
It's SO MUCH WORK - and yet, the result is mega-creative, beautiful, fun & creates laughs, joy, thankfulness.... je t'adore
K.

Kiki said...

.... I forgot to tell you 'my' 2014 tomatoe story! I decided NOT to plant toms as I am away too often and didn't want my house sitter to ha ve too much watering to do (well, one never know just HOW WET a summer can get...). I have 4 large window boxes - that's the first thing I see when I Wake up and I made sure to have my favourite SWISS plants embedded: Red & white geraniums!!!! You should see them now; in the soil I had still tomatoe seeds of last year and the toms have completely taken over the geraniums..... Had to 'spin' toms holding devices across the large Windows and at every breeze I have a deep & pungent tomatoe perfume in our bedroom........ hillarious really! (but of course I also love it & can't wait to see if the fruits get really developped enough to make it to my mouth)

Silly G said...

Guess what came in the mail? My first sketch letter!! I'm so happy I gave him the idea that this would be a
good birthday present - about the best I have ever gotten. And I know I
am not alone in enjoying my mail - from Paris!!!
Thank you for starting to do letters!!!!
Sil

Parisbreakfasts said...

Hahaha
I have a lot of Tomato aromas here too
Surrounded by Tomate and I didn't plant any seeds...yet

Jeanie said...

I'm waiting for mine to arrive so no peeking -- except that I loved peeking into your wonderful insight and crazed creation process. (Actually, I really loved the one you threw out as too busy with balloons!) And that napkin is absolutely to die for. Someday when I come back to Paris I must go to this spot and bring back three of them! It's the best napkin ever!

Judi said...

Loved your post...and watching your creative process. Hope you have contact info on the pictures in the p.o. and hope you gave the vegetable man one (with your contact info on it) - he may pin it up too:))) Ah, your September one.....fall is coming!

fashion survivor said...

You inspired me to try watercoloring for the first time since I was a kid on my recent vacation! I'm a beginner, but I did some studies of ripe peaches that I'm rather pleased with. I'll stick to writing as my main artistic endeavor, but watercoloring is quite meditative and fun.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Try just 'blobbing' with 3-4 colors only. Very satisfying exercise and no worries about reality. More here :

http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.fr/2012/08/blob-sketchbook.html