Blog

Huntington Beach Art League Demonstration


Demo, Paris street scene

 

I had the pleasure of spending some time yesterday together with members and guests of the Huntington Beach Art League (HBAL) who invited me to do a demonstration for their September meeting.  It was quite an honor for me, as a watercolorist, to do a watercolor painting demo to an all-media art group such as the HBAL as they kick-start their fall season.

 

I did a demo, showing my process from the beginning to the end, of a street scene with corner cafés in Paris.  I painted this subject from my previous plein-air sketch, and I did so in response to the request of the majority of the group members present at the meeting.

 

I was also honored to judge their September exhibition prior to my demo.  I must say judging a show of a wide range of artwork (oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, photography, mixed media and ceramics) was quite challenging, especially when there was a large number of submissions and some really good ones in each category.

 

I would like to thank the HBAL for their kind invitation and hospitality, and everyone who came to watch my demonstration!  It is always a joy to demonstrate in front of a room full of artists and people who are as enthusiastic as yesterday's crowd.

 

 

Demonstration, Huntington Beach, California

 

 

Cafés, Montparnasse, Paris, France

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 17 x 23 inches (43 x 58cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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Workshops in Kyoto & Osaka, Japan


Paris Café (Sold)

 

I just finished two workshops in Kyoto and Osaka, Japan.  I was told, in both locations, classes were filled months ahead of time and there was still dozens on the wait list.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who braved this summer's record-breaking heat to participate in my workshops. 

 

This was my second workshop in Kyoto.  While sign-ups were taken on a first-come, first-served basis, I saw several familiar faces in the classroom.  It was nice to see them again after my first one back in February.  This time we practiced painting a street scene involving a café with cozy ambiance.  The outside temprature was so high it was unthinkable to sit in an outdoor café in Kyoto, let alone paint right there on location.  But painting in an air-conditioned room was a breeze and everyone did a fantastic job.

 

  Kyoto, Japan

 

Osaka, Japan

 

In Osaka, the theme was a waterscape.  After my demo, everyone tried painting a canal scene like this (below).  After all, Osaka calls itself a "capital of water," so it was an appropriate choice, I think.  Again, congrats to everyone on a job well done.  I look forward to seeing you again!

 

Canal, China (sold)

 

 

 

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Workshop at Catalyst, Westminster, California


Paris Street (demo)

 

I just finished a 3-day workshop at Catalyst, Westminster, California.  Painting with 18 very enthusiastic painters three days straight was fun, inspirational and a great learning experience for all.  I'd like to thank each one of my workshop participants for choosing to study with me.

 

In a workshop situation, I may be called a teacher or an instructor but there's so much that I learn in each worshop I teach.  In a way, I am also a student, with no doubt.   Each day I normally do two live painting demonstrations where I show my creative process from the beginning to the finish.  When I say my students are enthusiastic, I really mean it: they watch closely every move I make and take notes - which colors I pick up, how I mix colors, how I hold my brush, what technique I use in a certain part of my painting, etc., etc.  Of course watching me work is just part of their learning.  They also want to know my thought process: what is on my mind when I make a decision to make a certain move.  This is where a live demonstration gets tough because vervalizing an intuitive thinking process is no easy task - on top of completing a painting in front of an audience.  You really have to know yourself well as an artist to be able to explain what you do and why you do it.  Each workshop I do is a great opportunity for me to learn this aspect.

 

 

  workshop at Catalyst

 

 

Paris Street (demo)

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 24 x 15 inches (60 x 38 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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La Seine, Paris V, French Landscape Painting


La Seine, Paris V

 

Cities like Paris seem to have such charm that they make you dream of things both ordinary and extraordinary.  For instance, thinking of Paris makes me dream of strolling down a street with a baguette in hand or living on a luxurious houseboat on the Seine.

 

In Paris I always enjoy walking along the river banks to see all the boats, especially the ones with their owners living inside.  What a life it must be to wake up to a view of the Eiffel Tower and be able to take your house out to sea!

 

 

La Seine, Paris V

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 21.5 x 14.25 inches (54.5 x 36 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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Springtime in Paris, Paris Café Painting


Paris Café LX

 

"With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning...

 

Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life.  This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural...

 

You expected to be sad in the fall.  Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light...

 

But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.  When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason...

 

In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed."

 

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

 

 

Paris Café LX

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 21.5 x 12 inches (54.5 x 31 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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My Solo Exhibition Next Month in San Diego


Paris Café LIV

 

Next month we will meet Philippe, Gustave and Henri, three World War I veterans living in an old soldiers' home in the French countryside.  We will listen in as they make a crazy plan to escape from there (or from their nun, to be precise), with their stone dog…  To where?  To the poplar trees that they always see from their terrace!

 

This is a story from HEROES, Gérald Sibleyras' play, which received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy.  HEROES will be the next play at the San Diego's North Coast Repertory Theatre (NCRT), October 19 (preview) - November 13.

 

I am very pleased that I will be the featured artist at the NCRT Gallery for the entire duration of the play.  All of my paintings I will hang are inspired by my visits to France, including many never-before-seen pieces.  I'd like to invite you all to come and see my paintings of French villages, countryside and Paris cafés (and of course don't miss the play, either).  There'll be an artist reception at the NCRT Gallery.  Please feel free to email me if you'd like to attend.  I will send you an invitation.

 

 

Paris Café LIV (Les Deux Magots)

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

 


Paris Café LV

 

 

Paris Café LV (Les Deux Magots)

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
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Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Paris II, French Landscape Painting


Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Paris II

 

A small alley in the back of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica was surprisingly quiet, and it was a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the animated Montmartre village.  The area surrounding the church is perhaps the most touristy in the butte Montmartre.  From the stairs leading up to the church to the nearby Place du Tertre square, there are many camera-toting tourists and vendors selling all kinds of gadgets and trinkets.  Add to the mix scores of artists who want to make a portrait of you as a souvenir, and you can imagine a vibrant street scene that's always there.  In fact, within one block I was asked by three portrait artists if I wanted to sit for a session and they wouldn't take no for an answer.  I did feel a little sympathetic, to be honest, as I understand what it's like to make a living as a painter.

 

 

Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Paris II

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

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- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.

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La Seine, Paris II (Le Petit Pont), French Landscape Painting


La Seine, Paris II (Le Petit Pont)

 

On the coat of arms of Paris is a silver vessel that sails on the rough waters.  We may not see a ship like this from the Middle Ages on the Seine River any more, but the importance of the river in trade and transportation hasn't changed throughout Paris' history.

 

Le Petit Pont (The Small Bridge), connecting the the Île de la Cité and the Left Bank, is one of the first bridges built over the Seine when Paris was still called Lutetia in the Gallo-Roman era.  It was a wooden bridge back then and served as a strong fortress protecting the city.  It was swept away due to flooding of the river or design flaws many times, each time replaced by a new one.  Standing on the quay, looking up, I tired to imagine the old days when the river was not tamed and overflowing was common... and all the houses stacked up on it.  That would have been an interesting sight.  The current single stone arch bridge was built in 1853.

 

 

La Seine, Paris, France II (Le Petit Pont)

 

A larger image of this painting is available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

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La Seine, Paris I, French Landscape Painting


La Seine, Paris I

 

There are two Paris must-do's that I haven't done yet despite numerous visits there over the years - a cruise on the Seine and the Eiffel Tower.  It may be that a part of me thinks they are just too touristy so I keep avoiding but another part of me, I admit, wonders if I'm missing out on a lot.  I always walk down to the water's edge or cross some of the bridges to enjoy watching people along the quays and boats traveling up and down the river.

 

I just love being part of the scene that is full of life and history while contemplating many painting possibilities.  What is also attractive to me is that any urban landscape painting involving the Seine adds a meditative quality to it.  So maybe it won't be such a bad idea to hop on one of these boats next time to see this enchanting city from a completely new perspective.

 

 

La Seine, Paris, France I

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 15.5 inches (29 x 39 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

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Eiffel Tower, Paris II - French Landscape Painting

Eiffel Tower, Paris II

 

 

You say it's an absolute beauty and one of the first things you must see in Paris?  Rather, you are of the opinion that it's such an eyesore you can't stand it?  There seems to be two kinds of visitors to Paris when it comes to their opinions about the Eiffel Tower.  Whether you take one side over the other (or fall somewhere in between), wouldn't you agree that Paris wouldn't be the same without it?

 

Weighing 10,100 tons, soaring 324 meters tall, it is a massive structure, and I must say that getting an up-close-and-personal look at the 250,000-square-meter surface of the fine iron lattice work is awe-inspiring.

 

"For my part I believe that the Tower will possess its own beauty.  Are we to believe that because one is an engineer, one is not preoccupied by beauty in one's constructions, or that one does not seek to create elegance as well as solidity and durability?  Is it not true that the very conditions which give strength also conform to the hidden rules of harmony? "  -- Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower

 

 

Eiffel Tower, Paris II

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

Click here to see more Paris France paintings.

 

 

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Paris (#30) - Tram, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#30) - Tram

 

 

The state-of-the-art trams are a fairly new sight in the cityscape of Paris (Tramline T3 opened in December, 2006).  Compared to the city-wide Metro network, the tram service is still limited as it only covers the 13th, 14th and 15th arrondissements in south Paris.  However, many stops along the line also connect to metro or suburban railway lines, so it can be very useful if one wants to avoid driving into the city.

 

Given the increasing popularity of this modern transportation system in many cities around the world, maybe we will see more tramways running across the City of Light in the future.  As it becomes a more common sight, I wonder if tram cars will be incorporated in more paintings of Parisian streets?  Just like horse-drawn carriages were depicted often in the 19th- to early 20th-century cityscapes of Paris by well-known painters such as Edouard Cortes, Eugene Galien-Laloue and Antoine Blanchard.

 

 

Paris (#30) - Tram

 

Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

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La Grande Dame de Paris, French Landscape Painting

 

Old Neighbor, Paris II

 

 

People living on this street have had this brown, 324-meter-tall neighbor for quite some time.  She just celebrated her 122nd birthday on March 31.  One of the most popular iconic symbols of Paris, she's often referred to as the Iron Lady (la dame de fer) or La Grande Dame de Paris.  At the foot of the Eiffel Tower, thousands of people from all over the world line up every day to pay tribute to her.

 

Having such a famous neighbor could mean a lot of traffic or visitors to this area, but for the residents on this street and many others around here, life goes on, no matter what takes place on the Parc de Champ de Mars where she stands.  They go to work every day and take their children to nearby schools.  They manage to park their cars literally bumper to bumper just outside their apartments.  They go out every morning to a bakery for a freshly baked baguette - often with their pooch in tow.

 

 

Old Neighbor, Paris II

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 15.5 x 11.5 inches (39 x 29 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Through Gallery.  Please send me an email for details.

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Paris (#29) - Le Marais, French Landscape Painting


Paris (#29) - Le Marais


In the heart of Paris, on the Right Bank, there's a historic district called Le Marais.  This area used to be where aristocrats lived.  Long after they moved out, we can still feel their influence from those days in many old architectures around here.  Today fashionable boutiques and lively sidewalk cafés and restaurants are attracting many tourists and younger people who fill the streets.  The atmosphere here is full of life.

A narrow alley in this painting is a stone's throw away from Rue des Rosiers, a main street in the Jewish quarter inside the Marais district, where Jewish bakeries and specialty storoes are lined.  Its quietness was a sharp contrast to vibrant street scenes seen in other parts of Le Marais, which I'd like to paint some other time.

 

 

 

Paris (#29) - Le Marais

 

Click here for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

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Japan Disaster Relief Auctions

 

Paris (#17) - Bistro

 

 

In addition to the two paintings posted here on March 11, I am offering seven more paintings (see below) for a disaster relief auction.   All proceeds will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society to help tens of thousands of victims and their families in Japan who were affected by the earthquake and tsunami.  Minimum bidding starts at USD100.  Please send me an email to bid.  The bidding closes at midnight on the 17th.  The highest bidder will be notified by email.

 

This is a closed (by invitation only) auction.  To participate, please contact me.  The prices shown below are the current highest bids (11:30pm PST, March 17) and will be updated periodically.

 

Paris (#17) - Bistro -- $385

Paris (#11) -Crêperie -- $225

Paris (#2) - Boulangerie -- $180

Paris Café XXIV -- $200

Paris Café XXXII -- $175

Paris Café XLI -- $225

Paris Café XII -- $125

 

Below is the status from my March 11 auction.  This is open to everyone.  The bidding closes at midnight, March 15.  Please send me an email to place a bid.

 

Paris Café LII -- $150 (the current highest)

Paris Café LIII --$500 (the current highest)

 

Thank you very much for your interest and generosity for this cause.

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Paris Café LII & LIII, French Landscape Paintings


Paris Café LIII

 

As I was writing today's blog post, I received a call from one of my family members in Japan who was horrified about a massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake that had just hit there.  It took me some time before I was able to get in touch with the rest of my family (and they were all ok).  However, as I see more news reports on this biggest tremor in the history of Japan and think how extensive the final damages can be, my heart goes out to those who have been affected.  And I feel I want to do something, however small, to help.

For today's paintings of Paris Café, there's no price.  If you're interested in one or both of these paintings, please email me to bid.  I'd like to send them to someone with the highest offer and donate all proceeds to the Japanese Red Cross Society in aid to the victims of the March 11 earthquake in Japan.  Bidding ends at midnight, March 15.  The highest bidder will be notified by email.  Please click here to see the current highest bid.

 

Thank you very much in advance for your kind consideration and generosity.

 

 

Paris Café LII (Café Madeleine)

 

Paris Cafe LII


A larger image of this painting is available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)
Mat/Frame: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

Paris Cafe LIII

 

Click here for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)
Mat/Frame: No

Purchase: Sold

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Retour de la série «Paris Café»

 

Paris Café LI (Montmartre)

 

 

Paris Café was the series of mostly small works depicting different cafés in the city of Paris.  I started it in 2009 and, after making 50 paintings, I announced the end of the series.

 

I am happy to say most of the 50 paintings found a new home and that I still hear from visitors to my website that they continue enjoying viewing the images of those paintings.  In fact, after the announcement, I myself couldn't stop painting scenes involving Parisian cafés, bistros, bars and restaurants, and occasionally showed them here on my blog (see my Paris, France category).

 

Without doubt, sidewalk cafés are among those that symbolize Paris, and I must say they do so in a very intimate way.  As someone who loves the city, I have decided to bring back the Paris Café series.  Through my new café paintings, I look forward to conveying flavors of various cafés.  I also hope to depict the distinctive atmosphere of different neighborhoods so we can actually feel like getting around Paris.

 

 

Paris Cafe LI (Montmartre)

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 13.5 x 10.5 inches (34 x 27 cm)
Mat: Yes (15 x 10 inches; white)

Frame: No

Purchase: Please send me an email.

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50 Blogs Recommended for Watercolor Artists

 

Web Design Schools Guide recently put together a list of 50 best blogs for watercolor artists.

 

A comprehensive guide for students of any age who want to learn more about the latest in the field of watercolor art, the list has links to 10 watercolor demonstrations blogs, 20 watercolor artists blogs, 10 art business blogs and 10 art news & reviews blogs.

 

I am honored to be included as one of the 20 artists they recommend by saying, "Follow this award-winning watercolor artist as she travels around the world, painting Parisian cafes, California beaches, Venetian gondolas and other lovely sites."

 

 

Paris Café XXIV

 

 

Paris Café XXIV 

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 7 x11 inches (18 x 28 cm)
Mat Size: 12 x 16 inches (30 x 41 cm)
Purchase: Sold

 

Click here to see more paintings in my Paris Café Collection.

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2011 Art Calendars from Daily Painters & Watercolor Artist


Pacific Coast Highway III

 

Family photos, artwork, a clock... We carefully choose what we hang on our walls because we want to make sure that's something we want to look at all the time.  What about wall calendars?

 

This holiday season, I'd like to suggest as a gift idea art calendars from Daily Painters and Watercolor Artist magazine.  Over a dozen different themed calendars are offered by Daily Painters and available via their Lulu.com store.  I have my painting included in Cityscape and Landscape themes.

 

For watercolor enthusiasts, editors of Watercolor Artist magazine have a beautiful watercolor art calendar made up of their 12 top choices available through Zazzle.com.  I am pleased that my Paris painting was chosen to be in it.

 

 

 

Pacific Coast Highway, California III

 

Click here for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)
Purchase: Sold

 

 

  Aux Tours de Notre Dame, Paris

 

Aux Tours de Notre Dame, Paris, France

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)
Purchase: Sold

 

Click here to see more paintings in my California Landscapes Collection.

Click here to see more paintings in my French Landscapes Collection.

 

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Preview: Feature Article in Watercolor Artist, December 2010


Aux Tours de Notre Dame, Paris, France

 

I am very pleased to announce that there will be a feature article about me and my work in the December issue of the Watercolor Artist magazine.  The article is based on my interview and will include several new images of my paintings, including this one.

 

The magazine is scheduled to be on the newsstands in the U.S. on October 26.

Meanwhile, please enjoy my gallery, an online-exclusive album of my paintings on the Watercolor Artist magazine website.

 


Aux Tours de Notre Dame, Paris, France

 

Click here for an enlarged view.
Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

Click here to see more paintings of French landscapes and cityscapes.

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Paris (#28) - Place de la Madeleine, French Landscape Painting


Paris (#28) - Pl. de la Madeleine

 

Looking at the Madeleine Church (in the background) from this vantage point, I was able to see Cafe Madeleine's inside and outside and felt like seeing two movies side by side.  So I decided to fill one half of this painting with an interior scene of the cafe and the other with its exterior.

People inside seem to want a little bit more privacy, and they are more interested in eating, drinking, chatting with friends.  They may be more sensitive to outdoor dust or traffic fumes.

Those sitting outside love watching people (and being watched, too).  Or they may be tourists who want to spend some time looking at the majestic architecture of the Madeleine Church.  It's more likely they smoke.

This is just an ordinary cafe scene in Paris but it is one of the things that make this city such an attractive place to be.



Paris (#28) - Place de la Madeleine

 

Click here for an enlarged view.
Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Private Collection

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Paris (#26) - Notre-Dame de Paris, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#26) - Notre-Dame de Paris

 

 

People are sitting at an outdoor café as evening approaches -- It's a scene that is so commonplace this could be anywhere.  But the one with Notre-Dame silhouetted in the background?  That is so Parisian.

A friend of mine recently returned from his first visit to France.  While he and his wife enjoyed everything about their trip, he said Notre-Dame was the only thing he really cared about after waiting to see it for 20 years.  I know he was not exaggerating.  The cathedral does have an appeal that evokes a deep sense of admiration and awe, even in a person who's seen it many times.

This majestic Gothic architecture with the famous flying butresses looks very impressive from any angle, in any weather, and at any time of a day.


Paris (#26) - Notre-Dame de Paris

 
Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 in. (on 12 x 9 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#25) - Tour Montparnasse, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#25) - Tour Montparnasse

 

 

It is still before the sunrise, and most of Paris is just about to wake up.  But here on the ground above the Montparnasse Bienvenue station, one of the busiest transfer points of the Paris metro system,  it already feels like 8 in the morning, with all the buses and cars busily moving about.

What adds a more urban feel around here is of course the Tour Montparnasse.  The tallest skyscraper in France (689 ft.; 210m), its massive presence gives the Montparnasse neighborhood a characteristic of a major commercial center, a far cry from a clichéd image as a Bohemian community of artists.  So is this one of the spots where the old Paris and new coexist?  I think we will have to wait until the sun is up (or artists are up) so we can explore the backstreets to see it.


Paris (#25) - Tour Montpartnasse

 

A larger image of this painting is available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 in. (on 12 x 9 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Please send me an email for more information.

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Paris Café XXV & XXVIII, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris Café XXVIII

 

 

Sorry there has been no post of new daily paintings for a few days as I was working on commissioned pieces.

I'd like to post here today two small paintings from my Paris Café series (2009) that have never been shown before.  Please enjoy!

 


Paris Café XXVIII

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold



Paris Café XXV


Paris Café XXV

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 7.5 x 9.5 inches
Mat/Frame: Yes/No
Mat Size: 11 x 14 inches (color: off-white)
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#24) - Gare de l'Est, Interior Painting


Paris (#24) - Gare de l'Est

 

Gare de l'Est (Paris East Station), not far from Gare du Nord is one of the main railway stations in Paris.  With the beginning of high-speed rail service a few years ago, this station is busier than ever as the sleek TGVs and ICEs come and go, whisking passengers between Paris and cities northeast of Paris.

Only five minutes before the scheduled departure of our TGV train for Strasbourg, our track number was not announced yet.  Many people around me here in the airy Central Hall were looking at a departure information screen rather anxiously.  They had to be waiting for the same train as mine because they were all ready to run.  What a relief when our train finally pulled into one of the closest tracks (there were as many as 30 of them).  Then again I found my car was at the very end of the long train, so I still had to run lengthwise.


Paris (#24) - Gare de l'Est

 

A larger image is available on request.
Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Please send me an email for more information.

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Paris (#23) - Quartier Place Vendôme, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#23) - Quartier Place Vendôme

 

 

It doesn't take long to notice this is a posh neighborhood when we walk through an area just north of the Tuileries Garden leading up to Place Vendôme.  Mainly a commercial and business district that caters to a wealthy clientele, the area certainly has a classy atmosphere, with Place Vendôme as a perfect example of elegance from the 18th century.

Never say no when a client asks for something, even if it is the moon.  You can always try, and anyhow there is plenty of time afterwards to explain that it was not possible.  The customer is never wrong.

- César Ritz, founder of Hôtel Ritz on Place Vendôme

 


Paris (#23) - Quartier Place Vendôme

 

A larger image of this painting is available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Please send me an email for more information.

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Paris (#22) - Pont Neuf, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#22) - Pont Neuf

 

 

Pont Neuf, one of the bridges that connect the left and right banks of the River Seine, is my choice for No. 22 of my Paris Series.

Completed at the beginning of the 17th century, it is the oldest standing bridge across the Seine in Paris, and perhaps one of the most famous and beautiful.  Back then, it was a novel idea to make pavements for pedestrians crossing on a bridge.  A designer for Pont Neuf took up that idea, and how Parisians liked it can be seen in past artwork such as Le Pont-Neuf, Paris by Auguste Renoir.  Looks like safety and convenience that came with it made this stone bridge a social gathering place as well.

Today this bridge is still perfect for a leisurely stroll, and with bastions to stop by, a walk across can be even more enjoyable.

 


Paris (#22) - Pont Neuf


Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No

Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#20 & #21) - On the Seine I & II, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#20) - On the Seine I

 

 

At any time when I am fortunate enough to be in Paris, I like to just sit down on the riverbank of the Seine and enjoy watching the river run and all kinds of boats pass by.  I like just about anywhere if it's close to one of the beautiful bridges.

On my last visit, this handsome sailboat caught my attention, so I decided to spend a little time there admiring her beauty -- smooth, long curves of the body and soft lines of all the ropes, accompanied by sharp straight lines of masts that rose straight up in the sky.  With the romantic Seine as a background, it was a tempting view to paint.

By the way, I always wondered why boats or ships are referred to as a female in English when images associated with them are more masculine.  I think I heard a reason somewhere before... but when I was sketching this sailboat on the Seine, I felt I saw in "her" a gentle, loving woman with a strong will.

 
Paris (#20) - On the Seine I

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 in. (on 12 x 9 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold



Paris (#21) - On the Seine II

 

 

Paris (#21) - On the Seine II


Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 in. (on 12 x 9 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#19) - Hotel du Nord, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#19) - Hotel du Nord

 

 

A short walk from the East Railway Station, Hôtel du Nord sits quietly by the Canal Saint-Martin.  I had heard about this place being a setting for the 1938 French movie "Hôtel du Nord" which I have never had a chance to see to this day.  But I had read some reviews and always wanted to see the actual hotel (Today it's no longer a hotel but a restaurant).

When I finally got there, I almost missed it because it was small and looked rather plain, as was the surrounding neighborhood.  I didn't quite understand why I felt disappointed then.  Maybe I was fantasizing a bit too much about this place?  Or, was it a trick the very overcast sky played on me?  But funny, the image of this hotel was one of the strongest after I left Paris, and I'm glad I finally painted it.

"Atmosphère? Atmosphère?  Est-ce que j'ai une gueule d'atmosphère?"  - a famous line by Arletty in the movie "Hôtel du Nord"

 
Paris (#19) - Hotel du Nord

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 in. (on 12 x 9 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#15) - Jardin des Tuileries, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#15) - Jardin des Tuileries

 

 

A spacious and quiet park, the Tuileries Garden is just a perfect place to be in after what can be a very intense, demanding visit to the Louvre.

Situated on the west end of the Louvre, this urban park seems to have everything you need to unwind and stretch your legs -- benches under shady trees, cafes, fountains, sculptures, and, yes, ice cream vendors on a hot summer day.

 

 

Paris (#15) - Jardin des Tuileries

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#18) - Salon de Thé, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#18) - Salon de Thé

 

 

I am not so difficult when it comes to eating when I travel.  I am willing to try local food and drink and I think I adapt well most of the time.  But tea is something I cannot live without no matter where I go.  Stereotyping the French as 100% coffee drinkers, I was both surprised and relieved to find a salon de thé (tea house) in Paris during my first visit there a long time ago.  It is said that today more than 140 tea houses are in Paris alone.

I subsequently discovered that other cities and towns have them also.  For example, last summer when I stayed in a small, off-the-tourist-beaten-path town of about 7,000 people in the Auvergne region, it was a lovely salon de thé, not a typical café, that was in a square right next to the town's church.  Their long list of tea leaves brought from all over the world was quite impressive.  Needless to say, I had a very pleasant stay there.


Paris (#18) - Salon de Thé

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#17) - Bistro, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#7) - Bistro

 

 

This bistro was near the place where I used to stay in Paris on several occasions.  Because this neighborhood was away from any tourist sights, I enjoyed "living like a local" every time I was there.  On my way to a nearest Metro station every morning, or when I went out for grocery shopping in the evening, I passed by this bistro.


It was never too crowded but locals were always there, stopping by to spend some time as if it was their living room or a kitchen nook.  Although this may not be an authentic Parisian bistro, I will always remember it as a little place where the art of conviviality, something French people do well so naturally, lived on.

 


Paris (#17) - Bistro

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#16) - Brasserie, French Landscape Painting


Paris (#16) - Brasserie

 

Late afternoon as the sun goes down, people (mainly young) have gathered in this casual brasserie, enjoying the last rays of sunshine and company.  A lone bicycle parked to the lamppost is casting a long shadow, and I imagine someone in this neighborhood just hopped on a bike to come here to have a drink with his friends.

For many residents, their favorite cafe, favorite bakery, favorite hair salon, etc... they are all there within a walking distance or a few minutes by bicycle from their apartments.  Life in a big city can be stressful but in Paris, living in an arrondissement making up a village-like feel, as the one in this painting, must be quite comfortable.

 

 

 

Paris (#16) - Brasserie

 

Click here for an enlarged view.
Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#14) - Dimanche Matin, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#14) - Dimanche Matin

 

 

Early Sunday morning.  It's a rare sight that a major thoroughfare in the heart of Paris looks this empty.  Light, however, has already filled everywhere, inspiring me to paint it.

Locals and tourists may still be sleeping.  And auto commuters are staying in the suburbs today.  A lone bicyclist must be feeling like king of the castle (or at least that's how I'd feel) as if he was in the last stretch of the Tour de France about to cross the finish line before the peloton arrived.

 


Paris (#14) - Dimanche Matin

 

A larger image of this painting is available on request.
Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Please send me an email for more information.

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Paris (#13) - Newsstand, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#13) - Newsstand

 

 

This small newsstand (librairie-papeterie) in a residential neighborhood in Paris sells all kinds of newspapers and magazines.  But do people read newspaper any more?  When it is so easy and quick for many people to get the latest news online, the print version has been struggling in France, too.

That's why their President Nicolas Sarkozy announced last year a plan to give every 18-year-old a free subscription to a newspaper of their choice for one year.  That's a unique birthday present!  I wonder how it has been received by the young people in France? 

Sadly, I think we already know the wave of the future is only going to get stronger.  I wonder how long this newsstand will be here in business?  I was feeling a bit of nostalgia while painting this street scene.


Paris (#13) - Newsstand

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#12) - Poissonnerie, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#12) - Poissonnerie

 

 

April is around the corner, and April Fool's Day may be on your mind.  Are you usually the one who plans a prank or you tend to be on a receiving end of it?  If you happen to be in France on April 1, and hear someone say "Poisson d'avril (Fish of April)!" behind you, you've been pranked.

On a street in the Montmartre district, I found this poissonnerie (fish monger) with strikingly blue awnings.  It was late in the afternoon but the business was already finished for the day at this shop, as the owner was washing the glass cases.  Coming from a culture with a diet rich in fish (Japan), I would have been really interested to see what kind of fish he had.

It's been said that the more fish you eat, the better it is for your memory.  If you feel like cooking fish tonight, French-style, maybe you like this recipe (red snapper cooked in thyme-flavored salt).  It looks very easy and the pictures on the site are beautiful, too.  Bon Appétit!


Paris (#12) - Poissonnerie

A larger image of this painting is available on request.
Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Please send me an email for more information.

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Paris (#11) - Crêperie, French Landscape Painting

 

As soon as this sweet smell hit my nose, I knew I was near a crêperie.  Around the corner, there it was, a crêpe restaurant with red umbrellas.  While a crêpe can be bought from a street vendor and eaten right away, it is nice sometimes to sit down in a restaurant to have it as a meal and/or a dessert.

The sheer number of crêperies in Paris alone says a lot about how popular crêpes are here.  They are simple, quick and delicious -- it's hard to resist the temptation of this warm, savory, classy fast food.  In fact I think these are also important ingredients for a watercolor painting that is loose and luminous: simple (design), quick (brushstrokes), and delicious (juicy colors).


          

To paint loose, think crêpe.                 Finish.


Paris (#11) - Crêperie

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 in. (on 12 x 9 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#10) - Vélib', French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#10) - Vélib'

 

 

Thanks to a public bicycle sharing system called vélo libre (Vélib' for short), there are thousands of bicycles available for use all over Paris nowadays.  It takes no time to notice quite a lot of people, both Parisians and visitors, take advantage of sturdy bicycles provided by the city, and they are riding practically everywhere.  This is quite a change from pre-Vélib’ days (that's only 3 or 4 years ago) when not so many two wheelers were in the Paris streetscape.

When I spotted these two Vélib’ users chatting in the morning light, they were barely out of the massive shadow of the Notre-Dame cathedral.  Amused by a scene with the old and the new sights of Paris, I made a quick sketch of it.  That was not a bad way of killing time while waiting in an already long line to go up to the cathedral towers.

 


Paris (#10) - Vélib'

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#9) - Bar, Interior Painting


Paris (#9) - Bar

 

It was Friday afternoon.  The outdoor terrace of this bar was popular as it always is on a sunny day like this.  A couple of businessmen opted to stay indoors, however.  Still, with large windows allowing the sunlight to pour in, they must have felt as if they were outside, too.

Not quite mobbed by a happy-hour crowd yet, this bar still maintained a quiet ambiance.  So it was ideal for them to discuss an important business deal.  Or, were they talking about a golf weekend in the countryside?

 

 

 

Paris (#9) - Bar

 

Click here for an enlarged view.
Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 in. (on 12 x 9 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#8) - Corner Café, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#8) - Corner Cafe

 

 

Although I've been talking about how I paint from time to time, it is not my intention to show you there's a set approach to my painting style.  It would be easier for me if I knew steps to follow, but honestly, I'm not even aware of what I am doing while painting - how dare I write "How I Paint" posts!

I may stick to one method of painting for some time, especially after it worked for the first time.  Finding a comfort zone encourages me but I also know a part of me always wants to explore other possibilities.  Not that I actually try a different approach every time, I've learned that being in a comfort zone will soon begin to feel uncomfortable for me.

A few years ago, my main approach was to work from light to dark, gradually layering in washes for darker tonal values.  Lately, I've found myself working on both light and dark values right from the start.  This painting is an example of that approach.



  Working simultaneously on both light and dark values.


  Putting in details to finish.



Paris (#8) - Corner Café

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Sold

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Paris (#7) - Gare du Nord, French Landscape Painting

 

Paris (#7) - Gare du Nord

 

 

The North Station (Gare du Nord) is one of the terminus railway stations in Paris.  It looks magnificent, from any angle, so I made another painting of it, this time from a different side of the structure (Click to view a step-by-step demo of my first painting, Paris North Station).

I got off here when I arrived in Paris by train for the first time.  Old apartment complexes, graffitti-covered walls, billboards, industrial zones...  What I saw, as my train began to slow down before reaching this station, was a little glance at the northern suburban Paris.  I must say it didn't prepare me much for what I would see later on in the city.

The moment I stepped out of the train, swallowed by waves of people, the Gare du Nord welcomed me with her majestic and classy grandeur -- an exciting moment for a traveler.


Paris (#7) - Gare du Nord


A larger image of this painting is available on request.
Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)
Mat/Frame: No
Purchase: Please send me an email for more information.

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