Friday, December 28, 2012

New Toys

Sometimes the elusive magic key for unlocking your creativity is as simple as having all your 'stuff' at the handy

Holidays behind us, a new year ahead of us. 
Winter, the bare trees outside, the garden at rest, time for enjoying the warmth and comfort of  being inside. Time to discover quiet and inspiration, play with your toys,  whatever they are for you.

Was there anything better than that magical moment on Christmas morning when you first laid eyes on the treasures there? For me it was the days that followed Christmas morning,  days free of school and schedules, just me and my new “toys” together all day long.  Then there was calling your friends and sharing  the fun.  My daughter, now over 40, still gets a call every Christmas morning from her childhood playmate that begins with the question “What did you get for Christmas”. If only they still lived across the street from each other!

  Years passed and my "toys" started looking more like books,  new clothes, games, make up and perfumes. Playing became curling up on a winter morning with a new book, snuggling with a new robe or blanket, soaking in a tub enveloped by fragrant bubbles with a flawless bar of virgin soap in hand.

Currently my favorite toys are all about art, and I'm ready to  experiment (play actually ) with some different tools this year.

I purchased this very small Raphael travel pan years ago on a trip to Paris and did not use it until recently. It seemed too easy, too basic.  I cant name any of the colors for sure, but once I dipped the short handled brush into water and messed up the first pan of color I was on my way .

Having coffee at Cafe Flore, my first partnership with the little paint box produced a very "rough"  version of a travel sketch. Don't judge, keep in mind that it was early and I was still jet lagged.

Someone much better at this offered these examples of what can be accomplished with this very same box of limited colors.  Gives me hope for next time . . .

Feeling more confident, I visited Sennelier's historic Art Supply store and invested in a travel set with beautiful , vibrant colors,  ones I cant wait to use. In this metal box is the spirit of Paris and the promise of future painting adventures that will keep me inspired .  

Also exciting are three new tubes of neutrals . . . I didn't even know they existed! For years I have been mixing my grays from  blues and oranges and what ever else I could add, with the conviction that it was a sort of heresy to do it any other way. Good bye guilt, and hello to these new shades.  Just another option to play with.

A set of brand new, unopened liquid watercolors, they will be the first magic potions to fill the wells of my new ceramic palette  . . .more toys . . . .stay tuned  . . ..

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


One of the great dividends of darkness is increased sensitivity to the light

The skies are mostly gray,  the skeleton trees look flat and black against the horizon, and nature takes on her palette of new neutrals. Nowhere is this neutrality more intense than in the cities, where the pavements, walkways and even the stone buildings merge into a sepia- toned picture.  

Against this neutral backdrop, every  brush of  color emerges with an increased intensity , standing out like the bold stroke of a highlighter pen, saying “notice me”.  Here it is the red awning of a neighborhood cafe.

And notice I did recently in Paris, looking into every window and around every corner, searching for and finding color at every turn. Paris is a feast of colors, no matter what the season.


Rainbows of Candy

Rainbows of Flowers in the Street Markets . . .

. . . the Paint Pots at Sennelier Art Store 

Vintage Pottery at the Flea Market

Ballet Flats at the Repetto Store . . .
how's this for a Color Wheel?


Blue in A Bottle

Blue on the street

Blue in the River and Sky


Red in the Cafe

Red in the Bon Marche, there's those shoes again!


Yellow and Orange at the Morning Market

At the Cafe

On the Deli Storefront

And Finally, a pastel pile of meringues . . .

"Why do two colors , put next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. Just as one can never learn how to paint."  picasso

I do hope that's not true- as I still hold out hope that I CAN learn to paint if I keep trying . . . . I can only hope

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.
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Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet and dramatist.