In March I went on a virtual trip to Paris with The Art Beat Club, taught by Dutch artist Marenthe Otten. I’ve taken a workshop with her before and I really love her style. It’s an opportunity to paint with gouache, which I normally don’t tend to do. Marenthe is great about gathering stories, she has an infinite flow of inspiration and creativity and she is very energetic and enthusiastic in her teaching style. And since we’re not traveling these days I thought it would be great to take a virtual trip to Paris, a city where I’ve been many times (see here my last visit to Paris in 2019).
Above left: a pre assignment before we actually started. The topic was Mona Lisa and I portrayed her after a shopping spree in Paris.
Above right: Mixed-media page about the Ladurée pastry house, founded in 1862 by Louis Ernest Ladurée as a bakery and which has been making macarons since the mid-20th century.
Above left: Collage about the pissoirs (urinals) of Paris. Apparently, Paris had about 1,230 urinals in the 1930s, but their number had diminished to 329 by 1966. Photographer Charles Marville (1813–1879) took a lot of photographs of these publics toilets. I wondered if women ever used them.
Above right: Magazine make-over about Maison Legeron, the last atelier in Paris that still makes flowers by hand for haute couture houses like Dior and Givenchy. The original photo was a cover from a 1961 issue of Dutch magazine Margriet. The extraordinary hat was designed by Pierre Cardin. I put a real feather on it and a paper flower.
Spread above: a painted and hand-lettered spread in my old book of one of the patterned tiled floors in Paris, inspired by photographer Sebastian Erras, he has an IG account full of beautiful Parisian floors. On IG the hashtag #ihavethisthingwithfloors was started by three Dutch girls in Amsterdam in 2014. They currently have 771k followers.
Painted page about the furniture of hotel The Ritz. A lot of the original couches, sofas, armchairs and room dividers were sold in a big auction in 2018.
Painted poster for the Moulin Rouge advertising the can-can. This famous place was a source of inspiration for international artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Auguste Renoir at the 1890s. The face of the girl is from one of my vintage photo printables in my Etsy shop.
Mixed-media collage about the fashion of Versailles. Paris/Versailles has been the centre of fashion for centuries. One of its highlights in history is The robe à la française, the hot trend for 18th-century European aristocrats. I really enjoyed creating this page: it has a lot of layers and for the first time I combined paper with lace and fabric. For the background I used one of my own printables. I so enjoyed making this page that I thought I could make one for every costume I made for the carnival in Venice. If you know me a little bit, you know I’ve been there many times. I even made a pink robe a l’anglaise, I recently found the analogue photos of that occasion, it’s that long ago!
Left: The language of the Fan. Maison Duvelleroy is a house where they still make beautiful fans. Fans were quite the thing to have, it was often used as a tool in secret language. Original photograph of the mannequin by Dutch photographer Wendelien Daan for Mirror Mirror Magazine. I very much enjoyed drawing all kinds of patterns on the page.
Right: A vintage photo of the swooning French actress Sara Bernhardt. The briefing was to put Marie-Antoinette in a miniature world.
And last but not least: an illustration of one of Paris’ famous bakeries or boulangeries. Boris Lumé Pâtisserie Boulangerie still exists and is known for its pure butter croissants.
I hope you enjoyed this little virtual tour of Paris, I know I did. This illustrative style of painting took me rather out of my comfort zone which is a sign that I learned new stuff: depths, shadows, handlettering and painting from photos or real life.