How to PAINT PRODUCE!

In celebration of the release of my latest Skillshare course Paint Produce! Intro to Drawing Fruits and Vegetables with Watercolor and my highly “giftable” “The New Victory Garden 2022” Calendar (see a theme?), I’ve synthesized a few hots tips on how to accurately render fruits and vegetables using watercolor.

Drawing fruit and vegetables is the perfect way to get well acquainted with watercolor paint. Not only should you have fruit and veg on hand (AKA no excuses), painting produce is the ultimate study in observation, volume and color.

“Draw from life!” There’s a reason that annoying drawing teacher of yours was also merging together random objects to create a still life. Drawing abides by the 10,000 hour rule. You’ve got to start somewhere and commit before you can move onto painting whatever it is that’s in your head. Drawing from life retrains your scrolling brain to reconnect with the present and forces you to draw what something is instead of what you “think” something looks like.

“Look Look Look!” Before committing with watercolor, give yourself a few 1-minute drawing exercises. Draw with your opposite hand. Draw the composition without taking your pencil off the paper. Draw your still life without looking down at the paper. It’s easy to get frustrated with technique especially if you haven’t picked up drawing since a discouraging art teacher killed your creative joy. But before getting lost in “what” to draw, commit to drawing what is in front of you. All the information is there, so just draw it. 

“Light Source”. Drawing veg is the ultimate exercise in understanding volume. And rest assured, it’s as easy as identifying where the light source is. This will cue you in on where you need to save the white space (what not to paint) and where to put the shadows. And of course, reflecting light can say a lot about what a fruit or vegetable can be. Think of how light reflects off of a red rubber ball versus an orange. A red rubber ball reflects it in one defined area because it has a completely smooth finish. The orange reflects light on each of the pores on its zest (note: how to create texture).

“Mix Mix Mix!” Who doesn’t love paint by number? But alas, this is the wild west of watercolor. The beauty and dynamic nature of the medium is when colors are mixed. It’s a truer representation of what you see and it’ll jump-start your understanding of watercolor, too.

“Be Bold!” Common knowledge in watercolor is to dose out the color from the lightest to darkest. This is good advice in a finicky medium that sadly still doesn’t have an undo button. However, since produce is already brightly saturated (AKA colourful), be bold and add the color as you see it instead of torturing yourself with layer after layer which can easily turn into a watermarked mess. 

Let loose, save the white space and don’t drink the watercolor water! More here.

The Unspoken Ways of French Eating

French culture isn’t a fluke. It’s ingrained as early as daycare when babies are serving 4-course meals (i.g. tomato and avocado salad, sautéed turkey, brie and fruit AKA my baby’s lunch menu). These customs are withheld for life. But all these micro details make France, France. And the French, French. And foreigners, well, foreign. Even if grab-and-go options and poké bowls have swept the capital by storm, these small table manners remain set in stone…

9-10 October Portes Ouvertes / Studio Open House

Thrilled to welcome you to my Studio Open House in tandem with the Portes Ouvertes des Ateliers d’Artistes. I’ll be presenting the original watercolors from “The New Victory Garden 2022” and copies of the calendar will be available for sale, too. Original watercolors from my archive will also be on sale for a fraction of the price.

A l’occasion des Portes Ouvertes des Ateliers de Montreuil, je serais ravie de vous accueillir pour vous présenter mon travail et mon parution “The New Victory Garden Calendar”. Je vendrai les aquarelles originales pour un prix “vide-atelier” aussi.

October 9-10, 13h-18h

Usine Chapal, 2 rue marcelin berthelot 93100 Montreui, Porte D / 2eme étage

New Victory Garden Calendar / The Best Holiday Gift For Mom Under $20

Just in time for holiday giving, my latest project to give 2022 a joyful boost The New Victory Garden 2022 Calendar.

And it’s the perfect special something for the gardener/foodie/mother-in-law/designated auntie/Secret Santa-ee. And it’s conveniently under $20.

Available for purchase at your favorite non-evil bookseller and Amazon if you must. And please leave a short and sweet review if you can. They really do help a young non-Dan Brown author out.

Save-the-date! You can purchase a copy and peruse the originals at my studio open house October 9-10 at the Usine Chapal in Montreuil (2 rue Marcelin Berthelot 93100 Montreuil). I’ll also be clearing out original watercolors for very interesting prices. More to come…

Goodnight Caboodle: A Bedtime Story for the Nostalgic Millennial

In a great big room with a Stephanie Tanner bed, there was a JTT and a Kurt Cobain head…

Toddler-i-zing!

He seeks independence while also the comfort of his mother’s arms! A single Tic Tac makes him screech with glass-shattering zeal! Lock your windows and doors! It’s toddler-i-zing! Unfortunately inspired by real events.

Here’s some other cool stuff I’ve been up to. Wanna indulge your creative bug? I’m now teaching watercolor and illustration on Skillshare. I wrote an illustrated a guide to Julia Child’s favorite Parisian haunts in the Julia issue of Cherry Bombe Magazine. Missing Europe? Cookbook illustrations in Katie Quinn’s new-ish travelogue/cookbook Cheese, Wine, and Bread. Watercolor lettering and bespoke invitation suites to make any event beyond special.

Julia Child’s Paris: Following in Her Footsteps & An Illustrated Map of Her Favorite Places

An illustrated watercolor map guide to Julia Child's favorite boutiques, restaurants and other haunts in Paris.
Julia Child's favorite restaurant in Paris, Le Grand Vefour, frequented by Colette. Julia Child's favorite places in Paris. Julia Child guide to Paris
Julia Child's favorite places in Paris. Julia Child guide to Paris. Best French onion soup, Au Pied de Cochon. Best late-night eats in Paris
Julia Child's favorite places in Paris. Julia Child guide to Paris. E.Dehillerin copper pots. Best kitchenware stores in Paris. French copper pots
Julia Child's favorite places in Paris. Julia Child guide to Paris. Where did Julia Child live in Paris? Where to live in Paris?
Coffee at Les Deux Magots and dessert at Brasserie Lipp. Julia Child's favorite places in Paris. Julia Child guide to Paris. My Life in France.
Julia Child's favorite places in Paris. Julia Child guide to Paris. Le Cordon Bleu alumni. Best culinary schools paris.

Whenever I get asked about must-go places in my hometown of Chicago, I have to preface my list stating that all my recommendations are at least a century old. No poké bowl recommendations here! I like directing friends to the haunts that my family has been flocking to for generations so they can enjoy (occasionally) musty old school charm that I think of when I think of “home”. When I was researching Julia Child’s favorite Parisian haunts for the most recent Julia Child issue of Cherry Bombe Magazine, I was reassured that there were still many similarly eternal institutions in my adopted city. These are equally as loved by true Parisians and tourists alike. Enjoy.

Originally published in The Julia Child Issue of Cherry Bombe Magazine, which celebrates women in food.