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

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.

How do you get better at drawing a still life?

Before you can tell a story with objects, you have to learn how to paint them first. In my latest Skillshare course Watercolor for Breakfast: A 7-Day Editorial Food Illustration Daily Practice, I challenge students to use their own breakfast to jump-start a week of editorial food illustrations.

But what if you’re not there yet? Drawing from primary references (AKA the real object itself) is the best way to train your eye to be in synch with your brushstrokes. 

Here are a few tips on getting better at painting a still life:


Take 1-2 minutes where you stare at the still life. This will seem loooooong at the beginning, but it’s the best way to gather information before you begin. Ask yourself a few questions.  How do all the objects connect?  What are the lightest and darkest spots? Do you think it’s important to include the background?

-Do a gestural sketch. If you’re new to drawing or still can’t seem to get started, give yourself a few drawing challenges à la art school. Draw the still life in 5 seconds. Then 10, then 15. Draw with your opposite hand. Draw it with a continuous line. Draw it with two complimentary colors. The more you loosen up, the easier it will be to synch your hand with your eye.

Study the light source. Is your light coming from the right side? Then all the objects will reflect light on the right side and have shadows on the left. It’s as simple as that, but it’s the best way to capture and communicate volume and give sense to your overall composition. 


-Style your still life. As a former food stylist, I recommend lots of micro tips in Watercolor for Breakfast about how to take a brute ingredient and turn it into something very special. Your final drawing is only as interesting as the still life that inspires it. Cut a fruit and vegetable in half or in slices. Add a cooking utensil or a step from the process of cooking a recipe. Add a branch from outside. Make sure everything isn’t all the same height. And always add something transparent (Alas, I’m now the art teacher I used to hate). 

-Feeling courageous? Add a touch of whimsy. Once you get the hang of drawing a still life, flip it on it’s head. Quickly draw the firsts 3 ideas off the top of your head. Imagine throwing it all in the air and draw how you think it will land. Create a fashion illustration using all the elements. How would this look in movement?

-Inspiration. Study the Dutch still life masters. Follow and participate in @stillherestilllife on Instagram, a weekly drawing challenge. That’s what generated all the still life illustrations above.

Take care! Happy drawing. And don’t drink the watercolor water.
-jkw

The perfect Parisian stroll: an illustrated walking guide to what’s new

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Because Paris isn’t just a stuffy old monument of a city, here’s an illustrated write-up of some newer additions to spruce up your Summer visit, an excerpt from a piece I wrote and illustrated for Eurostar’s Metropolitan Magazine.

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This Les Halles institution is now in the talented hands of Michelin-starred chef Jean-François Piège. It revisits la cuisine bourgeoise, cooked with fine-dining precision, while the brass fittings and banquettes have a sweetly 1930s feel. 9 Rue Vauvilliers, 75001 Paris

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Easier than running away with the circus, this is a temple of 19th- and 20th- century paraphernalia from the shows and funfairs of La Belle Époque. Be prepared to be swept into a moving cabinet of curiosities with merry-go-rounds, 100-year-old bikes and other antique attractions. 53, av. Terroirs de France, 75012 Paris

Marche d'aligre

Reflecting the diversity of the 12e arrondisement, this bustling market seems untouched by time. Barter at the mini flea market and grab a quick bite at Le Baron Rouge, a packed-out, affordable wine bar with oysters at the weekend. Rue d’Aligre et, Place d’Aligre, 75012 Paris

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The world’s biggest startup incubator in Halle Freyssinet is now home to Europe’s biggest restaurant, a 4500m² Italian joint from buzz-worthy restaurant group Big Mamma Group, with cool concerts Wednesday-Friday nights. 5 Parvis Alan Turing, 75013 Paris

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The original High Line, the Promenade Plantée connects bustling Bastille to the Vincennes forest in a 4km green walk. The abandoned train track is now an urban mashup of floral and fauna amid Haussmanian rooftops. 1 Coulée verte René-Dumont, 75012 Paris

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This former SNCF depot has been magicked into a sprawling playground of performance spaces, galleries, shops and food truck dining; its 1500m²  terrace is the coolest summer spot for a beer. Vintage train relics are cleverly repurposed throughout. 81 Rue du Charolais, 75012 Paris

 

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This interdisciplinary art centre from the foundation behind Galeries Lafayette is a temple of exhibition spaces, creative labs and research into contemporary art and design, all in a 19th-century building restored by Rem Koolhaas. 9 Rue du Plâtre, 75004 Paris

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Already exhausted the Eiffel Tower, wax museums and Planet Hollywoods of Paris? Pick up a copy of my book “Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide” (Rizzoli) which USA Today hails “Weiner’s charming watercolor of the city (and its food and wine) are the next best thing to hopping on a plane”. Available wherever books are sold, but preferably your local indie bookstore.