Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sennelier in Paris

Watercolour postcard - 3 Quai Voltaire, Paris
(featuring Sennelier's new Forest Green)

As I was leaving for Paris last June, I received a box of Sennelier's new formula watercolours.  Since they were Impressionist Colours, I had to take them with me.

I spent a whole morning in the Musee d'Orsay and then walked along the Seine in the footsteps of just about every artist who ever visits Paris - to the little shop at 3 Quai Voltaire.  It is here that  generations of the Sennelier family have listen to what artists really want and then come up with the colours in every form you can imagine from oil to watercolour to pastels and acrylics. 

Today as you 'snoop around Sennelier' it's apparent that the family are still listening to artists, this tiny shop has everything you've read about anywhere.  I was particularly delighted to see that they have obviously been following the huge on-line community of sketchers because all the pens and inks and brush pens are available here.
Of course at its heart this shop is still about pigments.  And what wonderful pigments.  I could go on forever but really this is just a plea that if you go to Paris, 'rush to Sennelier'.
Any stay in Paris is way too short so can you imagine my delight when I arrive back in Italy to find another unexpected package from Sennelier.  
Sennelier A History in Color by Pascale Richard

This book tells the story of Sennelier largely through its relationships with famous artists but it reads like a book of friends.  

'For a painter, an artist's store is like a toy shop' - Amerian Artist Christopher Brown
'Here are the talismans, they are going to help me, to give me wings.' - Vincent Bioules

On page 190 of the book is a cartoon by Jean-Jacques Sempre which illustrates his privileged relationship with Sennelier.  
'One of the pleasures of the painter is to prepare his palette silently in his studio before starting to work.  Another equally strong pleasure is the ritual of shopping at Sennelier where you can find it all, even what you are not looking for!'  I couldn't agree more.

But I am giving too much away, buy this book and delight in discovering as I did that in David Hockney's The Grand Canyon one finds Helios Red and Chinese Orange by Sennelier.  He is another pilgrim to Quai Voltaire.

Obviously this book was a gift to me from Sennelier but I couldn't have been more delighted had I bought it myself.  I will always treasure the personal note inside from Dominique Sennelier where he acknowledges that 'we share a passion for colors'.  Sennelier makes the most humble artist feel special.

After the excitement of Sennelier I stopped at a little cafe in Rue Montmatre and made a quick sketch of Paris rooftops.

We are going back to Paris this year for a special Christmas.  Guess where I'll be heading.


Felicity said...

Wonderful painting Robyn, and lovely post!

Robyn Sinclair said...

Thanks, Felicity. Did you notice how lazy I have been, leaving the accents off the French words? I've forgotten how to find my international keyboard.

dinahmow said...

Words like "luscious" and 'rich" and "warm" all come to mind.
The book sounds a delight;I'll look for it.
(My system is slow enough that I just skip the accents!)

Sue Pownall said...

How lovely, both your sketches and your words.

Robyn Sinclair said...

Thank you Di and Sue. I haven't been a good Blogger of late. Hope to be better in future.

Desiree said...

Wonderful painting! I hope your Christmas in Paris is amazing!

Belinda Del Pesco said...

Beautiful little painting, and I love the city rooftop sketch too.... Great post. The book sounds like a must have; I'm a sucker for anecdotal stories about artists - past and present - and when part of the text is about paint and art supplies, well, there you go! That's a good book. Thanks so much for writing about it.

Robyn Sinclair said...

Belinda, One could go on buying art books forever, eh? You are on my mind lately because I'm itching to try some more collagraphs.

Desiree - Prepare yourself to be bored enlessly with tales of Paris. :)

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Wow what a wonderful time and the green looks fab! Like the building sketch, so full of life. Not been around of late, as I have been nursing my husband throughout the year and he died of throat cancer in October. Now look forward to catching up with my blogger pal's posts and what they are painting. Came to yours as one of the first Robyn. I'm now going to skim right through the year and see what you have been up to apart from lovely times in Paris and the Sennelier shop of course.

Clare said...

Gorgeous sketches Robyn! Thankyou for taking me back to my favourite city.

Robyn Sinclair said...

Joan - I missed you and am terribly, terribly to hear of your loss.

carlarey said...

I love your painting and your rooftop sketch, they are both so inspiring.

As soon as I saw this post I hopped over and and ordered this set for myself.

Katherine Thomas said...

Ooh, I wish I could have spent a day like that! The Sennelier place looks like such fun, and you did a beautiful painting. I bet they would love to have that painting for their advertising!

GlennF said...

I am a beginning sketcher and have fallen hard. Want to use artist quality paints to highlight sketches. While looking for a review of artists' watercolor paints, I found your blog. Beautiful sketches and story of your Paris foray. Thanks.

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