February 8, 2008

"Plateau de fruits de mer"

Oli on panel 5" x 7"

Do you honestly think that I could go to Paris and not avail myself of the local seafood? Many of the brasseries had fantastic displays of freshly shucked oysters; clams known as amandes; raw mussels; baby shrimp in their shells; cadmium red prawns; whole cooked crab; chewy sea snails known as bulots and tiny blue-black winckles. We succumbed to their sirens song and soon found ourselves starring at a beautiful Plateau de fruits de mer; a gorgeous, glistening assortment of shellfish, or fruits of the sea perched high on the table on an ice-filled round metal platter. Accompanied with slices of rye bread, lovely French salted butter, quarters of fresh lemon, mayonnaise and mignonette, my companions could only drool and eat bread, as I spent 10 minutes capturing it from every angle with my camera. My wife is used to me discreetly photographing food at restaurants. We can’t eat steamed crabs (a Baltimore specialty) without me whipping out my faithful little canon elph. “Can I eat now?” is her common mantra. It has gotten worse since the daily painting started as everything is possible creative fodder.
Trying to keep it fresh (no pun intended), I may leave Paris tomorrow and try something a little different. Stay tuned.


Sherry DeGhelder said...

Mark, if you ever hit St. Louis, I am so going to take you out!
Nice one :)

Mark Adams said...

Thanks Sherry! I may take you up on that someday.

PaintingEachDay said...

Hey Mark,

What a wonderful approach you have to your paintings ! I just love upclose paintings with oysters and lemons and lobsters and ice. Very well done indeed!

Your writings bring me back to my Paris days ... I also photographed my food (for slide shows and paintings) but thought how clever you are to create faces as well.

Have you visited and painted in the South of France as well?

The ice, oysters and lemon in your paintings are extremely well done and discovering your site has invoked a great inspirational French spark for the day!

Merci !

Mark Adams said...

Merci beaucoup, Ann!
I have not yet made it to the south of France. I do own the DVD “A year in Provence” and hope to make it there someday. I too, listen to French tapes while I work and hope to have more mastery of the language before I venture down south. It is a common myth that everyone, everywhere speaks English and they just don’t use it. Not so. In the city (Paris), some shop keepers and waiters have enough broken English to use on the tourists but they may have only what they picked up in high school, like we learned their language or from MTV. Some even liked to practice their English on us. Picture a boulanger saying(in a heavy Monty Python accent, big smile on face) "Gud bye Meester, av a nice day". It was great.

I like your blog. I think I have met my match in wordiness (a compliment.) My wife works in Boston 4 days a week and your story about the film rolling off the boat made me laugh. Back in Fine Arts class we had a weekly quiz called “The Story behind the Painting.” A painting by an old master was posted along with the artist’s reasons for painting it and its historical context. I still remember one quiz in particular: The longest painting title belongs to William Turner. What was it? Of course it was: “Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth making Signals in Shallow Water, and going by the Lead.”
Your amusing paintings, accompanied by interesting facts and fun stories remind me of those by-gone days.

Jason Waskey said...

Il est très jolie!

F Rahl Baltimore said...


Great stuff as usual. Get over that French cold and we can get together to hoist a pint or two and suck-down oysters. OK, I'll do the beer and oysters while you play with them. Off to Jolly Olde for a bit.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to venture to the south of france with you.. the food and the views will inspire

Liza Hirst said...

Great painting, Mark! I'm pleased to have discovered your blog - it's so interesting and amusing!
Should you ever come near the Dordogne in Southwest France and should I still be here you must come round for a meal - and play with the leftovers at the end!