Jeanne McKay Hartmann is an artist and woman after our own hearts. With a lifelong love for France, Jeanne is known for her gorgeous watercolors and ability to convey the sweetest luxuries of French life and culture via a brush on paper.
After gracing our first four boxes with her original artwork created exclusively for My Stylish French Box. For each box, Jeanne painted a bouquet and individual flowers that matched our colour pallette and theme. Each box came with a limited edition print, and our annual subscribers received an additional gift of note cards with a thematic design and original work by Jeanne.
At the close of this first year, we interviewed Jeanne about her inspiration and what she’s looking forward to in 2018:
Where does your love of Paris and all things French come from?
Growing up, Paris and France took a huge hold on my imagination but I didn’t get to visit until my twenties when I traveled to the city and into Normandy on a painting excursion. I fell in love immediately – I think it’s because both the monumental and the smallest details are so extraordinary there. Being in Giverny was like wandering in out of a Monet painting and in the Louvre I almost expected Audrey Hepburn to run down the steps that are in front of “Winged Victory.” But the little things, like tasting French butter for the first time or seeing the beautiful way foods are displayed at the markets, were also a revelation.
Favorite spots to visit in Paris?
There is never enough time to get to all the old favorites – or to discover all the new things on my list, so I always try to have a good mix of both on each trip! I love the markets during flower season – Marché Avenue President Wilson is amazing when the peonies are in bloom. Small museums such as the Nissim de Camondo or the Musée Rodin are perfect if you are short on time. A Parisian friend introduced me to the Rue Montorgueil last time and I can’t wait to explore there again, it’s so lively and charming. The Jardin du Luxembourg on a sunny Sunday is my favorite place to paint (or just watch the world go by).
Favorite French products?
I love things that take me back to the city in a sensory way – like the scent of Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose perfume, which I’ve worn faithfully since discovering it on a girls trip in 2001. Or fashion and accessories that make me feel a little bit like a chic Parisian whenever I put them on. My favorite scarf is a vintage Hermès that cost next to nothing at the Puces des Vanves – wearing it always takes me back to wandering the market, hunting for “treasure.” I’m also crazy for champagne, Diptyque candles, macarons from Pierre Hermé and Ladurée. And the insanely delicious Paysan Breton Au Sel de Mer butter which luckily you can find in Seattle at De Laurenti – even better on Pain Poilane (flown in overnight to our Metropolitan Market).
Currently, what are your favorite subjects to paint?
We just got a Westie puppy so I have the feeling there will be plenty of dog paintings in my future! Much of my work actually reflects what I love about Paris, all the beauty in the smallest every day details, like a bouquet of flowers or a plate of oysters. That’s what I try to capture when I paint!
What are you looking forward to in 2018?
One of my favorite champagne houses asked me to do a piece for them which will be unveiled in January – a good way to celebrate the New Year! And I’m working on a new ongoing watercolor series that I plan to launch on my website early in 2018 that will feature some of my favorite places to travel.