See Dreamy Watercolors of French Fashions

Dresses in the window of Anne Elisabeth. Illustration: Rae Dunn

Artist Rae Dunn started sketching her travels through Europe one day in 1993, after a pickpocket stole her camera from her backpack. Still determined to document her trip, Dunn resorted to drawing quick snapshots in her notebook. “When I drew something that inspired me, I remembered it more viscerally than if I had just pushed a button,” she writes in her new book France: Inspiration du Jour.

She spent more time in Europe and decided to continue sketching, studying ceramics during four summers of artist residencies. The book’s watercolors capture ordinary moments from her journeys through Paris, Provence, and the French Riviera. She draws bread and eggs she ate for breakfast, colorful dresses and shoes in shop windows, and umbrellas she spotted on the beach.

Readers can see scribbled notes Dunn made to herself in the moment, labeling colors of objects in pencil with plans to paint them in later. “Drawing with precision is not important to me,” she writes. “It is simply my interpretation of what I see, feel, and choose to remember.” Click ahead to see more illustrations from the book, out today from Chronicle Books.

France: Inspiration du Jour by Rae Dunn
$12, Amazon

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See Dreamy Watercolors of French Fashions