Friday, February 28, 2014
I've just finished reading Tracy Chevalier's FALLING ANGELS and I liked it very much. It's the story of two young girls' friendship, and their mothers, and their families, at the beginning of the 20th Century in England. The story is told all in the first person, each chapter changes the person, and the point of view. It's the time of the suffragettes, even Mrs. Pankhurst appears! Very interesting, and Ms. Chevalier achieves a "grave success", pun intended, as many of the girls' meetings and much of the story happens...in the town cemetery.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Costa Rica, a country without army. In 1948, Jose Figueres Ferrer lead the army, and started a fight to defend universal suffrage, and achieve a profound change in the political model of Costa Rica. A few months later, as head of the Junta, he dictated many political reforms, which transformed the country. Among them, he took away his own military status, and abolished the army in the country. This was unique in the world, becoming the only general in the world to resign in this manner, and Costa Rica the first country in the world without an army. Costa Rica transformed military expenses in investments on social causes: literacy, universal health coverage, electricity and communications.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
In the Agriculture Fair in San Ramon, Costa Rica, this young lady was making the dough, the tortillas, flipping them, adding the cheese, flipping and placing them on a plate, all with an incredible speed, efficiency and perfection. A man standing nearby collected the money. She did all the work.
"There is a power-force more powerful than steam, electricity and atomic energy: will power." -- Albert Einstein
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Puntarenas is a famous beach on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. Visiting there this past weekend for Carnaval, I like to sit, observe and sketch people around me. This lady was taking care of the baby in the stroller, attending the small shop, selling something to the passers-by, and seemed contented with her lot. The husband was sitting farther away, doing nothing, just watching her work.
Monday, February 24, 2014
I have loosely translated from the title of the book in French: LA LISTE DE MES ENVIES, by Grégoire Delacourt. It's the story of a seamstress who discovers herself and what's important in her life, after some disappointments. It's a story that invites us to re-visit our own list of our wishes. An interesting quotation included in this book:
"Love supports absence and death better than doubt or treason." by André Maurois (1885-1967)
Saturday, February 22, 2014
"I am sure there are things that can't be cured by a good bath...but I can't think of one." Sylvia Plath said. Don't you agree?
I recently read THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS, by Jan Philipp Sendker. Beautiful story of a young woman traveling the world looking for her father, and finding a lot more in the process. The really important things are invisible to the eyes.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Strange? Familiar yet unrecognizable? Weird?
All of the above?
Frida Kahlo's face, with Vermeer's famous Girl with a Pearl Earring's clothing and scarves. A blend of Europe and Mexico, old and new, a beautiful passive girl and a rebellious hairy pioneer woman.
The perfect mix to grace the entrance to my new studio at THE GLASHAUS, 1815 Main Street, Barrio Logan, San Diego, California.
Monday, February 17, 2014
This is the second of the series of two paintings I did last year at the same spot. One looking north, one looking south, from where I was standing at the beach. It was sunny, but windy and cold. I froze my hands painting out there! I was in the Cambria area, north of Santa Barbara. So beautiful!!!
In seeking an answer to a quandary, one must consider the Law of Parsimony, proposed by the English monk William of Ockham: "All things being equal, the simplest solution is the best."
I was reading about Ted Nuttall, the fabulous watercolorist, the other day, in Watercolor Magazine, February 2014. He says that if he's not moving forward, he feels like he's standing still. I loved that comment, because I feel the same way. He also said : "the real energy of paintings comes from the feelings the artists had when they painted what they loved". I always loved his watercolor portraits, now I also admire the person.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
This is one of a series of four paintings on book-covers, framed. I painted them in France, although two of the book covers were in English. I experimented working with book covers, sealing the inside and the outside of the discarded book-cover before painting. The cover and the title of the book gave me the inspiration no how to go on.
The complete series of four: Understanding, Truth, Beauty and Eternity, are in exhibition at Kettner Arts Studio and Gallery, in Little Italy, San Diego, California. The Reception is tomorrow Friday, February 14, from 6-9 pm. I hope to see you there!
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
This is one of two paintings lawfully bought by the San Diego Museum of Art, in exhibition at the moment, which were once stolen and placed in salt mines by the Nazis during WWII. The movie: THE MONUMENTS MEN, just opened last week, tells the story of this terrible event, where thousands of paintings, sculptures, and other art objects had been confiscated and stolen by the Nazis, placed in underground mines, with the ulterior motive of creating a super-museum. "The Monuments Men", were a group of men and women who risked and sometimes lost their lives, protecting, searching and finding many of the art pieces.
As I mentioned yesterday, I was reading THE BOTANY OF DESIRE by Michael Pollan. Chapter two: Desire: Beauty, is dedicated to the tulip. I learned that the word "tulip" comes from the Turkish: "turban", that it takes seven years before a tulip grown from seed flowers and shows its new colors, and that Jews and Christians alike discouraged flowers, believing that a devotion to flowers posed a challenge to monotheism. There were no flowers in Eden?!!!
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Kawaii Forever, 7.5x 11 watercolor
I am reading THE BOTANY OF DESIRE by Michael Pollan. The first chapter refers to the desire: sweetness. It says: "Desire is built into the very nature and purpose of fruit, and so, quite often, is a kind of taboo." Apparently, the famous American Johnny Appleseed's real name was Johnny Chapman, who never wore shoes to be in contact with the earth, and had such a relationship with nature, that he would spend his own money to buy a lame horse to save it from slaughter. His kindness to animals was an outrage to frontier custom.
For Ralph Waldo Emerson, the universe was composed of two parts: NATURE and THE SOUL. Being in Nature, accordingly, was an interactive experience. "Nature always wears the colors of the spirit." says Emerson. In other words, when we look at a landscape, what we see is a reflection of who and what we are. A landscape painting shows not only the spirit of the place, but the soul of the painter. --- loosely extracted from the past September issue of THE ARTIST magazine.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
The last day of our Hawaii cruise in January, coming back to L.A. , we stopped in Ensenada, Mexico. I bought some "praliné" from this lady, took a picture of her cooking-roasting it, then painted this watercolor sketch in my cabin. Late that night, we put our suitcases by our door, to be taken out at sunrise when we arrived in Los Angeles, San Pedro port. On the right is a watercolor and ink sketch of our suitcases. Done. The trip is over, back home.
Don't ever forget: "YOU NEVER TAKE A TRIP. A TRIP TAKES YOU!!!" anonymous, and true!
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The San Diego Watercolor Society has just published its first Quarterly. It is interesting, serious, informative, funny, and just plain fabulous! Check it out! Reading it, I was reminded of Julia Cameron's THE ARTIST'S WAY's description of the artist date: "Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration."
Monday, February 3, 2014
Minnie Valero: SOFONISBA ANGUISOLA, ink and watercolor: SOFONISBA ANGUISOLA, ink and watercolor in my journal. This is a sketch of her painting: Self-Portrait with the Virgin and Child. Sofonisb...
Sofonisba was married at 38 . After her husband died, she fell in love and married again, at 47. She continued painting all over Europe, up till a few days before her death at 93, in 1625. You can read the novelized version of her life in Lynn Cullen's The Creation of Eve.
Minnie Valero: SURFING IN HAWAII FOR 1700 YEARS, ink and watercol...: Surfing in Hawaii for 1700 Years , ink and watercolor in my journal. I learned in a lecture during the Star Princess cruise to Hawaii, t...
I learned in a lecture during the Star Princess cruise to Hawaii, that surfing has been going on there since the year 300 A.D. They used to carve their own board, from a tree. Then, when the missionaries appeared, they banned surfing, hula dancing, playing the ukelele, and many other traditional customs from the islands.
The legend of the Aumakua: your ancestors come back to you through birds and other beings that identify themselves to you. Creatures in nature embody the spirit of our ancestors, they believe. As Pope Francis recently said: "Who am I to judge?"
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Minnie Valero: Antonio String Quartet, ink and watercolor sketch: Antonio String Quartet , ink and watercolor sketch in my journal. This String Quartet played daily in different parts of the Star Princess...
According to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, when you write a goal you MUST have a deadline. A goal without a deadline is not a goal, he said, but just a wish.