Friday, May 12, 2017

Zen circle intaglio

 It's spring..... but here in Nice we have been having rain for at least a few minutes most everyday.  So when it is sunny I am basking outside part of the day.... but otherwise I have been spring cleaning my studio and posting on my art blog:

And as you can see I finally found a way to watermark my photos.  Of course, that doesn't show up on the piece itself although red does look kind of cool with the red Chinese chop. 

If you are in mind for some of my brand of art for your house I am giving my friends and family some smaller pieces that I have created. 

 Send a message if you see something you like and we can meet up and go through my big box of stuff.   Failing that tell me what you like that you have seen on the blog and I will see whether it is daunting or easy to mail art from France.  

One of the last intaglio copper plates that I created was of the zen circle. Take a look.

Chine collie with Japanese fiber paper, Chinese chop

Chine collie with Japanese fiber paper, Chinese characters

plain paper, with Chinese chop and  Chinese character for beauty

Graduated ink rolled on for background and then printed after.

Rolled out ink gradation with Chinese chop and character for Beauty

Chinese chop and background of graduated printers ink

Chinese fiber paper and Chinese chop in red

My Chinese seals or chops were carved by Feng Zhuo onto soapstone.  One says my name in Chinese characters the other says: "pervasive moonlight".  It refers to "home, hearth, the place of one's childhood".  I found this engraver on Etsy site for handmade items....under Chinese seal.   I really enjoy using them. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Why did the chicken cross the road....

We got a nice present last night, carefully and charmingly packaged.   

 I can't think of a gift more welcome than what is left for us by the workers of the building across the street....unless its hearing those barnyard sounds of 9 boasting hens every morning. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

National Theatre of Nice: Fugue

  After trying out two seasons of plays and musical offerings at our National theatre here in Nice,  I withdrew membership.  But this was 15 years ago and things change.  

Friday night I returned to the National Theatre of Nice ready to give it another try.  A good friend had offered me tickets and this was to be our first outing for this season.

Fugue: Photo Avignon Festival

The play we saw was called "Fugue" by Samuel Achache. ...  a fugue being a form of music in which a short melody or musical phrase is introduced by one voice and then is taken up by the others and developed and tossed around to weave new cloth. ... (just to mix my metaphors).  

In this case the playwright,  Samuel Achache places the piece at the South Pole at an explorers station.  The main set is the interior of the station and the surrounding stage is covered with powdery "snow".    Five actors command the stage and alternately sing contrapuntal music, play instruments (cello, trumpet, keyboard, guitar, drums, clarinet) ,  engage in burlesque gags, interact, or deliver impressively long monologues on love, death and the meaning or meaninglessness of it all.   

 What is interesting is that Achache started with musicians as actors and let them look at the relationships of counterpoint, let them ramble and discuss the subject and see how these musical connections would relate to human relationships and then develop the play from improvisation.   This from the Avignon festival where the play previewed in May 2015:     
"The Story is intrinsically musical, maybe even operatic, but the point of departure is none other than Pythagorus’ theories of harmony and temper. Its paradox: the cycle
of fifths it is based on cannot be closed, as a comma is missing from the last one. The mathematical relationship is perfect in theory, and yet in practice the cycle it produces is a spiral. To embody this question, have fun with it, and maybe solve its impossible harmony, the musician-actor-singers brought
together by Samuel Achache combine their voices, like the subjects and countersubjects of a fugue, and delve into the ideas of being in tune and of misunderstanding."

 The research and background for this play is intellectually impressive and was a labor of love by the whole cast.   Achache's new way of working is unusual and seems to have resulted in a solid team of actors comfortable with the material and with each other.   The cast seems to include international muscians judging by these names and includes: Vladislav Galard, Anne-Lise Heimburger, Florent Hubert, Leo- Antonin Luthier, and Thilbault Perriard.   The instruments they play all existed in the middle ages, from birth of the fugue up to Bach's time.

Fugue:  Photo by Avignon Festival

 I have the feeling the play held together quite successfully but I only understood about 50% of it.  What a disappointment to see that my French isn't as solid as I had imagined.    I was still impressed, however with the levels of the performance and the ability of the actors to engage the audience.

The most successful passage was played by Leo Antonin Luthier, the performer who does an outrageous naked mime of fashioning a  bathing costume and cap made of duct tape ( lest the audience behold his nakedness), preparing himself to take a warming bath after a spell of being frozen and lost.   He is mostly being ignored by the sole actress in the cast who is near him in the hut but with whom he seems to have lost favor.

 Luthier in Fugue: Photo Avignon Festival

  Just as astonishing is Monsieur Luthier's voice....above a tenor, like a woman's.  I would say castrato ( a soprano or mezzo soprano?) but I am doubly sure after the brief nude scene last night that Mr Luthier is anything but a castrato.  They must be using a different term these days.  

Luthier from Fugue,  Photo by Avignon festival 

  After a series of delightful acrobatic displays in the snow Luthier lands in the bathtub and begins to sing a Bach melody with touching sweetness.   In the midst of this,  he cleverly interjects sound effects of tea drinking and smoking , copying the actions of the actress in the room.    This sequence was an audience favorite. 

Anne-Lise Hamburger and Leo Antonin Luthier in Fugue: photo by Avignon Festival

  Although I can't judge the piece itself, I was pleased to see some fine performers, comfortable with their craft and delivering sure performances....actors/musicians/comedians and singers ... what a package deal. 


Monday, May 1, 2017

Journal Pages: Picasso quote

So in my art diary yesterday,

I warned that some of my pages of my first art journals are "hokey" and definitely personal but I want to share some with you anyway.   There may be an inspiration in there for you too.   I will post some on here and some on my art blog.  

The girl is taken from a drawing I did after a live model and then I tried an image transfer which wasn't that successful so I then outlined it in pen.  The letters are a child's set that I found in Seattle.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Homeward Bound

Its time to wrap up this voyage and this long tale.  Thanks for bearing with me,  following my written journal (with the unappealing name of a "blog").    Writing it down and researching it all a bit was a way for me to share my photos and make sense of our whirl-wind experience.

 After we left  the island of Dutch Bay and those marvelous children, there were no more big adventures lined up for us. 

  We were to drive back to Colombo and stay close to the airport for an early morning departure back to our "real" lives. 

But not before one more gracious guest house , another Indian Ocean setting and a last barbecue.  We had that night to let our hair down, have a cocktail and relax before switching into the next mode....   in this case, the "rigors of travel" mode. 

If I could be teleported to a location, I would travel more.  It takes a certain amount of grim determination for me to sit for more than 13 hours on a plane in a little seat, to endure more than an hour at passport control and then get myself to still another terminal, another plane and another country.   

Looking back though, I realize that but for that last stretch in planes and airports,  it was a wonderful journey to an enchanting place. 

 Dave and I were lucky to find the right itinerary and travel company  

 Being grouped with a compatible bunch of folks who thankfully were always quick with the wisecrack and the laugh, made the difference as well. 

 Without Dee, Waruna, Mehindra and my fellow travelers, it wouldn't have been half as much fun.

  So "chapeau", as they say in France...." Hat's off to you" those who participated and to even those reading.  Thanks for your part in my dream trip to the Emerald Isle. 

  Keep me posted.   Where are you going next?  I can always dream.

Back row from left, staff (manor house), Grahame, Mrs de Silva ( Manor House owner), Oriel, Jo,(hiding) Pauline, Dave, Ian, two staff members,
Front Row, from left  : Anna, June, Mary, Pam   photo by Dee courtesy of Anna Mayall

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dutch Bay School : Part II

June, Pauline and Dee sit with primary kids,  Dutch Bay

We visit with the lower grade school children now settled in their seats.    At some point Dee and Pauline start writing the countries we represent and some of our names on the blackboard and the kids take the chalk to write their names. 

Dee writes our countries and names....Dutch Bay School

Dutch Bay School,  Sri Lanka

Dutch Bay School, Sri Lanka

I notice that we have used up all the chalk.....  but it is a good way to overcome the language barrier and the teacher stands back bemused.  She is a beautiful young teacher and I bet they are all in love with her. 

Lower grade teacher and students, Dutch Bay School, Sri Lanka

Copybook in Sinhalese,  Dutch Bay School

Dutch Bay School,  Sri Lanka

Dutch Bay School, Sri Lanka

Multiplication tables, Dutch Bay School

Pupils at Dutch Bay School, Sri Lanka

 We visit each classroom and it looks like some real learning is going on in this small schoolhouse.

Pupils at Dutch Bay, Sri Lanka

Poster in Sinhalese,  Dutch Bay School

English teacher with older pupils, Dutch Bay School

English teacher visits pupils, Dutch Bay School

Dutch Bay School,  Sri Lanka

Poster, Dutch Bay School, Sri Lanka

English Lesson book,  Dutch Bay School, Sri Lanka

The children are released for recreation as we get ready to leave.  Earlier we got a fancy jump rope demonstration by the little girl below.   I notice that the rope is the only sign of outdoor equipment for games.  They make good use of the rope for "tug of war" as well.  I imagine that it was the property of the fishermen before it found a new use. 

 This is a very low income school.  We saw much better endowed schools along the way .... especially the Muslim institutions which are helped by Muslim businessmen and have better facilities and options.   Despite this the rooms are cheerful and welcoming.

There seems little electricity available. ... no overhead fans or lights  on,  no glass in the windows....only some heavy grid to keep out the birds and let the air in.   

 Some of the children I see have very tattered state uniforms and oversized ties.   Some of the ties are just pieces attached with a safety pin. However, I notice that most everyone is clean and neat and hair is combed and braided for the girls. 

I think the six of us who chose to visit today are inspired by these lovely children who we might call disadvantaged.  Despite their  modest circumstances, I feel like these kids are going to "make it" in the world.
 They seem to have that tenacity of spirit that you don't see everyday,  that Phoenix-like quality of rising from the ashes.  

  But maybe the trick is they don't see the ashes.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dutch Bay Primary School: First meeting

Primary Students, Dutch Bay School

Dee has promised to take us to the Dutch Bay Primary School for this area which is largely fishermen's children.    Today is the day.
 Dave and I picked up some art supplies in Nice that we wanted to bring the kids.   The rest of the gang pitched in with some exercise books they bought on the way.  Waruna offered a box of pens.  

 We took these things to the office first to be distributed by the teachers later.   It was the English teacher who showed us around the three room school as the others spoke Singhalese.  I am pretty sure that this school goes from grades 1-5. 

  Most of the children here are day students.  A few come from single parent homes where the parent is struggling with alcohol or poverty.  These live full time at a little house on the grounds with one of the teachers.    Also, some of the children's parents object to school as they feel that the child would be of more help at home although in Sri Lanka school is compulsory to grade 9 . 

 But I do get the feeling for the rest of the families school is highly valued. 

Primary Students, Dutch Bay School

The youngest of the primary children are so excited to have visitors. They spill out the doors rushing to see us, laughing and surging forward.   The teachers just let them greet us for a while and get used to looking in our cameras at their images and comparing henna on some of their hands to nail varnish on some of ours , and trying to understand each other without a common language.    

Dutch Bay School

These are enchanting children,  always touching each other but never pushing, not boisterous in that way, not loud..... so attractive and basically shy.

 Primary student, Dutch Bay School

Dutch Bay School

Pupils at Dutch Bay

 Sutdents, Dutch Bay School

Pupils at Dutch Bay School

Pupils, Dutch Bay School

Primary School , Dutch Bay, Sri lanka

Pupil at Dutch Bay, Sri Lanka

Children of Dutch Bay, Sri Lanka

It is a magical moment of exchange....  but finally the kids settle down and go back to their seats. 

Dutch Bay School,  Sri Lanka

  I had such a hard time culling this lot of photos.  I can't resist looking at these images, frankly.  Glorious kids.