Thursday, September 30, 2010

Art and such

I am a bit freaked out to admit that I have not been in my studio since my exhibition in June.... except to peel more layers of paint and mildew off the walls. ( Perhaps that in itself is an artistic act, a happening if you will,  with all the amazing effects that are like a subtle graffiti growing on the walls.)   I am more than a little frightened that my days as an artist with serious intent are over.

I think part of it is due to the fact that I have been working almost every day on the apartment rental project.
It really takes many hours of germination to come up with the mood and the ideas to paint seriously.   And I like to paint seriously.  Maybe the paintings are not serious but I like to go at a properly prepared canvas or support, with good material hoping that I will like the result and it will be a keeper.

Also, if one is a creative type maybe gardening, photography, and blogging are creative acts as well .  And there must be ideas and input for there to be out-put.

 The question of whether one is an artist has arisen in many guises.  In FRance you are not taken seriously as an artist if you sell to customers and in any way change your choices to suit a customer.  For example, tourist art is hardly considered art even though it may put food on the table.  Of course, everyone here wants to be recognized by a gallery or sponsor but not be seen to be featuring that.  On the other hand, in America if you don't sell you can't very well call yourself an artist, period.

When I first started doing my strangest pieces I was taken more seriously as an artist.  Of course, those sold the least.  So now, I suppose, I have arrived.  But not really.   There is nothing sadder than taking down a successful exhibition and having to shelve many works that did not sell.  The analogy is like an ugly daughter who can't find a suitor and who lives at home for the rest of her life.  The parents receive her back with fondness but wishing better for her.

One of the few excuses I have is that I have been spending more time with friends.  Art is a lonely endeavor and even more difficult if you are an out-door type extravert.   I suppose time will tell.  Does it count as art that I painted my toenails green yesterday.  It is just the right shade, I hunted for a long time to get that right.

The Jewels of Tera Beach

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mailbag 1

  Well, I have my new machine, well and good, but not fully set up yet.  I will be receiving some help this week but inevitably with the knowledge I have or haven't about computers, there have been some frustrations.

 When you see that the pictures have not lined up in blogspot, you can know that I spent up to 15 minutes + trying different corrections until the better part of me said, enough already, they will get the point and get over your perfectionism. It is just an ego manifestation.

But despite not wanting to post online, or not being able to, I have got some interesting feedback that I want to share regarding the last few posts.

 Regarding the bit on the friendliness issue, I have a french friend who says that saying that I am a" big mouth" is not a culture issue and it is just an individual response, not a french thing.

  Another reader from NYC reported that in China they don't encourage hugging as they don't encourage talking to strangers here. But she too thought it a long time to wait,  7 years, to get a hello from a neighbor.

  But upon reflection,  I think that language does play a part in it as neither of us ( FRench or American) wants to get into a conversation where we are out of our league.  It is a confidence thing.   I always feel bad when one of my neighbors launches into a long elaborate story which I can only partially follow.  But I still listen and nod.   There is no point in stopping the momentum, it seems.

Regarding the fine, big wedding.  No there is no other way to produce the quality of that wedding without paying for the artists etc.  And I am damn lucky to have been invited to participate in such a memorable event.    I am sure that it was the same for everybody there.  And I did love it.

I like that we get a conversation going, so let me know what you think either online or off.   It's good.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Flowers Wilt, Chocolates melt, Glassybaby Forever


Glassybaby is the name of a store started in Seattle by Lee Rhodes in 1998. It sells only two styles of extremely strong hand blown glass cups or can be used to drink from but the other is designed to hold a votive candle.    They are made by a multi-layered glass blowing process and their color comes from different shaded color rods.  


  They are very seductive as the light generated from a candle gives a glow that is mesmerizing in its colors, complexity and visual comfort.    And there is a myriad colors to choose from.  When I was in Seattle I was determined to find the store this time and buy one.  I heard about them first years back and this time I saw them lit in splendor in my family's homes.


Being a person fascinated by gradations of color I had a really, really hard time choosing, but I knew that there were restrictions on the weight of my "valise"  and they are 40 dollars apiece.    I had to light quite a few to decide.  They all were sensational with the candle inside.

Lee has a positive message that she sends out with each purchase.  She is a cancer survivor and wants the glassybaby to generate hope, healing and good will.

In the end I chose a blush pink called "taffy".    I am so glad I got it safely home.  It will light my winter.

Have a look at the gallery on their site.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Market day, Seattle, Queen Anne







Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wedding musings

  I have been going over in my head about the beautiful wedding I attended for my niece in Seattle.  And I wonder if you can have a great wedding and not have to spend lavishly.  And I wonder if this is every little girl's dream or just an American affectation.  And I wonder if we are all little girls with dreams even having "grown up".

Let me just say that the bride and groom of the wedding in Seattle are pretty amazing kids...the kind that don't want for a minute to sit on the sidelines.  They aim high to grab the brass ring of life and they maybe already have it.   Both are self motivated, accomplished, personable, smart and fun to be around.  It helps that they are not ugly. It helps that they are both thoughtful. They have already, through the years (almost 30) and 6 together, formed a pretty impressive team as a couple and this was their wedding the way they dreamed it to go.

The wedding weekend itself was a ballet of planning and execution.  Now I know something about mounting an exhibition but a wedding like this one with over 150 guests takes a year of planning and a fat wallet...and it takes a village! And there was no wedding planner at this wedding, just the family team with my sis at the helm...mostly in fact the couple and my sister enjoying every minute of tears, few dramas.

For example just for the church music alone, in addition to a great organist there were a trumpet and a coronet and a willowy young opera singer  who each delivered flawless offerings leaving us all breathless.   There was a fine jazz combo by an 80+ year old performer and his group who played for the" plein air" cocktail overlooking the bay and again inside for the dinner.  And later there was a dj with a list of songs for all ages all planned carefully by the couple. This was just the music people of the wedding assembled by my sister.   Every lavish detail of this wedding was amazing and it never turned vulgar or sloppy.  This was the storybook wedding every bride dreams about.

But on the side of the no wallet people, some of the most pleasurable moments of the week were done by non professionals.  My brother put together an amazing slide show for the rehearsal dinner and there was two days of laughing as we looked at old photos.  There was the "favour" party of friends and family where we assembled all of the tiny chocolate boxes to put on each table.    There was the brunch the day after the wedding, with plastic knives and forks, picnic style for out of town family and friends so that the closest friends could visit with the couple before dispersing across the country.  There were the readings and hymns in the church and the vows carefully written by the couple and the personal and public thanks to each of the 14+ attendants and helpers. Without these private touches it would not have been as rich an experience.   And these things cost little or nothing.

However, it does not surprise me to learn that the wedding industry in America is a 86 billion dollar affair. Even the gown store in Seattle had me stupified with glee and shock.   Glee as there were around 500 dresses to look at  mostly garish and baroque and shock that such a store exists with its lighted runway in a hall of mirrors ....presumably every girl needs to see herself in all the princess glory before she puts down the money, the most she will ever pay for a dress!  It was vulgar and over the top but fun for us girls to laugh and enjoy the "follie" of it all. It is a seduction to which you don't want to admit.  And I think that is what the wedding industry is all about.

So to bring this all back to France,  America is not the only place where this is happening.  I had it from Auralie over a manicure at Paradiso in Nice.  Her wedding had been huge with a restaurant rented after the church for the reception, and a  "casts of thousands".  They were still paying for it all two years later and counting.  Was it worth it?  "Oh yes", she said, " The best part was to see all the old and young people dancing together to old songs." Yes, she would do it again.  "You only get to be a bride once!"

Yes, well hold that thought, Auralie and Sarah and Joel and blessings on your way.  The storybook wedding is not going away... so lets celebrate it and enjoy every last second of these moments in a life.

One Horned, Big Mouthed, Flying Purple People Person

Ok so you are too young to get the Sheb Wooley reference from 1958, a classic of it's time.

 It's been a while, a lot has happened since I signed in here, many things are swirling through my head.  You may know that I just got back from a fun filled, wedding attendance vacation in Seattle, where the weather is sublime for one month of the year: August.  There was the romantic wedding and friends and family who seem to adore me.  Of course, some of them had not seen me ever, or for a long time.  So I admit that I am confused, jet lagged, and in denial about the last three weeks and how it compares to my life here on the Cote d'Azur.

I also came back to lovely friends here,  and a most enticing turquoise sea with bathing still going on and crispy mornings just like you want your bacon and your September days. There is my dear monsieur, fine weather, a garden, my studio  and the good food,  and a job that is mostly satisfying.  So what's missing?

France is a difficult place for a displaced extrovert.  I will just say right now that it is not really about the language because I speak french pretty well now.

  On the plane home I sat next to a young french girl, Justine, from the west coast of France, a small town.  She was just back from her first trip to the states.   She was in a rapture about her trip and showed me the personal scrapbook she had hand drawn of all her memories in Seattle, something she wouldn't have shared had I been French.

  She said," I love that Americans are open and friendly, not like french."  She told me that the girl whose family she had visited had gone to her school in France for a year and had not been happy.  Her french had been superior to the level of the class (yes, I was astonished, not a usual senario) and no one had talked to her except Justine.  I believe it.

We lived here on and off seven years before anyone spoke to us in the neighborhood.   There are wonderful neighbors whom I adore and who speak to me regularly now. It just takes time, a long time.

I was told recently by a french girl acquaintance that I have known for around 5 years that I talk a lot. fact I have a "big mouth".  After explaining to her what that meant she said, yes that's it, a big mouth!

  In America my big mouth is celebrated and even admired. "You are such a great people person" I hear all the time.  "I would hire you in a minute, for your great people skills" I heard this time.

So yeah, I am tucking in, revving down, and starting to put a lid on it because there is no right way to be, but flexible.  I won't hide myself completely, I'm an extrovert and proud of it.... but dammit I will not be giving up my blog anytime soon.  I'm back.