Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kim Boulukos Sculptures

Today Kim Boulukos took me and another friend to see the last weekend of her 5 month long exhibition at the Menton Musee de Beaux- Arts.

Like many dedicated artists, Kim who is an American living in France, finds that her work takes her to several other European countries.

 The iron horses are cast and the lithographs are printed in Hungary where there is a thriving artist community.  She uses the lost wax technique for the bronze sculptures.

Ms. Bouluko's work is characterized by her subject: large creatures...usually hounds or horses.  But as she says she is pleased that viewers bring their own interpretations to the pieces.   The show encompasses ceramics, welded sculpture, lithograph and drawings .

Having a scientific background and starting as a ceramicist , Kim loves coming up with new and interesting patinas for her cast sculptures. 

the artist

The artist with dog with bone..

          One room of the museum is  full of "bird dogs", some of my favorites of Kim's offerings.   The realistic looking "wooden" slabs found in the nests are all hand crafted ceramic pieces.   And there are real feathers and eggs in some of the nests. ...very playful .

                    This nest reminds me of the one our collared doves are making in the bay tree just now.

I love this elegant torso.

My all time favorite though, was this intimate little doe.  The artist says it was inspired by her dog but she was happy to let me have my vision of a deer.

Gotta be a horse....but maybe a giraffe!  I want him in my garden.

                                       Hound dogs dreaming about that bone.

I am only giving you some highlights from the show.  If you rush over you can still see it in its entirety before it goes down on Tuesday.    In a short space of time from a full time job as a scientist, Kim has already penetrated the international art scene. ...and I expect this creator will continue to soar.

Monday, November 14, 2011

One Day On Earth - Original Trailer

photo courtesy of Bruce and Roxanne Bethany

ONE DAY ON EARTH creates a picture of humanity by recording a 24-hour period throughout every country in the world.  

  I am very pleased to have found Vimeo,  with some quite original output. This is where I found the following video:
(Unfortunately I don't see how I am able to post these videos directly.  I could use some advice here.) 

The ONE DAY ON EARTH site  states:

  "We explore a greater diversity of perspectives than ever seen before on screen. We follow characters and events that evolve throughout the day, interspersed with expansive global montages that explore the progression of life from birth, to death, to birth again. In the end, despite unprecedented challenges and tragedies throughout the world, we are reminded that every day we are alive there is hope and a choice to see a better future together. "   

Thanks to friends that travel and share their photos , each of us is now able to give our impressions of humanity at work and play.....  one day on earth as we see it.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Its a rare day with all the attendant predictions and histories..  It's 11/11/11.

If my father were alive he would be 100 years old.  He was born on  Bastille Day so he would have been 5 months old in 1911 when this number came forward a hundred years ago.

We will only see this day once in our lifetimes ( unless you plan on reaching 100 + years)!

It is also Veterans Day or Armistice Day, a holiday in France, as in most allied countries, I presume.
The first World War known as "The Great War" was officially ended when President Wilson signed the treated of Versailles on June 28,1919 at the Palace of Versailles in the town of Versaille, just outside Paris.    The fighting had ended seven months earlier when a temporary cessation of hostilities between the Allies and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  And so the chosen day to celebrate the occasion is 11/11 each year. Unfortunately, this day was not the end of "the war to end all wars" as was supposed.

  But it is the excuse for Monsieur and I to open a bottle of champagne and consume a "poulet de grain" , a chicken raised only on proper grain not on fish meal, and other strange additives.  To us, this type of chicken is the best you can buy in France, much better than a Bresse chicken which is more expensive.

courtesy of Roger Marchese

 The western taste has eaten rubbish chickens for so long that the Bresse chicken with its clingy, dense meat is a bit of an odd texture for us.   The" Poulet de Grain" on the other hand is succulent , flavorful and has flesh that is less compact than the Bresse.

 Here is our lunch for this most auspicious of days.

   I have to admit that I don't often prepare sauces.  We always keep the least fat juices from the roast chicken as its own sauce.    So to us, this is a wonderful meal that I could eat every week of my life.   If you are feeling lean, you can add melted butter for the asparagus and rice but I daren't.

 Besides, this morning, I was in my studio and had to switch my mind over to cooking when it was really on other art forms.   Luckily I have made so many roast chickens in my life that I think I have a default position.  I always put a lemon or an onion into the cavity of the chicken to keep it moist from within.  I always let the red meat cook under done to remove the white meat before it is dried out.  If necessary, I give the legs 5 more minutes in the "four".

Today after that freaky storm last week, we were again eating on the terrace, with the periwinkle sky and a thousand starlings whirling and chattering in the overhead branches....and with the ringed doves (Tourterelles ) above us hoo, hooing  in garden " énergie centrale".

   The doves think this is our tree and come here, I think, to acknowledge solidarity because of the seeds that we offer.  There is no other reason that I can think of that they would get so close to us.  They do this even when there are seeds in sight they have left and not eaten.   Putting out seeds is a four generation tradition for us. ...four generations of doves, that is.

   It is so far, a sublime day.  However, some say that this day 11/11/11 marks the end of the world as we know it.    So if that is true we have a few more hours to celebrate before things get hot.  I intend to do just that and if you have any sense, so will you.   A vôtre santé.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rain, rain, go away


These last couple of days we have had the revenge of the warm seas which were heated to record temperatures this long, toasty summer.
The redress took the form of a violent  storm which started on Saturday  and is still spitting along now.  Its a storm that has killed at least three people and sent the sea careening onto the Promenade des Anglais, a freaky sight which we see more frequently each year.

     According to the Nice Matin , the Best of Nice Blog and Reuters, it was quite a destructive force.

Marineworld in Antibes was one of the worst affected.  The park suffered many losses of property and animals as rain built up and leaked into the tanks destroying the balance of the aquariums and putting their 4000 species in danger.     Farmers, hotels and residences have stories of loss and wreckage.  The famous fire fighters of France,called " Pompiers" were put to the test and in many cases were literally "pumpers" as in the case of Marineworld.

For ourselves we are fine but it is always so hard to accept that we are not and can never be  prepared. 

During big storms, I tremble that the hill behind will fall from water saturation  because our house, remodeled by the former owner,  is placed perilously close to a cliff-like hill.   We just had one small "chute de terre" this time which will comprise of a couple of bags full of rocks.   The force of this storm was too much for our clean rain gutters however, the water jumping over and coming through the eaves and across the downspouts.  I haven't seen this kind of deluge since Milan where umbrellas were useless and the streets cleared within minutes as everyone took shelter.  

When we have one of these downpours I am reminded of my Oklahoma "farm girl"  mother saying " It's raining pitchforks and bull yearlings".... and  I understand also, a little about the quality of surrender which she tried to teach me. 
It's what I would really like to cultivate, an ability to surrender and stay flexible.
In Surrender 101, if there were such a class, they would teach us that from the point of view of a plant, a storm like this is a bonanza!   

Indeed, all the irises I transplanted last week have already grown a few centimeters.     If I were a plant I would be saying, "finally some decent weather!"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Creative Vortex

Aaaaay.  I have just spent the better part of the day taking a look at the new templates offered for   Some of them are kinda cool and I made the mistake of trying one.

With the Mac, if you don't like something you have created, on say a photo, you just hit "return to original" .  THis doesn't seem to exist with my blog site.  After I tried a new template,  "they" warned me that if I wanted to revert back that I should have saved the old template.   Well, yeah. thanks.  

In addition, with the new templates,  Blogspot is no longer offering the fonts that I  had previously used .  I loved that font I had for the title before.  It wasn't too pretentious, too artsy or too formal. 

Of course, I could have  crunched even more time in today's creative black hole if I had wanted to go on-line to the chat rooms to see how to revert to my former template.  

But sometimes it's just better to start over.  Better for one's nervous system, that is.

This sign that I photographed in Biarritz a while ago translates roughly as " Forbidden to play the idiot", scratched out by someone from " Forbidden to play on the balcony".  

I think sometimes that I should be forbidden to play on the balcony as I don't have much interest in learning all the rules.  But for now , no one is kicking me out of the game.  I'm still in.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The G20 talks come to the cote D'Azur

 It is the French holiday of Toussaint and we are enjoying a week of fine Autumn weather  (70 degrees F or 21 C).   I got three "trick or treaters" last night for Halloween, three tiny children with dabs of lipstick and make-up on their faces and over-sized clothes.  I was so caught off guard that I had to hand out centimes instead of candy.  I promised them that I would be prepared next year.

 The big news though is that the G20 heads of state are in the area for meetings in Cannes this week .  And following them are the protestors who are aiming for the center of Nice.

 Aside from Obama arriving in Air Force One and 3 other jets full of his entourage of 800, (yes 800 people for Obama), aside from all of the congestion at the airport with all of the 25 heads of state arriving with their people, there are expected to be at least 20 busloads of anti- G20 protesters .  Some estimate that 15,000 protestors will descend on the town.   This crowd is expected to be sprinkled with the ubiquitous "anarchists" who mostly want to destroy and have caused trouble here in the past. 

  It is really fascinating to read about all of this in our local rag, the Nice Matin and has been all eloquently reported in English in the Best of Nice Blog written by my pal Gail.  

She has three posts on the subject so far.  Especially shocking to me is the party of 800 people arriving  with Obama alone.  I can understand the need for protection for this beleaguered president, but who and what are all these people?  

And then there is the description of the car that Obama will be traveling in:   Here is how GAil reports it :

The police escorts from the airport to Cannes for the 25 entourages (the G-20 actually has 25 members) will cause major freeway tie-ups on Wednesday, but one cortege to watch for is Obama’s, who will be transported in Cadillac One, also known as ‘The Beast’, the armor-plated sci-fi limo that thinks it’s a tank, and goes with him everywhere.  This specially designed mobile command center is sealed against bio-chemical attacks, has night laser vision, tiny tear gas launchers below the bumpers, special tires that can roll at high speed even if blasted away, an iron-plated gas tank surrounded by foam to prevent an explosion even with a direct hit, pump-action shot guns in the doors, fire fighting equipment, an oxygen supply and bottles of the President’s blood in case he needs an emergency transfusion.

I think someone out there has been watching too much James Bond..... 
but seriously,  I pray that the leaders can come together and actually makes some proposals that are implementable and effective ...something to justify the chaos and expense of all this hullabaloo. Otherwise, I am going to go listen to what the protestors have to say.

From the archive...portraits and nudes III

                                                       Pastel on colored Canson paper

 Had enough of looking at that death mask of my last posting every time I opened Safari so I  am emboldened instead to show some more of my stash of drawings.  The trouble is it doesn't seem to want to post and doesn't show up.  I will try it again now. 

                                                    Charcoal on white Canson

                                                        Pencil/Charcoal on Canson
All of these drawings are on Format Raisin or 50 x65 cm, Canson paper.  Canson comes from  the ancient paper mill that makes these internationally respected papers for fine art.

 Format Raisin (pronounced "forma raisenh ) falls into designation for French paper standardizing of which there is no American or English equivalent.
 I would love to know where the name comes from.   Another size is called "Eagle" or  "Aigle".  But back to drawing.

                                             Charcoal , brush and water, white pastel

  When drawing a model, I find it easier, and beginners are encouraged, to use the whole paper . Format Raisin is the paper size  recommended for the class called Academy ( Nude drawing).  

However, format RAisin ( reminds me of FRench wine)  would not always be my chosen size for presenting these nudes and intimate portraits for presentation as "pieces" .  Because of the style I have used, I have decided to experiment with a more discreet size, something that the viewer has to move up on.

                                                Using the edge of the charcoal stick

   So I am now attempting to reduce these to use on a 15x20 cm copper or zinc plate for intaglio printing.

  With the use of a digital camera and the computer it has not been a problem to reduce the images.    One just needs to keep in mind that everything will be the mirror image when drawing on the plate with a stylus through a waxy varnish.