Sunday, July 29, 2007

All my bags'r packed, I'm ready t'go....

My bags are not yet, but almost.
I'm packing all my sommer clothes and three tubes of toothpaste, because I use a particular kind. My tennis gear and all my art gear, my computer and some back up. And many shoes. Just because I love shoes.
I'm also packing Hartman, but truth be told, it's the other way around. He's tagging me along...joyfully of course!
Our daughter will babysit Tokala and Aiyani, she will water the garden, she will clean the house, cook her own food, pay the bills. She will not touch our car and she will never have parties. For the next three months.
We're exchanging our Peugeot for ..I don't know, maybe a Ford or maybe a Mustang...convertible would be nice?

I'm also packing my strong will and self discipline. I'll need it where we're going. The food is too easy available everywhere and anywhere and at all hours.

We're leaving in two days and in 10 days, I'll be up and running and computing, posting and commenting from my laptop for the next three months from "You know where". I'm VERY excited!!
See y'all in 10 days!
Both sketches done in pen and colored pencils in moleskine.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Happy birthday Casey!

Today is Casey's birthday, Monday 23 July. She turned a wonderful 21 today...again..!
Happy birthday! May your year be filled with ecstatic moments!

Friday, July 20, 2007


I bought my first watermelon of the season this morning. They've been in season for some time, but I just wasn't in the mood. Watermelon wasn't created to be eaten on cloudy days. And that is France for you this summer. A sunny day here and there. Like this morning. So I thought it is summer. And bought a watermelon.
I stared a long time at this cute little round fruit on my table. How very elegant, I thought, very chic and small enough to carry in my basket. It can even fit into my fridge. I could even have chosen a yellow one and one without seeds....a watermelon without seeds! What has civilation done to us?
Let me tell you a little about those I grew up with. I run the risk of being tagged as a tough, sturdy amazon after this, but that's OK, you might be thinking that already!
I love a huge long, oval watermelon, big and lush in its greenness. Too big for the basket or under the arm. Too big for the fridge. And too big for a dainty lady like me too carry. You need a strong quarterback. You scratch it, you knock it with that knuckle, move on to the next one, scratch it, knock it, nod your head and Mr Qurterback lifts it onto his shoulder.
This prize is taken home and wrapped in a cold, wet cloth, stored in the coolest corner of the garden, often splashed with cold water to keep it cool.
Then, there's a time and place to eat a watermelon. It is not eaten as an amuse bouche at a candle lit dinner table with a drizzle of balsamic, or cocktail picked on a pretty platter or served on a bed of mesclun with fancy feta cheese or graniteed, a la mediterannean!It is eaten on a buzzing hot, late summers afternoon, cut up by Mr Quarterback right there on the lawn, into proper oblong watermelon slices, crackling broken off so that the luscious "crown" is displayed, the creme de la creme, and a sigh escapes from all onlookers, eager awaiting their slice. You then dig into your share with bare feet and hands and gusto. Finesse and manners have no place in eating a watermelon. With your slice, you plonk down on the grass and chainsaw through it, with your knees almost draped around your ears, making room for the dripping juices and seeds. Every so often you'll shake those hands to prevent the juices from running into your armpits and you'll spit those seeds gathered in your cheeks olympic distances.
That's how a watermelon asks to be eaten. The only knife in sight will be the panga for slicing it up and a small knife for Aunt Posh, who doesn't want to dig her freshly coiffed hair into a slice.
Then of course comes the smearing and peel-attacking and seed fights and the pool and the throw-ins....
But unfortunately, I'm miles away from that kind of watermelon. So, here is mine from this morning... decently small, round and chic, calm and quiet.... and the clouds just moved in front of the sun.
Watercolor on Fabriano CP.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Chanel, and a river runs through it.

While I was still acting out as Forest Gump on the run a while ago, I also made a quick stop by the perfume shop while speeding along to who knows where. That is of course the day Hartman left on his business trip. Normally it doesn't bother me and I use the time for some good old fashioned selfish indulgence into whatever takes my fancy. This time though, caught my mood off guard and drove me to extremes. I sought solace in the arms of Coco Chanel and Hermes no less. On top of my sadness and depression I had now successfully added the load of guilt. I picked up speed.
For the week I was alone, I struggled with my conscience, having spent this obscene amount on perfume and tried my best to blame it on my impulsive nature, which is true after all...still, it doesn't justify an excuse. So, being born both impulsive and ingenious, I arrived at a solution to the problem. The problem of my guilt that is.
On Hartman's arrival back in Paris, we had this glorious magical summer's day. I sent him a message telling him to be home at 18:00. We have a date. He was not to be late. Now, send a man a message like that and see what happens...?
Oh, you want to know about the date? Well, imagine this...I have a basket at the ready, filled with his favorite goodies like peaches wrapped in prosciutto, scallops with orange and a saffron mayonnaise, a cold champagne, a baguette to dip into rich seductive olive oil and fleur de sel...I have ordered and received my golden exuberant sunshine. The river Loire is 2 minutes walking from our front door, the water rushing by, heightening the sensation of summer madness, sun, and bare skin.....and me, enveloped in Coco Chanel.
I am home. I have no guilt. I love my Chanel. I have a happy husband. And through it all runs a river.
All the sketches were done where we lounged by the Loire(except for Chanel) watercolor, pen or pencil on Fabriano sketchpads. (I apologize for the off-perspective of was done in the speediest of time, I didn't check!)

A thank you...

When the going gets tough, the tough runs away....or something like that. That was me the past few weeks. Not that I had such rough going and not that I'm that tough either. But that's just how it was. I ran away. Sarah(biteyourowntail mentioned the book Women who run with wolves (Clarissa Pikola Estes). I couldn't wait to dig out my copy and read it again. It is a great book. Pequete(Pequete's art journal) also advised reading Living out Loud(Ker Smith). Will have to get it, it sounds like good reading.
Luckily life stayed true to itself and my wheel started turning upwards. And luckily I have people in my life who helped push it. Some with faces I see every day, some further away and then some whose faces I have yet to see.

A thank you to Hartman who so patiently puts up with all my whims and goes even a step further...descending at 11:30 at night down to the river with a torch to find me a frog for my fountain. My frog was missing.
A thank you to those who make me laugh when I get too serious.
A thank you to everybody who left and still leave a few words of encouragement on my blog.
A thank you to those who not only leave a comment, but also take the time out of their busy summer activities and work and blogging, to send an email with some nice thoughts.
A thank you to those unknown faces who make a loyal stop at my blog regularly, to those who are new, to those who say nice words when my art sometimes just simply sucks, to those who laugh at a joke that's not really funny, to those who read my sometimes boring words, to those who care and to those who are feeling drained themselves, but still find the spirit to encourage. To those who advise books to read, fun things to do and send recipes to indulge in.
A thank you to Casey down the road in Amboise, who always cares and often stops for a coffee.
A thank you to all, whom I've come to know through your art and your words and your actions.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Time out.

It has been a while now that I've been struggling to get anything on paper and I was getting just more stressed by the day. Lindsay mentioned that when she gets this slump, she does nice things, naps, fun outings.... So I decided on some time out.
I put away all art, all stress, all guilt, all expectations. I went shopping(mostly window shopping) and I fiddled in the garden. I played piano and even wrote a song. You will never hear it. I concocted new recipes and did some cooking classes. I stole some mirabelles off someone's tree and got chased by the dog with the pink bow. I moved the furniture around and changed the kitchen. I took down wall paper and started painting the living room. I played and slept with my cats. I ate too much and excercised too little. I'm blaming it on the weather. I watched Wimbledon and cried because it's over.
I baked a cake for a friend's birthday, decided at midnight I'll do another one in the morning and helped myself to many slices. I sat in the rain and ate ice cream. Now I'm taking double dose vitamin c, because my throat is on fire. I went "brocante hunting" with a friend and bought other people's junk. I sold a couch and bought a bed.
I never switched on the computer. That makes me feel bad because I didn't visit any blogs. I dropped Hartman off at the station to go the States. I was so sad so I drove to the perfume shop and bought a bottle of Coco Chanel and a bottle of Hermes, now I don't feel sad anymore...just guilty.
So I did indeed take time more stress, no more guilt, maybe more inspired...? Don't know, time will tell. In the meantime, I have a living room to finish painting, I will be back next week, catching up on everybody's work.
In fear of being completely forgotten, I thougth I'd post some of my finds at the brocante, while I'm waiting for the undercoat on the walls to dry.
An old dilapidated little car, while waiting for the brocante to open after lunch and then some old silver and pewter finds and lastly the old daybed(lit ancien as it is simply called), which is to replace the couch I sold, but only after some restoration. I just did some quick sketches in my moleskine with pencil, pen and a wash...all wonky still, which means I probably still need some time out.