Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This year Susanne and I have been selected to be featured artists at the Santa Clarita Festival of the Arts. We have participated every year since its inception and are pleased to be part of it again.
For Santa Clarita, we have always reproduced artworks from Asian artists that are colorful and illustrative. This year will be no exception, but the artwork will be much larger and more challenging than every before. I'm really excited about this piece! At this point we are hoping for cooler weather, and lots of love and support from the community.
This FREE festival is this weekend, Oct. 2 & Oct. 3 And filled with all kinds of art: music, dance, performances, woodcarving, plein-air painting, sculpting, pottery, photography and, of course, street painting.
If you are in the neighborhood, please come by and see us!
Friday, July 16, 2010
10. The French really do say "Oh la la"
9. Stripes are always in fashion
8. Old men walking poodles can be spotted everywhere
7. If you don't step in poo, don't worry, it falls from the sky
6. Ice is for tourists
5. Beauty is as common as bicycles
4. Romance is in the air
3. Notre Dame is 75% fake, the real Notre Dame can be found in the museums
2. The Eiffel Tower is still breathtaking at 121 years old
1. It is everything and nothing I had ever imagined it to be
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Today started off in the Cafe de l'Industrie, a great little cafe that plays jazz and the walls are hung with beautiful vintage nude photographs. This was our final meeting place for French. We drank coffee and gave our final presentation.
Afterward I headed back over to L'As du Fallafel for lunch. It costs about 2 euro more to eat inside than the take-out window, but with air conditioning and ice cold beverages, it was totally worth it.
The day ended with dinner at Mansouria with everyone from our classes. It was the perfect good-bye to our professors and a way to thank them for these past 4 weeks.
I have one more full day to say my good-byes to Paris.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I went to the Pompidou and viewed the second largest collection of Modern Art. (New York's MoMA is still #1). It was a refreshing change of pace. Paris seems to be a living museum with all it's centuries old buildings and artwork, which are gorgeous, but to be able to go to the Pompidou and view some of the gritty and experimental artwork of the 20th and 21st centuries got my blood pumping.
They have a great exhibit of female artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Which opens with an installation by the Guerrilla Girls. The Guerrilla Girls are artists who maintain their anonymity by wearing Gorilla Masks while fighting to get equal representation for female, minority, and non-Western artists in museums all over the world. They do postering, billboards, publications, and other activism that brings about this sort of awareness. It was a great way to open the exhibit because it confronts the situation, one that many people probably hadn't considered.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
He is one of the most important figures in U.S. History and it is only fitting that today of all days, 4 July 2010, I dedicate this post to my home and my heart, the United States of America. Happy Independence Day!
And please, if you have some time please read this wonderful post that reflects upon one of Jefferson's most important writings.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
The Venus de Milo in all her armless glory. Although I have already made one visit to the Louvre, it was for a very short class and due to red tape and other issues we only got to be there for a little over an hour, meaning we saw very little. Today I spent about five or six hours and saw about maybe 1/3 of the collection.
Friday, July 2, 2010
I saw a play tonight that has been playing in the same theatre for the past 53 years: "La Cantatrice Chauve" written by Ionesco. Although I was not able to understand all of the French, I could comprehend enough to know it was very funny.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Today I went to Chartres Cathedral and got a quick tour of the grounds from the genius of Chartres, Malcolm Miller. He taught us how to read Gothic stained glass windows. Chartres Cathedral is the one of the best preserved Gothic cathedrals in Europe. During World War II the stained glass was removed and stored elsewhere to keep them from being damaged, therefore we were able to look at the original 12th century stained glass which is a rare treat.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
This is an art installation in the gardens near the Petit Trianon (Marie Antoinette's domain) at Versailles. The gardens were gorgeous, many people were out picnicking and just enjoying the sunshine. As impressive as the chateau is, I think the gardens are what make Versailles so beautiful.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Today I went to Cimetière du Père-Lachaise and saw the graves of some of the most famous corpses in Paris: Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, etc. Amongst all the fanfare of these wealthy phantoms I found this simple grave site. No name visible, falling apart, and being completely taken over by nature. It was beautiful.
Many of the tombs have fallen in disrepair from lack of care from families. Between the giant monuments and the celebrity tombstones lie the forgotten.
p.s. -- read this book.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Technically I was on U.S.A. soil when I took this photo of the Memorial at Omaha Beach in Normandy. We drove through Normandie making stops at Arromanches, Omaha Beach, and Pointe du Hoc on our way in to the Bretagne region of France.
We spent two nights in the Medieval town of St. Malo which is surrounded by stone walls. The tides in this region are so vast that at certain times of the day you can walk out to the islands. However don't stay too long because within a few hours the tides could be crashing on the city walls.
We took a short trip to another Medieval town named Dinan that has remained almost completely intact since that time. It was a real treat to walk along the small stone paths and admire the remains of old smiths shops and homes from centuries ago.
This entire trip was lovely and a breath of fresh sea air after spending two weeks in the city.
Mont St. Michel
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Today I climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and got amazing views of the city of Paris. I also got sunburned... honestly, who comes back from Paris with a tan?
I will not be blogging for the next few days. I will be going to the North of France for the weekend, and will not be able to take my trusty laptop along. I'll do one post for the entire weekend. This should allow me 3 pictures for the 3 days I am gone.
Au revoir mes amis!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This is the interior of the restaurant above the Musée d'Orsay. It was the only place my camera was permitted. So far, this has been my favorite museum. Not only is it home to masterpieces from all the great 19th & early 20th century artists, but this converted train station is stunning. Wide open spaces with natural light and a sculpture garden down the center. And the restaurant above the museum has great views of the Seine and desserts to die for. I had a La Dame Blanche, which on paper sounded like a simple sundae, but tasted oh, so much better than that.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Another rainy day in Paris. Since I got my laundry done last night, I thought I would venture out on my own to see some of the sights. Seeing the grey clouds thick with rain, I grabbed my scarf, trench coat, and iPod and headed to the Metro.
First I stopped at the Place de la Concorde and admired the Obelisk of Luxor and the Fountain of Commerce and Navigation with beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower and Embassy buildings.
Next I stepped into the Jardin des Tuileries with many 16th century sculptures, a fountain/lake with many chairs for lounging, and a long walk way leading to the Louvre. Although the expansive Louvre Museum lay only a short distance away, I opted to visit the Musée de l'Orangerie instead.
Although my class is scheduled to go to the Musée de l'Orangerie, we were informed on Friday that it was to be canceled due to a scheduled strike next week. It seemed only fitting that after this week's trip to Giverny that I go to Monet's "chapel" of Les Nympheas / Water Lilies. The rooms were designed in an infinity band and you wound around the two galleries completely surrounded by Monet's paintings. Photos were allowed, but NO flash. Unfortunately, I got yelled at because a person near me had a flash and the guard thought it was me. Language barriers prevented me from explaining and several people scowled and shamed me out of the room. Cheeks red, I slinked downstairs into the other galleries where I saw many of the masters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. My embarrassment faded as I walked through gallery after gallery of some of the world's most beloved paintings.
This is a small and manageable museum, it may be dwarfed by the Louvre or the Orsay, but it is quite a lovely collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works. I would recommend that if ever you are in Paris, it is worth a visit.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Today I went to the market and purchased some fresh produce and a delicious falafel wrap from a Lebanese vendor with delicious tempeh and hummous. The Market is right by Place de la Bastille, and buzzing with locals and visitors alike in search of great deals on fresh produce, cooked foods, and other various knick knacks. It was like a Farmer's Market and Flea Market all rolled into one.
After lunch and a glass of wine we made our way down to the Musée National du Moyen Âge (more commonly known as the Musée de Cluny). This museum is housed in a Medieval residence that was used as lodging for the monks of Cluny, a South Eastern region of France when they traveled North into Paris. We saw many of the original artifacts from the Notre Dame and St. Chapelle Cathedrals that have been damaged by war over the many centuries.
I also got to see the Northern Medieval masterpiece The Lady and The Unicorn tapestries. I was unable to get a photograph of this amazing work as light and temperature are greatly regulated to ensure that the integrity of the tapestries are not compromised. It was absolutely breathtaking. It is truly amazing that these were made by hand, the detail is mind blowing.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Today we went outside of Paris to St. Denis Basilica. The story is that St. Denis, the patron saint of France, was beheaded in Montmartre, and his body picked up his head and walked several miles and finally laid to rest. This was the sacred ground that the St. Denis Basilica was erected in his honor. This is also where all Kings of France are laid to rest. Not only did I see the tombs of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, but I went into the crypts beneath the church and saw the tombs of all the others from Henri IV - Louis XIV, and beyond.
It is a beautiful cathedral full of history and monuments to honor the rich history of the French aristocracy. It is situated in a predominantly Communist neighborhood that was bustling with markets and children. We saw several school children come through in groups for field trips.
Afterward we headed back to Notre Dame and purchased tickets for a concert later in the evening featuring a chamber orchestra, choir, and four featured Soprano soloists performing the J.S. Bach piece Magnificat.
We then ate ice cream at Berthillon, I had a cassis sorbet. (YUMMY!)
After some resting in the dorms and some primping and preening four of us headed out to see Bach performed inside the amazing Notre Dame Cathedral. It was truly breathtaking. Music filled the halls and as I gazed at the centuries-old building around me I felt in utter disbelief at how fortunate I am.
Thank you to everyone who supported me on this adventure. I am blessed to have such lovely people in my life that have allowed me to take this very important and inspiring journey. I love you.
Monday, June 14, 2010
This was an epic day. French classes held at the beautiful Gare de Lyon, then onto the Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral and Notre Dame Cathedral for Art History. Afterward one of the advanced students and I grabbed a petit café and walked all around the a
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Today a few of us went to the Jardin du Luxembourg to meet our professor at the Fountain de Medici and head to the market. Unfortunately we were waiting at the wrong fountain (despite assurances from a local that we were at the ONLY fountain in the gardens) and missed out on the trip. However, we decided to make the best of things and walked through the Luxembourg Quarter and into St. Germain de Pres. On the way we stopped at Gerard Mulot where I purchased a variety of macarons.
They are delicious! They are kind of like light, fluffy, meringue cookies with flavored ganache in the middle. They may look and sound like an Oreo, but they are just... wow.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Today was a free day. No meetings, check-ins, or classes scheduled. My roommate and I decided to use it exploring the neighborhood surrounding the Cité Universitaire. We walked around the 14eme arrondissement ducking into book shops, markets, and cafés. All the while trying to communicate in spotty French to the locals. Don't believe a word anyone says about the French being rude, I have found everyone to be completely charming and forgiving as I try to communicate with them... sometimes with hilarious results.
After a lovely lunch at a local café and a walk back to the dorms, we rested and prepared notes and mapped out where we are to meet our professor for tomorrow's planned adventure.
We went out again this time directly across the street into the historic Parc Montsouris. This is such a magnificent park filled with people picnicking, children playing, joggers, dog walkers, ducks, geese, fish, birds of all sorts, flowers, and couples sitting hand in hand on park benches. I can't wait until I am able to take my family to this park... someday.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Although I had been in Paris for more than 1 day, it didn't feel real until the metro 6 approached the Bir-Hakeim stop and I could see the very top of the most recognizable monument in France: The Eiffel Tower. Paris just isn't Paris without it.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
A friend of mine, who loves to make little games out of life, suggested I document my month in Paris by sharing (only) one image each day.
- The image must be either a photo I have taken or sketch from my sketchbook
- Each image has to be from the day of posting (Paris time)
- There must be a description of the image and put into the context of the day
- Posts will take place from June 10 – July 10, 2010
(Hmm, I hope I have internet access every day…)
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The art world feels the loss of such a creative force. A woman who created art her entire life without recognition until she was in her seventies. A woman who said, “I believe that not being picked up by the market was a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to work undisturbed, at my own pace and in my own way.” A woman who cared for her family while creating art for herself. A woman who threw the roast out the window when her family did not rush to the dinner table to show gratitude for the meal she prepared. A woman who represented the
I could go on to discuss her tumultuous childhood, her move from
Her magnificent life continues in her prolific and magnificent body of work.
* photo of Louise Bourgeois by Annie Leibovitz, [source: www.nytimes.com]
Monday, May 10, 2010
What I did not know as I set up for the day was that this experience was going to change the way I look at street painting.
As usual, I sketched out the piece and went through the process of choosing which pastels were going to make up the flesh tones of this particular portrait. The earphones went on and I began to draw the mother’s face. A few hours into it, I was ready to do the last minute shading and highlights and move on to drawing the child. At this point a large number of girl scouts, troop leaders, and families were crowded around at my piece and trying to figure out my technique. I ended up turning of my trusty iPod and giving an impromptu lesson on shading and highlights. The children had lots of questions and I was happy to answer them. I am no art teacher, but as a mother and a person truly passionate about the arts, I very much enjoyed the interaction.
I spoke with a local public school teacher about how the schools have had to reduce their art programs. It’s becoming a widespread phenomenon as California searches for ways to reduce its budget. How heartbreaking it is that music and art is being cut from curriculum when there is so much interest in it. Not to mention the incredible benefits of an arts education. No one has summarized it more fully than education advocate, Eliott Eisner:
10 LESSONS THE ARTS TEACH
1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.
Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.
2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.
7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.
9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.
SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications. http://www.naea-reston.org/
I feel that all the artists who participated were actively advocating Arts education, and giving the community the opportunity to see art being created. All of the painters indulged the children (and some adults too!) about our process: creating grids, using proportions, discussing the history of the artworks, allowing them to experiment with some of our pastels, and allowing them to draw along side us.
President Barack Obama once stated, "The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create." I hope that by making public art, I have been able to spark that kind of creativity in the minds and hearts of future leaders.
Monday, April 19, 2010
This weekend I will be hitting the pavement for another Street Painting adventure.
Downtown Burbank Fine Arts Festival
Saturday April 24, 2010
10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
Sunday April 25, 2010
10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Four blocks in Downtown Burbank will be filled with more than 100 award-winning painters, ceramicists, photographers, chalk artists (that's me!) and more.
It's an art festival that also benefits area schools, with an entire block devoted to the Burbank Arts Education Foundation.
Did I mention it's FREE?!
See you there.
Monday, March 22, 2010
For those of you who know me, this is a fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I have slowly been working toward my degree in Studio Art, minoring in French Language for many years. It has been a long struggle, and it will continue to be so for many years yet. Working full-time to provide for a family, going to school part-time to achieve my lofty goals, and trying to be the best mother I can be. It's a juggling act, a lot of hats, whatever you want to call it, but at the end of the day, it all defines me as a person. The fuel that keeps me going is my children. I entered into this crazy lifestyle to provide for them and also to be a positive role model. I want them to know that you CAN achieve your dreams. It may be through hard work and dedication, but it can be done. And it will be done.
The only heartbreak about my semester in Paris is that I will be away from my children for 4 weeks. And even worse, I will miss my eldest daughter's birthday. She says she's fine with it because a.) she'll get two parties out of the deal, and b.) Mommy will just have to buy her a present in France. My youngest daughter is going to miss me although right now she's enjoying learning French via CD in my car. Even though she is only 4, she realizes it is not a permanent situation. Daddy, being a touring musician, has been gone for weeks at a time in the past, in which we communicate via video chat. But this is the longest Mom will have ever been away. Despite my insane work and school hours, I am there for my daughters to take them to music lessons, ballet class, birthday parties, etc. I've always strived to be as involved as time permits. Skipping classes to go to awards ceremonies, staying up late to work on my own school work to help my girls out with theirs are all things that I've learned to do. But actually being gone for a month. I know that it won't be easy for any of us, especially me. I am bringing my trusty laptop and utilizing Google video chat to keep that link home while I am in a foreign country. I just hope that is enough.
There is this fear that I have, that when my children are grown they'll say, "Mom was never there." and think of how selfish I was, "Remember when she went off to Paris for a month and missed my birthday?" I hope that they don't view it this way in hindsight and remember historical context. I am going for them as much as I am going for myself. The decision to further my studies abroad was to have an enriching and personally fulfilling experience that will inspire my art, my global perspective, and my sense of being. I also hope to bring back from Paris experiences and lessons to share with my family. Will they remember that in twenty years? I hope so.
I love my husband and children with all my heart, but my heart tells me that this semester abroad is the right thing to do. My heart also tells me that I need to keep moving forward and making myself a better person. I may not be living the typical American motherhood, but I am living my life in a way that shows my children that there is more to life than what you see day to day.
The real lesson is Hard work = Rewards. This is a hard won reward... and actually, the reward in itself is also hard work.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Unspoken accusations often, but not always, lie behind this line of questioning: “There is no money in art.” “You already have a good job.” “You’re still hanging on to a dream.”
The accusations ring true, but in this instance I have to reply. I am going to school to be an artist because I have to. I would regret everything if I were to abandon my pursuit of becoming an artist.
So dramatic, I know. It only gets more so as I continue to examine my reasons.
Art is real. Creating physically what I feel emotionally gives me this incredible sense of power and freedom. Whether or not the point comes across exactly as I want it to is of no consequence. I created, with my hands, something that comes from my soul. Perhaps this is why I struggle with the academic side of studying art. I am working on technique and skill and becoming a better technician of my trade. It’s frustrating, sometimes demoralizing, but absolutely necessary for me to be able to take what is in my brain and manifest it for others to examine.
It does not help that I am a classic overachiever. The fact that I am not always the best is an ego clipping experience, but I continue to thrust forward with the lessons learned from past mistakes. I am a better artist for it. Just ask EmilyCello at the Stark Raving Cello Blog about the Benefits of Failure.
Ultimately, an art education will make me a better person. I will have fulfilled my goals and found new ways to look at the world and communicate with others.
But there is a more pressing issue here. I originally decided to go back to school for my children. True, I am not home as often, but I am providing them a valuable lesson: One can achieve their dreams, with education, hard work, and dedication.
And honestly, what better reason can I give than that?
Friday, February 26, 2010
I've been battling with this for the past several weeks. As an art student I am required to draw the figure, and frankly I enjoy drawing from life, but lately I have been really struggling. My inconsistency as an artist is really starting to chip away at my confidence. Some days my polychromos pencil will act as if it has been blessed by the nine muses. Other days, not so much.
Part of the issue is that I am trying so hard to document the figure faithfully while finding new and interesting ways to adjust the form on my paper to create a more dynamic and well composed work of art. I am stuck between practice of technique and being creative... and most likely compromising too much on both ends.
As I obsessively work out the form and try to make it as true as can be, all my technical shortcomings are exposed and the drawings are not expressive enough to show anything about me as an artist. Yet I can't seem to get out of my headspace. Herein lies the bigger problem.
In my head I...
- Draw too tight
- Obsess over minor details
- Ignore the "big picture"
- Draw what my left brain "knows" rather than what I actually see
Once it is time to step back from the artwork, I am left disappointed in myself. If these are things that I know are inhibiting my ability to be creative, why do I continue to do them? Answer: I am afraid of myself, plain and simple. If I ever tapped into a real place it could be amazing, or it could be terrible. But one thing is for certain, the thick layer of shellac I have been layering myself in would crack wide open. Not to mention it would put the real me on the wall for others to judge. Which is something I am far too fragile to endure at this point. The one time that I had done that I left with great feedback and a bruised soul.
If I am being honest, since then, it has been difficult for me to entertain the idea of taking risks artistically. I've been second guessing everything and retreating further into my head. How do I break out of here?!
Here are some things I am going to try...
- Stream of conscious art making
- Take risks
- Take breaks
- Just draw / paint / whatever / do something!
Hopefully by doing so will enable me to approach the figure more creatively and less documentary. Van Gogh struggled with the figure as well, but knew that drawing the human form would only further his abilities with drawing organic shapes in nature. In letters to his brother, Theo, he expresses both a love for and frustration with figure drawing. But rather than obsessing over how true to life, he used the expressive lines of the human body to inform non human elements in his other works. I only hope that I too can find balance within creativity and technique.
Here's to reaching for the Star(ry Night)s. Wish me luck!
Want more on Van Gogh? check out www.artsy.net/artist/vincent-van-gogh