So, here I am, doing what we do on a weekend morning when this baby-dove bird fell off the nest. It happens a lot, I know, but this one decided to fall right at the patio’s door, asking for help. I must say that my first instinct was to grab the camera and take the shot, but I soon realized that I was about to embark on a mission.
For those who don’t know me well, I have an elderly micro-toy poodle, wobbly on the legs, blind and deaf. Sometimes I have to feed him on the mouth and at the moment he is wearing geriatric dippers as this saves me a lot of cleaning. I just wish that, when I get old someone will take care of me too. Now, I had a bird in the hand. The saying goes that this is better than a thousand sparrows flying, but I don’t know.
I’ve always believed that birds should be free to fly around, but this little creature didn’t even know he had wings. As it happens, I do eat like a bird, and I had some seeds in the pantry, which I shoved down his throat as he opened this big beak. Mike wanted to name the bird and I said ‘no, we get attached and I want him to learn how to fly’. At the Petshop I found this seed mixture super extra-strength, which looked fine but I could see the bird’s eyes dilating, his voice altering as he ate and stretched the wings, feeling the power.
I had some hallucinations that suddenly, he would become this teenage mutant ninja turtle, enslaving us in our own house, while trying out his plans to dominate the world.
A week and various physiotherapy sections later, we had our last breakfast together. I noticed that his voice had changed and he was a little aggressive. I let him out in the yard and went about my business, and that was it, when I came back to check on him, he was gone.
I believe he flew away as it happens with birds. The empty nest syndrome wanted to creep in, but I decided not to let myself fall for that: life goes on, we move on, and we are worth more than many sparrows.
All I have now are pictures. I do miss him, though.
I did try to keep the baby-bird to myself, and it was more than willing to stay nested on my hand. Sometimes, though, we just have to let nature takes its course. I found a nest on a tree and tucked it back in it.
If there is anyone interested in the details of my ordinary life, something has to be said after a severed finger on the blender, a tooth extracted by my talented dentist and a disastrous hair cut. The bad hair cut is what bother me the least, as they say that hair do grow back. As for the tooth…
Between one pill and another, I decided that it was time to spring clean my digital life and that was when I found out that I needed at least 2 extra lives to be able to do it all. Amazing. I come from a time when the delete button would do the job, but no, now we have the freaking Cloud, the invisible back ups, endless-useless copies, and the files that go through a sort of mitosis. There is no App for that. Tech hangover for 3 days.
Mike looks at me with a mixture of pity and oblivion. The old poodle sleeps through it all as I operate on my laptop. If I could, I’d go breaking all the terabytes and my computer would be like those we see in the movies, click, pow! opening 34 different windows, WITH IMAGES, just like that.
As everything has two sides, A and B, it was good and bad. Not bad as turning for worse, but when we tide stuff up, we run out of excuses. Inanimate things have a way of catching up with me, so now, I have to work on the blog and this is a never ending job. The good side of it is that I can do it without losing the extra life that I have left, which is busy getting ready for the next trip.
I’ll be going to Brazil to see the family and to avoid the Olympic Games.
When I looked and it was June, half the year was gone already. Hobby Lobby has all the July 4th decorations ready to go, and soon it will be time for the Xtmas trees. In Houston, it has been raining since 1845, with floods that reach France and Argentina together, and in Brazil things seem to be er… a little off centre. As usual, I have NOT comply to any of my non-New Year’s resolutions, which in a way, makes me feel quite good, but I’ve been keeping up with the news.
One of the things I like to do, as my 5 readers are well aware, is to cook. Before I go into the bloody mess, I should say that, I shall not publish disgusting photos of my stitches or of my severed index finger. Things like that irks me. That’s why I still live in the time when we wrote letters to each other and, if we had to tell the person of our little mishaps, photos were definitely not included. I won’t go into much detail, I shall only say that, I may or may not have turned on the blender and well, I shall leave at that. All I can say is, typing has been a little slower than usual.
This bloody event reminded me of a story I heard on the moth radio a while ago. This poor chap, Ed Gavagan, survived being stabbed by a gang in NY, followed by a car crash, and if you are not doing anything interesting, you can hear his story in the Moth Radio page, here. I find it beautiful how the human body can heal, indeed a miracle, as I look at my own skin and see things trying to return to a normal finger tip.
Last weekend I went to see an exhibition of the works of William Copley, of whom I’d never heard before. I say things like that because I do believe in confessing my ignorance, it makes me a better and clever person. As I was looking at the huge canvases and the way he seemed to paint with total freedom, I read in the exhibition leaflet that he was a self-taught artist and would get his inspiration from porn magazines and other photographs, hence a certain obsession on the theme. They say inspiration is everywhere, and I agree, it is, what you do with it is what matters.
So, I’m taking my inspiration in everyday life and from the people that live in my head. I have embarked into a new project with a friend and should be fun to show the work to the people that booked all the cheap Airbnbs for the summer in Sag Harbor, NY. We will be in a studio/ gallery for the weekend and that’s all the details I have. Summer is coming.
Art can die; what matters is that it should have sown seeds on the earth… A picture must be fertile. It must give birth to a world.
There is no way to say this, so I’m just going to say it: I fell out of love with dance. This is that. Thank God, being in love and loving it, are very different things.
As I read an article this morning by Claire Armitstead about Miriam Elia, an english artist, who stopped making radio comedy as she “fell out of love with comedy” but still keeps the sarcasm on her books and illustrations about the contemporary art, I felt relieved. The kind of relief that one feels when sees or reads something that translates a sort of anguish that one could not quite identify or understand, but someone finally said something, showed the way, and there was light, the skies opened, the angels sang.
I love Dance. I think it is an universal privilege, moving is good for the body and mind and everybody should do it. A dear friend, who is a musician told me once that, although he is not playing or composing anymore, he understood that everything he does in life, is music. He makes the most amazing and original printed fabrics designs I’ve ever seen – he is making his music.
I felt relieved to understand the kind of nausea I feel when I see some performances: my stomach is the first thing in my body to signal when something is not digesting properly. I understand that my eyes are contaminated by by own background and biases and, to keep things into perspective – hard – I ask Mike, what he thinks, how he sees it. Mike is an engineer, he is the common audience at the theatre, who paid the ticket to enjoy a show on a Saturday evening. He is not an intelectual writing to impress his peers, or a visual artist who hungs the rotten meat at the exhibition to shock people, or the dancer in the audience salivating poison as he observes how fat the other one looks on stage; or the actress, who realises from the audience, the blank stare as her colleague forgets the script and improvises on the spot to make the show go on; or even the maestro who sees that the Étoile is coming down on the diagonal, speeding up the déboulers and he now has to accelerate the orchestra to keep up with her.
Mike often helps me with honest impressions and makes things clearer for me. One of the directors with whom I worked in Brazil used to say that, a work in progress should be showed to your grandma, to your aunt’s friend, or the maid, to see if your piece is communicating, if there is any noise. If so, the work must be revisited, as if does not communicate, it does not reach out, doesn’t sow the seed, does not make a difference.
The only way I can understand the world is through difference. We are not all equals, will never be. When an good idea becomes a vocabulary to be decoded, learned and repeated, we lose the fertility of the seed. Life becomes a marketing, as I quoted here before, “that turns creators into Pavlovian creatures hooked on constant and immediate positive reinforcement via “likes” and “shares,” [Maria Popova]
A profoundly individual gesture is anonymous. Being anonymous, it allows the universal to be attained… The more local anything is, the more universal.
In an age when the vast majority of our cultural material is reduced to “content” and “assets,” factory-farmed by a media machine that turns creators into Pavlovian creatures hooked on constant and immediate positive reinforcement via “likes” and “shares,” here comes a sorely needed reminder that art operates on a wholly different time scale and demands a wholly different pace ofcultivation. (I’m reminded of Susan Sontag: “Our task is not to find the maximum amount of content in a work of art… Our task is to cut back content so that we can see the thing at all.”)
When I was doing Movement studies, I would hear from my masters: “the movement happens from inside out“.
This simple concept can be hard to grasp, particularly when everything else around us say otherwise, that aesthetics and technique should come first on any sort of individual expression, as we live in this world of images. Body work, more specifically in the ballet world, a good pointed toes, the right placement of the arms and the right alignment of an arabesque is worth more than a thousand individual expressions. it took me a long time to understand and to be able to use all the technique I had towards my inner movement, without getting into too much conflict. On the other hand, it is also interesting to note that, there is or you can come across some sort of dictatorship in this concept, and depending on the approach, you better watch out in a body- expression or bio-dance class, if they see you posting your toes, you might get in big trouble. It is like they say, all extremes are dum, and a perfect organic, gluten-free, sugar-free and soy and addictive free meal might as well be a good plate of ice made from the purest water from the virgin spring fountains.
This intro was an attempt to put my thoughts in order, as my head started spinning after reading an article by Margarita Tartakovsky about the creative process. If you think that this is too far away from your life, take a look around you and observe how you organize your life, the things you colect, your routine and the times you have to improvise to get to work on time, or when you are cooking dinner, and you are about to find your own creative process. Some people think that this is for artists. Maybe artists think more about that, but to be alive is a never ending dance.
Whatever you’re working on, let the creative process work for you. Start from the inside out. Consider what works best for your natural tendencies and preferences. Think about what sounds like fun to you. Think about what seems fascinating and helpful. Embrace your own unique way of creating — whatever that looks like.
A picture of the work I did yesterday, as I observe my own creative rut. The world is very noisy and one of the things that works for me, before I start anything, is to spend some time in silence, breathing to give a chance to listen what is inside and wants to be expressed, while I put things down on the surface.
Coming out of a creative rut is not easy. It takes effort, will and courage. I found that, with time, the rut feels comfortable, and even the most uncomfortable feelings become companions, a sort of comrades during the desert pilgrimage. You walk around feeling out of focus, distracted by anything and everything, unable to move towards a goal, any goal. All you want is to get to the next water-fountain, so you can keep walking, aimless to arrive at….nowhere.
It is not lack of energy, or even a state of depression. In my experience, the rut is a weird transition place. You are shifting weight, the thoughts don’t make much sense and the ideas seem quite disconnected from your own brain, your own senses, or what it used to be like when you were doing something creative. In the rut, nothing is like it used to be and even the very act of getting down to it, holding the brush, or the pencil, or whatever is the instrument of your own creative work, feels a bit strange, more like a fraud, really.
During the weeks in this place, I decided to embrace this state: I would not force it, and I closed the door of my studio. Instead, I would read other stories, other books, find other interests. I organized my house, painted the walls, read different books, took my camera for a walk and watched a lot of documentaries. I studied french and took a short trip to Virginia, to see the family. After weeks of that, I had come across very interesting things, like some books:
The Cello Suites – J.B. Bach, Pablo Casals and the search for a Baroque Masterpiece – by Eric Siblin, a well written book about Bach and the famous cellist Casal, who at 80 something said that he still practiced the cello 5 hours a day “because I think I’m making progress“;
Visiting the Phillips Collection Museum in Washington, DC I bought a book about Color – by Victoria Finlay, absolutely fascinating about the origin and making of colours, the same ones I use on my paintings and we use for everything else;
Of course, times in the rut call for a self-awareness help book, and “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer was an excellent read.
Then it was time to take my chances and, as you do when you enter cold waters, I dipped my toes in the studio “just mark making and trying to listen, giving it a chance to see what comes out”, I said to myself, because in the rut, you doubt your abilities and when you doubt, you don’t really want to risk getting a dreaded confirmation.
After hours of making marks, covering it up, turning the canvas upside down and up again, struggling really, I had enough of the “you don’t know what you’re doing” shit in my head and “She bears the dust of the roads” happened from following a line. A life-line, I should say.
Although I’m not sure if the rut is over, I can well say that I don’t dread it anymore. Rut or no rut, it is important to know, despite all the distractions, blurriness, confusion, frustration and tears, what you are. And I am an artist.
Artistry also comes in culinary. The Chef’s Table – a Netflix series is not just about food, but about artists making food. A must see.
One of the jewels I found, was this quote from the Argentinian Chef Francis Mallman.
When in Paris, he was asked to cook for the big shots of Cartier and after the meal, this is what happens:
[sic] “Mr. Mallmann, this was a really horrible meal. I think you have to think what you’re doing, because it wasn’t quite right. I want to say this in the nice way to you, because I see a lot of effort in what you do, but this was not french food.
I looked at him and I said “Sir, thank you very much“, but in my inside I thought: “this guy doesn’t know what he is talking about, he is not a chef, he is french, he does beautiful watches and jewels, but, you know, what does he know about cooking?” I went home to sleep, with that, and I’ve never forgot it. It was something heavy on me.
In time, I realised that he was right. I wasn’t doing the right thing, i was just trying to copy exactly what I had learned. And I think that, that happens in every craft in life. You’re young, you have a master, you want to emulate and do what he does, but at some point in life, you have to turn around and say, I have to find my own way, my own language.”
I guess that is what the rut is about, after all: finding my own language.
The other day, I was on the phone with my sister and we were talking about how the world has become a boring politically correct place and of how ignorance can be really irritating and how we are so impatient about the massification of things. I thought about Frida Kahlo. Until then, I had not seen the 2002 movie with Selma Hayek, maybe because of resistance or because Frida’s work had never provoked my curiosity. Seeing her self-portraits everywhere and the fridge magnets might have helped and I had conformed myself to that place ‘haven’t seen it, and I don’t like it’.
Two days ago, without even knowing that it was the anniversary of her death, I decided to put an end to it and at least, watch the movie. I remember that one of things that irritated me was the language, for as fas as I knew it, the actors could all speak spanish, the movie is set in Mexico and the historical background is deeply important, but go figure director’s choices.
After finishing with it , I searched for a documentary on Youtube and found a very interesting one, which put the other pieces of the puzzle together. I could see how she painted, always in pain, and the stir that her work caused across the seas. Braque, Duchamp and other surrealists at the time went to visit her in Mexico. She used to say though, that she was no surrealist as she didn’t paint her dreams, but her reality, something which, for the french then fascinated by the early Freud theories, was difficult to grasp. That’s where cultures make all the difference.
In a certain way, I understood why I don’t like her work; on the other hand, why I do like it. And there is where I go full circle, knowing that the masssification of things take away their value, contaminate the eyes. What I really like about it is the process, her honesty in vomiting her guts with no intention of making statements, raising banners or provoking scandals: she painted her inner world and said that she did it for herself.
I’m still not sure if wether or not I like her paintings, but what difference does it make? None. All I can say is that I’ve been revising some concepts and re-thinking other things and because of that, I know her work is good. And that is enough. Liking it or not, is a different issue.
When I was a little younger, I lived in London for a while and although I got to know the city, life was happening, I was studying, working and feeling cold all the time. The Island has a cruel wind in the winter and in the summer…well, let’s say that there is a slight increase in temperatures between autumn and winter. They say it has changed, but I doubt it.
I caught the Eurostar train from Paris, that one that goes under across the Channel and in 2 hours we were in the UK – I think it is amazing, truly amazing, how they have managed to dig that tunnel. It was nice to be in a place where they could fully understand my sort of British accent.
This time I was a tourist in London, with all the rights to a fish and chips with vinegar, rest and sunbathe on the gardens of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, before climbing the 528 steps to the top, and visit the royalty places.
I enjoyed the feeling of being at home: I remembered the places I’d been, the tube map, where to go. As we didn’t have any time to spare, we decided to make some strategic sightseeing.
Before leaving for the trip, I’d read that the Parliament is always open to visitors to watch the debates in the House of Lords. The tourists either don’t know this or are not interested, so we passed through the multitude of people and selfie-sticks on the streets and walked right in, to check how the Lords behave. There are some that look like 100 years old, mummified, sleeping on their seats while the debate is going on. Pictures inside were not allowed, but sitting on the gallery, I could hear the years of history in every single corner. As we were leaving, going through the hall, I looked at the floor and saw this:
One of my favorite places is Camden Market, a festival of people, punks, food and bric-a-brac.
Walking by, I saw the sigh and asked Mike if he knew the answer for the riddle. After thinking for a while, he asked me to call the guy. I walked out with my free strawberry and banana smoothie. Of course, I had to take the picture.
There was the classic visit to the Buckingham Palace
We end the Friday at Greenwich
At the end of trip I succumbed to the five o’clock tea at Liberty, and I was happy. London has a way, different from Paris, but London is London.
Things look very different in Paris from the first time I went to visit it. I was going to say about 28 years ago, but let’s stick to before the Internet age. Somehow the French people are more friendly to tourists trying to find their way around the city, or the way back to the hotel or other places of historical significance.
To my 5 readers I must confess that, besides preparing my miniature world of necessaries, I spent over a month studying and practicing my rusted french. Thanks to the patience of ma soeur Marô andthe conversations over Skype, I arrived ready to go and a Je comprend plus que je parle, took me a long way.
The city is still insanely beautiful, people still read books in the park and behave inside the museums, something that nobody under this earth has yet learned. Bring down the selfie-stick. Full stop.
Vacation plans, as it is well known, usually start with trying to save money to spend on the trip; but you need to prepare for the trip, so you end up spending the money you saved buying miniature versions of things like shampoo, liquid soap, contact lenses cleansers, Tide sachets to wash nickers, smelly socks and the like etc. This is when you enter the Land of the Giants without knowing.
After almost reaching the end of the internet, I had applied all the tips on ‘how to pack light’ and I was happy with the results. Things tend to feel ever so lighter when you excited about something.
First stop was Paris, to catch a TGV to the South and from there another packed train to the small village and then a lift on a Jeep to Mas Pinet. The light and small suitcase was weighting a ton and by then, I had lost my sense of time and direction, but my eyes were still open to see this:
After a week of painting, meeting new people, eating wonderful foods and drinking amazing wines, I’d decided that I should have been born there, and there I should stay forever. I’ve never thought I could do this:
I think I’ve managed to celebrate my 50’s in grand style.
Well, it happened again and, the conclusion is that I seem to live in this world with, at least, 8 years of delay. On the up side, one can still be surprised by pieces of art that are not dedicated to an incomprehensible level of abstractionism, which seems to be the XXI century mode: installations of pieces of beef in galleries, or paintings done with menstrual blood are not very appeasing to my aesthetics senses.
Last night, while browsing through Netflix on the foreign movie section, I came across the french movie Le scaphandre et le Papillon, from2007 about which I had never heard. And for those as equally ignorant, i.e. one that ignores, reading this post, Le scaphandre is based on a memoir written by Jean-Dominique Bauby, after he suffered a massive stroke which left him with the locked-in syndrome, paralyzed from the neck down, unable to speak and, with only his left eye working. He communicated with people by blinking his eye, and that’s how he managed to write the book.
In the beginning of the movie, as the camera moves around working as Jean’s eyes, I felt a little dubious. ‘Oh, no…this thing is going to go on forever like that” taking me to that place where the bells ring when the incomprehensible level of abstractionism is about to strike. But take heart. It’s a superb work of direction, script and, adaption of a true story, worth every minute of it. People usually say that you start understanding things once you go through it yourself and, as you are placed to see the world through his eyes, life takes a different perspective, indeed.
It is worth mentioning that, although the story is on the heavy side of life, it is not dramatic nor full of the tricks to make you cry or to move the audience into a sorry place. Maybe is the french existencialist approach to things, when even tragedies are dealt with a very practical, pragmatic way, like, “Alors,...”
I was left with a sense of how we are all so vulnerable and fragile, how relationships are delicate and how we are clumsy, to say the least, when faced with our own disabilities, differences and limits. How romantic love, sometimes, cannot endure impossibilities and, compassion is the only thing left for us humans to survive life and its twists and turns.
The text below is by a theatre director, one of those people you bump into on the journey and with whom I had the privilege to work, while in Brazil.
Although it was not my first time working as a dancer with a theatre director, his sometimes challenging approach to art helped me to stretch and to think about the boundary between art forms, my work as an artist and how to close the gap in my own head. This has been very useful to me, as I shift from art forms.
The text is about how politically correctness is contradictory to art.
I think, or vive Campos de Carvalho!
By Eduardo Wotzik
Do not demand politic correctness from humor. Politic correctness, as the expression goes, is how politicians should be. A politician must be politically correct, but as they do not want this responsibility, they shift to artists and comedians, the suckers, the people struggling for funds, the commitment to be ’well behaved’. Well, an artist cannot ‘behave’.
Some of the most Machiavelli way to destroy Art and artists is to force them into mediocracy, demand from Art morality, good manners and/or diminish it before society.
Art is to open windows, explore the unknown, play with the unthinkable, expand creation, widen humanity.
All can be resumed into knowing the difference between reality and fiction.
People that doesn’t know how to play, cannot go to the playground, as they cannot understand the game, or can’t tell a lie from the truth. Can’t play, stays suffocated ‘in between’, divided by a forbidden and liberating delirium and the allowed real life and its mortal condition.
When I hear a joke, it is not for me to agree or disagree with it; but I can agree or disagree with an opinion. When I hear a joke, it is for me to either find it funny and laugh at it, or not.
The world has become so confusing that I’ve been laughing at opinions and discussing a joke’s merit.
Looking at the calendar I see that January is almost over, and around me nothing has really changed. I might have stopped smoking, but this is something I don’t say out loud, as I don’t want to raise expectations. I might have, and it feels good. No, this was not a new-years resolution, as I’ve never been a very resolute person and I’ve never really saw the point of forcing goals into my being as a motivation for doing something that I’d fail at it anyway.
Yes, I’m a firmer believer that changes happen from the inside, at least the ones that last, that make a difference, that really shift behaviors and minds. Real changes take time and willingness to go where the reason is, where the conscious mind can overcome all the self-pity, excuses, victimization feelings, where we can give us a chance of being someone better.
No, I don’t think smoking made me a bad person, not at all. It just made me a little anxious, and fidgety. I also know that I didn’t smell very good, but hey, I have to deal with human smells around me everyday, so…
There, I’ve said it. Let’s see what happens now.
On another note, I’ve been busy trying to build a body of work where I can go and explore creative grounds.
This year looks very promising and I’m excited to see some projects taking off, and dreams coming true. Meanwhile, I have finally given up the idea of ‘finding my style’. I understand that I have many voices, I like tapping into many things, and I know this is the improv-dancer in me: go places, get off the floor, roll over, repeat.
So, my art shall reflect that and I shall not be afraid. Here is what I came up with, since the new year started and I made no resolutions. So far, it is working for me.
All these works are also posted on “Art by Tati Vice” tab.
One of the things that can really impair one’s life is resistance. Resistance to change, to let go of being right, to jump into new things, new grounds, not paying too much attention to the discomfort and trying, anyway.
I’ve read the other day that we are very much creatures of habits. And it takes courage to break a habit, to wash off the old way of approaching things, to see from all angles.
Sketching has been a long struggle for me, and I know now that it has to do with resistance. Things shifted this week, as I started to dive into Van Gogh’s work, and the assignments for another Studying Under the Masters course.
Looking into some of his sketches at WikiArt, I’ve realised that he was also a master of composition, capturing his everyday life and turning them into timeless pieces to which we can still relate even after all these years. I’ve found that there are some very good and not so good ones. But he kept his eye on the ball, having a clear picture of what he wanted to paint. Through the sketches I can see how women kept themselves busy knitting, sewing and peeling potatoes; I can see how depressing hunger can be, how a hard labor combined with freezing temperatures can take its tool on the body.
While I was working on my sketches, I realised that I’m very drawn to the stillness of things. To the moment where objects are resting, either waiting to be used or to be discarded. I can see that more clearly in the photos I shoot.
So, I’ve started to sketch, trying to copy his mark’s style. It is not perfect, but I can see now why I need to practice.
Some days are just like that: unpredictable. Maybe, they all are, but yesterday was heavy.
I have a companion who has been with me for 16 years, from the Order of Melchizedeck, who is deaf and a little blind, a microtoy, who occupies a huge space in the house, in the kitchen and in the bed. Gucci is Brazilian, and although he has learnt some french, nowadays he considers himself a proud and adventurous Texan. So much so that, yesterday he decided to go for a walk by himself, got out through the gap on the backyard’s gate and off he went. I must say that he was not wearing his collar or name tag.
As I walked in the house back from work and realised he was gone, a paralyzing sadness came upon me. I didn’t know where to start looking for him. So I went back out, walked around, got in the car, drove around the neighborhood and nothing. Then it dawned on me that some good soul had found my wondrous oldie and had taken him to shelter and that I should make some flyers with my contact info to have him back .
As I was doing just that, hanging LOST DOG flyers on the stoplight pole of a very busy intersection, a lady turning the corner, shout at me “It is AGAINST THE LAW to put posters on puuublic…..’
Already devastated by the situation, and utterly embarrassed to be there in the middle of the rush hour putting up flyers on the pole, I felt even more terrible, me, a good, law-abiding citizen, caught in the very illegal act of vandalizing the public space with a LOST DOG flyer. I could almost hear my grandpa rolling on his grave. Once a mayor of the city, he fined his own 3-year-old daughter for taking a flower from the public garden.
The friends who know me, also know that I’m a very shy person, weird even, but at that moment, finding my little dog was more important than obeying the law or succumbing to my shyness. I can say that I’ve improved a lot with age.
The story has a happy ending: an hour later, I got a phone call from the lady who had found him and Gucci came back home, exhausted from his little adventure. As oldies can be grumpy and stubborn, he acted as he had done nothing wrong. I must say he is conveniently deaf, so he didn’t give a damn about what I had to say. I have since, removed the flyers from the prohibited places and so far, I haven’t received any calls or visits by the police.
I’ve also learned that “It is allowed to do GOOD, or put flyers up on prohibited public places to find an old, lost and beloved pet”
This piece was inspired by the outbacks/bandits famous couple, Lampião and Maria Bonita, that used to act in the interior of the northeast of Brazil.
“Captain” Virgulino Ferreira da Silva, better known as Lampião (more archaic spelling ‘Lampeão’, Portuguese pronunciation: [lɐ̃piˈɐ̃w], meaning “lantern” or “oil lamp”), was the most famous bandit leader of the Cangaço. Cangaço was a form of banditry endemic to the Brazilian Northeast in the 1920s and 1930s. Lampião’s exploits turned him into a ‘folk hero’, the Brazilian equivalent of Jesse James.“
There is something I experience every time I take art trips, which doesn’t have anything to do with getting high or the sort: inner shifts. These inner shifts, most of the time, come with a theme song, and this time, was ‘Walk on the wild side”, by Lou Reed. So I did.
The wild side took a ride on the most amazing workshop with Katie Kendrick , a mixed media artist whom I call Blessed Creative Soul, ready to share her gifts and creative spirit with a group of six wonderful women. The story goes that things happen when women get together to create, to experience, to open themselves to whatever comes, to dive deep. And it happened, indeed.
At the beautiful Whidbey Island, WA, I dedicated a week’s time to do just that: taking a look at the wild side to see what was in store for me, contemplating the stillness of the lake, opening the gate of possibilities and having fun like a kid. I believe that’s when the work shapes into wonders that I could never imagine I’d be able to create. They are not master pieces executed with impeccable technique: they are conversations with the raw of what I am, with the core of my existence expressed in my art. And for that, I’m forever grateful.
Last summer I was in Budapest, Hungary for a week when, after flipping through photographs on the iPhone, our host Albert, owner and manager of the charming-must-stay B&B Kapital Inn saw a picture of one of my artworks in progress. After ohs and ahs, I offered him to make a piece to display on the B&B walls, as he told me they did not have an original art piece in there, and it would be great and I felt so honored that he liked my art that way, and so forth.
Fast forward a year, during which I’d tried many ideas, textures and great doses of frustration. On February, I finally had a piece that I felt it was worth sending to him.
I could say that all that time was wasted but I’m glad I took my chances, even when that screaming voice in my head would tell me that I was never going to be able to deliver on my promise, blah, blah, blah. I’m glad I took my time, learning during the process that:
+ sometimes, less IS more
+ technique is a good thing to have when you don’t have a clue about what to do next
+ inspiration is something that comes while you’re working
I’m glad to report that Albert received the piece in Budapest this week and was very happy with it. The best thing for me is to know that, he has a piece that was made for him and I have a piece of me in Budapest, the city I love.
Here are some pictures of the place. If you ever go to Budapest…
I’m not a feminist, and I must say that I do not believe that everybody is equal. I think the beauty lays in the difference and the more diversity, the better. Before my enemies pick up the stones, I have to state the obvious: I’m not talking about civil rights. I’m for a diverse congress, for instance, where different ideas and proposals can be debated; I’m for the right to disagree.
Since the past week, I’ve been helping moving things, loading and unloading, lifting super-heavy stuff in 16 hands and taking in all the inevitable changes. I then, carried out to declutter in my own house, starting off in the closet, which was making me tired, every time I had to look at it. So, the work began. That was when I found the 3 bras that I’ve never used on a hanger.
I don’t recall exactly when I decided not to wear them anymore. I don’t think I was ever too keen on them, of course, I’m not a booby person, voluptuous is not my name, but there is something there, I know, I breast-fed my child. But my decision was solely based on comfort. These things can be very uncomfortable around the chest and as far as I know, unlike they want us women to think, they don’t really help with the effects of gravity. To be fair, I’ve worn bras when I used to work in an office, because ‘I had to’. Hated every second of it. The best part of my day back then was getting in my car to drive home, when I could take them off. I had a system that I could do it, anywhere, without people noticing it. It’s all about being quick and precise, like a Ninja, pow!
I don’t work in an office anymore, God was good to me. I don’t ‘have to’ anymore, therefore I don’t. The women reading this piece of useless information would ask, but what do you do with transparent or too revealing clothes? Well, I don’t wear totally transparent and revealing clothes. In fact, I’m seriously thinking about downsizing my wardrobe to a piece of comfortable pair of jeans and a few Tees. In fact, my clothes are all bras-proof and for a piece or two, I usually wear a scarf strategically placed.
I know, maybe this post should be about Mother’s Day and how great my mum is, which she is indeed, or how my aunts and grandmother were also like mothers to me, but I can’t stop thinking about yoga. Yes, Yoga.
I have no rational explanation for that but the fact that, since I’ve started practicing it, my hip feels much alive and the lower back pain has improved tremendously. I’ve also noticed that my hands are much stronger, which is a plus when one has to open jars and gesso encrusted pots to coat a surface for painting.
It all started when, as I was out for my daily walk, thinking about life, the universe and everything, it came to my mind “you need to practice yoga”, and I obeyed it. It is not like I go about doing everything that the voice in my head tells me to do, but this time it made sense. So, I started my yoga journey, which in the very beginning was nothing but hard. Although I have years of ballet practice, yoga is a very different game for my body, and to admit that my lower back was suffering because of my weak core, was a bit too much. But I got through the first class, huffing and puffing, but feeling overall amazed of how a deep breath could help my brain shift from I can’t manage to get out of this twisted arm/leg lock I’m in, I’m so screwed… to hmmm…if I breathe deep enough I can think about something else, and is not a big deal if I fall flat on my stomach, you get the picture.
The week would go by, and I’d feel more energetic, patient and with less pain. Some days I would not feel pain at all. That was when I realised that I was hooked, and there would be no looking back for me. Yoga has taught me to go over the bump, to stay focused, to shift my state of mind, to understand my limits and the amazing thing is, basically all I’m doing is taking a good old deep breath. I’m a happier person, indeed.
It has been a while since I’ve noticed this happening, like an epidemic speech disease. I first though it was only the young and beautiful, like Dalia Royce in the Suburgatory TV show, but then I started to do the math and…no, to the despair of my ears this is spreading among the Balzac generation too. It’s hard to describe how this sounds with my limited english language skills, but I’ll try. It is not a squeak, not a high pitched voice, although you may hear it combined with both, depending on gender, race, or even peer group.
Take a look how Dalia speaks and you’ll know what I mean. Don’t even need to watch it, you can close your eyes and listen for 10 seconds.
It sounds like a voice constipation, trying to make its way out from the vocal chords to the mouth. Then, the words come out as if the person has just ran out of air, and is breathing in as is talking out. Or even, like the poor thing is being squeezed on the chest, but still has to find a way to speak. In anyways, it all sounds like they are making this HUGE effort to speak, and when they do, the sentences always finish sounding like a question mark, even when they are actually affirming something.
Psychologists and the sort might have a different take on the matter, perhaps a theory that this way of talking is only a sign of how communication is changing, reflecting how this generation is lacking motivation, even for simple things, like speaking. Or, that verbal communication as we know it is coming to an end, as technology takes over even on the primary functions of human cognitive skills.
Whatever it is, I don’t know about you, but it all sounds very annoying to me. Probably you are talking this way and and haven’t even noticed it, because as I said, it is catchy and spreads like a disease. In case you are, sorry, there is no solution to your problem?
This week’s assignment was to attempt some folk art painting, or Art Naif. As inspiration, I’ve used a photo that I’d taken many years ago in one of my trips to the north east of Brazil. Scenes like that are common place, children on the empty streets, talking, playing under the lazy Sunday sun, the smell of good homy food in the air… I wanted to capture the simplicity of it.
Art Naif is supposed to be from the soul, painted by people with no academic background, but with a desire to paint and register the daily life of the community. There is no concern about perspective or proportions, but they are usually full of detail, color, stories, more like a ‘Where is Wally” sort of thing: there are scenes inside the main scene and one could spend hours just reading the pairing.
While trying to paint Naif, I realized that I’m very bad with small details. Call it laziness or lack of talent, I don’t know, but it was a struggle to make the small brushes slide on the paint to make it clean, and then I would feel like I had opened many cans of worms at the same time. Taking pictures during the process helped to see that I had, at one point, left one of the children without a leg,and had chopped the arm off, of some other. And of course, the lady watching the boys was supposed to be also boy, but she came along during the process, and I was left with no option, but to give her a dress and something to do. The dog like creature was particularly hard.
I’ve also learned that it takes patience and dedication. Painting or drawing as plain as possible is not easy. Simple, is not easy, full stop.
Here is my piece. It is not suppose to be great, it is suppose to tell a story, as simple as that.
Yes, I watched the painful game last night. From a privileged place where it really didn’t matter who won, but still the massacre was just too embarrassing to watch.
So, I shoot the picture of the day: the family spoons, which were kept by my grandma, and after her passing , they’re given to me. At least two in this bunch are more than a 100 years old. They didn’t have the super bawl back then, but they sure knew how to make good stuff.
Cheers to that.
Being sick is no fun. I didn’t get out of the house today and with the head pounding, and the rest of the body trying to drag along, I was left to my easel (not exactly a bad thing) and the dog. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Gucci the grumpy-old man.
This project has been a great motivation to get my camera out and about.
I’ve been turning into the streets around the neighborhood just to find the most picturesque scenes, like this bull, resting his bones on the wide fenced pasture. As I approached the fence with my camera, I could sense that he was getting ready to pose for the shot.
I don’t live in the country side, but this is Houston, and I love it.