Life is all about the layers of decisions we make, the things we choose to see and those we choose to ignore. The more experience we have in life, the easier it is to see through the layers.
Noelle LeDoux Wheeler
Above: A collage of inspiration Noelle used to create her painting above.
Here is my dear friend with her children at school during Carnival. She and her family are currently living in Mumbai, India.
After celebrating the holidays together in the States last December, she and I wanted to do something that would keep us connected and also on our tippy toes artistically, so we devised a plan to challenge our skills by exercising our creative mussel. Next, we invited my mom to join us and she was game. We wanted a name for our group and started brain storming. My mother had the idea: The Three I's(standing for Imagination, Inspiration and International, also a take on Third Eye). Noelle riffed on her idea and incorporated The Three I's into The Imaginitas. Love it!
Here's how The Imaginista Format works:
Each month one of us invents a challenge for everyone to take. As we create our peice, photographs are taken during the process to documented the journey. Finally, we share our inspirations, process and our finished piece of art with one another (via a online Yahoo Group).
Noelle came up with the first challenge:
Collect three or more things, images, etc., that inspire you and combine them into one piece of art. Use any medium you want.
Here is my mom's piece, Joy, a cornucopia of fluttering butterflies, created in Photoshop Elements.
This is her inspiration board: A Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue, her silk scarf and a paper cocktail napkin someone had at a party she went to.
Finally, my contribution is called Pierrette, created with acrylic paint and colored pencils on canvas.
This is my inspiration collage.
Isn't it interesting how we each took one challenge and ran in our own different directions? I adore that so much!
Here in a tiny cafe we sat nursing our coffee w/chicory, my husband and I and perk our ears we did, catching fragments of the unique New Orleans accent. Did you know that New Orleanians and New Yorker’s have a similar dialects? My mother has lived in both places and tells me she has heard that they were both influenced by German immigrates.
Shop fronts and wrought ironed balconies are festooned with purple, green and gold bunting, all glamed up.........it’s Carnival! The Mardi Gras season began on the Twelfth Night, and the celebrations becomes more and more exciting, with parades and balls beginning this weekend and running though Fat Tuesday. The festivities will end as lent begins, on Ash Wednesday. Streets are magically cleaned and the next day life goes on with the only evidence of the merriment, are strands of beads suspended from high trees and telephone wires. People in Louisiana, take their celebrating seriously, it’s a part of their culture and a spirit that you can feel in the air.
We meandered along the uneven cobble stoned sidewalks of the French Quarter. The backdrop was stunning blue skied days, punctuated by the glorious long shadows of winter. A slight chill is still in the air, but easily avoided by crossing over to the sunny side of the street.
A super discovery, was happening into Masquerade, the BEST mask shop in New Orleans. Each and every mask in this gallery is handmade. Meeting the vivacious owner, Marian (above) was a true bonus. She's an entrepreneur extraordinaire, as her shop features thirty-eight mask maker artists, from all over the U.S.
There’s also a nice selection of Venetian carnival masks not to be missed. It was fun and exciting hanging out and watching people try on different masks, reminding me of the days I worked for a milliner, how fascinating it was to see customers try on different hats and identities.
On the way back we stopped by Gambino’ (famous for their Doberge and King Cakes) to pick up few. A sweet ending to a happy few days away, together.
Hope you enjoy seeing and hearing about another part of the world because I do enjoy seeing yours!
In this McCall's Magazine dated December 1963, I discovered a short article including two painting created by then, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
She painting an Angel and The Journey of the Magi with tempera paints and donated her work to be made into cards.
The cards were sold to raise funds to build The National Cultural Center, later to become known as the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. I never knew she painted until I saw this magazine. Hope you'll enjoy seeing her work. Did you see the other issue of McCalls I found last April? If not, here you will find an incredible holiday story.
These glorious floral silk jabots and monarch bow ties are created by Lisa Nishi. Each work of art is painted and molded to look like real blossoms and butterflies. I feel delighted to discover this artists through my friend Daidra.
Visit Lisa Nishi to see more of her dazzling wearable art, inspired by nature!
Speaking of nature, here we are experiencing a serious drought and extreme heat. It is heartbreaking to see many trees on every street (one of the signatures of our beautiful little town), not able to survive.
Beautiful soul Rebecca of Recuerda mi Corazon has organized this event (for the second year in a row), to raise money for the street children of Oaxana, Mexico. She has gathered together a group of artists that are creating artistic shrines to be auctioned later this April. When the date is set, you'll be the first to know. In the meantime, check out the Shrines from last year's auction at the The Gallery of Hope .
I'll be away in Austin joining my husband for the Texas Library Association meeting.
After flipping through a referance book about puppets (The Art of the Puppet by Bil Baird, 1965), I was delighted and surprised to learn that Maurice Sand with his mother George Sand (the author) created puppets and marionette's together! Maurice would carve the body's and paint the faces and his mother made the costumes. The Sands' would gather friends at their home for shows. I say "Yes" to that!
In reserching online I discovered something else that blew my mind!! Maurice Sand is the same talented artist, who's Commedia dell'arte illustrations have hung on my walls for half my life. It turns out he actually studied briefly under the tutelage of Eugène Delacroix.
The drawing above spoke to me so much, that I created a sculpture inspired by one of his illustrations. Do you remember?
Here are more of Maurice Sand and George Sand's works of art (including the theater). I've read they created altogether 130 puppets and marionettes.
Isn't it fascinating that this talented man and his mother, who are long gone are infusing their special life and energy into me today? I'm bursting with inspiration!
Yesterday, during a baby shower for twins to be, Liz opened up a gift and discovered someone had made her girls a couple of miniature purple tutu's and a big smile spread across the room. Kay and I sat on the sidelines and started 'talkin' tutu'. She explained how her granddaughters insist on wearing their tutu's wherever they go. I smiled, then recalled a little neighbor girl Natalie. Her parents didn't celebrate birthdays, so I asked if it would be alright for my husband and I to give her a gift on her third birthday. With her mother's permission, I found the perfect little light blue leotard with tutu attached, then made a crown and a magic wand to match. It was wrapped up it in a gigantic box with a big bow. The day Natalie opened the gift, she had this look of wild disbelief in her eyes and immediately, without further adieu, began disrobing and stepped into that little blue tutu right there and then. Natalie wore her tutu every where she went for a time......it was hilarious, a happy memory.
Then, I told Kay about another little girl, Sheridan who insisted on wearing her crown everywhere she went, including the grocery store. Kay looked me directly in the eye, raised her eyebrows and said; "Well, I still wear a crown every day, except mine is invisible"! I said; " Humm.......You do? Really"? " I like that....... an invisible crown.....maybe I can try one on too"!!?? She went on to tell me that after one of her lady friends started wearing hers, she became empowered in many area's of her life. Very Interesting.
After the shower, we walked over to her studio and Kay gave me this miniature golden crown featured above and it delights my heart. It also reminds me of the bigger gift, the invisible crown she placed in my imagination. I've been thinking about what an invisible crown can afford a person. For starters you can assume better posture and perhaps be reminded of how to live above your circumstances. You may even begin to feel dignified and regal. Since an invisible crown is not a heavy burden, there will be no headaches at the end of the day either. Have you ever heard of the willing suspension of disbelief? Please accept this idea of an invisible crown as my gift to you~
Hope you have a wonderful week & wear your crown proudly!
Special thoughts and prayers for our sisters and brothers of Japan~
It's interesting to reflect upon how we learn the information we know.
Thoughts of Sugarloafs have been dancing in my head! As this little sculpture of "La Confectioner" (inspired by Martain Engelbrecht) comes to life, I've been dreaming about all the tiny treats she carried to sell, but especially pondering the sugar cone she carries in her right hand.
How I originally learned about Sugarloafs:
My husband and I found ourselves living in Beverly Hills (the flat part) for a few years. One of our friends Sarv, told us about a Persian Grocery on Pico Boulavard and oh how we dug this place! It becaame one of our local haunts. Being small, it was cram packed with unusual and exotic stuffs and lot's of resonably priced vegetables and herbs and more than fifty types of Lavash (flat bread), were delivered fresh every day. The women who shopped here were pushy and bossy, but this was just part of the intriguing chacter of the place. I digress.........this is also the grocery I spotted my first Sugarloafs a.k.a Khaleh Ghand. These cones are used at Persian weddings to add sweetness to the couple's married life. I must mention that it's because of this store, that I tryed *REAL Jordan Almonds (also used at Persian weddings), they come in a much finer grade and with purer flavors. They can't even be compared to American Jordan Almonds! The Persian ones are the very best candy I have ever eatten!!
NOW, I finally know a bit of the history of the Sugarloaf. The cone was the traditional way refined sugar was produced and sold, up until the late 19th century. The photo above (from Wiki) features the baked sugar cone (created by a sugar baker) and is wrapped in paper to be sold. Sugarloafs required special nippers to break off pieces of sugar.
Soon, we'll be seeing lots of Sugar Skulls around. I imagine the sugarloafs and skulls are molded in the same fashion.