Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brussels+Montreuil road trip...

Just a quick reminder that Sàrmede's "Immagini della fantasia" exhibit will now be on display in Brussels.  At the European Parliament!  The opening takes place tonight at 18:00, at the ASP area on the third floor (balcony side).  Definitely worth a peek, if you're in the neighbourhood... I wish I could be there too! (more details, here).

And if you still need something more to do— well, you could always drop in to Montreuil: the Salon du Livre Jeunesse begins tomorrow morning, 9:00 sharp! 
Have fun!!

PS.  The beautiful poster/invitation for Immagini della fantasia is by Octavia Monaco

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tales from Russia

I'm very pleased to announce that my artwork has been selected for Sàrmede's Le Immagini della Fantasia exhibit.  The theme this time is "Tales from Russia"— a topic and visual culture that I find especially inspiring.  I chose to illustrate a scene from The Firebird.

The exhibit is a fantastic gathering of talent from around the world —over 350 illustrations by a real dream team* of illustrators! Needless to say, I'm very honoured to be included among them. A big grazie to Monica Monachesi for extending the invitation.

This year's edition of Le immagini della Fantasia is not only the 30th anniversary, but also the grand opening of the long-awaited Casa della Fantasia, a new building which will house the exhibit space and art workshops. So expect even more celebrations and activities than usual — including readings, workshops, and meetings with the artists including Roberto Innocenti, this year's guest of honour.

The exhibit opens on 27 October and runs through to 27 January 2013, after which it will go on tour in Italy and across Europe and beyond. It's well worth a visit — I would go if I could.  Check the site for address and hours... highly recommended!

PS.  *Dream team includes:  Beatrice Alemagna, Joëlle Jolivet, Javier Zabala, Violeta Lopiz, Simone Rea, Morteza Zahedi and many many others, all of them fabulous...

Monday, July 23, 2012

3x3 Children's Show

I've been in summer mode lately, but I just had to pop in today to tell you my news: I just found out that my artwork has been selected for the 3x3 magazine's Children's Show. And not only that, but it was also singled out for Distinguished Merit in its category! It goes without saying that I am stunned, and completely delighted.
The image is one that you may already be familiar with: it was created for Tales of India, and took part in the exhibit Le Immagini della Fantasia of Sàrmede (still touring in Europe).

The annual, No. 9, will be coming out later in the year... I will give you a heads-up when it does. Congratulations to the winners (check out the list, here)— I am really honoured to be in such good company. And many thanks to the jury!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

C'est la fête!

I'm just popping in to wish everyone a happy quatorze juillet... or joyeux Bastille Day, if you prefer:  a nice day off for everybody!

From picnics and an Amorino ice-cream cone...
...to fireworks...

...to dancing under the lanterns at your local Bal des Pompiers
vintage poster via words and eggs
Robert Doisneau, La dernière valse du 14 juillet 
what's not to like?

As for me, I am still here— but between working hard on some projects and getting spirited away for summer activities (many of which involve being under water and getting my hair wet most of the time), I think I will be posting infrequently until autumn arrives.

So Pause Estivale for now... and see you when I get back!

PS. *Top image is a vintage firecracker package, from my personal ephemera archive. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oblong is in!

Here's a book that I have been enjoying lately (a gift from Hazel, better known as Ms. Artroom Plant):  The Emperor's Oblong Pancake, written by Peter Hughes in 1961.
The illustrations are by the inimitable Gerald Rose.  I didn't know his work before, but it turns out he is a prolific illustrator,  winner of the Kate Greenaway medal, and beloved by generations of British children. Shows how much I know! His book The Tigerskin Rug is such a classic that it has recently been re-published by Bloomsbury. I just love his quirky and fresh line, full of charm and energy and humour.
The story is an ode to stubbornness.  It is about an emperor who, one day — on a whim — commands that everything in his kingdom be oblong. Every other shape is banished!
And thus we end up with oblong eggs, oblong apples, oblong bathtubs, even oblong wheels (a bit troublesome, that).  Problems arise, of course. After many failed attempts to solve them, the emperor himself rides off in search of an answer — and returns with the discovery that the world itself is round.  Who knew? And of course he decrees that -- guess what?— everything in his kingdom must now be round, too....  
...except maybe his breakfast pancakes.

Now that I've worked up an appetite for crêpes carrées, I will leave you with some recent finds:
Chiara Armellini, especially here and here.
Benoit Tardif of Montréal— prints, posters and book covers.
Terrifying French Children's Books — article is inaccurrate on many counts but v. funny... check out the slide show.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Le Metamorfosi del Viaggiatore

I'm very happy to announce that my images have been selected for a group show in Italy! Organized by the Associazione Illustratori, the exhibit is called Le Metamorfosi del Viaggiatore (traveler's transformation). Its theme is travel in all its guises—both real and imaginary— and will include paintings, illustrations, sequential art (aka fumetti or bande dessinée) and carnets de voyage.  
My contribution is artwork from a sketchbook I kept during a previous visit to California, with scenes in and around my parents' home and walks taken in the Hollywood Hills.
This view of the rooftops and hillside is what I see from my work-room window as I sit at the computer typing this post!
These are birds that come by every day.  They fascinate my cat Pomelo -- they are objects of enormous yearning and desire for him.
The images are in gouache, and the line on top added later in ink and brush.  They were painted en plein air, for the most part — not my usual materials, technique or method (as often happens with travel sketchbooks), and all the more energizing for it...
For those of you are able to go, the show takes place in Milan from 18 October to 2 December, at  the Palazzo delle Stelline (Galleria Gruppo Credito Valtellinese).  Check the blog for updates and more details. 

PS. I really hope I get to go see it this autumn... there is a really great line-up of artists participating in this show!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In which we chat about books

A little while ago, I received a wonderful surprise in my mailbox, sent by lovely Sara Morão of the Ilustrarte Biennale.  They are the catalogs from the last two exhibits (mentioned previously). Although it's difficult to choose just a few, I wanted to show you some of the images from these books that I have been lingering over...

Here's a detail of a collage by Yana Levieva of Bulgaria, about whom there is very little on the internet (but she does appear to design postage stamps from time to time.  So perhaps she is like the mysterious character in Griffin and Sabine?)
This vivid collage is by Bernardo Carvalho, of Portugal.  I have long been an admirer of his work, and that of Planeta Tangerina, the publishing house which he co-founded.
Laia Castillo from Barcelona did these watercolor illustrations for her unpublished"O Jardim de Carlos".
These images in mixed media are from "The Red Hat" by Hassan Amekan.  I was already familiar with his illustrations, they have been selected for honour both at Bologna and at Bratislava.
Last but far from least, Anne Herbauts of Belgium: her work (much of which is done for Casterman) is poetic and innovative, and I look forward to every one of her books! See this interview (in French) to hear how she approaches her books:  everything is between one page and another...

Voilà!  These books — and a few others too — have been providing me with a few shimmers of light and warmth, helping me find my way forward inch by inch. Books help a lot!  If by chance any of you have any good books to recommend, do let me know.  I am a bit of an omnivore in my reading habits but just to give you an idea, lately I've been reading and loving The Wild Places (Robert MacFarlane), Dear Genius (the letters of Ursula Nordstrom), Case Histories (Kate Atkinson's whydunnit). Also re-re-re-reading Jane Eyre!

So send your ideas.... and in the meantime, click and look:
Beatriz Martin -- I'd seen her work at Sàrmede already, happy to discover more of it
Lydia Crooks -- wispy and poetic paper concoctions
Boguslaw Sliwinski — ceramics that made me smile

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dancing kittens, signs of life

This image is by Sora Mizusawa, a Japanese illustrator/artist and one of my flickr friends. I think it's lovely, don't you?  So fresh!!  
The image was based loosely on this photo which I posted recently on my flickr.  It's my mother as a teenager in Beirut, with one of her innumerable pet cats.  Instantly smitten, Sora wanted to make an illustration inspired by this image and asked my permission to use it as visual reference. He also did this related piece:

As some of you may already know, my mother died a few months ago, and I've left Paris temporarily to be with my family in California. A short time after the funeral, I came upon a box of photos that I'd never seen before—my mama and aunt as young girls, my parents' courtship, the Paris years... I've been scanning and putting them here.  They're a source of inspiration for me too, and a few things are slowly taking form.
Other than that, I'm hanging in there—doing a lot of walking and a lot of reading (of which more soon).  Some things are being painted, and others are being sketched.  I will no doubt scan them one of these days... You'll see!!

PS. To see more of Sora Mizusawa's work, see here: 
website   |   blog   |   flickr   

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On my table

Here are a few things that are on and around my table these days...
My new surroundings seem to be having an effect on me.
The crocodiles have come along for the ride, too!
As for Pomelo, well — he always regarded my table as his bed anyway...
In other news: 
I just got word the other day that Beatrice Alemagna is making more of her canvas silhouettes.  And best of all, she can make one for you (yes, you!) if you let her know, too. Just imagine!

Marjolaine Brillant young illustratrice from Poitou.

Miranda van Dijk's "Hidden Memories" are a poetic mélange of leaves and photos.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Never too late...

Hi!  I've been gone a long time, but I am back now....
Since the last time I made a sign of life, all has been upheaval here at the Secret Blog™: uprooted at a moment's notice, I now find myself in another place with different dramatis personnaeminus one :-( 

But this is neither the time nor place. Suffice it to say that I have returned, just in time to be the very last person in the world to wish you a very happy new year.  May your imagination blossom and grow!

Like this bird* I will be back before long with news of what I make and what catches my eye.  In the meantime, I leave you with a few things I've noticed lately:
          Edition 8x8, from paper magician Martin Graf
          Junko Nakamura : more paper magic (here too)

*PS. This bird image (a monoprint) has been on display at the Museo Zavrel in a group show (curated by Linda Wolfsgruber and Monica Monachesi) based on the theme of Gianni Rodari's stories. It will soon be touring other cities in Italy and elsewhere...