Carrousel de Jaude

07 December 2014

A commissioned painting of the carousel in my city's central plaza.

"Carrousel de Jaude"
watersoluable crayons, graphite, watercolour, and acrylic on paper
25.8 cm  x  25.8 cm
5 & 6 December 2014

more pics after the cut . . .

Château Lieujean (vin rouge)

11 November 2014

 Château Lieujean (vin rouge)
acrylic on canvas
November 2014
(one of a set of two commissioned wine paintings) 

Painting glass is always a challenge!
 I'm really pleased with this one, and I think it's the best glass I've painted, yet.

More pics after the cut . . .

Ashre Ashre (portrait of Tori Amos)

"Ashre Ashre"
a portrait of Tori Amos
chalk pastel on tinted A4 paper
11 November 2014

Inspired by the song Muhammed, My Friend, from the album Boys For Pele.

As I was drawing, the lyrics  "ashre, ashre, ashre ..." and "Moses I know, I know you've seen fire, but you've never seen fire, until you've seen Pele blow!" kept coming into my head. I sang as I worked, and I tried to bring a fiery glow into the drawing, in keeping with Pele's energy.

Yesterday, I bought a block of tinted pastel paper... Canson... beautiful... sumptuous texture... how could I not dive right in?! It's been a long time (omg, years!.. really? yes!) since I worked on tinted paper. It's so different to work lights into darks, rather than the other way around, and it really forces me to approach my drawing from a totally different part of my brain.

More pics after the cut . . .

Leaving Terra (portrait of Tori Amos)

"Leaving Terra"
a portrait of Tori Amos
chalk pastel on tinted A4 paper
10 November 2014

Inspired by the song Scarlet's Walk (from the album of the same name).
Yesterday, I was listening to this album and, as always, it was reaching into my heart and stiring things up... the colours of red clay earth always come to mind when I hear it, so I went to them in the studio, and we had a visual conversation.

This drawing helped to remind me everything about why I love chalk pastels.

More pics behind the cut . . .

Ceramic Cemetery Portraits (Cimetière des Carmes)

03 November 2014

 J'adore these ceramic cemetery portraits. They are so beautiful and touching.
 I love them best of all when they are faded or cracked in interesting ways. 
When I die, I hope to have one on my tombstone.

More pics after the cut...

Crucifixes in Cimetière des Carmes

1st November 2014. 
A stroll through the graveyard on The Day of the Dead.
Cimetière des Carmes, Clermont-Ferrand, France

More pics after the cut . . .

A Stroll Through the Graveyard (Day of the Dead 2014)

A visit to my favourite local cemetery 
(Cimetière des carmes, in Clermont-Ferrand, France)
 on The Day of the Dead, 1st November 2014.

Lots of pics, after the cut . . .

WWI Memorial, Cimetiére des Carmes, France

02 November 2014

Fresh flowers for the Day of the Dead (1st November)...
The setting sun casting its golden light on the relief of solders, carrying a fallen man...
The memorial reads, "For our glorious dead 1914 - 1918"


More photos behind the cut....

Angels in Cimetiére des Carmes, Clermont-Ferrand France

 1st November is the Day of the Dead, and for the occasion, I went to my favourite local cemetery, to visit the west corner, which I had not yet seen. I discovered two beautiful angels, one in bronze, and another in marble. The light was lovely, as the sun began to set, throwing pink and gold light on the black lava stones.

More pics behind the cut....

Happy Halloween


Much to my joy, we actually had 10 trick-or-treaters this year!
 (Halloween is still a new phenomenon in France.) 

After our delicious roasted pumpkin feast, we took loads of pics (thanks much to David Helsten for taking our couples shots!) and then settled in to Hitchock's Psycho on bluray (sooo good!)

I hope you had a delightfully spooky Halloween!

 Lots of pics after the cut... 

Hallowe'en (autoportrait series)

01 November 2014

I have a new hair colour...
A mix of Crazy Color violette, bordeaux, and vermillion. (I love it!)

More pics after the cut . . .

Fruit of the Dead (autoportait series)

 In Ancient Greek mythology, the pomegranate was known as the "fruit of the dead", and believed to have sprung from the blood of Adonis.

The myth of Persephone, the goddess of the underworld, prominently features the pomegranate. Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken off to live in the underworld as his wife.  It was the rule of the Fates that anyone who consumed food or drink in the underworld was doomed to spend eternity there. Persephone had no food, but Hades tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds while she was still his prisoner, so she was condemned to spend six months in the underworld every year.

( )

An autoportrait session on Halloween, featuring The Fruit of the Dead . . .

More pics after the cut . . . .

La Colère et La Négociation

05 October 2014

La Colère et La Négociation)
Anger and Bargaining
 acrylic and gesso over paper collage
A3 (11.7" x 16.5")
4 October 2014
The fifth painting in my series about grief.
The palette knife was my weapon of choice for this piece -- slashing and striking at the wet paint and gesso, calling out the inner demons of anger and bargaining, of which even now, there are still a few lingering in the darkest part of the sorrowful pit in my chest.  

(more pics behind the cut)

Tu me manque

Tu me manque
I miss you
acrylic and gesso over paper collage
A3 (11.7" x 16.5")
4 October 2014

This is the fourth painting in my series of grief.
 (It's also my second favourite in the series.)
I've had this image in my head for months,
and I think it lit the flame for the series, at large.

(more pics behind the cut)

Les Larmes II

Les Larmes II
The Tears II
acrylic and gesso over collage
A3 (11.7" x 16.5")
4 October 2014
The third painting in my series about grief.

(more photos behind the cut)  

La violence des larmes

La violence des larmes
The violence of tears
 acrylic and gesso on paper
A3 (11.7" x 16.5")
4 October 2014

The second painting in my series about grief.
 . . . I really hate to cry.

 (more pics behind the cut)

Les Larmes

Les Larmes
The Tears
acrylic, gesso, and varnish over paper collage
A3 (11.7" x 16.5")
4 October 2014

The first painting in my "Grief" series, which I began, yesterday.

I bottle-in my feelings, and tend to keep my emotional sufferings and traumas to myself. In the past, I was never comfortable with creating artworks as a means to express my most personal and sensitive emotions... it felt too much like letting the world read my diary... but, recently, I've come to terms with my need to make expressive works. The feeling of release which followed this painting spree was, indeed, quite liberating.

This is one of my two favourites from the series, thus far.

(more pics, behind the cut...) 

La Douleur

La Douleur 
(The Pain) 
acrylic and gesso over paper collage
A3  (11.7" x 16.5")
4 October 2014

The first of the 6 paintings I did yesterday . . .

. . . exploring the my physical and emotional feelings of suffering. 
This one, La Douleur, as one might guess, about my back pain. 

I have a crooked spine, which has given me chronic and often debilitating pain, for as long as I can remember. As I get older, it gets worse... I've lost 2 inches in my height over the past decade, and there are 2 discs under compression. The upper disc, which is just between my shoulders, behind the solar plexus, sometimes pinches a nerve, which gives me searing and relentless pain that can last for months at a time.

Having been quite crushed under the feeling throughout September; I needed to release some of it through my brushes...

(lots of pics behind the cut....)

Fire Faery

31 August 2014

" Fire Faery "
coloured pencil and ink on A4 paper
July 2014

(This piece is a bit of an allegory for the month of July, while we had a horrendous heatwave.)

More pics . . .

"Weatherman" series of postcard paintings

19 June 2014

"Weatherman" 12 postcard paintings
watercolour and graphite on paper
17 and18 June 2014

Inspired by the song "Weatherman" from Tori Amos' new album, Unrepentant Geraldines. 
(To see the series of "Unrepentant Geraldines" postcard paintings, go here)

"Weatherman" is, without a doubt, my favourite song from the album; it made me weep upon first listen, and it still brings tears to my eyes every time...
The exquisite lyrical poetry and haunting, delicate melody bring my heart to its knees.

The lyrics are inspired by the works and painting philosophy of Cessane, who would see the forms of women while observing nature. The lyrics tell the story of a widower who sees his wife in all of nature, through the seasons.

Dixie (portrait of Tori Amos)

18 June 2014

(portrait of Tori Amos)
watercolour, graphite, coloured pencil, and ink on A4 paper
17 and 18 June 2014

A commissioned portrait, inspired by the song Dixie (a B-side from Amos' newest album).

The song is a simple, but sweet and sentimental story about a daughter and mother, winter window shopping together, and the way that her mother's love makes her "the richest girl in Dixieland".

(The lyric "She is still holding my hand" was requested, along with the piano and the shoe.)

Here's the song... enjoy a listen:

The Ace of Spades

11 June 2014

The Ace of Spades
coloured pencil and ink, on A3 paper
June 2014

Know one knows for certain, the name of the woman with absinthe eyes and ruby lips, though some say it's Maria, and others say it's Adeline, but both foes and lovers, far and wide, will testify: she is The Ace of Spades. 

They say she flies a shining airship, plated with brass and beetle-green glass, and she never looses in games of chance. Rumor tells that beneath her ruffled skirt she hides a dagger with a silver blade, which she won (or stole) from a smuggler in floating market (or perhaps an airship bar,) but no matter who tells the tale, one knows for certain whatever became of him... 

The lady's voice is low and soft, like something creeping in the dark. She enters a room like a peacock, a flash of colour and plumes, and all eyes turn to her in wonder... and wonder they do, who is this lady with hair like midnight, and a smile like a dangerous gift? 

If you ask anyone, they'll tell you: "She is The Ace of Spades."

My Interview with Lucy Chen

31 May 2014

I was recently interviewed by (amazing painter!) Lucy Chen, where we discussed painting,  personal inspiration,  my love of mythology,  creating one's own personal dictionary of symbols,  the catharsis and confidence that comes from painting from the "inside-out",  and my book Garden of Illumination.

 Lucy Chen Fine Art:
 Painting for an Expressive Living

LOVE TRIANGLE (detail, self-portrait) © Lucy Chen,
 39.4"x21.7"x1", oil on linen. Artist's Collection

Video interview + mp4 audio downloads:

Famous Graves in Pére-Lechaise Cemetery, Paris

24 May 2014

Last weekend, I went with some friends, on a photo tour of Pére-Lachaise, the big, famous cemetery in Paris. We found several celebrity graves:

 Oscar Wilde:
(author and playwright)

Meeting Tori Amos + the concert in Paris

22 May 2014

Last Saturday, on 17 May, I took the train up to Paris to rendez-vous with friends, and then to (hopefully) meet Tori Amos and see the show at Le Grand Rex.

Luckily, there was a meet-&-greet that day (the first in Paris since 2009!) so I had the opportunity to tell her how much I LOVE the new record (Unrepentant Geraldines), as well as get an autograph (to me and my husband, on the song lyrics for Selkie,) and I gave her two gifts: a painting, and a copy of my book....

Chateau Rocher

11 April 2014

 "Chateau Rocher"
watersoluable crayon on A4 paper

Another painting in my recent series of local land/cityscapes.

Chateau Rocher is just a ruin now, tucked away in a hidden corner of the Auvergne, looming over a tree crested valley, ever a steadfast sentinel of stone. I was here, a few years ago, would like to go back again ...

This place is so magical; the rocks actually sparkle with natural mica glitter!

Portrait: "Tori Amos (revving from a central source)"

 "Tori Amos (revving from a central source)"
water-soluable crayons, watercolour, and graphite on paper

I'm super excited about Tori's new album (Unrepentant Geraldines, which hits the shelves next month!) So, I went a big listening binge, and about an hour into the playlist, I came to Suede (from To Venus and Back), and when it got the line "revving, yes, revving from a central source," it just shouted, "Paint me!" ... so I did.

I wanted to show sexually-charged, fluidic energy...
 a flow of motion, like a the feeling of an engine revving up...
a little off-kilter, a little haphazard...
 lots of purples and some lagoon blues...
a sort of lucid dream space...

I went digging through some photos and found a few to use as references, put the song on repeat, and then I let this painting exploded out of my brushes!

"... anybody knows, you can conjure anything by the dark of the moon ... "

Cathedral (II)

Via a commission, this is a revisiting of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption.
It's a slightly softer, and larger version of my previous painting (found here.)

"Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption de Clermont-Ferrand (II)"

Water-soluable crayon and watercolour on paper

This is my fav bit:

La Fée Verte

06 April 2014

"La Fée Verte"
(water-soluable crayons, watercolour, graphite, and ink on A4 paper)
Like a lucid dream at twylight, emerging from an absinthe glass,
 La Fée Verte awakens from her slumber.

Stemming from the 19th century, La Fée Verte (French, for "The Green Fairy") is a popular euphemism for absinthe.

I'm an infrequent drinker, but absinthe is one of my favourites. 
I'm fond of both the flavour and its digestive qualities, and it does, as purported, induce a sort of lucid drunkenness, which makes it an excellent companion to late-night painting and musical swoons.

“Absinthe is the only decent drink that suits an artist."
-Paul Gauguin 

Study in Red

A spontaneous painting doodle . . .
(water soluable crayon on A4 paper)

 This is my favourite part... I'm considering cropping the painting, to just this section:


05 April 2014

I'm painting again . . .

This painting comes after a long month of rest, reflection,  and regeneration.

Lately, my chronic health issues have been an upward battle, and it's not so surprising that I've been feeling depressed and depleated (since my mother's death, in November) so it seems I've had no will to communicate with my painterly muses, or, perhaps, they have been giving me a little time to myself.

Through the month of March, I did a lot of introspection about growth. No doubt, the spring buds and cherry blossoms have had a hand in this... but, growth, rebirth, and reinvention of the self have much been on my mind of late.

(more pictures below the cut. . . )

Self-studies in Black and White

10 March 2014

The second series of photos from my recent autoportrait session


more photos behind the cut:

Autoportraits as Mab

09 March 2014

 ‘Spirit!’ the Fairy said,
And pointed to the gorgeous dome,
’this is a wondrous sight
And mocks all human grandeur;
But, were it virtue’s only meed to dwell
In a celestial palace, all resigned
To pleasurable impulses, immured
Within the prison of itself, the will
Of changeless Nature would be unfulfilled.
Learn to make others happy. Spirit, come!
This is thine high reward: -the past shall rise;
Thou shalt behold the present; I will teach
The secrets of the future.

The Fairy and the Spirit
Approached the overhanging battlement.
Below lay stretched the universe!
There, far as the remotest line
That bounds imagination’s flight,
Countless and unending orbs
In mazy motion intermingled,
Yet still fulfilled immutably
Eternal Nature’s law.
Above, below, around,
The circling systems formed
A wilderness of harmony;
Each with undeviating aim,
In eloquent silence, through the depths of space
Pursued its wondrous way.’

- Percy Bysshe Shelley, excerpt from "Queen Mab"

" Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. "

- William Butler Yeats, excerpt from "The Stolen Child"

" ‘I am the Fairy Mab: to me ‘tis given
The wonders of the human world to keep;
The secrets of the immeasurable past,
In the unfailing consciences of men... "

- Percy Bysshe Shelley, excerpt from "Queen Mab"