Friday, September 29, 2006

Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes!

France is foggy. Fog makes me all meloncholy in a Carl Jung + Heidegger kind of way. This could easily turn into a post about the changing weather in this part of France or the not so subtle shift from late summer to fall, or the lurking fog that hugs the ground every morning and makes me feel like I'm still dreaming as I drive my Favorite French boy to the train station. But even I'm bored of my moodiness, so let's just get down to business shall we?

Since I've been neglecting my blog so horribly over the past few months I thought the least I could do would be to post some new works in process. In May I set myself up with a summer project to finish 10 large scale paintings. It's nearly October and I've only finished four. (Make that four and a half.) Taking up easel painting after an almost 6 year hiatus has proven to be a real challenge. I've learned a few new painting tricks, but I learned even more about my own working process. I'm impatient, easily agitated, indecisive, and obsessive.....on canvas anyway. Paintings always come to the point of resolving themselves and then somehow completely disintegrate before my very eyes only to end up leaning against the wall in my livingroom for a week before I can bare to look at them again.

So far I've produced two paintings that I enjoy looking at, and two others that I find troubling but "interesting". And then of course there are those canvases that just surprise me by transforming and moving in directions I hadn't quite intended.

For example: this painting which I had posted as being finished...


...has turned into this painting.

fazeters hoaes

I guess it wasn't done after all. Resolution, resolution, always seeking resolution, perhaps where there is none. This little summer painting project has become my own private metaphor for life. (insert dramatic rolling of eyes and deeply pathetic sigh here)

No doubt more grand changes are on the way. I have two other canvases that I'm working on at the moment. My goal is to finish them by next week before we leave for TOKYO! Cross your fingers for me. I'll need all the help I can get. Also cross your fingers that I'll find a comfortable pair of walking shoes this weekend. I 'm a bit desperate.

And in closing, a few appropriate quotes about painting:

Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.— Edgar Degas

If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.— Edward Hopper

A painting is never finished. It simply stops in an interesting place.— Paul Gardener

I should have gone to lawschool. - Me

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

French Baby Blogging Part 2

In France when you go shopping you can bring your kid along without worrying about them crying and screaming while you get down to business. Here in France we have what I like to call "baby check". It's just like a coat check, but you do it with your crumb-snatchers.

The first time I saw this I couldn't quite wrap my head around it. I can't imagine how something like this would work in the US without lawyers eventually being involved. Perfectly responsible parents just drop their kids off, take a pick-up ticket, and go about their business for up to 60 minutes---and it's free. Inside the baby check, the kiddos play games, watch cartoons, and sing, dance, draw, and do other kid crap. It's like a nightclub with really nice bouncers and no cover charge for the 4-7 year old set. Some kids even seemed a bit disappointed when there parents finally arrived to retrieve them.

We went to 3 stores this weekend that had baby checks. At IKEA in Metz they have the coolest baby check ever. When you drop off your kid they take your name and contact info, then they wrap your kid in a bright yellow vest with a big-ass number printed on the back. Now, with their baby check vests securely in place, your kids can go nuts nailing eachother in the head with lightweight plastic balls safely behind sound-proofed glass while you follow the yellow brick road to your new Billy bookcase.

So only one question remains: technically can you just drop your kid off there, leave the store to do what you please, and then show up 60 minutes later? If anyone has tried this maneuver please do tell!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Why I heart France: Reason # 5

The French mother-in-law is a much maligned creature. Much like her American counterpart, La Belle Mere (literally translated: "Pretty Mother") is often accused of being overbearing, demanding, and have been known to coddle their sons to the point of co-dependancy. More than a few of my friends have told me their Belle Mere horror stories, so it appears I have hit the French Mother-in-law jackpot.

Today my own French Mother-in-law stopped by for coffee on her way home from her weekly "soin de visage" (Fancy french facial treatment). Not only did she fold the mountain of laundry that was piled on our bed, she took all the wrinkled items home with her to iron. She then proceeded to dry & put away all the dishes I had just finished washing. Oh and did I mention that she just happened to bring along a hot baguette from the best boulagere in town and a fresh green bean salad topped with her nearly legendary sweet vinagrette?

...And some people ask me if I'll ever move back to the states.
Well let me tell you now, that living under these conditions makes it highly unlikely.

What can I say? I married well.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Girl Like Me.

I haven't had alot to say for the past few weeks while I've been off painting, but I just wanted to post a link to this great short film made by High-schooler Kiri Davis . She made A Girl Like Me at the tender age of 16 under the auspices of the Reel Works teen filmmaking program.

I don't want to give anything away, but basically
Davis does a documentary with other teen girls about the way they see themselves, in terms of skin color and Blackness. Then, she recreates the famous Kenneth Clark tests when the little kids are asked which doll the prefer, the black one or the white one.

Very interesting stuff!

Monday, September 18, 2006

French Baby Blogging Part 1

Do you hear that constant ticking sound?

That’s the deafening sound of My Favorite French Boy’s biological clock ticking. And although we keep hitting the snooze button, it sure is fun to window shop so to speak.

This weekend we had drinks & dinner with French Cousins Sebastian & Sandrine in their lovely new apartment. The star of the evening of course was their adorable 3 year old son Matisse. As soon as we walked through the door, French Boy and Matisse were playing “Pirates” and having a full on sword fight. At one point My French Boy had some sort of belt wrapped around his head.
(Modern French pirate attire?)

Monday, September 11, 2006


It's been 5 years since I left the city. I miss Brooklyn so much that it hurts, but most of all I just miss my friends.

So this September, rather than focusing on the hard times, here are a few photos of some of my best memories from NYC.


The view from my first apartment in Brooklyn.


Lil' Baby J-Rock: "Get off da stage!"


Ooooh Buddy!


The Resplendissante Kasia!


Finging sweet oblivion at Motor City...

I got nothin' but love for you baby!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Why I heart France: Reason # 4

I haven't done one of these "heart" posts in awhile, but when I came across this I knew it would be perfect. A few nights ago my Favorite French Boy and I were on our way home & realized we had forgotten to buy a baguette before all the bakeries had closed. Tragic, I know. Just when we were about to throw ourselves into the Moselle river, French Boy says: "Wait, maybe we can buy one out of the machine."


Apparently in Thionville Centre Ville, the oldest part of town which dates back to the 13th century, there is a machine that dispenses loafs of warm bread & warm baguettes. Eventhough there was no way I was eating bread out of a machine, I had to see it to believe it. The machine was dirty & old and all banged up, but I couldn't help find it completely charming.....not charming enough to buy bread out of, but charming none the less.


We eventually bought a fake baguette (an absolute blasphemy made from frozen dough ) from the local supermarket and headed home to eat our Mirabelle pâté with a nice Rosé while laughing ourselves to tears at GhostBusters.


Total price of a French fast-food dinner for two = 9.50 euros
As Bill Murray would say: "This is it. This is definitely it!"

Saturday, September 02, 2006

La Reine de la Mirabelle!

For the 3rd year in a row I have narrowly survived Mirabelle season.


Before I moved to France I had never heard of a Mirabelle, but in the Lorraine region it’s all anyone talks about come the end of each summer. Mirabelles are basically yellow prunes that are a specialty of Lorraine. The region produces 15,000 tons of mirabelles annually. These little fruits are so venerated that for weeks everyone in the region is forced to eat Mirabelles non-stop in every type of dish from pie to pâté.


Now, the list of things I have grown to absolutely adore while living in France is quite long, but the Mirabelle has not quite made the cut. I for one, think they are goofy little fruits, but when French Mother-in-law makes her famous Tarte de Mirabelles I succumb to Mirabelle mania and eat it anyway.


And just last week, those crazy French folks over in Nancy even went so far as to make the largest world's longest Tarte de Mirabelle which measured in at 206.31 meters, or around 4000 portions.


But wait! Just when you think it can't get any weirder: Each year the city of Metz (which will be our new home next year!) dedicates two entire weeks of celebrations & parties to these goofy little fruits. During the Fêtes de la Mirabelle celebration there are live music concerts, parties, fireworks, art exhibits, and of course open markets where you can buy damn near everything made with Mirabelles including pies, liquer, jam, and probably even shoes.

metz party

But my absolute favorite part of the festival is the crowning of the Mirabelle Queen and the parade and gala celebration that follow.

That’s right folks it’s The Mirabelle Queen!


And although it sounds like some sort of drag queen competition, its an honest to goodness pageant. With ladies. In fact this year the judging was done by the same panel that judges the Miss France competition. Tough crowd! Mirabelle Queen 2006 is Hafida Berhilia!


Needless to say, I am glad that Mirabelle season is officially over. Now we can go back to eating other fruits like say… quetche!

Friday, September 01, 2006

I haven't been blogging. I was in prison #2.

I haven't blogged in two weeks. I've been busy working and I have been neglectful, I know. I'm sorry. You'll just have to forgive me. Now get over it already.

Stuff that's new with me:


dandelion leaves

1. I've been busy in my studio/dining room yet again. I don't have much to add except a quick snapshot of the two paintings I've recently finished. No titles yet. They're acrylic & ink on canvas. 80 x 100 cm. I think they're finished anyway. I'll let them sit around for a few weeks before I decide.

2. We're going to Japan! We finally got our tickets to Tokyo for October. We'll be there for just under 2 weeks. We plan on visiting Tokyo, Kyoto and maybe one other city, but we'll be sleeping under a bridge if we don't book our hotel by this weekend, but at any rate we're super excited to be going!


3. Inspite of all the rain, last weekend I had great fun shopping with 3 boys! My French boy's friend JR and his son Constantin joined us in Metz for lunch and we ended up furniture shopping all afternoon. JR and his wife were the witnesses at our legal wedding at the Mairie de Thionville and 10 year old Constantin played the music for our religious ceremony. Isn't he just the cutest violinist you've ever seen?


4. And last but not least. I will be spending April 2007 at the Vermont Studio Center making artwork. They offered me a residency a year ago, but had I to turn it down because it was just too much money, but this year they wised up and gave me the money to go. "The Vermont Studio Center is located in Johnson in the middle of the Green Mountains. The Center's studio campus is composed of 30 historic buildings on the banks of the Gihon River."

Yippee, sounds swell. Let's just hope it doesn't snow in April!