Tag Archives: Inspiration

My Inspiration for September 2021

30 Sep

This month my favourite things were the amazing, vibrant paintings of horses by the German Expressionist painter Franz Marc, then the delightful illustrations for the Wind in the Willows by Arthur Rackham, Constantin Guy’s watercolours of fancy Parisians and ladies in crinolines, illustrations by Sarah Kay and Hollie Hobby, covers of the Art Nouveau magazine Jugend, and illustrations by Theophile Steinlen. Violin and cello music to colour the crisp autumn air. I am really excited for the colours and richness of autumn this year! As always in late summer and early autumn, there was a bit of nostalgia and trips down memory lanes before I sail my boat into the groovy orange, mauve and crimson waters of October so I rewatched some of my old favourite films such as “Love Witch” (2016) and listened to some of my old favourites such as Bryan Ferry’s 2HB. It’s nice to revisit old favourites but one must be cautious not to sink into the sweetness of memories and miss out on the present and its possibilities.

“That old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.”

(Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose)

“I have taken to celebrating the anniversaries of my sensations, the anniversary of something that was delightful at one time, of something that actually never occurred. I am reduced to celebrating anniversaries because I no longer have anything with which to replace even those silly, flimsy dreams. For dreams… have to be renewed too.”
(Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s White Nights)

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Viktor Semenovich Vilner, Embankment, Scenes from Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”, 1971

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Picture by Nishe (Magdalena Lutek)

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Picture found on: mireia arpa on Instagram.

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My Inspiration for June 2021

30 Jun

This June my imagination took me to the beautiful lush gardens of Italy such as the Garden of Ninfa where I imagine the distant sound of Faun’s flute and the nymphs splashing water and laughing while the breeze carries a delicate yet sweet floral scent that lulls the senses into an everlasting dream… Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale’s watercolour “Youth and the Lady” seems like a scene from such a dreamy garden. Since I was reading Charlotte Gordon’s amazing biography on Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, I also travelled in my mind to the beautiful places in Italy that Percy and Mary Shelley lived in, such as Naples with the Mount Vesuvius and Pisa. I also enjoyed paintings by Greuze and photographs by Francesca Woodman.

“All cruelty springs from weakness.”

(Seneca)

“Empathy without boundaries is self-destruction.”

(Silvy Khoucasian)

“Future joys are like tropical shores; like a fragrant breeze, they extend their innate softness to the immense inland world of past experience, and we are lulled by this intoxication into forgetting the unseen horizons beyond.”
(Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary)

Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, Youth and the Lady, 1905

 

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Francesca Woodman, Polka Dots, November 1976

Max Kozloff, Francesca Woodman, 1981

Carol Kane photographed by Jean Pagliuso, 1975

By @labohemejulia

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Garden of Ninfa, province of Latina, Italy.

By cadreg@tt on Flickr

Francesca Woodman, Woman with Large Plate, Roma (1978)

My Inspiration for May 2021

31 May

This May I was in the mood for the Pre-Raphaelite art (when am I not in the mood for that?…), but especially the drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti which I feel that I love even more than his paintings. I have also been enjoying the art of Foujita and Miroslav Kraljević, as you have seen from the posts I have written on the topic. I was also reading a book “The Game of Life and How to Play It” by Florence Shinn and here is a very wise quote from it:

“Nothing stands between man and his highest ideals and every desire of his heart, but doubt and fear. When man can “wish without worrying,” every desire will be instantly fulfilled. (…) fear must be erased from the consciousness. It is man’s only enemy – fear of lack, fear of failure, fear of sickness, fear of loss and a feeling of insecurity on some plane. Jesus Christ said: “Why are ye fearful, oh ye of little faith?” (Mat. 8:26) So we can see we must substitute faith for fear, for fear is only inverted faith; it is faith in evil instead of good.”

“Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;

I am also call’d No-more, Too-late, Farewell”

(Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The House of Life)

Ca’ d’Oro, photographed by David Hamilton, Venice, 1989.

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Jane Asher in 1964

Brigitte Bardot, Le Stroboscope, Paris, 1956 – Ph. Willy Rizzo

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Sarajevo, picture found here.

My Inspiration for April 2021

30 Apr

The most important thing of Beauty that I have delighted in this April was Linda Lappin’s freshly published novel “Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne”, you can read more about it in my book review, but I will just say here that it really captivated my imagination and filled my mind with beautiful imagery. It’s really a haunting, beautiful and poignant book. Naturally, descriptions of Jeanne’s clothes made me take a look at the 1910s fashion, especially the Oriental inspired designs by Paul Poirot, then also Diego Rivera’s painting with flowers, Amy Winehouse and Paul Weller singing covers, Talk Talk and The Libertines. I reread Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and found something new and beautiful in it, which I hadn’t seen before. Another thing I must recommend is the video/article (or rather transcript) by the Academy of Ideas called “The Manufacturing of Mass Psychosis – Can sanity return to the insane world?“; very interesting and thought-provoking, it quotes Joost Meerloo’s book “The Rape of the Mind”:

Totalitarianism is man’s escape from the fearful realities of life into the virtual womb of the leaders. The individual’s actions are directed from this womb – from the inner sanctum…man need no longer assume responsibility for his own life. The order and logic of the prenatal world reign. There is peace and silence, the peace of utter submission.

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations)

Open meadows, picture found here.

April 1968. ‘Flirtations come naturally in this romantic new-look that’s date-positive and party-bound.’ Picture found here.

 

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Glowing barrel cacti, Mojave National Preserve, California by Scott Gibson via Flickr https://flic.kr/p/beeUcH

Laura Julie by David Cohen de Lara for ELLE France June 2017, pic found here.

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Picture by elise.buch on instagram.

Picture by elise.buch on instagram.

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Angkor Wat temple, Angkor, Cambodia, picture found here.

Penelope Tree photographed by David Bailey for Vogue, 1969

Gunilla Lindbland for Vogue, April 1971

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Regitze Christensen by Boo George for Numéro August 2017. Picture found here.

Austin Lite, Watercolor and Ink on Cotton Paper, 2019, 9″x 12″

 

Frank Lepold, Impromptu, 2015

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Vincent van Gogh: Life and Art in the Face of Failure

23 Apr

“He worked because he had to, because it kept him from suffering too much mentally, because it distracted his mind. He could do without a wife, a home, and children; he could do without love and friendship and health; he could do without security, comfort, and food; he could even do without God. But he could not do without something which was greater than himself, which was his life—the power and ability to create.”

Vincent van Gogh, Bedroom in Arles, October 1888

This post will be my final one (for now at least….) featuring wonderful passages from Irving Stone’s romanticised biography about the life and struggles of Vincent van Gogh: “Lust for Life”, originally published in 1934. I really love the book and I reread it this spring and I feel that it is truly too beautiful not to be shared! I already have a post about the sun, heat and vibrant colours of Arles, and posts about the art discussions that Vincent had with Gauguin while he stayed in Arles; part one and part two. Today I would like to share a passage which deals directly with the question: why? Why do I paint? What is it that drives me to persist with it, despite constant failure? Vincent is asking himself that and the answer is a very beautiful one and I think all artists should be inspired by it. Indeed, my artist friend loves the quote as well. I think inspiration for creating art should be intrinsic, it has to be the fire within that drives one to create, if one is doing it to please someone else, to gain admiration, approval, praise or popularity, then it’s just not going to work. And now here is the quote:

The hot sun built up his vitality, even though his stomach was getting little attention. In place of sane food he put absinthe, tobacco, and Daudet’s tales of Tartarin. His innumerable hours of concentration before the easel rubbed his nerves raw. He needed stimulants. The absinthe made him all the more excited for the following day, an excitement whipped by the mistral and baked into him by the sun.

As the summer advanced, everything became burnt up. He saw about him nothing but old gold, bronze and copper, covered by a greenish azure sky of blanched heat. There was sulphur-yellow on everything the sunlight hit. His canvases were masses of bright burning yellow. He knew that yellow had not been used in European painting since the Renaissance, but that did not deter him. The yellow pigment oozed out of the tubes onto the canvas, and there it stayed. His pictures were sun steeped, sun burnt, tanned with the burning sun and swept with air.

He was convinced that it was no more easy to make a good picture than it was to find a diamond or a pearl. He was dissatisfied with himself and what he was doing, but he had just a glimmer of hope that it was going to be better in the end. Sometimes even that hope seemed a Fata Morgana. Yet the only time he felt alive was when he was slogging at his work. Of personal life, he had none. He was just a mechanism, a blind painting automaton that had food, liquid, and paint poured into it each morning, and by nightfall turned out a finished canvas.

And for what purpose? For sale? Certainly not! He knew that nobody wanted to buy his pictures. Then what was the hurry? Why did he drive and spur himself to paint dozens and dozens of canvases when the space under his miserable, brass bed was already piled nearly solid with paintings?

The desire to succeed had left Vincent. He worked because he had to, because it kept him from suffering too much mentally, because it distracted his mind. He could do without a wife, a home, and children; he could do without love and friendship and health; he could do without security, comfort, and food; he could even do without God. But he could not do without something which was greater than himself, which was his life—the power and ability to create.

My Inspiration for March 2021

31 Mar

My biggest inspiration this month (and discovery) was Santoka Taneda; a Japanese haiku writer who led a fascinating life and wrote Zen poetry, and also my old favourite Vincent van Gogh: his art, his letters, and Irving Stone’s novel “Lust for Life”. As I am writing this, bright yellow daffodils are smiling to me from their vase and from my window I see the clouds, the skies, the treetops, I hear the birdsong; they all call me to join them and I shall. Enjoy the beautiful pictures!

“There were so many things we feared. And we shouldn’t have. We should have lived.”

(Ivo Andrić)

“Today my path was wonderful. I wanted to shout out to the mountains, the sea, and the sky. The sound of the waves, the birds, the pure water–I’m grateful for everything. The sun shone brightly and the number of pilgrims increases daily. The memorials, the bridges, the shrines, and the cliffs were so beautiful. My rice was like food from heaven.”

(from Santoka Taneda’s diary)

Beautiful watercolour by  李淡淡 .

Picture by i.Anton ☂.

Quote from “Sputnik Sweetheart”, by Haruki Murakami

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Lucia Heffernan – Field Wishes, 2020

Spring Fashion Inspiration: It’s a Romantic New World…

23 Mar

The idea for the title of this post came from a 1968 fashion picture which you’ll see bellow where two girls are seen wearing floral-print dresses and the words “It’s a romantic new world” are scrawled over it. World in this moment is more a 1984-Brave New World one, but I still like to daydream about more romantic imaginary Arcadian worlds… Enjoy the pictures! 🦋🌷🌻

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Larme Kei fashion magazine scans found here.

March 1977. ‘A feminine bouquet of soft pastels to embroider on a lovely, long white dress.’ Found here.

Found on: louiseebelpandora Instagram

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My Inspiration for February 2021

28 Feb

My biggest discovery this month was the Symbolist painter Gustav Adolf Mossa and I am still smitten with his fascinating watercolours of skeletons, passion, blood, saints and flowers, I also enjoyed the beautiful, vibrant and dreamy flower paintings by Odilon Redon, Jean-Louis Forain’s paintings of ballerinas and their admirers, theme of transience which I explored through the art of Juan de Valdés Leal’s painting “In ictu oculi” and let me quote Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s play “Life is a Dream”: “What is life? A madness. What is life? An illusion, a shadow, a story. And the greatest good is little enough: for all life is a dream, and dreams themselves are only dreams.” As you have seen from my fashion inspiration post, I have been into the 1990s fashion and that’s mainly because I’ve been watching (again) the show Beverly Hills 90210 but only the first four seasons, I don’t care for the show after Brenda leaves. Early in the show Brenda sometimes annoys me, but in season four she is just wonderful. Here’s a poem by Jack Grapes that Dylan recited in the show in season four at a poetry reading class:

“With you, the earth was a bed of grass
We slept in it like two seeds
With you, I was more than I am
Your mouth, the sun
Made everything possible
I burn with the love that I lost
When I lost you.”

“You know, it’s quite a job starting to love somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment, in the very beginning, when you have to jump across a precipice: if you think about it you don’t do it. I know I’ll never jump again.”

(Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea)

Los Angeles, picture found here.

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Los Angeles, 4th July 2020, picture found here.

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Vladimir Mayakovsky, A Letter written to his sister Ludmila, 1905

liberty.mai instagram

 

 

My Inspiration for January 2021

31 Jan

I cannot say that I am sad because January is over, I mean, it isn’t the most exciting month, but it did leave me a gift of some delightful violin music and a wonderful book “The Claiming of the Sleeping Beauty” by Anne Rice which I enjoyed immensely! It’s an erotic novel and most reviews I read were rather negative, but I found it a great read; I liked that it’s a classic and well-known fairy tale but with a twist. My aesthetic this month was partly very dreamy, princessy and snowy, and partly inspired by Marianne Stokes’s wonderful portraits of Slovak and Hungarian girls. Nature is still asleep but I am ardently awaiting it to awake once more, I can hardly contain my excitement when I imagine the meadows and gardens now covered with snow will be green and alive with the laughter of the primroses…

I treated Art as the supreme reality and life as a mere mode of fiction.”

(Oscar Wilde, De Profundis)

Chateau de Crazannes, France (by Mathias Doisne)

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By: Victoria Chmel | victoriachmel

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Pic by Stefany Alves

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My Inspiration for December 2020

31 Dec

This December my aesthetic was Greuze’s delicate and wistful girls, fairy tales, castles covered in snow, winter forests, skeletons and maidens, Polanski’s film Fearless Vampire Killers with the gorgeous Sharon Tate, 1990s fashion by Lolita Lempicka, white lace dresses and frosty red roses, troubadours and damsels, swans and sad brides, The Smiths, delicate watercolours by Susanna Duncombe (1725-1812), birches and wedding veils. I watched a wonderful and poignant Polish film “Brzezina” (The Birch Wood, 1970) which touched me deeply and I will surely watch it again. I also Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (finally, because I love the film!) and Bret Easton Ellis’ wonderful book of essays called “White” (2019); it was refreshing to read some common sense.

“Love life more than the meaning of it.”

(Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov)

“My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking to suit other people! My manner of thinking stems straight from my considered reflections; it holds with my existence, with the way I am made. It is not in my power to alter it; and if were, I’d not do so.”
(Marquis de Sade (in a letter to his wife; 1783)
“We are all engaged in the task of peeling off the false selves , the programmed selves, the selves created by our families, our culture, our religion.”
(Anais Nin, In Favour of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays)

“Silver Birch” (c.2005) photograph by Adam Brock, via flickr.com

Brzezina (1970)

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Château de la Bretesche by Night by Loïc Lagarde

Instagram: opheliesz