Tag Archives: Inspiration

My Inspiration for September 2019

30 Sep

This September seemed to have lasted a century, and not thirty days… I love this time of the year, these late summer and now early autumn days; days of changes, days of last sunny afternoon and last roses, days when I feel the transience and fragility of everything, when I sense the beauty around me the most with a certain calmness and more quiet joy, and most of all, I see these autumnal days as time to let go of negative things and embrace the new, a time of gratitude and a time to gather strength from the richness and ripeness of nature, the chestnuts, the yellow and red leaves, the apples, and prepare slowly for the silent sombre days which are upon us. Because I feel this way, Rainer Maria Rilke’s poetry and letters are a source of inspiration for me, they are a comfort, they bring me wisdom and clarity, and some verses are so devastatingly beautiful and melancholy that I tremble as I hold the book in my hand. And it’s a wonderful feeling that something can touch you so much! And every tear of poignancy that falls down my cheek serves only to water the future flowers of my imagination.

O to be dead at last and know them eternally,
all the stars: for how, how, how to forget them!
See, I was calling my lover. But not only she
would come……Girls would come from delicate graves
and gather…..for, how could I limit
the call, once called? The buried always
still seek the Earth.

(Rainer Maria Rilke, The Seventh Elegy)

Dreamy sky, pic found here.

Picture by Laura Makabresku.

by z a r i a n k a on Flickr.

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My Inspiration for August 2019

31 Aug

August had not yet passed and already I am starting to daydream of autumn, its richness and colours, the final flash of abundance and joy before winter’s dreariness. As every year in August, I watched “Dark Shadows” (2012) and the scene where the train is passing through autumnal forest and the song “Nights in White Satin” playing in the background is making me so excited for autumn. The costumes and the music in that film is all I want in my life right now! Pre-Raphalite paintings have been on my mind a lot, and there are posts to come about a certain Pre-Raphaelite painter and some of his very beautiful paintings. I finally read Gay Daly’s book “Pre-Raphaelites in Love”, recommended to me by a very lovely person, and I love it to death! Love, art and gossips; always a wonderful combination if you ask me! I am slightly sad that the last official month of summer is gone, but I am at the same time ecstatic and thrilled about the joys of early autumn days which are upon me. I love the idea of a fresh start. What sweet melancholy, to be able to experience transience and yet not be able to do anything about it, like a leaf carried by the wind…

“Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.”

(Edgar Allan Poe, “A Dream Within a Dream”)

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trefriw, conwy, wales

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Story Aesthetic – Nocturne, Mist, Faded Pier

4 Aug

On a distant shore, miles from land
stands the ebony totem in ebony sand
a dream in a mist of gray…
on a far distant shore…

The pebble that stood alone
and driftwood lies half buried
warm shallow waters sweep shells……
I’m trying
I’m trying to find you!
To find you…
(Syd Barrett – Opel)

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Photo by Molly Dean.

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Sea, found here.

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My Inspiration for July 2019

31 Jul

This has been just the most wonderful month! The books I read, the films I saw, the daydreams, the letters, the flowers, the dresses, the joy ahhh…. I read the wonderful, vibrant and amusing novel “The Rum Diary” by Hunter S. Thompson which I reviewed here, then an equally fun memoir “I’m with the band” by Pamela des Barres, first part of the Lemony Snicket’s “Series of Unfortunate Events” and I plan to read the rest too, “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman which was as interesting as the film, I was afraid to read it because “The Graveyard Book” was too slow and too boring for me but I think “Coraline” is great, “Fight Club” by Chuk Palahniuk, poetry by Delmira Agustini, in particular her first poetry collection “The White Book (Fragile)” from 1907, and then the most wonderful new discovery a Chilean author María Luisa Bombal and her two fairly short novels “The Shrouded Woman” (La amortajada) and “House of Mist” (La última niebla). I was mind blown by her writing style and the themes of her novels; she writes the kind of sentences and passages that you wish to read again and again and suck the words in your mouth like bonbons until they melt and fill you whole and you are left delirious, longing for more, desperate and still smiling because she takes you to a dream land of a sort. I watched the film “The Piano” (1993), recommended to me by a very dear person, and wow I was absolutely captivated by the mood and aesthetic and the wonderful performance of Holly Hunter as a mute pianist, and there’s of course Harvey Keitel and beautiful piano music and romance and the mysterious misty shores of New Zealand, this is easily one of my top ten films ever! And I also watched “Say Anything” (1989) with John Cusack and Ione Skye again and …. once again and I smitten by Peter Gabriel’s song In your Eyes and the boombox serenade scene. How very romantical!?

“Love I get so lost, sometimes
Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
When I want to run away
I drive off in my car
But whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are…”

Monet’s garden, picture by Milamai.

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Cornwall, picture found here.

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Monet’s garden. Pic found here.

John Corbet, “Two girls singing”, found here.

By Fed J. McKinnon

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Syd Barrett & Record Player 1969 by Mick Rock

Pic by Stefany Alves

Pic by Stefany Alves

My Inspiration for June 2019

30 Jun

The most beautiful and thrilling things about this June, along with the cheerful fragrant flowers, sunshine and strolls by the river, were the books I read: Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Coockoo’s Nest” which was funny and amusing at first but it stops being so amusing after you see the power and control the mental institution has over a normal, healthy man whose only madness is that he is full of life and rebellious. Suddenly it isn’t funny anymore, but tragical… Here is what the Nurse Ratched tells her patients about solitude: “You men are in this hospital because of your proven inability to adjust to adjust to society. The doctor and I believe that every minute spent in the company of others, with some exceptions, is therapeutic, while every minute spent brooding alone only increases your separation.” So, according to her judgement, Morrissey, Richey Edwards, so many writers, musicians, painters and poets that I admire, and me too, would all the fit for a treatment because we are brooding alone in our bedrooms.Crazy to think that such a person can decide a man’s destiny! My blood boils when I think of it.

Then, two amazing books by a Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulić: “Marble Skin” which is written in the first person and the narrator is a woman sculptor who remembers her childhood with a beautiful but emotionally distant mother, and the other is a biography of Frida Kahlo called “Frida’s Bed”; it was beautifully written and I recommend it to everyone who is interested in Frida Kahlo’s life and art. Drakulić has the ability to say so much, and say such beautiful, poignant and meaningful things in so little pages, each of the books was less than 200 pages long. Then, I enjoyed the humour of everyday life in books by a Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, I read “Closely Watched Trains” and “The Little Town Where Time Stood Still”; both were humorous and full of fascinating observations from day to day life, but also, when you think of what you read, you realise how sad it is. Hrabal conceals the tragical aspects of life with humour, and succeeds in making us blind to the sadness and loneliness that an individual faces. And finally, I at last read a novel “The Stream of Life” (Agua Viva) by a Brasilian writer Clarice Lispector and it was very psychedelic and full of vivid ideas and descriptions. Here is a quote from the novel: “Oh, living is so uncomfortable. Everything presses in: the body demands, the spirit never ceases, living is like being weary but being unable to sleep–living is upsetting. You can’t walk around naked, either in body or in spirit.”

“…the June nights are long and warm; the roses flowering; and the garden full of lust and bees…”

(Virginia Woolf, from a letter to Vanessa Bell, June 1926)

Tenby, Wales (by Sion Esmond)

Sunset in Cornwall (by Frank Fаrrell)

Shirley Jackson, from The Haunting of Hill House

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Sea thrift in Wales, pic found here.

Miss Patina

Northern Ireland, Instagram: emmaneagu

Poppies, pic found here.

Photo by Laura Makabresku

Zagreb, Croatia (by Alesha Brown)

Photo by Laura Makabresku

Ynys Llanddwyn, by Dylan Arnold

New York Stories (1989) – Life Lessons: Artist and his Muse

24 Jun

I am currently rereading Elizabeth Wurtzel’s memoir “Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America” and her vivid descriptions of growing up in 1970s and early 1980s New York made me fantasise about the city that inspired so many artists and bands that I love, from Jackson Pollock and Velvet Underground, to Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, ad Public Enemy. Drawn by the title alone, I decided to watch again the omnibus film “New York Stories” (1989) which consists of three shorter parts, three different little stories, each showing a fragment from the city’s busy life.

Nick Nolte as Lionel Dobie

My favourite short film is the first one called “Life Lessons”, directed by Martin Scorsese. I tells a tale of a middle aged painter Lionel Dobie (played by Nick Nolte) and his beautiful blonde twenty-two year old assistant, ex-lover and muse Paulette (played by Rosanna Arquette). At the beginning of the film, Lionel is madly infatuated with Paulette, but she doesn’t want to be his lover anymore, and decides to stay living with him only to gain some artistic advice and direction. It’s killing Lionel to think that she might leave him, and this turmoil is further deepened by the fact that his big show is in three weeks and he doesn’t have inspiration. Lionel begs her to stay, saying: “You stretch canvases, run a few errands, you got your own room, a studio, life lessons that are priceless, plus a salary.” But of course, he isn’t just interested in things being beneficial for her, they both take advantage of each other; Paulette sees Lionel as a way of getting into posh art circles and a way of learning how to paint better, and it’s obvious why Lionel would benefit from having such a hot young chic around his studio.

Although Paulette returns to live with Lionel in the beginning of the film, she admits that she had an affair with a performance artist. She is now heartbroken and homesick, and she feels her life and her art career aren’t going anywhere. Although he is at first angry at this betrayal, Lionel soon starts to feel how this wild range of emotions; anger, jealousy, uncertainty, longings, frustrations, are all fueling his creativity. And this is where the exciting part comes in; Lionel painting on his huge canvases. Although it isn’t stated, I think he would be an abstract Neo-expressionist painter. He is filling the lonely white empty space of his canvases in abstract shapes and swirls, painting in bold colours and impasto layers which seem like it would take them ages to dry. The close-ups on the colour, all bright and tangible, yellow, red, blue, filled me with ecstasy! Watching those scenes made me finally understand why Vincent van Gogh would eat his paint out of a tube. I wanna lick that paint of the canvas when I see it on the film. I wanna touch it, smear it, leave it everywhere. What an ecstasy it must have been then, to see Jackson Pollock paint his masterpieces!?

I love it how whenever Lionel’s frustration reaches its peak; for example when he hears Paulette talking on the phone to someone, presumably some young man, or when he sees her wrapped only in a robe and making herself a cup of tea in the kitchen, so when his jealousy and passion that he has to tame are at their peak, he goes into his industrial looking studio, puts on a cassette, which is covered with paint flakes just as the cassette player is, and the super groovy soundtrack begins… he is standing in front of the canvas while the music plays “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and “Like a Rolling Stone”. Like a wild shamanistic process which purges him from negative emotions, frees him from the miseries and translates them into the language of the colour and patterns on the canvas. Here is a video with shots from the film and Rolling Stones’s song “Paint it Black” as a background music. You will see here the shots of him painting and you will understand quite well what I am talking about here, it’s something that you just gotta see.

The story was loosely inspired by Dostoevsky’s tale “White Nights” first published in 1848. In the story a nameless narrator is telling us about his lonely life in Saint Petersburg and his encounter with a pretty young girl whose lover had abandoned her. He is a dreamer, and she is naive and heartbroken. They befriend, but in the end the girl’s lover returns and she goes with him, leaving the narrator’s hopes for love broken. The story ends with the narrator getting a letter from the girl who is informing him that she is getting married. He is devastated by this news, but remains happy that at least he had a a few moments of bliss and companionship in his lonely miserable life. One can see the connection between Dostoevsky’s story and “Life Lessons” but I think the nameless narrator and Lionel are totally different men; while the narrator’s spirit is broken and he is devastated when she leaves him, Lionel needs a younger woman to inspire him, but he can get a new one any time, it isn’t about Paulette, it is the whole cycle of possessiveness, jealousy, passion and unrequited element of his love affairs which fuels his creativity and ultimately inspires his chaotic art.

In the end, here is Paulette, who is an aspiring artist, with her painting which I quite like! The two figures look like they belong to some other world, the paler one is taking the other by the hand and perhaps leading it to some better place, like Orpheus taking the Euridice from the underworld… and ultimately failing.

I also want to share with you the words that Lionel told to Paulette when she questioned him whether she is any good at painting. He had little comment on her paintings after she showed them to him and so she asked him:

“Tell me if I have any talent or if you think I’m just wasting my time. Because sometimes I feel I should just quit… because… Just tell me what you think.”

And he tells her something which I think all struggling artists should hear: “What the hell difference does it make what I think. It’s yours. I mean, you make art because you have to, ’cause you got no choice. It’s not about talent, it’s about no choice but to do it. Are you any good? Well, you’re 22, so who knows? Who cares? You wanna give it up? You give it up and you weren’t a real artist to begin with.”

My Inspiration for May 2019

31 May

Month of May being such a romantic and flowery time of the year my imagination took me to the world of Gothic novels, castles with their dungeons and towers, white Regency gowns and handsome Byronic heroes, flower gardens, brides, painting of girls in white having their first communion, cozy cottages, Chateau de Chillon and the Romantics who visited it… Still very much captivated by the film “Taxi Driver” (1976) and Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights which I am thinking about reading again. I started reading a book “The Madwoman in the Attic” and I loved all the chapters that I have read so far, but in particular I enjoyed the chapter about Emily Dickinson and I found the ideas from her poetry and letters highly relatable. I definitely recommend the book!

Also, these lines from Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy” cannot seem to leave my head:

“I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.”

My discoveries this month were one pretty little poem by Keats called “Where be ye going, you Devon maid?”, Milan Kundera’s short story collection “Laughable Loves”, Anais Nin’s dreamy stream of conscience novel “The Children of the Albatross” which I enjoyed but I still think her Journal of Love is way more interesting, I started reading H.D. Lawrence’s novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and I find it interesting, but not as much as I had hoped. beautiful melodies by Fauré such as Dolly’s Garden and Élegié, Paul Weller’s song “Brand New Start” and his cover of the song “Wishing on a Star”.

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”

(Wuthering Heights)

Picture found here.

Photo by Stefany Alves.