Thursday, December 2, 2010

Séraphine Louis "Séraphine de Senlis"

Highly recommend a French film about the artist Seraphine de Senlis, as she became known.
In 2009, the French biographical film Séraphine by director Martin Provost won seven César Awards, including Best Film and Best Actress for Yolande Moreau who starred in the title role.

Biography  taken from Wikipedia

Séraphine Louis was born in Arsy (Oise) on September 3, 1864. Her father was a manual laborer and her mother came from a farmworking background. Séraphine's mother died on her first birthday and her father, who remarried, also died before she was seven; at which point, she came under the charge of her eldest sister. She first worked as a shepherdess but, by 1881, she was engaged as a domestic worker at the convent of the Sisters of Providence in Clermont (Oise). Beginning in 1901, she was employed as a housekeeper for middle class families in the city of Senlis.
Alongside her arduous day jobs, Séraphine painted by candlelight, largely in secret isolation, until her considerable body of work was discovered in 1912 by German art collector Wilhelm Uhde.[1] While in Senlis, Uhde saw a still-life of apples at his neighbor's house and was astonished to learn that Séraphine, his housecleaner, was the artist.[2] His support had barely begun to lift her horizons when he was forced to leave France in August 1914; the war between France and Germany had made him an unwelcome outsider in Senlis, much as Séraphine was, given her eccentric persona. They only reestablished contact in 1927 when Uhde – back in France and living in Chantilly - visited an exhibition of local artists in Senlis and, seeing Séraphine's work, realized that she had survived and her art had flourished. Under Uhde's patronage, Séraphine began painting large canvases as large as two meters high, and she achieved prominence as the naïve painter of her day. In 1929, Uhde organized an exhibition, "Painters of the Sacred Heart," that featured Séraphine's art, launching her into a period of financial success she had never known - and was ill prepared to manage. Then, in 1930, with the effects of the Great Depression destroying the finances of her patrons, Uhde had no choice but to stop buying her paintings.
In 1932, Séraphine was admitted for "chronic psychosis" to the psychiatric ward of a geriatric hospital at Clermont, where her artistry found no outlet. Although Uhde reported that she had died in 1934, Séraphine actually lived until 1942 in a hospital annex at Villers-sous-Erquery, where she died friendless and alone[2]. (Some sources [1]
still state she died in 1934.) She was buried in a common grave. Uhde continued to exhibit her work: in 1932, at the exhibition "The Modern Primitives" in Paris; in 1937-38 in an exhibition titled "The Popular Masters of Reality" which showed in Paris, Zurich, and New York (at MoMA); in 1942, at the "Primitives of the 20th Century" exhibit in Paris, and finally, in 1945, in a solo exhibition of her work in Paris

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. 
I thought, "This is what it is to be happy."  
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I'm so Excited and I Think I Like It

Just received Creative is a Verb byPatti Digh.  I can hardly touch it, it is so awesome, I wish I could have this feeling of excitement and optimism every day!  Fantastic art, inspirational quotes and simply good stories.  Don't know why it took five days to cross Canada after being dispatched though, only takes this long from the UK. 
Excerpt from the book by contributor, Maya Stein:

Irreverent Baker
I should be upstairs with others, drumming up ways
to heal the world, save the animals, pray for water
in a far off continent, devote the remainder of my days
to a catalog of restorations.  But this morning, it was the matter
of scones that drew my gaze, and my feet remained
planted in the kitchen.  One must never ignore the instinct
to create, is what I told myself, and soon the counter was stained
with flour, my hands sticky with dough, the house inked
with the smell of blueberry possibility, and I knew I was not wrong.
This was my prayer, my act of healing, my offering, my song.

How beautiful and relevant is this to those of us who feel we never do good things, are not good enough and keep looking for opportunities to help others when maybe we are already doing it.  Thank you Maya Stein.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kelly and the Dark Bird

Kelly Moore is at the top of my artist rating list, both for her art and words.  Her posts bring a smile to my face and a little reality and meaning back to my small, shallow existence.  Check her out:   I love this:

april 25th 2010

"i have been tould by educated artist
that i am dangerously close
to becoming a crappy folk artist
and not being
nearly "dangerous" enough to be
good contemptory art
so in order to show ms anne temkin just how
dangerous i am and i am letting her know
that i work in risky conditions at the flea market
where all sorts of varmits
that may or may not carry the plague (BLACK DEATH!!!)
routinely get into my shed
and crap all over everything....
therefore i am dangerous"    
excerpt taken from Kelly Moore's page

Miz Katie:  is another artist I love, she picture below-


cheers to you
Greg said her drink is called a Pink Pantie.
He looked it up online.
pink lemonade, Sprite, vodka.
Sounds yummy!
I must try it sometime soon.

I also love Mystele of Gut Art, a lovely person with video classes to suit anyone wanting to create and needing a little push.  I also love her art.  Upcoming classes are expected  for December/January.  Check her out at  

Suzi Blu is one of my favourites since I discovered her You Tube vids three or more years ago.  She offers great on-line classes and is a super fun, wacky person.

Tam at has a FREE five week online art course....week two is up, but there is plenty of time to join, the videos are expected to stay up for a while after the five weeks.  Tam is lovely, gentle and compassionate.

Gary Reef has a great art community at  I love Gary's stenciled art and video tutorials.  Has a great Halloweeny theme now. 

There are so many people who inspire me, these are a few.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Open Door

The door opened revealing the sun drenched day outside. Inside the space was vast and black, the only stream of light came from the half open door above.  Silver lay motionless, stunned by the trickle of light penetrating her eyes causing her to wince.  In another place, another time, she might have seen the light as hope and devised a plan to escape.  Now she lay at the bottom of a seemingly dark pit and peered at the opening, her mind dulled by the trauma of her situation. Inch by inch she dragged herself forward, tearing her skin on the sharp gravel floor beneath her, beads of sweat dripped in her eyes.  The floor above her was gone, only fragments of what had existed jutted out from the edges.  She was indeed below ground level.  Her movements were slow and labored, though she moved, the door did not come closer.  Her fears intensified as she felt the weight of darkness and the taste of blood in her mouth.  Exhausted, cold and confused, she collapsed into a coiled heap in the dirt and stopped moving.

Days later Silver was found by a neighbour.  She lay curled in the darkest corner of her room, a trickle of sunlight touched her face.  Gentle Reader, I leave you with this, was there a door or had the door to her mind closed her off from the hope that comes from the light?  Without hope can one see a way out?  

Above is my little contribution in response to the photo, which refuses to appear here, on Magpie Tales.  I am no writer!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blogging Resistance

Having semi created five or six blogs in as many years I find myself wondering if I will ever do it, blog.  My problem is no different from creating, of which I do little.  Instead I wander blog halls and alleys ooing and rring,  getting generally dispondent and totally stupid because my 'stuff" isn't like the 'stuff' I like.  Do I want cloned creations!?  Absolutely not!  Then why can't I accept my humble creations and be more accepting.  I think I need my midnight blog fix.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Importance of Being Unremarkable

This was sent to me this week and seemed to speak to me.  It comes from:

The Importance of Being Unremarkable

There is a lot of pressure to do epic things; to achieve amazing, record-breaking success. And it often gets in the way of doing unremarkable, important things.
When I sat down to write today, I was trying to think of something interesting or remarkable to write about. I wanted to share something, but I felt inadequate because I didn’t have anything profound or mind-blowing to say. Nothing innovative or particularly uncommon flowed into my consciousness.
It made me feel pretty inadequate and unuseful. Everything you do is supposed to stand out, be amazing, and mind-blowing, right? That’s the way I feel most of the time.
It got me to thinking, this focus we have of doing great things and living awesome lives is all well and good, but sometimes that can take us away from the really extraordinary, unremarkable things in life. It can cause us to view the meaningful, quiet, unexceptional things we engage in as unimportant or without much worth.
When we’re focusing too much on doing epic shit, we can lose sight of the truly epic things that aren’t outwardly or obviously epic.
Some of those things might be…
  • Spending time encouraging someone to follow their heart, and believing in their potential.
  • Feeling your breath.
  • Taking care of your family and loved ones.
  • Being useful in your business, or serving people in a way that is unassuming and not in a way that seems particularly game-changing.
  • Feeling the ground beneath your feet, becoming aware of the love and abundance that exists in this moment.
  • Creating something that isn’t groundbreaking, but allows you to express yourself authentically and joyfully.
  • Doing what makes you come alive, whether or not it’s unique, unheard of, or at a masterful level.
Sometimes by focusing on having each moment be amazing, you overlook the possibility that each moment is already amazing, without you having to do anything about it.
This is the way I feel much of the time. When I’m trying to make things amazing, I feel stifled by my self-imposed pressure. When I allow things to be as awesome as they are, I feel connected and in touch with their inherent qualities. That’s truthful, genuine awesomeness. It’s not manufactured or forced. It’s beautiful as it is. Already. Right now.
Sometimes the quickest way to change the world is to accept how incredible it already is.
So, when I write, when I coach others, and when I live, I want to focus more on the still, subtle, essential awesomeness that is already there… without me having to try to do anything about it.
I think I’m much happier that way. It takes a lot of the pressure off of being game-changing, epic, and remarkable all the time. Most importantly, it allows those things to unfold in a way that is much more joyful.
Because when you give all of your heart, all of yourself to whatever it is you want to create, you can trust that if something is quietly amazing, only slightly elevating your feet off the ground, that is as it should be. If it shakes the earth from its very foundations, then it does. But trying to create planetary tilting results is often the surest way to keep it spinning firmly on its axis.
I think I’m going to have more faith in the divinely intrinsic remarkableness. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether it’s remarkable or not.