Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lighten up Boys!

I went back on the Clarity of Night's blog to check for the Elemental Contest results.

As I scrolled down the page, this is how the information hit me and I shall try my best to reproduce what went on in my mind.
Full lights turned on in my brain.
Am I in the first fifth winners?
(Some lights fading)
Did I get listed in the 10 Honorable Mentions? 
Huh. No.
(More lights dimming)
Was I selected to be part of the Reader's choices?
Apparently not.
(Complete darkness)
Not looking too good this time Boys.

(Two bulbs of curiosity start shining)
Hum. Let's have a look.
102 entries in total.
28,531 hits.
That's a lot.

(Four bulbs on)
And 10,228 visitors.
Holy crap!
(Six bulbs on)

Oh wait, there is Fourties Club.
What's that?
Club of talent. Asterisks have been added to those names who had showed skills in writing.
(Half of the lights are on again)
So did I get inducted into the Forties Club?
Not even close.

Full lights off. 

Am I undeterred?
Yes. And (grunting) no.

Was it worth it? 
Yes. Very interesting blog and a huge network of talented writers.
I will probably join more contests.
Besides that man, Jason Evans desserves a medal for putting these contests together and take the time to read and mark them.

Check out his blog:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nicola Verlato

My mind is empty. Words are escaping me. So I am going to let Art take over my blank canvas and fill these pages for me.
And I have just the right subject.
Because through David Dalla Venezia's blog, I found one artist whose style left me frozen in time.
To when I discovered him or her.
(Is Nicola Verlato a male or a female? I do not know.
Let me check. Ah male. Well here you go)
But what I know, is a few days ago when I visited the artist's blog,  the paintings stayed with me like ghosts.
The claws of war gripped at me when I saw some of his work. Tendrils of darkness stretch out of his paintings and followed me here.
So here it is. For your eyes only.

To the left, it is "Fifty cent" 2003.

To the right, 2011, The End of History... and the Return of History

I found those paintings so powerful, it just knocks me three feet away (inside) 
I mean the intensity of the scenes are just amazing. So staggering in their honesty.
It is like time has paused in order to let us feel what it must be feel like to be in a moment of chaos or helplessness. And I love the choices of colours. Dimmed, muted, subtle. Scraping the life of colours to retain only what counts. A place in time and space. An emotion. An action.

The painting to our right is quite different from the two above but all the same. I love it. Also I must admit. I am a little puzzled as what it stands for. I checked on the text below the picture in the artist's blog and i couldn't find a title. The artist said he took on the theme of the Mothers series but with a "twist"...I wrote to him. Maybe he can enlighten me. If not, we will leave as it is. A beautiful mystery.

When your heart is cold

My heart is getting cold with reading the first three chapters.
I have arrived at such level of detachement that I can't see if it is even good any more.
I feel it is just completely crap now.
And I know I have been told I should leave it for a while and go back to it.
But it is not that I can't. It is just that I won't.
I have done it before.
Leave it. Work on it. Leave it. Work on it. Over and over and over again.
For three, five, seven, nine, twelve months.
I can no longer have this luxury.
I must send it or scrap it.
For my own sanity, I am going to send it. And I swear to God. I wish I never have to go through this hell again.
I can't believe after all those months, minutes, seconds, years of work, I will be sending it and I feel nothing.
I don't even care for the result. I just want to separate myself from it and live. breathe. think sane again.
Be an entity again and not this shell of me that is slowly emptying itself into this book.
That's a sign that I can't take the revision any more.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I have just discovered tonight a new website.
With Short story blog competitions.
The subject is Elemental!
Elemental. My subject!
And the deadline is tonight!
250 words max
So I wrote up something.
Very quickly.

154 words.

Here it is:
The Calling

She walks on the asphalt. Hard, hot, black.
People stares.
Toward the blond sand. Grainy. Soft. Lukewarm. Malleable.
It is better.
She smiles.
Towards the sea. Blue. Fluid. Cool.
People still stares.
She is naked after all.
She enters his realm.
He is lifting her up at long last.
He surrounds her. Caresses her.  Every inch of her body. Then holds her still just for a moment.
A low groan comes from his throat.
Then he pushes her away.
Then pulls her in.
He plays.
She knows.
Come, he begs. Are you with me YET?
She breathes in. Her pores, her eyes, her lungs slowly fill with the fluid.
Her body exults. Her chest begins to expand. The fog in her mind clears.
She explodes outward.
I am now.
My love. 

The Deep once more.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Writer at heart

Raining in my speech.
Raining in my heart.
Apart from the fact that my children story got rejected by a children's agent today, everything is peachy.
In fairness, the agency was extremely quick to reply to me. About a week. So at least, I can move on to the next agent.
I guess I must prepare myself to send it to a lot of agents.

And if their answers are all negative, then I must send it to all publishers.
And if their replies are still negative, well, I guess I could go self-publishing but I won't. 
I don't think I have the stamina to go through all that heartache.
And going ebook? 
Well knowing all the hits I have at the moment, i.e: with this blog *coughs* and all the numerous contacts I have out there in the publishing world *double coughs* and the non-publishing world, I can fairly say that I wouldn't see much the point of that.
And after that?
Well let me think. I guess I will have to do like Joe Konrath. Try again. And again. And again. And again.
And if I never get it right?
I don't know. I will be like some writers. A cursed artist. Maybe I will be famous after death, like Fernando de Pessoa or maybe I will stay buried and forgotten. LOL.
I don't know what worries me the most, the fact that I might never get a chance to make a living out of what I love or the fact that I might give up trying. I don't want to give up. Ever. Even if I don't do well, even if I never get published. I want to believe that I will always write. Even in 3 years, 5 or 15 years.
I want to believe that I will still write and be the writer at heart as any true writer at heart should be.
Whether they get published or not.

Picture above from Artist Beck.
Her blog is called Dumb Drawings:

Monday, July 18, 2011

David Dalla Venezia Part 2

I didn't intend to create a second post on the same artist but as it turned out, I asked for permission to write about the artist's work and he replied to me.
Except for the fact I butchered his name which I corrected since and profusely apologised for, he also dropped me a link to an article on the artistic work he did for the Luise hotel in Berlin on the theme of Dangerous Books.

As you know, books being a subject close to me, I read the article and found it very inspiring.

As the article explained books are our safety net. But they are much more than that. They are the balance that guide us on our spiritual journey so we can sail from a difficult past to a better present, so we can choose to prevail over our human nature, so we choose between good versus evil, between freedom and repression, between love and hate.
Yes I believe books are as close as magic. It transports us to a land of understanding or escape, peace and beauty.
If you have clicked on the previous post you will have noticed that a lot of Mr Dalla Venezia's paintings have an abundance of red books with white pages—red like the embers that glow within and white cleansed by time and as pure as that which is to come—
I really liked that analogy.
However I believe the opposite could be very true too.
Aren't they the pages which are bleeding out of their content for us while their covers get tormented by us through traveling and packing and unpacking?
Or could it not be that the pages were red from the writer pouring out his soul on his reader?

Anyway, to go back to his work, in the room the artist has chosen a selection of books  for guests to read. Dating from different periods these are books that search for moments of freedom and truth throughout the course of history.
Titling his work Dangerous Books, David Dalla Venezia honors the fearlessness of his countryman Roberto Saviano, an author who has dedicated his life to disseminating “dangerous books” and who for this reason now lives in constant danger.

I didn't know who was Mr Saviano so I did my homework and in 2006, Mr Saviano wrote a non-fiction book called Gomorrah, which denounces the activities of the Camorra, one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations in Italy, going back to the 18th century.
So hence the title dangerous books. We have come to a full circle. 

Link to the article:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

David Dalla Venezia Part 1

Warning. I am going to chose something dark, something tormented and something not conforming because that's how I feel at the moment. I won't explain why. There is no point to it.
So I look at Carre d'artistes website and went through maybe twenty artists and found all styles were playing it too nice so I thought the only way I would find something edgy, contrevorsial and possibly disturbing would be on the TerminArtors website.
To find this new style, I decided that my best bet would be to do a reseach by self-portrait.
I think I can safely say that I hit the jackpot with this Franco-Italian artist.

Born in Cannes, France on April 10, 1965. David is the son of an artist. In 1958, he moved to Cannes and worked for artists then living on the French Riviera. In 1973 he returned to Venice and has lived and worked here ever since.

This painting to the left is what made me chose this artist. I thought the style was anachronistic.
The artist fighting himself. And not in the fairest way. I liked it instantly. Do we fight with ourselves? Oh yes. Do we play it fair? Far from it. And I like that truthfulness and also the fact that (that might be just my interpretation now) the artist is not taking himself too seriously. For the critics and interested amateurs, I am putting a picture of how the artist really looks like. That way, they will get to appreciate the humour/style better. The title won't help you: it is called n#275.

The next one is n#628.
The artist dancing with himself? Actually I am not sure whether he is dancing or wrestling because things surely do look messy on the floor.

To our right, Mr Dalla Venezia could have called this one "Fighting the Tri-polar disorder" but instead he called it n#269. Oh well. I still like it. That's how I feel four days out of three so I won't make a comment on this utmost excellent painting.

 This one is called n#267. And again I don't know if most writers feel this way but at times, I certainly feel the weight of words are burying me under or sometimes, when I see all those books in libraries and bookstores and I know I will never have the time to read them all, well this image of the book falling on the character, that's about how accurate I feel about that impossible task.

About the artist, this is what he says about him: "Since it is I who paints these pictures it is true that they are portraits of myself. However - as they are portraits of a man - they are also portraits of every man: what I depict of myself is common to all men; what I omit is that which differentiates me from them."

Very interesting.
Funny in the end because I felt pretty low when I started to write this post and now I feel almost cheery and lifted. So I guess I must thank you Mr Dalla Venezia for making my day, or should I say my night.

To see more of David Dalla Venezia's work, here is his website:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thomas Hart Benton

I don't know who Mr Benton is and I don't know what this painting is all about but I like it very much and I think it is time to take my Detective Hat and do a little bit of research.
(Playing music for a waiting room...)

So Mr Benton is dead. Well I figured as much.
Tommy for the intimate or Thomas Hart Benton (April 15, 1889 – January 19, 1975) was an American painter and muralist. On the picture they got out of him in wiki, he does look a little bit like Columbo with a bushy moustache.

Why is it called "People of Chilmark"? I am not sure. I did "google" the title but no explanation came up. Nevertheless this shall not stop me in knowing who Tommy was.

There aren't many artists who can say that they worked during the war as a camoufleur.
According to Wiki,  "During the First World War, Benton had to draw camouflaged ships that came into Norfolk harbor. His work was required for several reasons: to ensure that U.S. ship painters were correctly applying the camouflage schemes, to aid in identifying U.S. ships that might later be lost, and to have records of the ship camouflage of other Allied navies. In his own words, the work that he did in the Navy “was the most important thing, so far, I had ever done for myself as an artist."

In the early 1920s, Benton declared himself an "enemy of modernism"; he began the naturalistic and representational work today known as Regionalism
Benton also taught at the Art Students League of New York from 1926 to 1935 and at the Kansas City Art Institute from 1935 to 1941 and surprise, surprise, his most famous student was Jackson Pollock.

About his art,  his figures always appear soft and fluid. There is a definite cartoon-like feel to his style and the fact that he worked as a cartoonist for a newspaper in Joplin, Missouri, can probably explain it.

About this painting, Benton achieves a triangle of light using a palette of lighter tones to make the viewer sail through the darkest tones.
Your eye is first drawn to the main character in the middle wearing a yellow jumpsuit then he travels to the left looking for something equally light and finds it in the rowing man with a blue short then your eye drifts to the bottom part of the painting where a man with an orange bathing cap is turning his back on us.

And then the eye goes for a second round, acknowledging the background and the other darker painted characters.
The style is emphasised with a geometrical pattern surrounding an aquatic theme which we might never understand the purpose. But I secretly hope someone will read this post and come forth with an explanation.

Any way, I thoroughly enjoyed discovering this painting and his master, so thank you Tess for sharing this with us.

This prompt was brought to you thanks to Magpie tales. Magpie tales' blog is dedicated to the enjoyment of poets and writers, for the purpose of honing their craft, sharing it with like-minded bloggers, and keeping their muses alive and well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Guillaume Piot

Two days ago, I was going to Le Carre d'artistes website and I flicked through the pages. Eventually I picked Mr Jamin's work.
However now and retrospectively, I am less and less impressed by the work. Oh well. It is done.
But it is funny the brain works because I remember another style's artist and my brain was saying: "Find it. Find it. This is your next choice for an artist."
So I went back to the website, but I couldn't remember the name of the artist, only his style which is not very helpful when you are trying to go through many paintings.
Eventually I found it and here it is!, let's me introduce to you, Mr Guillaume ( William in English) Piot.

He is self-taught. His style is semi-figurative. His biography says his intent is to let the viewer's imagination wander.
He lives in Châteauneuf du Pape, a hundred miles or so from the Mediterranean coastline- not a bad place to be knowing how famous the area is for his wine.

This feels as if Rothko had taken some geology lessons but the minimalist choice of colours creates a strong visual effect which proves successful overall since his style stayed with me for two days. It reminded me of rock strata.
I find the transcendence of Nature and the sense of the unknown is intriguing and works effectively on the mind.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

David Jamin

I have discovered yet a new website called Carré d’artistes
The goal of Carré d’artistes® is to bring art within reach of everybody. The Carré d’artistes® galleries permanently exhibit a selection of 250 contemporary artists. It is a chain of Art Galleries that exists in France, Germany, Spain and in the U.K.
I went to France well selected one of their art galleries in France through their website.
I chose Bordeaux. Boy, some of it is really good and by good I mean different, unique. I don't know which one to pick.
I guess I will start from the one that brought my attention.
This painter is called David Jamin. Originally from the South of France, he moved to live to the most northern part of France. You would think most people would die to move to the Sun but not him. Now forty years old, Mr Jamin has been drawing since he was a kid. He started out with charcoal moved to oil revisiting pastel and watercolours. In his biography, it is said that: "All those different techniques are only used in his artwork to serve the strenght of his emotion." Well I wouldn't say that his paintings brings the viewer into a inner turnmoil but I like the elusiveness of his style. His favourite subject: the human being.
I am only showing a few again because to be honest I liked them all. Every person and every work I found seems like a fleeting moment, a fleeting pretty picture of something lost and beautiful passing through the paintings. According to his biography again, he seems rather popular as he has been exhibited for a good number of years now and not only in France but in Belgium, Switzerland and in the UK. I can hear people saying that his style might be a little too commercial. Yes I agree. It is "nice" but all the same it is different and I like that difference.

This reminds of an ad from "Jean Paul Gaultier" Perfumes

This one like an ad from "Chanel" clothes

Nice little doll, uh? I like the cute little red cheeks.

If you want to know more about this Carré d’artistes® website, here is the link:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wheat Field with Rising Sun from Van Gogh

After a few days off, back to business.
Not willing to randomly pick an artist through the TerminARTors website, I decided to go to the Magpie Tale website and check the latest picture and what do I see: a painting!
And not from any boring painter: It is Van Gogh. I love Van Gogh.
I must comment on that straight away.
Maybe because he was such a "peintre maudit" or "a cursed painter", I really have a great admiration for Van Gogh.
Misunderstood, disconnected, sensitive, and alienated with work, it must have been Hell to be HIM.
A genius can be so damn lonely. No one ever did a style similar to him before and no one ever managed to copy him after. He was completely unique
This guy had a sterile youth, self taught and with little training, he was unlucky in love, unlucky with his family, lived in poverty, suffered anxiety, produced more than 2,000 artworks in less than a decade, cut off his left ear and died at age 37  from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Can you be any more tormented than this?
And yet he is now selling more than any impressionist painters has done.

Now about Wheat Field with Rising Sun, it was painted in 1889, one year before he died, from the South of France.
The Wheat Field series depicted the view he could see from his adjoining cells in the asylum at Saint-Rémy.
His palette at the beginning consisted mainly of somber earth tones and showed no sign of the vivid coloration which is so distinct of his late work like this one.
The field is rendered with thick brushstrokes (impasto) and heavy layers of paint.

What I love so much about his style is the effect of colours, of movement and perpestive. It really looks like those fields are swaying before our eyes. It feels like the wind and sun reaches the crops and gently strokes the field wild and boundless.
It is just pure raw talent.