One Lovely Blog Award

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Studious Creatives nominated me for this award yesterday. It was a nice surprise.

So here’s how this works. The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  2. Share 7 things about yourself
  3. Nominate others (up to 15)
  4. Include this set of rules
  5. Inform your nominees

Seven Things About Me

  1. I place great value on my friendships, and I nurture them.
  2. I once wanted to become an art history professor. As that didn’t happen, I’m now looking to share my love of art with other people through this blog and my novels.
  3. I treasure encounters with warm, generous contemporary artists, and you wouldn’t believe how many of them are there, happy to make your acquaintance and see you engage with their works (and guide you through them), whether you know much about art or not.
  4. I once did a semi-independent course in painting, and while my grade wasn’t that great, every few hours that I worked on my project I entered an immersive state of flow which gave me an inner perspective on an important element that gets artists hooked to their art. I did try other artistic pursuits before and after that, but neither of them have been that rewarding.
  5. My favorite month in Bucharest is September. Temperatures are in the mid and high twenties, and the light is golden in the early afternoon.IMG_7694_sm
  6. I’m a strange ambivert. I derive energy from people . . . and then I get really tired.
  7. I don’t have a favorite place on earth, but I do have great memories from many places; and am trying hard to discover ever more of what Bucharest has to offer.

My Nominated Blogs:

My OBT [One Beautiful Thing]

Corvus Fugit

M o o r e z a r t

Art of Quotation

the glaze london

Postmodern Zest

Writer’s Blog

Maverick Mist

Mari’s Book Reviews

Cal Turner Reviews

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Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel, A Charming Review by Mari Carlson

A charming review of PAL, the first review to come in from a blogger 🙂

Mari's Book Reviews

At monthly parties hosted by a violinist at his cottage in Bucharest, new and long-time friends bond over whiskey, cherry dishes, sixties music, and maybe even a strip tease. Through a series of such colorful gatherings, and more intimate ones in between, we get to know Henriette, a sculptress, her sister Alice, a writer, Haralambie, Henriette’s lover and writer, Pamfil, the violinist and Don Juan to many of these women friends, Ela, a depressed piano teacher turned book reviewer, George, her stalwart boyfriend and mathematician, Anca, a poet and translator, Marcel her French teaching boyfriend, Vlad a trainer, Daria, a graphic designer and recipient of Vlad’s health wisdom, and Maria, an old friend of Anca’s, now a market researcher and newcomer to Pamfil’s parties. Mira Tudor fills in their back stories with memories from the past: trips to the beach and other cities. Together, past and present reveal character traits…

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Spiritual Bucharest and Crazy Bucharest

I went to visit several artist workshops last weekend, as this month over 70 artists In Bucharest and Mogosoaia are opening their premises to visitors on weekends on the occasion of the George Enescu Classical Music Festival.

One of the artists I visited was graphic artist Carmen Paraschivescu. Her workshop is filled with intricate designs in mixed media, the ornamental tracery pinning down vivid, effusive inspiration. Here are two works she did for an art salon on Bucharest. They are titled Spiritual Bucharest and Crazy Bucharest.

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Spiritual Bucharest (detail)

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Spiritual Bucharest (detail)

 

IMG_0623_sm Crazy Bucharest

And here are two other works of hers

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Carmen Paraschivescu will open her workshop next weekend too, so if you’d like to have a look at these pieces, she’ll be happy to receive you for a chat and a glass of wine at Str. Doamnei nr. 5 (the tower on the corner of Academiei and Doamnei streets) between 12 noon and 8 p.m.

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The Joys of Playing with Scrambled Dough

Ploytip Asawarachan, owner of Scrambled Art studio in Bangkok, Thailand, devotes her creative energies to helping young children (as young as two years old) fine-tune their motor skills and explore their imaginations. She and her staff mix batches of their own play dough (called Scrambled Dough), adjusting the recipes to the age of the children.

I asked Ploy to tell me more about her work at the studio. Here’s what she said.

MT: What are the things kids would like to create when they set their hands on Scrambled Dough?

PA: This definitely depends on their age, but we currently use Scrambled Dough with kids between 2 and 3.5 years old, which, in my opinion, is more interesting. Kids in this age still cannot identify or sometimes distinguish shapes and colours—so I do not expect them to make shapes with Scrambled Dough. What I expect (and what they like to do) is to smash, poke, pull, and squeeze the dough. My job is to create fun life-simulation activities that support those actions and make them stronger to develop fine-motor skills.

We like to play with farm animals by pretending the dough as a ranch and build fences by using real branches or sometimes straws. After that we make up a story about each animal and tell the story to the rest of the class. Kids at this age want to use everything that’s on the table.

The human brain can be manipulated by colors that are associated with different emotions and desires. For instance, Mc Donald’s uses the colors yellow and red. That is because yellow represents hunger, and red is the color of speed and excitement. These colors manipulate the human brain and change our perception of the situation we are in. Scrambled Dough actually uses the same concept. I create Scrambled Dough with natural coloring, avoiding bright colors, and that gives the children a calm feeling. I also avoid hard textures. In this way, toddlers can be less distracted and calm.

For more excitement and to appeal more to the imagination, I have created the Marble collection for the children to see the colors blending together while they play.

MT: What are some of the things the children say about being able to work/play with Scrambled Dough?

Most of them do not really ask about the dough—what it’s made of, or how to play with it. They actually get into the action and use all the tools that I provided. Their past experience might affect the willingness to play with the dough. For example, a bad experience during their play time at the beach, might make them do not want to play with the dough.

MT: Do kids interact with each other as they work on their projects? Do they tell each other things? Do they help each other out with their projects?

Yes. They are more likely to play with each other and to help each other to put different parts together.

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I found Ploy’s story inspiring, so I asked her to tell me a little about her background.

PA: As a child, I liked to draw all the time. My inspiration was my father. He always drew something on paper while I was doing my homework. His pencil left marks on the page underneath, and I traced it with my pencil. It was always a butterfly.

I grew up in a small town (population about 800 thousand) called Ayutthaya, in Thailand. Ayutthaya used to be the capital of Thailand before it changed to Bangkok. My life was not very exciting back then, but I could say it has changed when I decided to be an exchange student in Maine, USA in 2006. From a small-town girl who could not speak English, I was now traveling alone to a country I’d never been in. I adapted very well and explored so much! Then in 2008 I moved to Nottingham, UK as an exchange student again. It seems like I adapt myself very well and it becomes my strength. I get along and make new friends, and relish the new culture and the new environment around me. Finally, my degree took place in Sydney, Australia, a country so diverse in terms of culture and art.

All my life I’ve been busy making art and crafting things. When I was young, I was very into landscape and fine art, especially Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, but when I grew older I got a lot into improvisation with different materials from daily life, including many from nature.

MT: Thank you, Ploy, and good luck with your studio and your other projects!

Here’s Ploy’s blog.

An Interview with Lisa Tindale, Mosaic Artist

Porridge

The quaint fishing village of Staithes on the North East coast will host the 6th annual Art and Heritage Festival over September 9th and 10th. The village was once home to a group of 20 to 30 artists known as the Staithes Group of Artists and the CBeebies series Old Jack’s Boat, starring Bernard Cribbins, was filmed there. Staithes will play host to 98 galleries in cottages and other buildings displaying work by 157 artists, and Lisa will be exhibiting her mosaics for the fifth consecutive year.

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All artwork by Lisa Tindale

How did you first get into mosaics and what is it about this medium in particular that interests you?

A few years ago I went along to a mosaic making taster course run by a friend and by the end of the afternoon I knew this was for me. I like the freedom it gives, the possibility…

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Read a sample, and if you like it, I’ll pay for the whole book :)

Mira Tudor_Poets, Artists, Lovers. A Novel_ebook cover_blog_smHi everyone,

As some of you know, I published a book called Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel about a month ago.  I’ve tried—and am still trying—to reach out to book bloggers for reviews, but as I gear up for other forms of promotion I’d also like to offer my novel for free to twenty readers on WordPress who enjoy literary fiction and women’s fiction and would like to read my book. Let me know your email and Amazon flavor (US, UK, etc.) and I’ll reimburse you its cost with an Amazon gift card.

PAL is about twenty- and thirty-something artists in 21st-century Romania, and their treacherous journeys to love and happiness.

Here’s an excerpt:

Costineşti, August 1993, almost eight years earlier. [. . .] [Sixteen-year-old] Anca returned to Costineşti that summer alone; Marcel was away visiting his grandparents in Sighişoara. She occupied part of her time by roaming the alleys and promenade in the deafening sound of dance music blaring through the resort. The third day there, she was approached by a guy selling cassettes with psychedelic and progressive rock, blues and blues rock, and folk music, all British and American.

“Care to change the music?” the vendor asked, spotting Anca’s silken black hair and her slender silhouette in the crowd.

“Pretty much,” Anca responded, amused. “What do you have?”

“The crème de la crème of 1960s and 1970s rock and folk, and some blues,” he said, taken with Anca’s expressive eyes, green with flecks of hazel.

“Surprise me,”  Anca said, basking in the stranger’s searching gaze.

“Okay . . . how about The Doors?” the vendor asked with a lopsided smile. “The Doors of Perception . . .”

Anca looked at him questioningly.

Pamfil, the vendor, gave a small laugh. “It’s a book by Aldous Huxley—who himself lifted the phrase from a poem by William Blake. Aldous Huxley is the one who wrote Brave New World. He took mescaline and entered mind-expanding trances. It inspired Jim Morrison to call his band The Doors—given that he aimed to be such a shamanic figure himself.” He then played a few songs by the Los Angeles band for her. They had Anca hooked—and stumped as to where to listen to that kind of music some more.

“You can come to my place,” Pamfil said, appraising her waifish silhouette. “I’m here with friends from the Conservatory,” he went on. “One of them left early, so we have a free bed. That way you can listen to everything.”

“You a musician?” Anca asked, suddenly very interested in Pamfil.

“I play the violin,” he responded with a smile, happy to see in her warm gaze that she might appreciate classical music as well. “So, are you coming?” he asked after a moment of reverie.

“Where?”

“To my place. To stay with us.”

“Okay,” Anca said, bringing her hands together with a clap in a thank-you gesture.

Pamfil smiled, charmed by her enthusiasm. “It’s a deal, then. I’ll tell the guys you’re coming.”

Anca smiled back, delighted. “Okay.”

With Pamfil and his music, Anca discovered a different intensity of being alive. She twirled in the room like a girl turning into a woman by magic as she listened to The Doors to her heart’s content, and several times she took that energy outside the dorm while playing their songs in her head. She didn’t know what to make of Jim Morrison’s poetry, but, like koans, his verse left her hovering in a space where she could receive new meanings and feelings.

She also fell in love with Joan Baez, and at noon, when Pamfil was selling his tapes and his friends were away for lunch, she went with determination after the folk musician’s soaring inflections, besotted with her purity of voice, richness of tone, the joy that swelled and ebbed in her music as she tackled sad stories, and her talent as a guitar player.

And then there was Led Zeppelin. Anca played their ballads over and over again, feeling them weave their way in, more beguiling with each turn and return, until they erupted from the pit of her stomach in bursts of guitar, voice, and drums. She couldn’t have enough of Jimmy Page’s guitar-picking and Robert Plant’s whispering and caterwauling, of all the drumming, strumming, screaming, and wailing.

Anca’s soul was metamorphosing in contact with this new music, and Pamfil kept the process going by supplying her with information and new songs. In the mornings, as she did stretching exercises, he provided the aural background, and in the evenings, as they took walks together, he introduced her to stories from the lives of her newly favorite musicians as well as from Woodstock—that four-day festival of August 1969, with its hundreds of thousands of flower-power hippies and the amazing lineup of musicians in their midst entertaining them with the best rock and folk music on offer, and capturing, as they did so, much of the spirit of the period. Anca soaked it all in, feeling, in turns, entranced, excited, and achingly happy.

And here’s the book. Again, email me and I’ll send you an Amazon gift card so you can read the book for free.

Thanks! 🙂