Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel is a book about the beauty and blindness of several Romanian artists who search for love, happiness, and passion. The story finds them on treacherous journeys, where they are slow to figure out how to best tackle their predicaments. Fortunately, their lovers and friends are there to help . . . but then a newcomer complicates things.
Watercolors by Ioana Nicoara, AnnArt Gallery, Bucharest, November 2017
Upon seeing them, I had the sense right away that they visualize inner life. Inner life of the cells, or, barring that (cell life looks different: more geometric and compact), the life of our emotions permeating us like breaths or whooshing over us, coming together with neurons firing sparks of thought and cells responding to all that energy, electric . . .
Dumitru Radu, Echo, [year?], Senso Art Gallery, Bucharest, December 2017
Bronze and marble
30 x 30 x 30 cm
This figure doesn’t move inside the bell, so it’s not quite a bell clapper, but with its trumpet and openings in its body suggests to me someone who has embraced a certain space of meaning—certain themes from the past, for instance—and turns to that space—that of the bell—to amplify his concerns in a certain way, his voice growing in the echo of others who have worked before him (in this respect, to me the bell he’s echoing into could be the trumpet of a predecessor like him).
This type of bell is, in fact, in Dumitru Radu’s oeuvre some kind of funnel, one that brings us in and out of existence, and also a musical instrument through which the music of God resonates. For more about this approach see this presentation by Luiza Barcan at Simeza Art Gallery in Bucharest in 2014. (The talk is in Romanian but the video shows many of Radu’s recent sculptures.)
The Bookworm at thebookwormspeaks.wordpress.com posted her review of Poets, Artists, Lovers, and she asked me to feature it here as well.
So here’s from The Bookworm:
With Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel, Mira Tudor takes us on a journey through a tangled web of romance-ridden lives that starts and ends with Henriette, a talented sculptress and “beautiful redhead”, who finds herself drawn to Pamfil, a pianist/Casanova known for his monthly parties. This all despite her relationship with Haralambie, a writer.
The dialogue-heavy narrative might seem hard going at times, but it is actually quite apt, as the story primarily features middle-aged girlfriends drinking what seems to be endless cups of peppermint tea and talking about not only those oh-so-relatable things such as weight gain, boy troubles and minor existential crises, but sharing shrewd and interesting perceptions on art and society. The reader is also treated to a raw and authentic yet, despite its many philosophical digressions, accessible glimpse into the Romanian art scene. On the surface, it might just seem to be a close group of bohemian artists hanging out at parties and warbling about art but there is some provocative substance underneath.
To read the rest of the review, go here.
Links for countries other than the US:
About friendship, love, and passion, tenderly, in a manner reminiscent in parts of David Nicholls’s One Day. A book about the beauty and blindness of several Romanian artists and musicians and their treacherous journeys to love and happiness.
My book Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel is today available on Amazon for only 99¢.
A synopsis of sorts:
Henriette, an accomplished sculptor, seems to find more joy in her feminist-inspired work and her piano playing than in the people who care about her. Ela, a piano teacher turned book reviewer, hopes to discover the key to happiness and a more meaningful life through studying the workings of the mind and crafting poems about emotions she trusts will lead her to a better place. Joining them in beauty and blindness is Pamfil, a violinist who dabbles as a singer and lives mostly for the moment and his monthly parties. As they follow their passions, they find themselves on treacherous journeys to love and happiness, and are slow to figure out how to best tackle their predicaments. Fortunately, their lovers and friends are there to help . . . but then a newcomer complicates things.
“I felt I’d had a virtual trip to Romania and am now ready to take one live! An inquisitive and personal literary bouquet” –Mari Carlson, Midwest Book Review
“This book felt like a philosophical version of Friends” –Annika Stanger
Poets, Artists, Lovers is today only $0.99 on Amazon US and £0.99 on Amazon UK! The price on Amazon US will go up to $1.99 on Nov. 13, and will stay $1.99 until the end of my Countdown Deal on Nov. 16. Enjoy!
Studious Creatives nominated me for this award yesterday. It was a nice surprise. Thank you!
So here’s how this works. The Rules:
- Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
- Share seven things about yourself
- Nominate others (up to 15)
- Include this set of rules
- Inform your nominees
Seven Things About Me
- I place great value on my friendships, and I nurture them.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- My favorite month in Bucharest is September. Temperatures are in the mid and high twenties, and every year I look forward to spending more time outside in the early afternoon, as the golden light and the colors of the vegetation are wonderful. Much of it stays that way until mid-November. I am including some pictures for reference. Somehow I don’t have September photos from recent years; the ones you see below are from October and November.
- I’m a strange ambivert. I derive energy from people . . . and then I get really tired.
- 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:
A charming review of PAL, the first review to come in from a blogger 🙂
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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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.
Spiritual Bucharest (detail)
Spiritual Bucharest (detail)
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.
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 at this age still cannot identify or sometimes distinguish shapes and colors — 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 is a ranch, and to 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 provide. 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 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.
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 them with my pencil. It was always a butterfly.
I grew up in a small town (population about eight 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.
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.
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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