Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel (PAL), Serialized. #2 (“That was cute, you fighting with me . . .”)

Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel, by Mira Tudor

This past weekend I started serializing my first novel, Poets, Artists, Lovers (PAL), here on my blog. I will publish it on Saturdays and Wednesdays, and will then take down the posts a month later. If you wish to read the whole novel before I’m finished posting the installments, I have listed the various Amazon links along with a book description here.

Here’s the first installment: “Nice meeting you, Ela” (July 11, 2021)

And here’s the ending of that first installment, together with today’s bit.

“Remember when I went to Prague for New Year’s Eve in 1999?” Henriette asked.

Pamfil, who’d been browsing a brochure, lifted his gaze to Henriette’s.

“With those friends from high school?” Henriette continued.

“Yes, I remember,” Ela said. “When you broke up with Har.”

“Yes, after a year with Har,” Henriette echoed. She looked at Pamfil. “I went to Prague with those old classmates and a guy, and we fought and went our separate ways, and then we met online in a Bucharest channel—a chat room—on mIRC.”

“And then they had champagne on the Charles Bridge at midnight,” Ela said, smiling at Pamfil.

“Yes, we drank champagne when we met on the Charles Bridge,” Henriette told Pamfil. “We opened the champagne and took a picture of us kissing, in the middle of a crowd that pushed from all sides.” 

“Nice story,” Pamfil said. He looked at the people typing on keyboards. “What do they write about?” he asked, his eyes now focused on a screen.

“Ask them,” Henriette replied.

“They look like they’re having fun,” Pamfil said.

“One of the ideas is that online chatting is a form of communication that people engage in to alleviate anxiety,” Henriette explained.

“Interesting,” Ela remarked. “They don’t look anxious.” Her gaze then landed on a boy who kept dragging his teeth over his lips. “Well, maybe some of them.” She turned to Henriette. “Is that what you had in mind when you titled the piece Channeled? The fact that you’re channeling young people’s energies into an activity that helps them psychologically?”

“That, and the fact that chat rooms are called ‘channels’ on mIRC,” Henriette clarified. “Also, I wanted to refer obliquely to the fact that what’s channeled is the impulse and need for real communication, and what they get is a travesty of that. And yet it has its value. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded very well in conveying my conflicted stance on technology,” Henriette said pensively. She fiddled with her neck scarf. “Let’s talk some more over tea,” she invited, switching gears.

They headed to a tea house, revved up by their performances for each other.

#2 (“That was cute, you fighting with me . . .”)

“So how was Prague?” Ela asked once they sat down and ordered tea and petits fours. “You never told me much about it, except for the fact that you didn’t get to visit any museums.”

“Yes, I went with this bunch from high school,” Henriette said, settling into her seat.

“Were they fun?” Pamfil asked, his eyes boring into Henriette’s.

“If you consider early mornings spent drunk in bars fun, they were fun, yes. I may have been too sober to appreciate it.”

“Did your boyfriend like his booze too much?” Pamfil asked, a mischievous tone in his voice.

“Hard to say ‘boyfriend,’” Henriette said, darting a look at Pamfil.

“Was this some sort of revenge on Har?” Ela ventured.

“Not really. I wanted to get away, that’s all. Try something else.”

“That’s a good reason,” Pamfil said. He wanted to appear lighthearted, but his comment came out brooding.

Ela sought out his gaze. “Is it?”

“Once you try it, you may discover it isn’t,” Pamfil said with a forced laugh as he met Ela’s eyes. “But unless you try it, you won’t know. So yes, by any means, getting away is fun.”

“But we can’t stay away,” Ela retorted. “Shouldn’t we try to work on our routine instead?”

“Routine. Interesting notion. I’ve thought of it too. Don’t give it much credit, but yes, I’ve given it a lot of thought,” Pamfil said, his eyes lively.

“And?” Ela asked dryly.

Pamfil gave her a keen look. “And it can be a killjoy.”

“Even the routine with a loved one?” Ela probed, peering through the large windows at passersby to avoid Pamfil’s piercing eyes.

He kept watching her graceful profile. “There is no routine with a loved one. Lovers are supposed to change each other all the time.”

“Really? You can change men?” Henriette blurted, amused.

“Some women can change some men, yes,” Pamfil responded without missing a beat.

The waitress came with cups of tea and minicakes.

Ela smoothed back her hair. “I’m surprised you say that—about men.” She helped herself to a cup of tea and put some sugar in it. “I was reading a magazine the other day,” she went on softly, “and the author explained that men compartmentalize their lives, unlike women, who mentally and emotionally connect all aspects of their existence.”

“Yes, that’s true of most men,” Pamfil said, biting half of a chocolate-frosted minicake. “Compartmentalization also explains why men, more than women, can lead highly unbalanced lives,” he continued as Ela sipped her tea and Henriette dove into the platter of sweet treats. “Women not only experience more of a unity between the areas of their lives, but they also tend to evaluate them against each other and suffer when they fall behind on the career or family track, for instance. Whereas we men—and some women—are different. We can get obsessed with something, and if we do well there, our positive energy carries over to other parts of our lives, and we fail to see that they, too, may need some improvement.”

“Interesting,” Ela said, looking at the platter and picking up a tiny piece of cake with ganache and tart cherries in the middle. “But I thought you just said that men compartmentalize their lives,” she added, raising her gaze to meet Pamfil’s.

“Yes, but mostly in the sense that we can tune out thoughts when we change activities,” Pamfil said. “But hormonal energy is different. For instance, when we play video games, we get a release of testosterone after each success that involves competition with random players online, much like when we fight for a woman—in this respect our brains don’t distinguish between a real-life accomplishment and a virtual one. So we get hooked on the virtual world. Of course neurotransmitters play a part too. But the idea is that after a win in a multiplayer video game, our testosterone spikes, and then it stays in our systems for a while, making us overconfident in other areas of our lives as well. And so we don’t develop enough skills we may need in relationships, for instance, because we overestimate our abilities!” He emptied his cup. “Ready to go?” he then asked his table companions, seeing they had finished both their minicakes and tea.

“So you don’t believe in technology, after all?” Henriette asked Pamfil after they left the tea house and said goodbye to Ela.

“You know I do, but what I’m trying to say is that we shouldn’t treat technology mindlessly. When you’re an adult and have responsibilities, you don’t have much time left, but these kids, they seem to have all the time in the world to stay online,” Pamfil said. “So your exhibition, what is it really about?”

Henriette gave a small laugh. “I wrote that bit about the alleviation of anxiety for the press, but you know what it’s about,” she said.

“About us in Prague.”

“Yes.”

“That was cute, you fighting with me and walking into the darkness on New Year’s Eve,” Pamfil said.

“We were so in love,” Henriette said with a big smile, fixing him with her gaze.

Pamfil wondered for a moment whether to respond to her comment. “Do your kids enter real chat rooms, or just fake ones among themselves?” he asked. A whiff of Henriette’s floral perfume, carried by a breeze, teased his senses.

“I set up a chat room for all of them, and there’s also private messaging, of course,” Henriette said. “But they can’t talk to each other in person. Until the wrap-up party, that is.” She pulled out her neck scarf and used it to tie her wavy, restless hair.

“Shouldn’t you teach them that the thrill is better if they do it the other way around?” Pamfil asked, seeking confirmation in Henriette’s eyes. “If they start the communication in real life and then flirt online?”

“I think it can work either way. The stories we tell people when we get to know them online are often different from the ones we tell each other in person.”

“And that’s good?” Pamfil asked, mesmerized by the way the turquoise and green tones in her scarf complemented her fair complexion, her dappled sea-green irises, dark auburn hair, and full, deep-red lips.

“As with all things, it depends from one situation to another,” Henriette said, her fingertips seeking, tantalizingly, the back of his hand. “It certainly says a lot about the power of words to create worlds. And people.”

They fell silent after that, both of them thinking about Haralambie, who believed that words help create people more than people do. They’d had that discussion before, and there was no use rehashing it. Not because they had explored every facet of it—they hadn’t—but because it involved Haralambie, and while any other topic blossomed with every new discussion they had about it, when it came to Haralambie, Pamfil had the feeling that there was little to add, little to change in their impression of him. And anything that involved Haralambie unnerved Pamfil—Henriette knew that, and she tried to keep her two relationships separate.

She would have liked to keep Ela separate too, but Ela had become quite a barnacle after her two meetings with Pamfil, insisting that she sensed something about the man, that he was “a breath of fresh air.” However tired the metaphor, Henriette couldn’t help but agree. Pamfil was, indeed, fresh. Not artless, though, but young and alive—quite to Henriette’s liking, until Ela entered the scene, all eager to know better a man who, however gregarious, essentially kept to himself. A man who could offer heartrending tenderness without offering his heart. A man who was in no hurry to give that heart to someone because, as he once said to one of his buddies, unaware that Henriette overheard him, he had only one heart and couldn’t trust a woman, any woman, with it.

To be continued . . .

Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel (PAL), Serialized. #1 (“Nice meeting you, Ela”)

Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel, by Mira Tudor

Hi,

I have decided to serialize my novel Poets, Artists, Lovers (PAL), self-published in 2017 on Amazon. I will be publishing the installments on Saturdays and Wednesdays, and I will then take them down a month later. If you wish to read the whole novel before I’m finished posting the installments, here are the various Amazon links.

Please note that PAL is the first in a planned trilogy but can be read as a standalone novel as well. Enjoy!

So without further ado, let’s begin 🙂

ONE

“Why are you always leaving your things in the middle of the floor?” Haralambie asked. His girlfriend didn’t respond, so he stepped out of the kitchen to seek her.

He had left her in the living room, writing up an artist’s statement for a recent batch of sculptures. Now he found her there stretching in her chair, her long fingers woven through her flowing, wavy red hair. She gave him a rueful look and then settled back to get on with her work at the computer.

“Henriette, this is not just your studio. I live here too,” Haralambie said with a sigh. He crouched to gather her latest clay pieces, her sculpting utensils and plastic sheets, and took them to the balcony. Henriette helped, but halfheartedly. Her mind was on the blurb she was drafting that morning. She said as much to Haralambie, but her focus had already shifted, so when he returned to the kitchen to finish his coffee and smoke another cigarette, she put on a sixties rock ballad. Soon she was swaying gently to and fro, swinging her arms around gracefully and twirling her hands up in the air—until she noticed Haralambie leaning against the doorframe.

“Is that what it’s like at those parties of yours?” he asked.

“No, but that’s how I like it sometimes,” she responded provocatively, a wicked smile on her lips.

Haralambie walked over to her, cupped her face in his hands, and planted a kiss on her lips. “You’re not sixteen anymore, Henriette, and you know it.”

*

“Hey! Glad you could make it!” exclaimed Henriette, enveloping her younger friend Ela in a hug and wafts of sea breeze fragrance before giving her the customary kiss on both cheeks.

Ela readjusted her glasses, amused at how exuberant Henriette still was at thirty-four.

“Should we go in?” Henriette prompted, opening the door with a flourish.

Ela stepped gingerly into the exhibition space. “Beautiful place,” she remarked, noting how the sunbeams streaming through the large glass wall glinted off the rough, irregular surfaces of bronze-cast works.

“Coffee, tea?” Henriette asked as Ela removed her scarf and trench coat.

“Tea. But I want to look at the sculptures first.”

“See if you can spot mine,” Henriette called after her.

A few moments later the bell on the door tinkled, and Pamfil, a tall, dark-eyed man with a mop of wavy black hair entered the gallery, his eyes on Henriette.

“Hello, Ettie,” he said with a smile, taking a cursory look around the gallery. Ela was by now at the other end of the room, engrossed in a sculpture depicting a hybrid between the torso of a woman and the trunk of a tree.

“Hello, Phil,” Henriette returned nonchalantly.

“How are you doing?” Pamfil asked.

“Came to see the show with a friend of mine,” Henriette responded. She grabbed a tea mug and headed with Pamfil in tow to where Ela was photographing a work displaying a heart squeezed under a tall stack of books.

“Reminds me of Har,” Ela said, taking the mug from Henriette. “He’s spending more time with books than with people.”

“He does,” Pamfil interjected carelessly, throwing the remark in Henriette’s direction.

Henriette gave him a sly smile.

“You know Haralambie?” Ela asked, turning to the new visitor with curiosity.

“Heard this and that about him,” Pamfil responded, his words slipping out slowly, carefully as he appraised Ela’s soft chestnut eyes and thick eyebrows, her dark ringlets of hair, and her petite body, inviting in a flattering dress and waist-length cardigan. His eyes lingered a moment too long on her breasts.

“Sorry, where are my manners?” Henriette blurted. “Ela, this is my friend Pamfil. Pamfil, this is Ela, my very good friend.”

The two guests shook hands, their faces lit up by smiles.

Henriette looked around the room, pretending to ponder the exhibition. Her gaze returned to the heart sculpture. “So you recognized one of my pieces,” she said to Ela, while the latter sipped her hot, minty brew. “Here’s another,” she went on, pointing her guests to a Janus-faced flattened head kissing a woman on each side.

Pamfil spent a moment taking in the work. “Cute. You must have really enjoyed shrinking this guy’s brain,” he teased.

“Is that revenge on someone from your past?” Ela asked.    

Henriette bypassed her friends’ remarks. “How’s your tea, Ela?”

“Great.”

“Girls, I have to bow out,” Pamfil said. “It was nice seeing you, Ettie.”

Henriette couldn’t restrain a smirk.

Pamfil put out a hand to Ela. “Nice meeting you, Ela.”

When it was time for them, too, to leave, Ela turned to her friend. “This guy, Pamfil . . .” she started, still organizing her thoughts. “He’s rather handsome.”

“He is,” Henriette affirmed.

“How do you know him?” Ela asked.

“We met at a conference.”

“Do you like him?”

“He’s okay,” Henriette responded, a little disconcerted.

“I’d like to meet him again,” Ela said.

And she did. A few weeks later, in May 2001, Henriette invited both Ela and Pamfil to see a performance piece of hers, called Channeled, which she was rather excited about, even though it was very simple in conception: twenty teenagers of various ages chatting among themselves over three weekends on a local network as they sat crammed next to each other at narrow computer desks—the physical setup, with the desks set flush against the walls of a small art gallery in a U-shape, mimicking that of an internet café.

When Henriette and her friends arrived at the show one Saturday afternoon, they were all immediately struck by how much the performers were drawn, almost magnetically, to the words building up their virtual bubbles, even as they were also restless—biting their lips anxiously, stroking their chins while pondering a response, or tilting their heads at the screen in disbelief or amusement before pushing back their chairs and typing feverishly again.

Henriette stood watching her volunteers for a few moments, lost in her own thoughts as she observed their gestures and considered asking each of these teenagers, eventually, for their take on her piece through open-ended interviews. Then she grabbed some informational materials for her guests, and the three of them proceeded to walk around the room in order to catch some glimpses of the chat conversations.

“Remember when I went to Prague for New Year’s Eve in 1999?” Henriette asked.

Pamfil, who’d been browsing a brochure, lifted his gaze to Henriette’s.

“With those friends from high school?” Henriette continued.

“Yes, I remember,” Ela said. “When you broke up with Har.”

“Yes, after a year with Har,” Henriette echoed. She looked at Pamfil. “I went to Prague with those old classmates and a guy, and we fought and went our separate ways, and then we met online in a Bucharest channel—a chat room—on mIRC.”

“And then they had champagne on the Charles Bridge at midnight,” Ela said, smiling at Pamfil.

“Yes, we drank champagne when we met on the Charles Bridge,” Henriette told Pamfil. “We opened the champagne and took a picture of us kissing, in the middle of a crowd that pushed from all sides.” 

“Nice story,” Pamfil said. He looked at the people typing on keyboards. “What do they write about?” he asked, his eyes now focused on a screen.

“Ask them,” Henriette replied.

“They look like they’re having fun,” Pamfil said.

“One of the ideas is that online chatting is a form of communication that people engage in to alleviate anxiety,” Henriette explained.

“Interesting,” Ela remarked. “They don’t look anxious.” Her gaze then landed on a boy who kept dragging his teeth over his lips. “Well, maybe some of them.” She turned to Henriette. “Is that what you had in mind when you titled the piece Channeled? The fact that you’re channeling young people’s energies into an activity that helps them psychologically?”

“That, and the fact that chat rooms are called ‘channels’ on mIRC,” Henriette clarified. “Also, I wanted to refer obliquely to the fact that what’s channeled is the impulse and need for real communication, and what they get is a travesty of that. And yet it has its value. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded very well in conveying my conflicted stance on technology,” Henriette said pensively. She fiddled with her neck scarf. “Let’s talk some more over tea,” she invited, switching gears.

They headed to a tea house, revved up by their performances for each other.

To be continued . . .

Fragments Pushed Forth, Fractures Swept Along

Doris Salcedo, Colombian sculptor and conceptual artist
Doris Salcedo, Colombian artist

Aesthetica, the magazine and its website, is one of my favorite go-to places for contemporary art. Here’s a piece about Doris Salcedo sliding a crack along the floor of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, Baptiste Debombourg’s sending a gallery wall cracking and tumbling toward us, and more ado about fragments and fragmenting.

Visual Inspiration: Art as Fragments (brief Aesthetica article)

Doris Salcedo’s 2007 installation and intervention piece actually fractured the floor of the Turbine Hall with a crevice of various widths and depths that had chain-link wires embedded in it. She called it Shibboleth.

In the Bible, in the Book of Judges, there’s a passage about a battle between two Semitic tribes, the Ephraimites and the Gileadites. When the Ephraimites tried to escape, denying that they, in fact, belonged to their tribe, the Gileadites put them to a test of saying the word shibboleth. The Ephraimites couldn’t pronounce the initial sh sound (they turned it into an s) and were thus exposed.

As a noun, a shibboleth came to mean a custom, such as a way of speaking, belief, or a tradition which distinguishes a group of people. It’s a marker used to both include and exclude, to differentiate between an in-group and out-group. According to her own statements, Doris Salcedo uses the notion of shibboleth in a vein close to its biblical context, as a signifier that rather than evoking benignly group differences points instead at discriminatory practices and also violence against members of out-groups, with particular reference to immigrants who come to Europe from the so-called “third-world” countries. The work is then meant to reflect both pressure and division, Salcedo says. But there is so much suggestion of struggle, too, in the work, and of calling into question, as Salcedo suggests, the direction of our gaze—toward those who struggle, toward those fallen into the cracks, toward those who push from the crevices to free themselves only to find themselves, in many cases, in circumstances which hold them in like those bits of chain-link fence incorporated into the interior sculptural walls of the installation.

Here’s more about this piece from Tate Modern and from the Khan Academy.

And here’s a photo:

Doris Salcedo, Shibboleth, Tate Modern, 2007

(Photo by Nmnogueira at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

Surrealist Interventions: The Art of Marcus Møller Bitsch

Giraffe and Hot Air Balloon, by the Indonesian photographer Syaibatul Hamdi

But this post won’t be about Hamdi. I chose this image because it was freely shared on Pixabay and it shows some of the thought processes behind Marcus Møller Bitsch’s work, the Danish photographer featured recently on the website of Aesthetica Magazine.

Unlike most Surrealist artists, Marcus MB, as he likes to be called, doesn’t use digital manipulation if he can help it, and instead creates his version of Surrealism using simple props, such as a photograph of a blue cloudy sky cracked open in the middle to reveal a night sky with small sparkly stars. Or a photograph of the sea which he tears in places in order to place in the indents what could possibly be rather small rocks—which then end up looking like large outcrops in the middle of the sea.

Here’s a selection of his photos on Aesthetica Magazine’s website

Golden Dream, Glass Painting; and a Note on Art Galleries in Downtown Bucharest

Whether you’re an art aficionado or not, I think you may find you’ll enjoy some of the art galleries in downtown Bucharest on your next trip here. Entrance is free and I guarantee you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. I am amazed myself every time I go for a leisure stroll and stop at Artmark or Galateca or Cercul Militar / Military Circle (the latter one where Victoriei Blvd crosses Regina Elisabeta Blvd, close to University Square). I had another favorite gallery on Victoriei Blvd, but unfortunately it closed down sometime this year. Other galleries I invite you to explore are Elite Art Gallery close to Unirii Square and Art Yourself Gallery near Romana Square.

All of these spaces showcase contemporary art, but Artmark also has an impressive collection of 19th-century art (along with collections of various objects they sell at auction) which rivals in many ways that of the National Art Museum (not in size, of course) and is free to visit. So you have nothing to lose; give it a try! Artmark’s building lies close to the National Art Museum, on a street (C.A. Rosetti) which connects Victoriei Bldv to Magheru Blvd.

Here’s a photo from my last promenade in the area, when I caught some contemporary pieces right after the official close of an exhibition.

#Supercontemporary exhibition of contemporary art at Artmark Auction House in Bucharest
#Supercontemporary at Artmark Auction House, Bucharest, Romania

And here’s an amazing piece from yesterday’s walk, when I swung by Cercul Militar and caught a glass painting exhibition by Elena Cioclu. The two images presented here are on show until August 5. My favorite is Golden Dream. It includes not only a cross, a (church) bell and angels, but also an axis mundi (through the cross), a liminal circular area which includes references to vegetation and organic forms, and a spiritual realm where angels support the structure of this world, including by holding on to the edges of the bell (and therefore helping it move in the world). The color composition is also intriguing, with golden, blue, and turquoise hues (which I haven’t captured very well) and with a more intense, orange reddish dot at the center of the cross, in a blue square. This bit is very significant, as it may refer both to the human nature of Christ and to His sacrifice; also to the intensity of the center that holds all things together.

Note as well the circle around the meeting point of the arms of the cross,  which is an ancient symbol of the Sun adopted by the Celts; given that it’s also split in four, it also references, just as crosses do, the four corners of the Earth and the four elements that—at least in Western symbolism—make up this world (earth, water, air, and fire). And if you don’t see any symbols of the Trinity, keep you hair on: the vertical arm of the cross is flanked by three beams on each side, making up a total of seven, which among other things (the seven days of Creation, for one) is said to represent the unity between the Holy Trinity and the created world.

Golden Dream sells for €1800.

Golden Dream (
Golden Dream (“Vis de aur”), glass painting by Elena Cioclu

NB: I had to take the photos at an angle because I developed a smudge on my camera lens (can’t fix it) and also this is glass, so I didn’t want my profile reflected in the photos.

Balance (
Balance (“Echilibru”), glass painting by Elena Cioclu

If the above two pieces are too spiritually charged for you, I’ll leave you with a photo of marigolds from nearby Cișmigiu Park 🙂

Marigolds in Cismigiu Park, downtown Bucharest
Marigolds in Cișmigiu Park in downtown Bucharest
 
 

Discovering texture

Some wonderful ways to add texture to paintings

Laura Hunt, Artist

Helping people deepen their experience of art is something I enjoy; exploring the various elements of art is one way to do that. Here’s an introductory excerpt from my most recent post.

To set the stage, here are the seven elements required to create art: line, shape, form, value, space, color, and texture. Some artists use all of them in a given work, some may only use two or three, but each artist has her own way of employing the elements and choosing what expresses her intent. The elements required to create art are line, shape, form, value, space, color, and texture.

Last time I wrote about line, an element that makes frequent appearances in my paintings. This time I’ll select another one off the shelf –texture.

The element of texture doesn’t require much explanation. You know when a tactile quality catches your eye, begging to be touched. Running…

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Notre-Dame Cathedral: The Three Rose Windows Still Intact

Notre-Dame Cathedral in ParisMy first worry when I saw the fire at Notre-Dame was that it would blow up the rose windows. Had the roof not collapsed, they would have been most likely destroyed. It remains to be seen how the lead frames are faring, and how the glass has been affected once a detailed survey of the damage begins. President Macron wants the cathedral restored in time for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, but that goal may be too ambitious.

Here’s more:

“Notre Dame: experts explain why Macron’s five-year restoration deadline is impossible” (Hannah McGivern and Nancy Kenney, The Art Newspaper, April 26, 2019)

“Fate of Priceless Cultural Treasures Uncertain After Notre-Dame Fire” (Alex Marshall, Liam Stack, and Heather Murphy, New York Times, April 15, 2019)

 

The Streets of London: Chihuly at Kew Gardens—on Chez l’abeille

Chihuly Extravaganza at Kew Gardens
I was lucky enough to see some of his works at a museum. They’re very much alive when you’re in their presence, especially if they’re under natural light.

Chez l'abeille

During the Easter break we were fortunate to have some extraordinarily unseasonable weather – the sun shone, the sky was a bright summer blue and the thermometer rose – so this seemed the perfect opportunity to see an outdoor glass installation by a favourite artist.

The Dale Chihuly Exhibition, “Reflections on Nature” at The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is a sequence of artworks, both indoors and nestled within the famous glasshouses. It took a couple of hours of gentle strolling to see them all and to spend time really looking at these beautiful works within the natural environment.

Enjoy!

As well as seeing the installations in the garden, we visited the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art (located inside Kew and included as part of your ticket). There is a large exhibition of classic pieces by Chihuly, some of which I already knew. However, I particularly liked seeing his…

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Tell Me—in Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel (99¢ until April 25)

Mira Tudor_Poets, Artists, Lovers. A Novel_ebook cover_blog

“Later that week Anca sent a number of poems to the magazine Literary Romania. “Tell Me” was among them. It talked of roasted potatoes and onions, rooibos tea with honey, and perky sad music on the CD player. It considered whether life is ever more than swapping stories in a kitchen over a poor man’s meal shared threeways, each bite charmed with sunlight and music. It described an intoxicating scene with a long-haired woman in a vaporous dress, pirouetting on the kitchen table to humor her boyfriend, who then grabbed her by the thighs and hips and put her down in front of the piano, where she played God knows what, for she used no sheets, and she and her man were the only musicians in the room. Finally, it mentioned her bare foot pushing the brass pedal with conviction, her launching into Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude, whirling its listeners like a tornado, and her cutting loose as more water for tea boiled on the stove, and the guests were invited to crack walnut shells for a makeshift dessert.”

Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel is now selling at $0.99 and £0.99 (until April 25).

Lucia Lobonț, Moody Pictures

I love the aesthetics of Lucia Lobonț’s ceramics, whether they be tamer decorative pieces, moody portraits, or mixed-media-informed collage-like compositions with more recognizable use of decalcomania (Here’s an example of the latter.)

I discovered Lucia Lobonț about a week ago at Elite Art Gallery in downtown Bucharest, where she had two portraits and a mirror frame on show. Here’s one of the portraits and part of the mirror.

Lucia Lobont_Reflection and Portrait

Lucia Lobonț, Reflection and Portrait
Glazed Ceramics

In the piece to the right, I’m drawn to the economy of gestures in marking shadows and red cheeks, and, of course, the moody tone, set by those wonderful droopy eyes, the chubby chins, the quirkily curved lips, and the full ovals of the faces.