July 30, 2010

Blush and Bashful

And because he's bought me orange and yellow already. That's Mr. Wonderful for you. 

July 29, 2010

Paris - Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou, Paris museum that houses a library and the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Europe's biggest collection of modern and contemporary art. The building of the Pompidou is insane to look at, immediately one can recognize that something is not quite right about the building. It could be the style in which the building was designed, essentially with the insides (plumbing, air conditioning, water systems, etc.) on the outside. The idea of bringing the working insides to the outside was also a social statement to the form and function of museums at the time.  It was designed in the 1970s by Renzo Piano, and created such an uproar because of it's innovative and unique design - but some just thought it was ugly.

These photos are from the front of the building. Here are some of Jon's photos of the other side, which really show the industrial skeleton at its best.
Notice the escalator, the red rectangles that move up to the top of the six-story building.
UP and Up you go! All the way to the top!

The sixth floor has an exhibition space, restaurant and offers incredible views!  

I'm not sure if this photo conveys it, but it was so hot when I visited the windows were open. I have such a terrible case of acrophobia, and this was very difficult for me to walk through. But, I had to do it, especially if I wanted to see the art.

Out the window, and to my right  I could see the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.
To my left - ET!
At this point. my hands felt like they were being pricked with tiny pins and my feet and palms were so sweaty. With every step I took, I could feel my toes slosh around in my shoes - they were perspiring so much. It was gross, but I had no idea that my shoes were not conducive to acrophobia. I felt that I was going to slip in my own shoes and fall out the window, totally irrational - I know. 

Doesn't this restaurant look nice? That's Notre Dame Cathedral in the background.

The exhibitions on view when I went - Lucian Freud: L'atelier and Dreamlands.
Dreamlands was incredible!

Shooting arrows...

Fancy museum furniture... that's all.

There was so much to see at Musée National d'Art Moderne, from Picasso to the Gorrila Girls. The collection was vast and overwhelming. There was too much to take in, I will definitely have to return. Photos are allowed in the permanent collection, but I am finding that taking pictures in museums distracts  from the pleasure of viewing the artwork. I have to tell myself that better photos exist online and in books, and to see a piece in person, up-close, is precious. So many discoveries take place with every second and every step. 

Here are two of my favorites:

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917.

Two works by Yves Klein
Left: Monochrome IKB 3, 1960
Right: L'arbre, grande éponge bleue (SE 71), 1962

July 28, 2010

Not much to brood about

But I am. 



Perhaps it's the imminent return? 

This is a photo I've long wanted to capture and was finally able to last week. It's a bread vending machine. It's full of packaged fresh bread from a local bakery. There is wheat, white, and sandwich rolls.  Now, that's ingenuity!

July 27, 2010

Feesten Fotos

Things got pretty crazy in Ghent last week with the festival. The Ghent Festival it's the largest open air and culture festival in Europe is known for their 10 days of partying that happens all over the city. This tradition dates back to the 18th century and is subsidized by the city!

What is a culture festival? Exactly what you think. There are musical acts of all kinds, carnival rides, a party atmosphere, food, beer, and thousands of people. In my opinion, it's not the best way to experience Ghent as a city, but it's a unique celebration and party atmosphere that lasts until the wee hours of the morning. And that in itself is a great experience.

A few photos to share from the revelry...
Gravensteen Castle in Ghent. 
This is an amazing set surrounding one of the stages in the city. This monstrosity of an artistic puppet audience was so fantastic and eerie to view in the night. It took my breath away.

This performer is supposedly Dutch and famous. He covered Bob Marley songs, and I really dug the choir of girls on stage. I want to be a singer, too!

The Belgians L-O-V-E to party, folks!

2:30 am - tree captures my attention.
3:30 am - the last of the revelers making their way home.

July 22, 2010


Off to Ghent to the festival and to celebrate some birthdays.

P.S I made a few cards yesterday.

July 21, 2010

Paris - Musée d'Orsay

A few weeks before our big trip I took a very quick trip to Paris all for myself, by myself. After my trip to the Kröller-Müller I was inspired to see the museums of Paris, something I was not able to do on our trip last December. In two days I saw three fantastic buildings, thousands of works of art and then some. Of course, I made some time to eat, see some friends and even did a little window shopping. (I love this store by the way.)

On the train from Bruxelles I prepared myself for the art history I was about to take in. I decided to view the works in chronological order. I started with antiquities through the 19th century at the Louvre, then went through the later 19th century at the Musée d'Orsay and finally ended my trip with modern and contemporary art at the Centre PompidouI have a lot to process and post about the Louvre, so I will start with the 
Musée d'Orsay

This the museum I was most excited about. I was so excited, I forgot to take pictures of the beautiful restored train station that this marvelous museum is housed in. Cameras are not allowed inside, but I really enjoyed taking a break from my camera. I walked around with my Moleskine, paid attention to my reactions and jotted them down. It was really nice to look at the paintings with my eyes, instead of through my camera, something I intend to do more often.  Here are a few highlights from my notes...

I started with the Crime and Punishment exhibition. I read this NY Times article about the exhibition a few months back, so I was thrilled to learn it was still on view. However, I was not prepared for the heaviness of the subject matter.

I saw my 3rd guillatine since moving to Europe. I even saw the baskets where they used to keep the heads. Considering my frightened interest in this machine as a child, this was pretty cool to me.

La Morte de Marat (The Death of Marat) 
Jacques-Louis David, 1793

I have been meaning to make it to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium to see this painting, so I felt extremely satisfied to see it in Paris.

I adore Edgar Degas' Small Dancer. I'm not sure if it's satin ribbon or the delicate tulle, but I think this piece is exquisite and I am always captivated when I see it. I wish she would come to life and dance for me.

Bal du moulin de la Galette, Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876. 
Image from here, but visit this link for official information.
This is the painting that evoked the most emotion. I stood in front of it for about five minutes, a very long time in museums. I was overcome with happy tears of joy as I looked at Renoir's brushstrokes and the lively actions and faces in the painting. I felt like I was right there. I wept because I wasn't.

La chambre de Van Gogh à Arles (Van Gogh's Room at Arles), Vincent Van Gogh, 1889.
Image from here, but visit this link for official information.

I have to share this painting, only because there are three in the world and I have yet to see one. In college, I completed an assignment for a 3-D design studio based on this work. This piece is very important to me because I worked so intimately building a 3-D model of this interior. Over the course of the 3 week assignment, I really came to know the work and also myself. My version was placed in a pear crate, had a popsicle stick floor, furniture made from Sculpy and actual linens that I sewed. I don't have the piece anymore - and that makes me sad. When I went to Amsterdam in February, it was not at the Van Gogh Museum, and alas... When I went to the Musée d'Orsay it was not there either. I met a very nice couple from Chicago, who told me that there is one at the Art Institute.

I guess I have to go to Chicago.
And I have to make that piece again. 

A Belgian Holiday

Today is a National Holiday in Belgium, not Independence Day. I was just corrected on this. According to Wikipedia July 21st is the day that Leopold of Saxe-Coburg Saalfeld took the oath as the first king of the Belgians in 1831. 
I drew a little picture for today.

It rained.

Typical Belgium.

July 20, 2010


What I learned...

My fears...

1. Riding my bicycle next to busses - I sort of did it, they still scare the crap out of me.
2. Going to the doctor - I went. All is well. No cancerous cells, a healthy body.
3. Going to the dentist - going this Friday.
4. Change - Accept it. It's gonna happen.
5. Picking up my pen - or in this case my brush,
6. Heights - I did it in Paris and Rome. More on this in the next few posts.

July 18, 2010

Pics of Paris

I just discovered this blog. It's gorgeous to look at, mainly photography, and mostly pictures from Paris. Nichole's photos are gorgeous! I can only hope to capture half of what she does, but I try to have fun while trying!

The following are my snapshots that I took along the Île Saint-Louis, the Latin Quarter, and the general area close to the Seine.
Tarte aux pommes from Poilane.

Glace à la framboise de Berthillon.

A quaint café
Heavenly macarons from Ladurée.

Mysterious, crazy fly over - 3:45 pm, 6 juillet.

Le sigh...  J'adore Paris.

Marathon to Mechelen

Not really, but we rode that distance yesterday to Mechelen. It took about 5 hours, but we stopped a lot along the way. That, and my bicycle only has one gear... something I discovered yesterday.

"For amber waves of grain..."
Wait, wrong country.
Gouden Carolus, the beer of Mechelen.