Art in Paris: 4 exhibitions to see now

Hello!

I was busy with my kid on wednesday so I didn't post earlier. So here I am catching up with you, my post subject is basically: if there's something in Paris that we can't complain about is "what to do?". There are so many options that, sometimes, we just get lost. Even living here for the last 7 years, I'm still discovering many things. Anyway, the fall season is also the Art season. All the big exhibitions and Art fairs are mid October. I'm trying to get organised and give you my own reviews because I haven't visit yet any of those amazing exhibitions. For now, I just extracted the texts below from the official websites and got excited to see them all! 

So here's my DON'T MISS short list:

  • Picasso Mania (Grand Palais): The twenty or so solo or group exhibitions since 1973 that have focused on the study of the posterity of Pablo Picasso’s oeuvre testify to its impact on contemporary art. The exhibition at the Grand Palais takes a simultaneously chronological and thematic approach to the critical and artistic highlights of Picasso’s career and the myth that gradually built up around his name. More information here
  • Warhol Unlimited (MAM Paris): As a setting for the first European showing of Shadows (1978-79) in their entirety, the Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris is devoting a remarkable exhibition to Andy Warhol (1928-1987). Comprising over 200 works, Unlimited highlights the serial side of the Warhol oeuvre – a crucial aspect of his work – and his ability to rethink the way art should be exhibited. More information here
  • Splendour and Misery. Pictures of Prostitution, 1850-1910 (Musée d'Orsay): The first major show on the subject of prostitution, this exhibition attempts to retrace the way French and foreign artists, fascinated by the people and places involved in prostitution, have constantly sought to find new pictorial resources for depicting the realities and fantasies it implied. More information here
  • Fantastic! Kuniyoshi, demon of the prints (Petit Palais): Visitors to the Petit Palais are invited to discover, for the first time in France, the work of the extraordinary artist, Kuniyoshi (1797-1861).  His prints are characterised by originality in their inspiration and composition, violence in the monster and warrior prints, and humour in the Chinese shadows series, the caricatures and his representations of the life of cats. More information here.

I can't forget to mention the FIAC, the Contemporary Art Fair. More than an Art Fair is a cultural event that shakes Paris, the whole city gets involved, it's amazing.

Oh, I chose to draw Picasso's face in my real Facebook as my first drawing. 

See you next week!

Explore Colour and comfort zones

Hello everyone,

I've been "hiding" my progress with my painting online course Explore Colour to post here. It finished last weekend, but the Facebook Group is still very active and people keep posting their paintings. The goal was to have 4 still lives works finished with the method that Este McLeod developed for over 25 years of experience as a full time artist. How about me? I only finished one painting and I'm in the middle of the second one! It's been very challenging to be pushed out of my comfort zone. So let's talk about it...

It's been years since I touched a brush to mix acrylic painting colours. It used to be my passion, painting... I was in the university getting a BFA degree, I had an studio, I use to pay my vacations selling my big scale works, well, I was MEANT TO BE a painter. Sometimes when the whole world expects you do to something it can be very scary, and you fight AGAINST that. I don't know exactly what happened (because things happens) but I quit the university, I had no more studio and I stopped. Years later I restarted everything again: I sold paintings, I had two art galleries representing my work and I stopped. Like that. A good friend told me: "Lavinia, it's so easy to know when you are really happy, you just make art!". I think this is probably very true.

So again here I am: painting, with a new studio, searching for my style, testing new materials and opened to the many novelties in the Art field that I wasn't aware of. All I can think about are the endless possibilities of effects and textures with the use of mediums and drawing plants...

Finally, my conclusions with the process are:

  • 1) The botanics theme (plants, flowers, still lives...) are maybe not what I'm interested on keep painting but, as weird as it sounds, drawing it in a regular basis. I always struggle with themes. 
  • 2) The mini exercises proposed were an amazing Nature eye opener and I think I'm much more aware of the outdoors surrounding me. 
  • 3) Patience. I'm learning to give time to each work. Waiting for a layer to dry, analyse the work and enjoy it.
  • 4) It's good to have two or three paintings going on at the same time. It helps a lot with the patience issue.
  • 5) Style. I'm far, far away on finding my own style. Practicing is the only way and I'm enjoying this  creative "quest".
  • 6) Painting a still life is definitely not easy as it seems.

There is nothing better than testing your limits.

The early stages of my painting... I didn't like it at all but I kept going!

The early stages of my painting... I didn't like it at all but I kept going!

When I asked for help to Este and she showed me the possibilities

When I asked for help to Este and she showed me the possibilities

The painting finished

The painting finished

Happy new studio!

Hello September!

As I posted in my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds I have exciting news! Finally I'll have my own studio here in Paris. "Mon nouveau atelier" is small, cozy and very well located, something that I've been dreaming for a while. I'm sharing the space with a small fashion brand that you'll hear about because they're very talented people. So, dreams can be true when you are grateful to the universe (and your lovely husband!). 

I'll be posting some photos soon. 

Keys to my private paradise creative bubble!  

Keys to my private paradise creative bubble!  

6 best Art Supplies Stores in Paris to amuse you while I'm getting back to reality

Hello friends!

It's been a while I haven't posted anything, or even updated my portfolio (shame on me!) and that's because I spent a whole month in vacations. I went on a trip with my husband and two kids (5yo and 2,5 yo). It was exhausting (small children parents knows what I'm talking about...) and amazing. Almost no Internet, no computer or IPad... just a bad connection sometimes to post few photos. We visited many different places and enjoyed a lot being close to the water, both the Mediterranean Sea and the Drôme River. The kids had a blast.

The "Grand Bleu", multicolor waters in the Porquerolles Island, South of France

The "Grand Bleu", multicolor waters in the Porquerolles Island, South of France

La Roane, a gorgeous river in the Drome department

La Roane, a gorgeous river in the Drome department

I also had a break from regular drawing and I don't regret it all, because I wrote A LOT. Journaling is a cool experience and I pampered myself with some contemplation time. Reading some books, going bike riding and trekking, and being in contact with the nature (and great wine) can change your mood for the year ahead. 

Now I'm back to reality here in Paris, trying to get things done. I'll be taking MORE online classes next semester and the next one of it is in acrylic painting! I'm so excited! Don't worry, I'll post it about it later. So, before I have something cool from my production to show, let's go shopping for art material to get inspired.

Here are, in my opinion, the BEST art supplies addresses in Paris:

Le Géant des Beaux-Arts: it's like Paradise in Earth, I can happily cross the town for getting in one of the 2 stores they have here (I go in the one in the 11ème) but I do almost my shopping online.

Rougier & Plé (Graphigro): They are 50 stores in France and I normally go to the one in the XVème, but it's not my favorite I like the one in the Marais. They have a nice selection of products.

Lavrut: I visited this shop a while ago, I found everything very expensive but they are located in a famous "Passage", so the visit is something special.

Sennelier: you just want to die when you get inside this tiny little shop in the Rive Gauche packed with the best (and expensive) you can find in art materials. They sell Dr. Ph Martins inks here, the only place I found it. They have weird open time schedule, but if you visit the Louvre you just cross a bridge and you're there. They have another shop in Montparnasse but it was closed when I try to visit.

Boesner: Never been there but my sketching folks loves the address, they have some amazing squared sketchbooks. I'm planning to go soon.

Marin: A friend told me about it and it seems like THE secret place, where the pros go. They have a good website and I think I gonna freak out when I see this place. They are a wood, colors and fabric manufacturer! 

So if you are an art material addict, like me, visiting Paris let me know if you stop by one of these stores.

Have fun!

4 Design Blogs that I follow and I think you should too

I've been very busy with my MATS Home Décor course, connecting with amazing artists that I admire and learning A LOT. It can be very stressing and overwhelming but also very inspiring. I couldn't post my homework for Fabric (last week's subject) because I went on a short trip to a beautiful farm with no phone or Internet and I pretty much got disconnected of my daily life. For now, it's clear that I have to build up a strong portfolio if want to go somewhere in my career.

Now I'm back to Paris and my son is on vacations. So, finding time to study, take care of my kids and keep up with my assignments is very challenging. But to be a part of such talented community is a daily gift.

Well, I was planning about this post before I started this course so I can continue with my "sharing knowledge" mood. So, this time is about art/design blogs that I've been following for years that I wanted to talk about! They're a real source of inspiration for me and reading them regularly is how I try to identify what's trendy in the creative world, find about new artists and, if I like a post subject, go deeper in researching. For someone who loves information like me, there's nothing better.

Here they are:

  1. Design Milk: Everything I love - Art, Architecture, Interiors, Products, Home, Jewellery and more. The content is so well selected. I check it daily.
  2. Fubiz: Daily dose of inspiration and contemporary creative culture platform. Very diverse and interesting.
  3. Swissmiss: I really respect what Tina Roth Eisenberg does in sharing content in design, creativity and inspiration. I check it as much as I can and she has a Friday Link Pack full of interesting things to see in the Internet.
  4. Dezeen Magazine: A magazine as they say. I love the way they mix subjects like Architecture, Product Design, Art and Technology. It's very trendy and full of cool content.

I have in my Feed reader many others more and I'll be soon sharing them. I hope you like it.

Wasn't I right to disconnect? I could not resist to share this amazing view.

Wasn't I right to disconnect? I could not resist to share this amazing view.

3 essential Art History books that I strongly suggest you to read

I'm my last post I talked about what changed my creative life and gave all the information I could about it... and it was a success! I had many people discussing and getting interested about learning. Which makes me really happy and gives me fuel to keep sharing anything that can help to get you more creative.

That said, I realised that is great idea to combine both sides of the same coin: Theory and Practice. For a period of my life I dedicated myself to study Art History and Theory, which I really love, and I completely neglected practicing drawing or painting. There's no particular reason for that and I was really busy on writing my final paper for getting my BFA degree at University. Later on, my knowledge led me to open an art gallery that you can see here.

If you ask me what what I think about getting a degree in an Art School, go back to the university, I would ask you if you have time for that. If you have go for it, I particularly love the academic atmosphere (but this is me). If you don't, you're not interested, or if life happened in a different way, it doesn't mean that you can't be an artist

Anyway, to help you to build a stronger knowledge basis in Art here are my tips: 

  1. "The Story of Art", E.H. Gombrich: this is the first book I read about art when I was 17 and I keep going back to it! Great for beginners and easy to read. It covers almost everything in Art History, pretty much a classic.

  2. "Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book By Artists and Critics" by Herschel B. Chipp: another book that I keep coming back to research about the artists - like Van Gogh, Matisse and Gauguin - ideas and inspirations. A great collection of letters, interview and notes.

  3. "Styles, Schools and Movements" by Amy Dempsey: an excellent source book that lists all the Modern Era movements in a chronological way. It evens come with a graphic so you can see how many movements happened at the same time! I think the way she describes everything is priceless and, if you want to go deeper, every description comes with references. 

There are many other sources that I check regularly, like magazines and websites. There are few other books that I find very important but the language can be very academic or difficult to read if you're a beginner. But, if you want to share your preferences or suggest me a book, feel free to drop me a line. :)

Book shelf here at home. Many of my books, including those that I suggested are in Rio.   

Book shelf here at home. Many of my books, including those that I suggested are in Rio.

 

5 things that changed my creative life

I was someone, since I remember, meant to be an ARTIST. My parents enrolled me in a kid's Art School when I was 2yo! During my school years, I was always the kid in the class who use to draw caricatures of the teachers. Anyway, time passed, I took many art classes in many different places and periods of my life. 

When I was 17, I shared an art studio with some friends, I "fell" in my professional life as a Graphic Designer when I was about 20 and before finish my course at the University (that I eventually dropped)... I worked with wonderful people and, having a gap in my formation, I finally had a BFA degree in my 30's.

After that, I opened with my best friend our art gallery entre-tanto. Then I moved to Paris, became mom and, even never stop working as graphic designer, I missed something... Well, to be honest I kind of sabotaged my artistic life for many personal reasons.  

So, last year, to be more precise, around April, everything changed. I was reading my Facebook timeline and I saw a post that a friend enrolled to Sketchbook Skool, yes with a k. To make this post a little more interesting, and because one thing leads to another, I decided to make a list of five things that REALLY changed my creative life forever:

  1. Sketchbook Skool: I can't be more grateful to have stumbled upon Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene and, since the beginning of their project, be a part of this wonderful creative community. All the courses are just fantastic and the teachers are amazing artists.
  2. The book "Art Inc." by Lisa Congdon: I was at the Louvre one day and after my visit in the museum, I entered a book shop and I saw this book, I bought it and read it... a whole new world opened to me.
  3. Pattern Camp by Jessica Swift: After reading Lisa's book, I started to check her website and she posted about this course, that I took last February. I always interested by Surface Pattern Design and I didn't know where I could learn it. Jessica is one of the most generous teachers I ever had.
  4. Creative Bug: OMG, inspiration and stretching skills everywhere! I'm in love with Yao Cheng's work and watercolour classes.
  5. Urban Sketchers: Participating in the Paris Urban Sketchers meetings, or sketchcrawls, I had the chance to make new friends and share my work.

What I learned with my experience is not new: "the more you give, the more you get". Just simple generosity. Sharing tips, drawings, posts, sites that can enhance yours and other people's skills is just something that I intend to keep doing.

The wall in front of my desk

The wall in front of my desk

Lisa's wonderful book. 

Lisa's wonderful book. 

Flowers and leaves

Since I restart drawing and painting I live Spring in a different way. I think I have my eyes more opened to the colors and shades of leaves and flowers. I love the variety of them, each week I see some new varieties blooming. Inspired by that, I started to study the shapes and test new papers for watercolor. Florals are not my real thing but I kind of enjoying them. Style shifting? We'll see. 

I don't draw firm reality but I think I'll give a try. 

I don't draw firm reality but I think I'll give a try. 

Testing, testing... 

Testing, testing... 

I love the way my little watercolor moleskine is filled now. 

I love the way my little watercolor moleskine is filled now. 

Well, this painting went a little bit wrong. But she told me to don't get her that way so I accepted my mistakes.  

Well, this painting went a little bit wrong. But she told me to don't get her that way so I accepted my mistakes.  

Designing products

It's been a while I wanted to develop my own line of products featuring my prints, patterns and drawings. Actually this is my main goal for this year. I'd love to find nice manufacturers here in France to develop locally a small home décor collection. I wish we had here a Maker's Row style website, it would be easier to make prototypes (or echantillons in French) and some factory sourcing... Maybe it exists and I just need to find it.

As you see below, I already tried some prototyping. The only one I didn't like at all is the notebook, unfortunately the quality of the prototype wasn't as good as I expected. I'll be trying other things soon! 

entre-tanto

entre-tanto, that means in english meanwhile, was one of the best experiences I ever had in my life, professional and personal.

When I lived in Rio, in 2007, me and my best friend and great artist Cila MacDowell opened an art gallery/concept store/multimedia studio in Copacabana.

Our mission was to expose and develop new Brazilian artists and to explore the limits of what's called the "grey area", the intersections between art, design, fashion and video. In the first floor we had our gallery and show room. We could mix furniture with fashion with photography and jewellery, a real playground. 

In the second floor we worked in our studio. Cila is an amazing video artist, she collaborated with famous scenographers in multimedia opera concerts, now she's a teacher at the Art Department at the University in Rio.  I could offer my services as a graphic designer. We both worked together as the curators of our space and we loved to write together.

entre-tanto last 3 amazing years and we did from fashion events to performances, from product development to contemporary art exhibitions. Today I'm very proud to share an image gallery that works as a memoir and a homage to the people who believed and enjoyed this adventure with us. 

I'll be forever grateful. Great times!


Launching (finally) my website

I'm so excited about this website... And very happy you're reading this FIRST post! Blogging is something pretty new for me and I'll be writing, or at least, trying to write in English, just because is the universal language. 

I've been working as a graphic designer for 20 years now and I had never, ever displayed properly my work. You can only find it in the websites of the few communication agencies that I worked for. Anyway, my career is something that simply happened (I have a BFA degree that took me a long time to complete, but that's another story...) and taking care of it, organising my portfolio, sharing my work and showing it to the world is something that I decided to do it right now... 

Turning 40 causes this kind of (r)evolution! 

Trying new experiences, improving my skills and connecting with people interested in Art in general is few of my goals with this website. Please feel free to make comments and suggestions. A website is something that's always improving and I'll be adding new work and features (like signing up for a newsletter) really soon.

Little by little you'll get to know me better... Enjoy it!