just my imagination

March 3, 2021

I came across the jubilant world of French artist, Alexandre Benjamin Navet today and I was drawn to his rich, primary colours, sketchy style, and playful compositions. “I’m someone who needs to understand the codes of a universe before freeing myself from them,” said Navet in a recent interview. I love this idea. It’s like following a recipe for a Waldorf Salad, and then improvising with pecans and pears. Some artists, spend their whole careers unlearning everything they’ve been taught at art school. This idea of paying homage to the past, observing the rules, understanding and respecting them, in order to break free of them resonates with me a great deal. It shows diligence, commitment, patience, courage and creativity. “You study, you learn, but you guard the original naivete,” said Matisse, whose sense of colour and pattern travels through Navet’s work. Have a look at his painted fresco on the facade of the Hotel Des Arts in Toulon. It’s such a happy sight. “When I create a fresco in a space, I always proceed in the same way: I research its history and seek inspiration in historical records, photos, and pictures.” And then his imagination leads the way.

marigolds

March 3, 2021

Sometimes it seems that life lands so lightly on some people, and like an anvil on others. Today, a dear friend’s mum died. Both mother and daughter lived life to it seams, ripped through the seams. Polly died seven years ago, and part of me believes that the loss was just too much for her Mum to bare. What rich lives lived. I’d like to imagine a garden full of marigolds, where both women meet again.

Another roundup of beautiful things

March 2, 2021

PETROS KAMINIOTIS’ intricate traditional Greek costumes for Palymobil figures.

PETROS KOOUBLIS’ dreamy and surreal landscapes.

This fabulous double breasted box-cut jacket from London’s Egg.

A Kashan blue and white vessel from Central Iran, late 12th Century.

Beautiful and intense quilting by artist, SUSAN LENZ.

CARLOS PAEZ VILARO’S Casapueblo in Uruguay.

The exquisite, hand carved reliefs of artist, GOGA TANDASHVILI.

SLIM AARONS shoots summer in Malta.

fly

March 2, 2021

For years now, I’ve been intrigued by people who collect things. A few summers ago, I wrote a series for Toronto Life in which I spotlighted weird and wonderful collections around the city, from vintage knives to love letters to hats, sneakers and taxidermy. Today, I came across the paper airplane collection of beat artist, Harry Smith. Found on New York’s streets between 1961 and 1983, his collection is pretty special. Take a look at these humble, and yet beautiful works of art.

pink house

February 26, 2021

I know why I am drawn to this house and it’s not just because it’s pink. My grandparents lived in a house just like his –– a salmon pink cottage –– and it held such happy memories. They lived in Bermuda, and the house was surrounded by that thick, green crab grass that tickles your feet and grows all over the island. Inside, the house smelt like my grandmother’s perfume, First, by Van Cleef Arpel, and whatever my grandfather was cooking, spaghetti bolognese or chicken a la king. The curtains were a thick, floral fabric, and the walls were painted lemon yellow and powder blue. In the afternoons, we’d play cards and Bingo! and watch episodes of The Young And The Restless on a fuzzy t.v. This painting is by Peter Lanyon, a British Artist. I’m not sure if this is England, but the rust and mustard and mossy green are definitely not tropical. I like the movement in the tree, and the puffs of smoke coming out of the chimney.

cluck, oink, woof

February 25, 2021

Penguins, monkeys and polar bears. Holly’s Frean‘s animals have appeared on everything from textiles to wallpaper, to canvases and ceramics. Dog Rainbow No.3 is super for anyone who loves colour and/or canines. And I love Frean’s pandas. You may have seen her collection of chicken plates; these ones, made from fine bone china, are equally delightful. Both childlike and sophisticated, Frean’s work could weave its way into any, or every room in the home.

flowerheadz

February 24, 2021

Tess, Chris, Tyron, Agnes –– each one of Hugh Findletar’s exuberant glass busts has a name. A multi-media artist, (he’s a photographer by trade) Findletar turned to glass when he moved to Italy 23 years ago and discovered Murano and its glass blowers. Ancient Greece, Eritrea and the Roman Empire are areas of great interest, and a love of horticulture travels through his work, too. Jamaican-born, the legends, traditions colours and characters of the Caribbean are infused into everything he creates. Filled with fresh blooms, they’re all so fabulously eccentric.

A roundup of pots, petals and a very long baguette.

February 23, 2021

Beautiful, humble pots from SARAH JARETH.

AXEL EINAR HJORTH’s early 1900s wavy bench.

Al Fresco dinner.

KATIE SCOTT’s weird and beautiful illustrations.

When ceilings look like cake.

Whimsical doodles from BONNIE GRAY.

MARINA VERNICOS captures Athens covered in snow.

A 139-year-old San Francisco home gets moved by a lorry.

Four women sharing a 9-foot baguette in Soho, 1955.

brush with nature

February 22, 2021

It was this floral mural that first drew me to Nathalie Lété‘s whimsical world. Dense with dragonflies, gourds, flowers and fungi, it brings magic and whimsy to the rooms it adorns. Now, imagine an entire house, where every inch of wall is covered in Lété’s creations. This has been the French artist’s quarantine project, to paint her walls à la Bloomsbury Group. The tiles, the curtains, every cushion, rug and throw, is painted on by Lété. Even the furniture and doors are covered in birds and fields of wild flowers. Nature, Folk art, Zalipie houses, and Moroccan souks are all inspirations. Have a look around. It’s another world.

turning a page

February 19, 2021

I am re-reading About Alice, Calvin Trillin’s love letter to his wife. It was published in 2006, five years after Alice’s untimely death, and I read it a bit over a decade ago when I was expecting my first baby. Is it Stephen King that said, life is too short to re-read a book? I think some books are meant to be re-visited, seen through fresh eyes. I think about the books I read as a teenager, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Hardy, Bronte and Golding, and how my experience of them was limited, by well, my lack of experience. I remember moving to Florence at 19 and devouring Somerset Maugham and Paul Auster by candlelight. What a different experience it would be to read such books as The Moon and Sixpence or Moon Palace today. I wrote essay upon essay on Camus’ L’etranger, and looking back, I didn’t absorb a word of it. Existentialism? I was 16. My place in the world was my boyfriend’s couch and the greasy spoon around the corner from our school. There are so many brilliant books in the world, and as we navigate these weird waters, there is some comfort in the nostalgia of ones we’ve already read. We know how the books end. Our experience of how we get there though, that feels different.

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