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A printmaker's progress


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Photo Fridays – Perched Village in Provence


Gorgeous Gordes

Gorgeous Gordes

Gordes, one of France’s beautiful perched villages in Provence. Breathtaking as you approach, so lovely to walk through, oh so hard to leave. Wonderful memories.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend making memories!

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Tuesday Tales – Making My Mark


Bookmarks 1

Bookmarks 1-5

I love bookmarks. I enjoy finding those with special artworks at galleries and bookstores.  I find the artwork enhances the reading experience immensely for it begins and ends the reading session with a lovely visual experience. I especially enjoy handmake bookmarks created with care by artists I admire.

I began making my own bookmarks a few years back when I decided to recycle some older, less successful artwork and sell them for a few dollars at my studio tour. They were good sellers, so I slowly improved on them until I finally arrived at the ones I do today. These are no longer cut up old works but instead are images from carefully selected segments of etching plates that I feel work well in the long vertical format. I ink each plate especially for the bookmark with my oil-based inks and I print them on 300lb Arches watercolour paper, using the lovely natural deckel edge for the bottom of the bookmark. This paper is very firm and durable, yet takes the print beautifully under the etching press after being softened with water. The bookmarks are left to dry under a heavy weight overnight, allowing them to return to their beautiful firmness.

Each bookmark is unique, just like my prints, for each one is inked with its own, unreproduceable blend of colors. In fact I like to call them mini art scrolls, for they resemble the Asian style of painting on long vertical paper scrolls. The long vertical format is also quite popular with art galleries when announcing their shows on banners. These banners often show a cropped glimpse of the artwork on display inside. When I saw the banners below in front of the Louvre in Paris I was inspired to do the same on a much smaller scale.

Louvre, France

Louvre, France

Hence some of the figurative bookmarks below.

Bookmarks 2

Bookmarks 6-9

Bookmarks are in essence my own mini announcements, giving the purchaser a glimpse into my creative world. They make excellent small gifts on their own or add a special touch tucked inside a book. My website is written in pencil at the bottom on the back, leaving lots of room for a personal inscription. The bookmarks above and below are the latest batch I have completed.  They are numbered left to right for easy identification. They are 7″ x 2 1/4″ and are offered at $10 each or three for $25. They come packaged in individual, fitted, clear plastic sleeves.  Previous bookmarks were shown here. Many have been sold, but if you would like any of those images or more than one of the same image of any bookmark, I can make them to order, though each will have it’s own distinctive , and somewhat unpredictable coloring.  Please contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com if you would like to purchase any of these.

Bookmarks 10-15

Bookmarks 10-14

Bookmarks 16-18

Bookmarks 15-18

 


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Photo Fridays – Provencal Kittens


Provencal Kittens

Provencal Kittens

I recently came across The French Cat by Rachel Hale McKenna. Laden with evocative imagery, delightful quotes and amusing accounts of some of France’s most famous cats, and their even more famous owners (if one can every really own a cat), the book is an enchanting glimpse into French life as seen through the eyes of its feline inhabitants.

It immediately took me back to our encounter with these two gorgeous kittens in the small town of Les Grands Clements in Provence. It was our first day there and as we took a stroll through the town we came across this delightful pair. The kittens seemed as fascinated by our cameras as we were of them, and they graciously posed for us for quite a while before losing interest and walking away. Below are a shot of D shooting and one of his resulting kitty close-ups.

Curious Kittens

Curious Kittens

Kitten Face

Kitten Face

Have a great weekend everyone!


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Tuesday Tales – Homecoming


Coming Home, 2

Coming Home, 2

Returning home after an extended holiday abroad always leaves me with a somewhat disconnected and discomfitted feeling. Apart from the jetlag and often the climate change, the readjustment to the quotidian can be difficult. While there is comfort in things old and familiar, there is no longer the excitement of new discoveries and experiences. More than that, there is no longer a strong sense of making the most of every day, of capturing memories and living in pursuit of pleasure. There is an invariable feeling of sadness and loss that accompanies that realization.

But there is an even larger shift. Meeting new people is replaced by the return to friends and family. And that is when the strongest readjustment happens. For I am no longer who I was before I went away. My experience has changed me in subtle ways I myself am slow to realize. My horizons have expanded while my sense of place has diminished, for I find myself filled with the discovery of distance realities while trying to reacquaint myself with the familiar. And the people at home have changed too, for they have adjusted to living without me for a time.

Strangest of all is the shift in my routine with my travelling partner. Our adventure together has ended and we are once again returning to the exigencies of our daily lives, together but settling back at our own pace into our own new rhythms.

Yet while I get on with the business of my days, and adjust to the change and unrest my experience abroad has brought into my life, I also appreciate the good fortune of being able to travel. And I acknowledge that change is a good thing, for I realize that it has enriched my life in ways I will be discovering for a long time.

I’ve just returned from Middle Earth (or New Zealand as some call it), so I will end with this quote from a little hobbit you may be familiar with. “It’s a dangerous business…going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R.Tolkien

Coming Home, 2 is a 5″x7″ photo etching on 10″x11″ paper. It is an image of a very lovely place I stayed in while travelling through France two years ago. I like how the sunlight appears to welcome the weary traveller, shining its light on the road that leads to home.

It is offered this week at $70, unframed. Please contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com to purchase or for further info.

What about you, dear reader? Do you have any homecoming experience or insight you would like to share?


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Tuesday Tales – Dream Lover


Dream Lover

Dream Lover

Paris’ Musée d’Orsay’s exhibition, Masculine/Masculine. The Nude man in Art from 1800 to the Present Day, continues until January 12, after a three month run. A detailed description of the show, including many images and an intriguing video, can be found here.

While the male nude has been a common subject in sculpture and painting throughout the centuries, an entire show of male nudes is quite an uncommon event. I would have liked to see the show for that reason alone, although seeing the vast number and variety of artworks on display, grouped thematically, would have been a wonderful visual feast.

In keeping with this theme, I offer today a male nude of my own, a piece I produced for my solo show In Her Eyes. The title, Dream Lover, can refer either to the figure as the object of desire, or the sleeping man’s own dreaming desires. The light on his body is cool and natural, inferring daylight, yet he is at rest. Is he resting before or after some tryst? Or is he dreaming of one? The viewer decides. Whether in his mind or in reality, the feeling is one of warmth and contentment. A detailed view is below.

Dream Lover, detail

Dream Lover, detail

Dream Lover, an 8″x10″ photo etching on 15″x20″ paper, is offered this week for $200, unframed. To purchase or for further info contact me a chiarina@chiarina.com.


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Tuesday Tales – A Week In Provence


En Provence

En Provence

Last September I spent a week in Provence. I could have happily stayed a month, or three. While there I visited several of their most beautiful “perched” villages, spent two days hiking and sunbathing on the Mediterranean, hiked a breathtaking “falaise” and the extraordinary Colorado Provençal and delighted in some delectable local markets. Of course I took an enormous amount of pictures. But some of my favorite pictures and best times were from almost right outside my door in the village of Les Grands Cléments. Navigating its narrow streets by car was always an adventure. Much more enjoyable was taking a stroll and meeting its friendly residents. This avenue of trees, with the ripening vineyards and view to Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt beyond was glorious in the evening light and it has become one of my favorite prints ever. Apart from the beauty I see in the image, the memory it holds of an enchanting time and place is very dear to me. Images of Les Grands Cléments can be seen here.

En Provence, a 5″x7″ photopolymer gravure etching on 8″x10″ paper is offered this week at $80 unframed, or $100 framed.


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Tuesday Tales – September Fields


September Fields

September Fields

                      Racing through the fields
         Leaving memories behind
                                September sojourn

As September returns this week I am reminded of last year’s autumn adventures in France that began with this lovely bed and breakfast, Le Four A Sel, in the Dordogne region, land of foie gras, chateaux perched on river banks and fields of ripening corn. The view to our b&b from across these fields was so lovely it begged an etching. The memories of time spent in them, as well as eating at La Table d’Aubas,  the towns of Montignac and beautiful, medieval Sarlat, kayaking on the Dordogne River and visiting the numerous chateaux, will remain with us forever.

Pics from Dordogne, France can be seen here.

September Fields, a 5’x 8′ photopolymer gravure etching is offered this week at $75 unframed, or $100 framedin an 8″x10″ frame.