Friday, December 17, 2010

Treasure found

This is an antique quilt found at a thrift shop. When I saw it I could not believe my eyes but as often, I tend to first dismiss it. I took it home and looked at it carefully. It is covered with carefull red, white and blue stitches all done by hand ...millions of stitches! ...and there is so much more to it. It has these bands of paterns hand stitched as well, each band is a diferent patern, and it is very very old. I can't say how old but It has to be at least 19th century. It was once double it's size most likely but probably fell apart on one side and someone cut the edge of the bad part and refinished a smaller version of it by applying the edge strip to the cut edge of the salvaged side. The result is a slightly assimetrical design with an interrupted corner on one side(photo above) and proper wedged corners on the other. Looking at the material and looking at the colour theme and pattern, it looks like it could be even older than 19th cent...

But that may be wishful thinking!

If you know anything about this type of blanket, let me know. I did a search but have not come up with any worthy reference so far.

I will post a bunch of other picts on my flickr page...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Detail of new painting - "Life in the woods"

I was trying to describe today to a friend what this painting was about. I got caught in a web of long sentences that sounded intellectual and vague.

The thing is, my true voice IS my painting. Everything else is an interpretation. Words are so limited to what is habitual, the conventional. And lets face it, I am not that good at verbalizing my ideas... because... they are not ideas. And too many things wants to come out at the same time. I do notably better when I write. You can slow down, you can go back, re-organize things a bit!

...Like I do as I write this.

This painting is about all that is hiden in life in general, in nature in particular, in forest most specificaly. all that is hidden from us because of our very short range of sight, of hearing, of understanding. I am asking the viewer to look within at his/her own concept of a forest. Should one reconsider what we mean by forest? The question is hanging. You do not need to answer.

The answer is in the question, the question is the answer.
- you can see more details on flicker.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

creative process

I am now looking at materials to find out what will work. I chose a scheme of blue white and a touch of red. but nothing is written in ink yet. it's just food for thought... literally!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

sketch promised: a first sketch of  New Doll's outfit. Tentative. It looks a bit futuristic, but once I make it (if I do) it would have more of a primitive feel.

working on my doll

She aquiered carved, painted and lackered limbs, and got all stitched together, and is feeling all good about that. I really want her to look awsome and will spend a lot of time thinking up a great outfit for her.

...Above I will post a first rough sketch of that.

Monday, October 25, 2010



Gulls on Toronto Island on a sunny day in May. The sound of screaming gulls evoques many childhood memories of the sea, of cannes, Martinique... I love these intelligent birds.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

His Holiness the 14th Dalai lama of Tibet is honoring us all in Toronto by a visit this week-end. here is an extract from the teaching His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet will read, from the 8 verses of "training the mind".

I liked this passage a lot . It talks about the difficulty to identify with absolute compassion for most of us. With a simple comparision, he puts this endevour into perspective in a way to which most can relate :

"The point is to try to develop the scope of one's empathy in such a way that it can extend to any form of life that has the capacity to feel pain and experience happiness. It is a matter of defining a living organism as a sentient being. This kind of sentiment is very powerful, and there is no need to be able to identify, in specific terms, with every single living being in order for it to be effective. Take, for example, the universal nature of impermanence. When we cultivate the thought that things and events are impermanent, we do not need to consider every single thing that exists in the universe in order for us to be convinced of impermanence. That is not how the mind works. So it is important to appreciate this point."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

painting in the rain

Painting in the rain is not easy. You have to time it... Have a plastic cover handy and a plan for sudden downpour... but otherwise, it is not as much of a problem as you might think. We managed quite well Anita and I, on our little island, having set ourself up on the narrow shore side of the island, away from the wind, with lots of food at hand to snack on, the stove near by to make hot tea or chicory-mocha on-demand!

We sat on our life vests, drank tea and painted, observing the weeds, trees, birds, drifting logs. A miriad of wonders to look at with rain-washed eyes.

canoe and rain

Back in September. At the bottom of the portage between smoke lake and Ragged lake, this small arm of the lake always gives me a feeling of deep tranquility and of having "arrived". Though this trip was a wet and cold one, that did not stop Anita or me to enjoy it thouroughly. We elected after debate to stay on what I now call "turtle Island" a small island with a long beach the later favored ; according to hundreeds of rubery shell-bits found there ; by turtles, I suspect snaping turtles. 3 inspiring days of painting for me and sketching for Anita. It is the second time we go to Algonquin together and so far we have not had much luck with the weather. But then, neither of us likes the heat so it's just as well - except for lack of painting opportunities.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Last Tuesday, I was in the kitchen, when in the corner of my eye I saw something move inside my little lamp (the one I use now until I replace the broken bulb of the ceiling lamp) it is a frosted glass squarish tube with a small light bulb inside.I saw at the bottom something moving. I thought it was a moth. So I looked distractedly and saw it was a wasp instead... Reliving that moment in my mind, I am surprised at how my mind was not present. I looked at the wasp strugling, confused, terrified. I felt nothing. I was just about to turn away without a second thought when that suddenly felt terribly wrong. I could not have turned away. At that moment my compassion woke up and it took so little effort to free the wasp. It lauched from the lamp into the garden. I felt joy for it.

The little wasp has left a strong mark on my soul.

There was a moment of confusion between absent-minded carelessness and compassion that was interesting. I took a snapshot in my mind shocked at the indiference but not yet overcome by compassion. It was an important lesson about awareness ...and compassion.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sumac on my porch table

Sumac tea on a bike

In August I discovered a fabulous bike trail 2 minutes away from home!!! It is perfect and has lots of staghorn sumac and smooth sumac along the way. I picked some and came home and made some tea. The red seeds look gorgeous and the tea taste really good, just a tiny bit tart. It helps if you don't squeeze the twigs in the tea.  I went back this week. How wonderful it is on a hot day to wiz through the air on your bike! There was hardly anyone on the trail... it was all for me!!! : the bees, the butterflies, the little brown mouse that crossed the road, the flowers, the blue sky, the singing of birds, the screaming subway cars overhead on the huge big bridge, all... mine!!!

Try Sumac tea, it's easy!
(stay away from WHITE sumac: it is poisonous - RED sumac only!)

- take one seed pod
- fit in large cup or cut off all the seeds of the pods and put in cup
- cover with near boiling water.
- infuse for 15 minutes.
- sift brew
- drink hot, or cold with sugar
Note: some people show alergic reaction.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Visual poetry: COMBO a collaborative animation by Blu & David Ellis (2 x loop)

So refreshing to see so much creativity!
Theworld is not dull!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wonderful Wasnetsov

Woohoo! ...I just ordered this book which I think looks wonderful. I was certain it was from Yuri Vasnetsov, but it is from Elizaveta Vasnetsova (related?). It reminds me a lot of him, though with a unique flavor nevertheless.

I can't wait to see it up close.

I ordered a few more vintage children books as well, 2 more Russian ones and one from my wonderful talented Late uncle Garth Williams, one of his later ones called "The Chicken Book" I also ordered a book about him I found on Ebay, I do hope it is a well written / well informed one.

I promise more photos once I get them!
Just got a message from the seller Hanna, with more info!

Here it is:

"Elizaveta Vasnetsova is really a lady. She is a daughter of Jury Vasnetsov (1900-1973), who was a remarkable illustrator of children's books.
You have ordered the book of Jury Vasnetsov (Children's folk songs) and a book of Elizaveta Vasnetsova (The Windmill blizzard)."

...and here is a link to her store on Etsy:
Hey! Have you noticed how nice the image looks with my page colour????
- Perrrrr-fect!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Friedensreich Hundertwasser

His name means "Peace-Kingdom Hundred-Water"

From Wikipedia:
"The common themes in his work utilised bright colours, organic forms, a reconciliation of humans with nature, and a strong individualism, rejecting straight lines"

...Which means I have a lot in common with him, even more so than I originally thought.

He died in 2000, having made his home in New Zealand. Though he traveled a lot, his watch was always set on new Zeland time.

here is a link:

Friday, June 25, 2010

New art

I was inspired in spite of /or/ thanks to an (mild) earthquake on wednesday, and finished this piece. It started with a very rough outline, inspired I think by a Haida mask I saw last month at the McMickael museum. Once I did that, I wrote a text. Here goes:

Klack-klack! Klack-klack! her beak went. It meant "Leave at once!" "you are not welcome" Klack-klack! "You are not one of us!" Through the dense forest I ran. Quickly. I turned just only once more. I saw it. Something soft in her eye. A message of hope. One day we would be welcome again, even with the most secret one of all. Hope surged in my heart.

As I wrote it, the image became very clear in my mind and I started painting. By thursday morning it was done and very close to what I was expecting.

The little black ant... do you see it? it is there for the little black ant i killed (willingly but heart brokenly)

Friday, June 11, 2010

what's what? - tout est tout

Reflections are so symbolic of the distortions in how we perceive the world, the illusions we are faced with, the limits of our mind and of our eyes, perceving so little of all there is to see. Is a tree a reflection of a tree? or is it something real? is a reflection of a tree in water as real as a tree? a watery twin brother? where is the reflection? our eyes? ...our mind? ...the surface of the water? ...the particle of light? ...Where? ..Where?

Tell me!

Reflection on a forest

Another of my favorite things: sunken forests. I wonder how ancient they truly are as wood decomposes very slowly in these nutrient poor lakes, it takes many many years. the forest is under, over, all around and I feel at peace in that green cocoon.

Algonquin park trip - May 19-22

Back from a wonderful trip canoeing in Algonquin Park, North-East of our great city. A paradise it was, we were the only one there, the weather was ideal, my god-daughter Maroussia discovered Canada's incredible untouched beauty and vastness.

Here is one of my favorite things in Algonquin Park : litle islands of drift wood. It is a miniature world, self contained, that invite the imagination. Floating on the emerald water, close to the full size forest, those embody the spirit of the boreal forest for me.

With a sprinkling of pollen on the water...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


"Hylas and the Nymphs" by John William Waterhouse, 1896

From Wikipedia:

A nymph in Greek mythology is a female spirit typically associated with a particular location or landform. Other nymphs, always in the shape of young nubile maidens, were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess, generally Artemis.[1] Nymphs were the frequent target of satyrs. They live in mountains and groves, by springs and rivers, also in trees and in valleys and cool grottoes. They are frequently associated with the superior divinities: the huntress Artemis; the prophetic Apollo; the reveller and god of wine, Dionysus; and rustic gods such as Pan and Hermes.

The following is not the Greek classification, but is intended simply as a guide:

Land Nymphs
Alseids (glens, groves)
Auloniads (pastures)
Hesperides (nymphs of the west, daughters of Atlas)
Aegle ("dazzling light")
Erytheia (or Eratheis)
Hesperia (or Hispereia)
Leimakids (meadows)
Minthe (mint)
Napaeae (mountain valleys, glens)
Oreads (mountains, grottoes)
Pleiades (daughters of Atlas and Pleione; constellation)
Maia (partner of Zeus and mother of Hermes)

Wood nymphs
Dryads (trees)
Hamadryads (oak tree and others)
Epimeliad (apple tree)
Leuce (white poplar tree)
Meliae (manna-ash tree)

Water nymphs ("Ephydriads")
Helead (fen)
Naiads (usually fresh water)
Crinaeae (fountains)
Eleionomae (marshes)
Hyades (rain)
Limnades or Limnatides (lakes)
Pegaeae (springs)
Potameides (rivers)
Corycian Nymphs (Corycian Cave)
Nereids (daughters of Nereus, the Mediterranean Sea)
Oceanids (daughters of Oceanus and Tethys, any water, usually salty)
Sabrina (the river Severn)

Other Nymphs
Lampades (underworld)
The Muses
Nephelae (clouds)

What's your favorite Nymph??? - mine are the Limnatides

more info:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Alternative Ground Cafe Show - View 3

These are a few pict I took after all the work was set-up. I am pretty happy with how things looks, and A.G. manager Brenda said she was as well.

I hope people will lift their head enough to take a look!  It is a really nice opportunity to have my art up for a whole month and benefit a great endevour  like this.

Hope to see you there!

Alternative Ground Cafe Show - view 2

Alternative Ground Cafe Show - view 1

Sunday, May 9, 2010


It's up, it's happening! it's at Alternative Grounds Cafe (Roncesvale ave)
My Art is now showing at Alternative Grounds Cafe on Roncesvale, Toronto, for the month of May!
- Where? : 333 Roncesvalles Ave (just south of hardware store).
I have been working in a new direction for the last 5 years inspired by this amazing country.

The main source of inspiration for these paintings have been the Canadian Boreal Forest, West coast and Inuit Art, Paul Klee, Russian folk Art and traditions.

Learn more about my art at:
Or on Flickr: search for "Kipikart"

ALTERNATIVE GROUND CAFE is an ethical cafe on gruvy Roncesvale ave in the heart of the old Polish District, selling community based products that benefits small coffee growers. They are very active in those communities and need your support!
Visit their web site for more info!
- It's about the planet, it's about the people... Come for a nice home-brewed cup of South-American coffee!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This wondrous dream of last night

Gentle man in my dream  of last night - Thank you. You were kissing my temples in a loving gesture, gracefully, gently, lovingly. It felt so good, so peaceful.

Thanks to you also wonderful woman in my dream last night, to you most of all. You did this magical thing, this incredible thing. You had this secret technique. You rubbed my spine at the neck and something magical happened. My whole body started to vibrate, it felt utterly peaceful and relaxing. Absolute bliss. I felt so great that I had to stop you. I didn't want to but I felt just too great. I could not or should not feel any greater. You stopped for a while and offered to start again. I refused. It was just too much goodness. I could not take more!!!

Thank you special souls for this wondrous dream. I've never had a dream like it before. I will never forget it. May the stars and all that is made of light thank you for me: I am too shy to tell either one this strange and inexplicable dream I had of you. I feel like crying when I think about it. What a wondrous dream

Saturday, April 10, 2010

my little stool obsession

I recently found this great little bamboo folding stool in a thrift shop. It evokes afternoon tea in the garden, a quiet spot under a tree, a picnic, and it's a great chair to take with me in places where you want to sit but can't, like a museum when you want to draw, or a laundromat when the owner is to thrift to provide chairs... It works great. 

I have an obsession with stools, I am looking for the ultimate one. What is it supposed to look like? ...I don't know.  I have already a Mexican folding one, a small adorable vintage green one with turned feet, a wicker one... but it is never enough!

Am I crazy? (don't answer that!)

my psychedelic little vintage planters

Ploting, potting and planting in the sunshine on a beautiful saturday afternoon.
 - In my vintage pots from the 70s.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Horace - 1868 - from "Tenth Edition Book Store"

From that wonderful book shop: This precious little french book has the most glorious blue cover, with the original spine in used and abused condition: daaaaarling! 

I could just eat it, but won't.

Went book hunting on Spadina with Anita last week, to my favorite book shop, "Tenth Edition Book Store"  Just north of Harbor. You can find there the best selection of second hand books anywhere, for a great price!

Books line the shop from floor to ceiling and for every subject. She has a very good selection of nature books, poetry, art, children books. I make pilgrimage there regularly, even though she is a bit far now that I have moved. 

She seemed to say time was hard these days. I got scared. Loosing a shop like hers would be a (Corneille-like) tragedy. I have found over the years some amazing treasure there. I could not bare to loose that! 

But it's my fault. I have been selfishly keeping my little secret from other book lovers. 

No more.

Well, you see... well... I don't know...

So that was that, and now, it's working again.
...I don't ask questions... I just report...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

friends, hear this...

My computer is now so ooooold that no curent browser is any longer compatible with it... it's time for a change! until then very dificult to upload images: I must transfer them to a usb drive, take them to work and find time to upload them: not easy!!! That is why I have been quiet as a moth! ...Only temporary ok?!

Friday, March 19, 2010

a tray of memories

This, my friends, is my erhhhh... kitchen table... The problem is there is no simple way to put a table in that kitchen. Every wall is taken so I have to find some clever trick and for now this above is it. Yes, looks pathetic but  I kind of like it actualy!

- mostly it reminds me of when I would go visit my dad, when he still lived in cannes, in his small apartment-slash-workshop. The kitchen was tiny and was more of a tech lab than a kitchen and we would have delicious coffee and chocolate to dip in on a drawer with the very same tray on it for table. it was cozy and magical, like playing doll with your dad: best fun! I am playing doll too!

The tray has an interesting story. My uncle Tonton-la-Pipe found a truck load of these trays many many years ago in a garbage dump (wonder why he was in a garbage dumb but lets move on...!) they were from Air France, it seemed they had renewed their trlunch trays and thrown out the old ones.  My uncle kept them, but was terrified that he would be accused of having stollen them ...for some reason... So he gave them away to various people and I inherited, eventually, of 10 of them and still own 8 I think... 

Tonton-la-Pipe was known to suffer from a variety of psychosis... but then, who doesn't? A great character he was. He would go everywhere with a large briefcase full of mysterious documents and would not let go of it. I think he had a sizable conspiracy theory of some kind. I don't know why he seemed so traumatized or what happened to him during the war, was he a prisoner of war? or was he too young? My dad was too young, and was sent to a youth camp where his older buddies played shoot-the-nazis, and sadly most of them died foolishly. I remember Tonton-la-Pipe with his white hair and his brisk white beard.

I wish I had known him better.

knock knock

The sunshine knoked on my door yesterday...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

being of two minds

Today I left work early as I do on Sundays and speaking of the sun, it was a beautiful sunny day. I thought I should erh... go somewhere! so I did. I went to Above Ground Art Supplies, the equivalent of a candy store for me. I walked about and started down an aile but was stopped by a group of young people standing there. I said "sorry" in a friendly manner. The girl blocking the way moved 5 milimetres back. She had a coffee in hand. I said sorry again, she remained frozen there and did not look at me at all. Not sure what to do I went through, brushing against her. Then I felt anger. I was surprised at that anger since, after all, I had meant not to disturb : the girl remained undisturbed - so why the anger? 

...Pondering on that I walked up to Baldwin street, a really nice street just above the AGO. Spent money I don't have there, then on my way back down to Dundas street, I passed a group of older folks walking and talking. I squeezed by the wall but I could already see that the lady on my side was not going to alter her course a milimetre. I squeezed more against the wall, she brushed past me and I scraped my pants against the rough wall. I felt anger again.

That's when I remembered what my sister said to me once: we are, in times like that, of two minds: we want to be kind and when people take what we offer we are angry. Why? because we didn't really mean to give, or, we gave but only if we obtained thanks for it. That is "being of two minds". I vowed right then and there ; and you can hold me to it ; to no longer be trapped by these conflicting emotions.

It reminded me of how much I need to meditate to improve on things like that.

Illustration by wonderful Moebius.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

brown doll

Yes!  Brown doll is taking shape and as of today she has a finished face! Here she is.
More about her on my flickr page.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

butter dish memories

I was washing this butter dish I had bought in a vintage store, a short while ago. And I was thinking – I bought it because I had been wanting one just like it for a long time. How odd that it brings up a whole slice of my childhood even though I can not remember my mom owning one like this... my Grand-Ma maybe? ...Anyhow, it is so fascinating how memories work. When I hold this in my hand, I feel I am holding my childhood, even though I have no image in my mind of such thing.

I have noticed it before: finding a book and knowing we had it at home yet not having a visual memory of it. I guess you can preserve the emotion of an object without saving a picture for it. It is the emotion you recognize... not the object!


While I'm here, I want to mention the true story of this little wicker tray you see, under the butter dish in the photo. It came from my dad. Once he had moved to his last home in the 80's, he still had a whole warehouse of all the things he had accumulated from his life, inherited from the aunt who raised him and I was thinking as I walked through it with him one day when I was still young. "He has given us so few of his things and here he is, with so many possessions that he even needs a warehouse to hold it, in addition to his home! I looked with my eyes for something I could ask him to give me. I picked up this tray and showed it to him. He looked at it with wondrous eyes and said "this is very ...very old".

I knew that in the mouth of my dad such statement had a whole different meaning than in an other. My dad had an antique store, all he owned in his house was antique, He could recognize the era of any piece of furniture from ancient time till last year and had a very sharp eye for craftmanship, style and character. I did not comment on that then but asked him if I could have it. He said yes and apologized for the dirt on it.

And ever since then, I have wondered... How old is it ...really???

dishes drying

Friday, January 29, 2010

"The Return"

Here is a detail of a new painting I am currently working on. It is about "The return" I really want everyone to interpret it in their own way, even though it has a particular meaning for me, it can be many things: a return to innocence, to youth, to nature, to home, to the old ways... it doesn't matter.

It is just started but I am happy with the main figure's look so far.

This is my 1st large size watercolour in a long long time.

A good omen.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

search for the little blue bag - and other follies

If you have ever seen any of the movies about Monsieur Hullot, then that, in essence, was me a few days ago, at the Etobikoke Ikea store, first buying 2 boxes of cookies, (that is after I had ordered my new wardrobe which went incredibly smoothly especially considering how things went thereafter) ...then being kicked by a little kid while lining-up, then looking for a place to buy a bag to put my 2 large boxes of cookies, lining up again among people with large carts full of furniture at the self help counter, with my little blue bag in hand. Asked a very robotic gentleman to explain how you scan a bag, he never looked or talked to me went to the bag shelves, came back, typed on the screen endless rows of numbers at light speed for a whole minute then left. Very Kafka like I thought. There was a price on the screen and I pressed ok.

Having payed for the thing that was for the things I had bought, I felt I deserved a nice relaxing cup of coffee before I plunged back into the arctic cold. I went upstairs to the restaurant bag in hand. That was actually more "on shoulder", rather, for in my hand was a white tray, and nothing on it, and like so I approached the register as is the surrealistic custom ; swallowed up in a long line of screaming parents and children with over-flowing trays of meat-balls, all meeting up this one saturday night in that specific Ikea restaurant, it seemed ; to pay for my coffee. As I got closer, I put a white cup on the tray for the sake of dignity. I was allowed to pay. Then they all watched carefully as I meandered around various counters in desperate search for sugar, milk, towels, spoon, with the tray in one hand, bag in the other, with the coffee cup spilling half it's content in the process ; to finally realize I don't *need* a tray for a cup of coffee! Found a table in the middle of chaos and drunk my cup with great serenity and dignity in a puddle of coffee having ran out of paper towels and without a spoon having never produced one.

you may think I felt like an idiot since I looked like one but no. This sort of place (a large IKEA warehouse on a Saturday night) is a very Monsieur Hullot sort of place by nature. I thought even though IKEA is known for trying to make the shopping experience human, even *they* can not achieve it, why? Because it is all just too big, to gigantic, and human do get lost in it, body and mind and soul.

It's time to rethink our whole society don't you think?

Friday, January 8, 2010

shame on me...

well, I've been away, and day dreaming, discovering and rediscovering new artist on the web and catching up with life - you KNOW how it is! ...hmmm?

Soooo many things to talk about.

- This year? lets see... what am I going to be doing?
show in May, that's good - already mentioned that.

My God-daughter who is a tree hugger like me is coming to visit from france and I'm taking her on a grand tour of Canada's magnificent forests ; you can be sure!

I bought 100.00$ worth of oil paint sooooo, I'll start on that soon but ... I don't know what I'm doing so who knows what will come out... after a lifetime of water base paint!? It'll be a surprise for *all* of us! (Though... there is that one oil painting I did 20 year ago... not that great of course!)

for the rest... I'll let you know of course!