Monday, October 25, 2010

Mary Cassatt~Lecture at the American Library in Paris~ Missing Paris Day

Self-Portrait of the Artist

Tuesday November 9th, 2010 at 7:30pm, the American Library in Paris will present a lecture and slide show on the world of artist Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) given by Chris Boicos.

Born to an affluent family in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (ancestral name Cossart), Mary Cassatt went against her family's wishes in pursuing a life of artistry-- much less in Paris. Frustrated with her male instructors and fellow students at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, she took it upon herself to study the old masters.

Moving to Paris with a few family chaperones in 1866, and as women were not yet allowed to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, she requested to study with one of the school's masters being accepted by Jean-Leon Gerome. She became friends with Edgar Degas and was invited to exhibit with the Impressionists, becoming the second woman in the group next to Berthe Morisot who also became her friend. Degas introduced her to working with pastels as well as etching, both of which she became proficient in.

Against her father's wishes (who offered throughout her life to help pay for her living expenses but never her art supplies), her instructor's patronizing and the French school's refusal of female students, she made her own way, becoming well-known for her tender scenes of mother and child. In later years, she took up the Women's Suffragette movement and in 1915 exhibited eighteen works in support of the cause.

For a look into her life and work, join Chris Boicos, Founder of Paris Art Studies (and former Art History professor at USC in Paris) at ALP.

ALP is located at:
10, rue du General Camou
(a couple of blocks from the Eiffel Tower)
7th arrondissement,
75007 Paris, France
• Tel. +33 (0)1 53 59 12 60

For more information or a schedule of upcoming events, go to

(Photo above, a Self-Portrait of the Artist, and info via Wikipedia)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tripping over Clouds~Buddhist Thought for the Day

"Fixed ideas are like a wisp of cloud or smoke, but nonetheless people find themselves blocked or captured by these. You would laugh if you saw someone tripped by a cloud, or if someone claimed that they were imprisoned by the air. But, in fact, people are endlessly being trapped by things no more substantial than air or clouds. They make a wall with their mind, and then it imprisons them.

Inherently, there is no wall or anything to trip over. These things are mirages they've created from the thoughts they gave rise to. Do not insist upon your own fixed ideas. Your persistence is your own narrow mind. If your mind is broad, it can easily embrace the entire world. However, if your mind is narrow, even a needle cannot enter. You have to keep letting go of your stubbornness, and always be deeply respectful of all life and things. This is returning to and relying upon the Buddha-Dharma. This is also how to become a free person. Always be humble. Be humble. The fragrance of your broad and generous mind will warm others' hearts."
~Zen Master Daehaeng, No River to Cross: Trusting the Enlightenment that's Always Right Here

I love this quote. It reminds me that my thoughts and judgements about other's behavior are just that, my own thoughts and judgements which keep my mind narrow. Still working on the 'fragrance' of my 'broad and generous mind'. Trying to remember humility and compassion.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Venice is a Fish~ Teaser Tuesday

Hosted by MizB at shouldbereading.

Here's how to play:

*Grab your current read,
*Open to a random page,
*Share 2-3 “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page,
*Please no spoilers!
*Share the title & author.

Today's selection is from Tiziano Scarpa's 'Venice is a Fish':

"In any other boat in the world, a single oarsman, with a single oar, on one side only, would end up turning comically in circles. On a gondola, thanks to the boat's asymmetrical centre of gravity, it darts straight ahead, switches into reverse, slows and accelerates, brakes, halts, heads off diagnoally, turns a right angle, keeps balance, deadens the waves. The oar spoons the water, spanks it, scoops it, digs it, cuts it, kneads it, tickles it, turns it like a ladle, forces it like a crowbar. The oar dives suddenly, re-emerges floating almost horizontally at water level, but if necessary it plunges vertically, in a few free square centimetres, with a flick of the wrist it twists like a screwdriver, elegantly disengaging the twelve-metre black wooden beast from an impossible jam." (p.43)

This eloquent description almost makes me want to go back simply to watch the oars of the gondolas and their water dance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Arahova at Delphi~ Travelin' Tuesday

Today's photo was taken in a small, mountain village (Arahova) near Delphi, my favorite Greek archaeological site which can be seen here. Greece is sprinkled with these gorgeous old fountains sometimes well-kept, like this one, and sometimes they are remnants of the Turk's stay in Greece and ignored, abandoned and defaced.

Random Writing Prompt:

Create a story around the owner of the mop you see leaning inside the fountain. Is the owner male or female? Young or elderly? Cleaning the fountain? Their own home? Or working for someone else? Or... does it have certain traveling powers?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Le Gateau Francais~ Missing Paris Day

This was 'The Chef's' father's favorite French cake while visiting us in Paris a few years ago. I can't even tell you the name. Any readers out there who can fill me in on the exact title of this beauty?!

It wasn't long until he was buying one every day and occasionally deciding it might be ok to just skip lunch or dinner and simply have the cake. He was famously blessed with a sweet tooth and nowhere was that more true than in Paris.

Across from our apartment once stood a charming little boulangerie selling all varieties of bread, pastries, cakes and chocolates. Many of our guests, including 'The Chef's' parents, would often sit in front of the window and watch, entertained by the comings and goings of our favorite little bakery on the corner. Alas, it is now gone. Another bank sits in its place. Maybe I'll do a post with a few photos of the bakery that once was.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Square Rapp~ Missing Paris Day

Just across the Champ de Mars from the 15th arrondissement and into the 7th, past the Champ de Mars cafe, Rue St. Dominique and the little chocolaterie, with all the glittering, colorful candies dressed up in floral arrangements, sits Avenue Rapp (which hosts my favorite architecturally-designed apartment building in Paris~ to be posted at a later date).

And just around the corner from it is Square Rapp, a short, dead-end street with a bare courtyard surrounded by stunning buildings and intricate lattice work. The neglected courtyard itself makes me want to haul over a belt heavy with gardening tools, a carload of flowering geraniums in decorative pots, a cushioned loveseat and a book on Paris.

I'd whip it into shape, curl up on my lovin' Paris loveseat on a balmy summer afternoon and attempt to read.

Biggest problem?
Which direction to face the loveseat
and could one actually read here?!