NO TALKING SHOP, NO DAILY GRIND. Paris, 42 rue de l’Yvette, 6th floor, no lift. Wednesday 21 May 2014, fourteen minutes past two, cloudy. This morning when I plunged into the undergrowth known in Paris as the Bois (de Boulogne), an incredibly delicate shower of rain was falling. Quite the opposite of a violent May inundation: the drops fell one by one and I could almost count them. So I whistled through the downpour, and told myself that as soon as I was in front of my computer I’d tell you all about this fleeting pleasure during an ordinary walk. I wish you happy holidays… Dressed in my pink beret (above) I’ll be back at work one of these days…July? August? I don’t know exactly. Thank you for reading, and whether you’re on the beach or on the winding mountain roads of your vacations, may Buddha bless you!
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NO TALKING SHOP, NO DAILY GRIND. Paris, 42 rue de l’Yvette, 6th floor (using the service lift). Every morning, as an unchanging ritual, I write. Sat at my desk by nine o’clock, a cup of Twinings orange and cinnamon tea within easy reach, I compose my thoughts using a Bic Matic (0.7mm) propelling pencil in a 96-page Country exercise book that’s a bit bigger than A4 in size. Between the first draft and the version you’re reading now I correct the text about 15 times. By the time the blog comes back from London, transformed into a little English ditty by the talents of the excellent translator (and friend) Philippa Hurd, a month has gone by. TODAY’S PHOTO : Just a spring shower, 2014. Buddha bless you!
NO TALKING SHOP, NO DAILY GRIND. Paris, 42 rue de l’Yvette, 6th floor (no lift). Wednesday 30 April 2014, thirty minutes past nine. These days I’ve been digitizing my old drawings like crazy. It’s painstaking electronic work that allows me, through my Canon camera and the abstract resources that lie dormant in drawers, to bring back to life all kinds of characters drawn in the 1990s. It’s the unexpected magic of pixels that enables the most modest sketch to travel all over the place. Congratulations to the inventors of this process who go strangely unmentioned on Wikipedia: Vint Cerf? Martin Schadt? TODAY’S PHOTO: The Little Old Men, Paris 2014. Buddha bless you!
NO TALKING SHOP, NO DAILY GRIND. Paris, 2 Rue Vivienne. Institut national d’histoire de l’art. The Oval Room, seat 82. Thursday 27 March 2014, twenty-four minutes past ten. According to Furetière’s dictionary, drawing means ‘the expression on paper or canvas of the design one intends for a painting or a building’. My favorite painting is a face. A stranger with an amber gaze, as here above. I’m always sketching. With or without music. And on beautiful vellum, like on the small ads page of a Chinese newspaper. I’ve got an archive of about two thousand drawings. Should I throw them all away? It wouldn’t be a problem, as the most important thing, for me, are the wonderful moments I’ve spent making them. If I want to do more, I just have to wake up the coloured pencils that lie sleeping in my little acrylic box from Muji. Buddha bless you.
NO TALKING SHOP, NO DAILY GRIND. Paris, 2 rue Vivienne, Institut national d’histoire de l’art. The Oval Room, seat 82. Tuesday 11 March 2014, forty-five minutes past eleven… In the Könemann book on the American photographer Harry Callahan, you’ll find, next to an extraordinary black-and-white photo of weeds, the thirteen words that were my guide while I was compiling the book At Home* (available now on www.blurb.com): ‘What matters is what we manage to do most simply every day’. The author of these words, the Italian-American artist Frederick Sommer – photographer, designer, creator of collages as violent as Soutine’s paintings of flayed animals – was a friend of Callahan. At Home grew up in the light of these giants, who both died just a few weeks apart in early 1999. And whenever I arrived at the studio, I never forgot to glance gratefully at Callahan’s weeds. And to re-read Sommer’s advice. Buddha bless them (and us too!)…
NO TALKING SHOP, NO DAILY GRIND. Paris, 2 rue Vivienne, Institut national d’histoire de l’art. The Oval Room, seat 82. Tuesday 4 March 2014, fifty-three minutes past eleven. Opening, with beating heart, the book one has patiently put together over months, is a moment of pure magic. The eye moves inquisitively from page to page, and if, by the time it arrives at the back cover, no negative impression has cast a shadow over the pleasure of the perusal, then, and only then, one feels for a brief moment happy to have reached the end of the adventure. Since it was published online on 3 February at blurb.com, At Home (above) has received about forty hits. As for sales, on the other hand, the meter is still stuck on zero. Never mind, an English version is already underway, soon to be followed by another … in Russian! Lots of travels to come that you will, I hope, enjoy following over the days that follow. So, see you soon, and until then, Buddha bless you!
NO TALKING SHOP, NO DAILY GRIND… (05/10). Paris, 2 rue Vivienne, Institut national d’histoire de l’art. The Oval Room, seat 82. Thursday 20 February 2014, fifteen minutes past ten. On the back of the postcard* addressed to Mademoiselle Glachet Blanche, ironer from Gamaches in the Somme, are a few words from her ‘dear sister’. It informs her that ‘Renée (?) has had dreadful colic for two days with some intestinal inflammation’. The sister adds ‘a bit like Maurice (??) when he was little’. Think about the idea of making photos using objects bought for a maximum of 2 Euros, that is twice the price of this postcard found on Sunday at Domino’s, the best tea shop in Ostend (16b Witte Nonnenstraat). Buddha bless you!
Paris, 42 rue de l’Yvette. Wednesday February 12, 2014, 11:40am. A few pictures of my 6 km daily walk, from the audio notes recorded on my trustful Olympus S 701 micro cassette device…8:00am sharp, I leave Courbevoie….The cold is vivid at the bottom of the Defense skyscrapers…After walking thru Parc Diderot while surrounded by chirping birds, a soft ramp takes me to the entrance to the Neuilly Bridge…Looking down to the bronze-colored waters of the river Seine, the handsome picture of a couple, quite in love in their wintergear…Going into the Bois de Boulogne, not far from where movie director René Clair lived, a dove is sunning at the top of a tree…Black lacing of branches on a light blue sky ( see above). On my right at the Pavillon Royal, « Born To Succeed » : this is Mercedes-Benz’ s 2014 convention …Then I salute the frizzy haired blonde hooker in her working van , the one I’d like to do a full picture book for…Boulevard Beauséjour, a fortyish brown-haired guy, sets off for his run in the wood. Bulging ass in his dark grey leotar, I watch him take off towards the Avenue Raphael. Head low, deep in his thoughts, a cruel smile at his lips…May Buddha bless you!
Paris, 2 rue Vivienne, Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Ovale room, seat82. Thursday February 6, 2014, 10:39 AM. I’m thru with my daily blog writing. It’s too hard. Too much anguish looking at a blank sheet of paper. Too much fighting against the lack of inspiration. Too much time spent correcting typewriting errors, spelling, micro-cuts, or coping with the weaknesses of Google translation. So, after February’s last Friday, I will give up. I’m closing shop , and as Alfred Hitchcock once said on the radio: “I shall retire behind a curtain of silence.” True, I shall regret my dear Azerty keyboard and the meanders of Word press. Also the numerous calls from my talented companions. I shall miss them all, Michel Brillié, Philippa Hurd and Thierry Pigot. As much as I shall miss the peculiar morning thrill of hitting the “publish” key. Well okay, I like the idea of fattening my book collection on Blurb.com. Its time then to pull out my old Rollei from its case, to wake of my doll collection and to stroll in the spring in the Paris suburban underwood, something I haven’t done in a long time. Far too long, in fact…May Buddah bless you.