The Last Post

Watercolour painting - by Miki

I mentioned it earlier this week, we leave today on a six-week trip.

Destinations: Cyprus and Crete.

I have never been to either of these places, so loving everything new,  I am quite excited . Of course we live in a wonderful place, and I would not need to travel very far to find great motifs, but one knows how it is: one does not look at home with the same curious eyes, the brain works in a very different way. When I am somewhere else, my brain is in acute discovery mode and my hand wants to paint everything my eyes see.

And if contemplative immobility does not overrule artistic eagerness, I should come back with loads of sketches to share.

Close Encounter of The Fourth Kind - Watercolour, by Miki

Time to make the last travel preparations now, the most important being: making sure that I have all my painting stuff,watercolours, pens, sketch books. Unfortunately I won’t be able to take my watercolour tubes to refill the pans,  as security at the airports would take them away. Well, this gives me an idea… I could take 2 tubes:  of the probably most needed colours there, yellow for the sun and blue for the sea… and put them in my toilet bag among deodorant, tooth paste, mascara and so on! It would at least make the bag look much more attractive!

So, I will say Bye Bye for now… I wish you -and Kevin and me!- a great time, and see you again at the end of April… with a new post!  :-)

As usual, these artworks are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widget below to access my FAA Gallery

Photography Prints

Photography Prints

And if you are bored, you can have a browse through my Enchanted World, plenty of artistic magic there!… just click on the image below. , there is loads to check out !

Miki's Enchanted World - Paintings Gallery

Bear’nadette and DCFC

Bear/nadette and DCFC - Watercolour painting, by Miki

Some days ago, I introduced you to Bernadette, that pretty pink bear babe who suddenly entered my life on a dark day and brought so much light into it again.

Now, the same evening as I got her, our most favourite football team in the world -DCFC, Derby County Football Club-  was playing another game in the English Championship, and against the odds we were hoping to win, something we hadn’t done during the last 8 games.

Well, you can’t live peacefully in a house where not all the occupants are football fans, and certainly not fans of the same team. So we decided to get Bear’nadette into DCFC, involving her with the sacred preparations of the game: DCFC hat on the head, DCFC scarf around the neck and DCFC mug for the milk coffee.

We encountered much resistance though. Our Babe wanted to wear and have only pink stuff,  and certainly did not want to make a public appearance in all these black&white stripes and hoops.  “They depress me!”, she said, “and they are not very feminine… I will look like a guy!“. To eventually  get her consent I had to make her a gift: my little pink hippopotamus called “Socrates”. Also she insisted in having dotted and starred rainbow curtains hung by the window to bring some colours around her. And she didn’t want any milk coffee in her mug, “too boring”, she stated. We left her alone in the kitchen to mix her drink herself… don’t ask me what it is, but it did look very explosive! Some kind of Red Bull I suppose….

But all that was still not enough: moaning that her mug was too high to drink out of, she declared that my beloved little pink stool with the pencils and erasers legs was hers! Well, DCFC does deserve some big sacrifices…

And still, after all these concessions  -my God, I am glad I never had children, they never give you any peace!- she still wanted to keep my pink New Orleans T-Shirt on, the one she stole off me the first day and has been wearing ever since. As I said it wouldn’t fit, she started crying: “I don’t want all these guys to see me naked!”.  So we had to wrap her whole little body into the scarf, paying careful attention to entirely cover her young breasts. She seems to be a very prude girl, our Bear’nadette

Well, after all these initial difficulties, having installed Bear’nadette in front of the TV and reassured her million of times that she looked fabulous, we all had a wonderful and lucky football evening together: DCFC won the game, and Bear’nadette is now a fan!

To be totally honest, Bear’nadette did not look as pretty as in her pink clothes from the first day, less feminine somehow. But this is normal, isn’t it? Have you ever seen a pretty, feminine football fan? I just hope she won’t get too engaged into the game, as to me she already shows all the hallmarks of hooliganism… look at her watching the game!

And after all, I am glad that I gave her Socrates. He is her pet now, following her everywhere, too happy to have found a matching mistress. I must admit that I was very worried about him, he had started to have some anxiety crises recently, too much thinking about his little existence… and believe me, a depressed hippopotamus is not to joke with!

So here we are, the whole family happy again:  DCFC because they have got a new fan, Bear’nadette because she has got a new pet,  Socrates because he has got a new life,  Miki, because she has got a new mug painting, and Kevin, who can’t stand sadness,  because he has got a happy family again!

I am a little bit worried for the future though: It is tough to be a DCFC fan! I hope Bear’nadette has got iron nerves and unconditional optimism. If not, we are facing dark times again…

Also her prudery makes me wonder… what will happen when she reaches her puberty? I guess I better start telling her about the woman stuff soon…

And if you want to get a Giclee print of her portrait as DCFC,  you can get one in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widget below to access my FAA Gallery

Art Prints

A Dog Called Pushkin

I have a dog. His name is Pushkin. A strange name for a dog, one would think. Alexander Pushkin was a Russian author of the romantic era and is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet. Now, my dog has some Russian ancestry, and when he was drunk, he got really poetic and romantic. I use the past tense here, because Pushkin is old now, he does not drink so much any more and his poetry has become very solid again, hard to get it out …he is still a romantic bugger though, and tells me very often how much he loves me when I hold him in my arms. Pushkin has learned English and Spanish in the meantime, but when it comes to such deep feelings, he goes back to his native language… and blushes much, as you can see on his portrait! The green thing around his waist, in case you wonder, is a kick boxing green belt. I’ll tell you about it later.

Anyway, a wonderful Russian lady called Ludmilla gave me that dog many years ago. She was the mother of a Russian painter with whom I had an art Studio in my previous life. I felt lonely quite often and had thought to buy a dog. Now, some Russian friends of Ludmilla wanted to get rid of one, not being able to deal with him any more especially because of his alcohol problems. This is how Pushkin became mine!

Now, I love to have a drink from time to time, red wine, champagne, beer, but I really don’t like alcoholism, it does change the people in a very bad way. So I decided to try to cure Pushkin. I could not face sending him to a detoxification home though, so I tried with him the only way I knew: sport! At that time I was learning kick boxing, and I simply took Pushkin with me. He really got into it, and we gradually made our belts together. And as soon as he got his yellow belt, I gave him the most wanted job in the world:

Miki’s Body Guard!

Rude Boy Pushkin - by Miki

He took his job very seriously, especially when I was sleeping. He sat by the side of my bed, the whole night long, without closing one eye -at least I think-, holding a big banner, and written on it:

“Careful!

Rude Boy

Miki’s Body Guard”

“Rude Boy” is by the way the  label of a Spanish company selling stuff for kick boxers. It is an incredibly cute name and label, I love it! On the painting above you can see Pushkin proudly taking care of Miki (at the bottom of the sketch is written is Spanish: “Miki duerme aqui…”,  Miki is sleeping here..  I obviously had no room left on the page to draw myself sleeping!)

In the meanwhile Pushkin is much more advanced in kick boxing, and is a green belt now, like me. But we both stopped our kick boxing career as I met Kevin, thinking I didn’t need to learn self-defence any more, and even less employ a body guard! So, green belt it is, and green belt it will stay!

As I said at the beginning, Pushkin does not drink so much any more. But it was a long process to get him clean, alcoholism is not really easy to cure, especially not when you are a Russian dog. Sometimes Pushkin fell back again, and instead of guarding my body in the night, he drank a whole bottle of champagne. In the morning I found him there, holding with a shaky hand a banner stating that he was sorry, that Rude Boy was drunk…  poor thing, he looked so tired, and so guilty, I always had to forgive him!

Drunk Pushkin - by Miki

I have many more stories and sketches of Pushkin from that time. I was focussing on learning drawing, especially portraits. Having no children, I often took him as a model…

His glorious days of body guard and model are finished now, but I still love him loads and he still spends his nights by the side of my bed… both eyes closed now!

Bear’nadette

Bear'nadette - Watercolour portrait, by Miki

Allow me to introduce my new baby:

Bear’nadette!

And to tell you how she suddenly stepped in her new life with me.

Well, sometimes I get fed-up… who knows why? I don’t! I can’t even say that it is because of my feminine condition and its monthly bloody attacks, as I am already too old for that. But when I get this way, I am quite a tough challenge for Kevin, and he always try by all means to get a smile on my face. But when the situation is really dramatic and his natural charm does not work, he goes out and comes back with a present, usually something pink, for The Rosa Baby… The result being that I have quite a collection of lovely pink stuff at home.

But don’t get me wrong though, I am not misusing his generosity and getting nasty on purpose!

Now, yesterday afternoon was one of these serious moments. I felt quite down, without any tangible reason… boredom probably… but it became worse and worse with time passing by and Kevin intuitively felt that some drastic measure was called for. So, as usual he went out under the pretext of buying some bits and bobs, and came back with…

Bear’nadette!

You should have seen the expression on my face.. an immense delight!!! Don’t ever say again that men don’t understand women: my guy always know exactly what I need  and at  exactly the right moment!

I spent ages cuddling my new pink baby -she is really such a cuddly thing, all peluchy and tender! – and this totally calmed me down. But as soon as I put her down, Bear’nadette started to inspect her new home. She of course found my pink collection and claimed some of the stuff: my favourite pink New Orleans shirt, my Converse pink bag, my pink mug of fine China porcelain with the lovely red roses on it, and even my Animal pink hat. I fought a little bit, but that girl has got really a strong will and I gave up. I just tried to persuade her that an Animal hat was perhaps not appropriate for her, or better said, too appropriate, but Bear’nadette answered,

“I am an animal, and I am proud of it!”

So, not only a strong will, but tons of self-consciousness apparently!

Anyway she put the all stuff on, and asked me how she looked. Amazing, I said. She then declared that she wanted me to make her portrait! With the mug on it! Seeing a good occasion to complete my mugs art series, I agreed, quite worried though about the whole pink business, wondering how I would make the difference between all these pink things. Really not easy for me who loves contrasts! She even wanted me to get her pink contact lenses, but I categorically refused, and got her some blue instead, much better for the portrait and the contrast. I also managed to convince her to put a green ribbon around her neck, instead of the original pink one. This made my painting job easier!

So here she is, my new baby, in all her splendour! I wanted to pour some milk with grenadine in the mug, sure that she would love the colour match again, but she wanted coffee with milk, like us. Well, being a big fan of freedom and knowing nothing about children’s education, I gave her coffee. Caffeine-free though… so please, animal protectors, don’t come now and insult me!

I am glad that she didn’t insist on getting pink curtains on the window behind her, but as you can see, all that pink is already starting to rub off everywhere…

But still, it is very much pink on that portrait… I hope you will be able to find out where Bear’nadette starts and where she stops!

And if you want to get a Giclee print of her portrait, it is out in the business world now, and  you can get one in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widget below to access my FAA Gallery

Sell Art Online

PS: Don’t be misled by her cute appearance: she is a tough businesswoman.  She only allowed me to publish her portrait if we go fifty/fifty on the sales! She said she needs new pink stuff for her wardrobe…Needless to say, I agreed.

The Albufera de Valencia in Spain 02

Albufera de Valencia 10 - Watercolour and ink, by Miki

Some more paintings from my trip to the Albufera de Valencia in 2004. But no time to add text to the sketches today, so l will let them speak for themselves. Anyway these landscapes radiate so much peace – better to keep silent and enjoy.

Albufera de Valencia 16 - Watercolour and ink, by Miki

Albufera de Valencia 25 - Watercolour and ink, by Miki

Now I have to start preparing our 6 weeks trip, at least mentally,  the most difficult part being to make the choices of the right clothes, the right hardware and much more important: the right painting material. We will be on 6 different flights altogether – Kevin even more and he will have to go back to England for a gig in the middle of the holidays- and to avoid long check-in and luggage waiting time in all the airports, we have decided to travel solely with hand luggage: a big challenge for 6 weeks! Not my favourite challenge though, I hate to have to choose which painting material and sketching books I take with me. You can be sure that I will always be missing something important there! And when I try to find an art supply shop abroad, in places I don’t know, it takes me so long that my lust to paint is gone when I find it… if I find it: usually I give up before!

As usual, these artworks are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widget below to access my FAA Gallery

Sell Art Online

Art Prints

Art Prints

I have much more paintings from the Albufera. If you want to see them all, and also many more paintings from other regions from Spain, simply click on the picture below.

Miki's Spain Sketches and Paintings Gallery

The Albufera de Valencia in Spain 01

Albufera de Valencia 01 - Watercolour and ink, by Miki

As I said before, I am right now trying to catch up with my artistic past, browsing through loads of sketching books I found recently in my house on the Costa Blanca which we had abandoned some years ago to live 300 kilometres further down the coast. I’ve already published some sketches here from my past in Germany and in France, and will probably show some more from these countries at some time. But right now I am going back to Spain, to a region called “Albufera de Valencia”, which I visited and painted in 2005.

These trips back to my past seem to touch me quite deeply by the way, as I suddenly dream every night of places and people from before, something which I never do normally. And I don’t like it really: my dreams always interact when my reality, and right now I really have the feeling of living parallel lives at the same time, with different people and in different places. I almost have the feeling to betray Kevin… It is WEIRD!

But back to the Albufera now, and let’s get first some facts from the Wikipedia:

“…The Albufera is a saltwater lagoon and estuary on the Gulf of Valencia coast in eastern Spain. It is the main portion of the Parc Natural de l’Albufera (“Albufera Nature Reserve”), with a surface area of 21,120 hectares (52,200 acres). The natural biodiversity of the nature reserve allows a great variety of fauna and flora to thrive and be observed year-round….”

And some location info from the Google map:

Albufera de Valencia, Spain

For me who loves watching birds so much, and who is always in search of a rare species, the place was really a Paradise. I even saw a purple heron there, a bird I had been wanting to see for a long time, since my sister-in-law, a real expert in ornithology, had told me that they were very rare. I spotted the purple beauty per accident, as I was driving by in my car. It was really a big chance that I saw it, as his colours were the perfect camouflage among the purple and orange surrounding plants. Perhaps they are not that rare at all in the end, just that we don’t see them?  :-) Anyway,  I just had time to stop the car and make a photo, for the proof you know, and it was gone!

This is why the heron on the painting is not the purple one… but well, the white ones are really beautiful too, I find, and so much much easier to sketch on the site!

Albufeira de Valencia 03 - Watercolour and ink, by Miki

Well, some days later, when I was back home, I did a drawing of that rare bird in my Moleskine personal birds book, with coloured pencils, but it was just a copy of a picture in an ornithology book. Funny to read the annotations next to the picture though.. the bird names in different languages, and, written in Spanish, the exact place and date where I saw it… yes, I was such a person at that time, always eager to draw and document everything! It makes me smile today, but somehow I like that person I was, perhaps even better than the lazy actual one…

Not only the birds were in search of food in the waters there. There were anglers everywhere, alone or in small groups, and the sight of them was always inspiring to me. Plus, they hardly moved: the perfect subject!

Albufeira de Valencia 13 - Watercolour and ink, by Miki

I will stop here for now, but this week there will be some more blog posts about the Albufera as I have got many lovely  sketches from that trip. And then, on Sunday, we leave again, for a six weeks painting and musical adventure… the destination will be announced only shortly before, so that fans haven’t got the time to prepare an assault in the airports!  :-)

As usual, these artworks are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widget below to access my FAA Gallery

Sell Art Online

Photography Prints

Sell Art Online

Rory McIlroy: Total Eclipse… but The Tiger is getting his stripes back!

Total Eclipse, Rory Mcilroy – by Miki

Well, he has done it: Rory McIlroy is now the best golfer in the world! He won the Honda Classic in Florida yesterday and with this win he eventually realised his childhood dream of being the first in The Official World Golf Ranking. It was not only his dream by the way, it was mine too: I had spotted Rory many years ago, as he had just joined the international circuit, and I knew at once he would be one of the best, and perhaps the best.

Last year I did the “Total Eclipse” artwork and wrote following words  in my portraits blog:

“On the evening of the second day of the US Open 2011, I made this painting of Rory Mcilroy. I had followed him with delight , to see how he had taken, kept and even consolidating the lead.I had discovered Rory some years ago, and was immediately captivated by the purity, strength and speed of his swing. As an artist I am addicted to beauty, in my case especially in the beauty of movement,and Rory’s swing is a BEAUTY, probably the best I have ever seen. And as a passionate golfer myself, of course, how could I not love it!!!

Well he did it, he learned from the recent Augusta experience and succeeded in winning. And not only to win, he broke many records, 12 if I remember well, What a tournament! The best moment being as he hugged his Dad on that Father’s day, and later, dedicated him the Cup.”

Now, this post won’t be only about Rory. It will also be about Tiger Woods. As he returned to the golf scene -was it about one year ago? I don’t exactly remember – and was not playing that well, many said that he was finished. I remember having written somewhere that such a Tiger can’t be finished so fast. Whatever he has done in his private life, it concerns only him and his family. It is not up to me to judge him. But what I know is that he has been such a fantastic golfer all these years, and he is so “driven”, so ambitious, that nothing will stop him to try to be on the top of the golf world again. And he is technically and psychologically good enough to not let that ambition rule and destroy his game.

And well, after having seen him this weekend, I must say that I was right. Tiger is undoubtedly getting his stripes back!!!

Earn your stripes - by Miki

And if you are a fan of them and want to purchase a print (available in different sizes, on paper or canvas) or as greeting card, just click on the widget below

Art Prints

Photography Prints

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