Flags from Around The World 01

As I said in my last post, “Market Places from Around The World”:

“…I have recently been a little more active in my artists community “Fine Art America”, having found some more time and above all pleasure and comfort in participating in the social life there. I have to overcome some immensely deep sadness because of the sudden death of my brother, and the best way to do it, for me, apart from travelling, is to meet people… without really meeting them! I am more of a lonely wolf, but I love communication and exchange, so interaction on the internet and especially in a nice artists community such as FAA is, is very appropriate….”

Having enjoyed the contest about the market places I am hosting there, I decided yesterday to start a new context about “Flags”. I had just finished an artwork from Essaouira, that wonderful harbour town in Morocco, and I thought “flags” would be a great theme for a contest.

Essaouira Town 03 S

All media are accepted, painting, drawing and photographs. Paintings, drawings and photographs where flags play an important role. It can be the flag from a country, a state, an association, an event, etc…The winner will be featured in this blog, perhaps even interviewed if I get inspired by the winning work. You have to belong to FAA to be able to take part, and if you are, and fancy a go, you are very much welcome.  Here is the contest link, where you can submit your work.


but hurry up,  the contest ends on June the 14th.

I have in fact many artworks where flags play an important part. The one below was sketched in Lisbon, in a street market.

11 03 Flags Stand in Lisbon Painting Portugal S

It was in 2008, and while we were there, Portugal had reached the quarter finals of the Football Euro Tournament 2008  and Portuguese flags were hanging everywhere! Once we even saw a donkey crossing a street with a flag on his back, it was hilarious! That donkey though, made us decide to support Portugal, we bought a flag and travelled around with it on our Boomobile.

Vila Cha 03 New S

The scene above was sketched in Vila Cha, a parish in the municipality of Vila do Conde, situated in the Northern region of Portugal. Unfortunately they lost the quarter final to Germany, and the flags hysteria stopped… Well, speaking about football, I saw in Vila Cha another interesting motif with flags, a statue on the roof of a building in honour of FC Porto…

FCPorto in Vila Cha New S

Let us go to Italy now, more precisely to Tuscany. It was in 2011, I was on a long painting trip there, and I had made a series about shops and restaurants entrances.  In this particular one, I found it very funny how “the girl” is carrying the Italian flag, and wearing a hat and a dress in the design of the flag, but with a  panel on her chest saying:

“we speak Russian”

Welcome to Italy 07 New S

Let’s go to Cyprus now, in 2012, and get more serious. A very fast sketch of the local hero Archbishop Makarios III, and in the background three flags, and I  do not remember which ones they were, and the sketch is so basic that it does not give any clue! Probably, Cyprus, Greece, and…?

Archbishop Makarios III S

I certainly have many more paintings with flags from the countries which I visited, but for now I will go to another kind of flag, not from a country, but from a sports event, The Olympic Games. The following two paintings were inspired by two gold medals winners in London in 2012. First, the winner of the high jump competition, the Russian Ivan Ukhov

Olympic High Jump Ivan Ukhov S

And the next one is inspired by the winner of the  female 100 metres hurdles, the Australian Sally Pearson. In my fun artwork , I replaced her with Oly’ver The Kangaroo, jumping through the Olympic rings!Olyver S

Well, this will do for now, but I will do a second post in the next few days with more flags artworks. I thought I should just show you a selection of artworks featuring flags, to give you an idea if you want to participate to the contest. In any case, go and have a look at the images already submitted, they are really interesting!

A Map and A Mule

A Peace Story of Queen Isabel of Portugal

“A Map and A Mule”… isn’t it an interesting combination of words? Well, this is certainly what I thought when Eric Timar contacted me the first time, in October 2012, asking if a certain painting of mine would be available for a book cover.

“Hello Miki — would it be possible to get a jpeg version of Serpa Portugal 27, in order to use it in a book? This will be a children’s book about Queen Isabel of Portugal. Queen Isabel helped draw the border of Portugal, and one town in question was Serpa, and there I see your painting . . . thank you…”

I get contacted regularly from people and companies wanted to use my paintings for many different projects, but I especially loved this one. I love books, I love children’s stories and this one seemed very original to me! I accepted, and had to do a little bit work on it according to Eric’s wishes:

“… There are many other towns that were affected by the border that Isabel helped create, but I am picking Serpa as a focus since it will be easy for American parents and children to pronounce …A couple of other issues: Since I want to show Serpa as it might have looked in 1297, I would have to use only the portion of the piece that does not have antennas (unfortunately). That means I would crop out the right of the piece. Would that be okay?”

As Eric said: unfortunately. I really did not want to crop the painting because of some antennas, and I proposed to take the antennas down. As I explained to him, I often have to do similar work on some paintings to make them exactly fit the requirements. Some people might think that it is like selling my soul, but personally I love to do that, it gives the painting a totally new life. So, I took the antennas down, and then we started speaking about the back cover. And this how, as one idea followed another, not only the antennas were down, but a tiny little woman riding a mule appeared in the painting…

… and became the star of the back cover!

The book is published now, out on Amazon, and I have even received my personally dedicated copy from Eric. It really is a lovely book, and I am glad to be part of it.

Also, I remember exactly when I did that painting.We were in our Boomobile (our atelier and music studio on wheels) on a painting trip through Portugal, we had come through Serpa by accident and liked it so much that we had decided to stay there until the end of the trip. I drew a lot in this place, and this one especially was made on the outskirts of Serpa, while we were on a bike ride. I remember exactly me sitting on the ground in front of that beautiful town and thinking how lucky I was to be able to witness and paint all that. But I would have never imagined that this sketch would one day, more then 3 years later, make the cover of an American children’s book! Life is so full of surprises, it is wonderful!

Eric has even set up a beautiful Facebook page for “A Map and A Mule”, so please feel free to go there and to like it! 🙂

This painting, and also many other paintings from Serpa and Portugal in general, are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper, canvas and metal, and also as greeting cards. Please click on the button below to access my

FAA store


The Giclee prints from the above mentioned Online shop are manufactured in the USA and sent directly to the client from there. For personal or financial reasons it might not be appropriate for everybody to order their prints in the USA. Also, you might prefer to purchase my Giclee prints hand-signed. If so, you can alternatively order directly from me. Simply contact me indicating in which size. Go to

Goodaboom Boutique

to see a guideline of pricing for different dimensions.

I also sell A3 posters (297mm x 420mm) as high quality digital prints on a Heavyweight White 350gsm paper, each packed in cello with card stiffener.

Poster Price: 50 euros.

They are a great alternative to the Giclee prints, to a more affordable price.

(the price does not include packing&shipping)

Still Life in Albufeira 02

Still Life in Albufeira 02 - by Miki

I wrote yesterday that I might do another watercolour painting based on the wonderful sculpture I saw in Albufeira, Portugal during our last trip there early in February 2012. Well, I did make an effort and here it is. All the persons featured in the painting were part of the sculpture, except the fish in front of the dog, and also the fish in the hands of the woman. The woman was holding something, but I don’t remember what it was! So, I gave her a fish too, like the dog… I just hope I won’t get any hassle from the feminists!   🙂

Also the dog was from another breed, short on its legs though, like its mistress….

I don’t remember either if there were palm trees in Albufeira, on the beach or anywhere else, but I thought it fitted to the subject and we’ll put it in on the account of my artistic freedom.

And in case you don’t understand: the big blue mass in the foreground are fishing nets, and the guy is just fixing them. Also I beg forgiveness if the nets are not blue in Portugal, I just can’t remember, and the sculpture was made out of colourless stone… but most of the nets are blue or green in Spain, so I assumed they were there too… correct me if you know better!

I won’t start with the other elements of the painting: the fishermen, the buildings, the beach, the boat… any dissimilarity is coincidental!

In short: everything might be wrong and have hardly anything to do with the real Albufeira! Well, it was meant to be just an impression, and above all an artistic memory of that beautiful place. I hope, this at least is right!

The painting above is available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widgets below to access my FAA store

Art Prints

If Portugal interests you, you can see many of the sketches and paintings I did there on some different trips. Just click on the image below and you will enter my Portugal Gallery

Portugal Paintings Gallery - by Miki

And more generally you can see ALL THE STUFF I paint by going to my gallery “Miki’s Enchanted World”. Just click -gently!- on my face.

Still Life in Albufeira 01

Still Life in Albufeira in Portugal 01

As I announced  in one of my last posts, we were recently in Portugal to watch and support our under-17 National football team playing in the 2012 Algarve Tournament. And of course we were especially interested in two of the lads, Mason Bennett and Will Hughes, playing usually for Derby County, our all time favourite team in the English League. Perhaps not the best team – at least not yet  🙂  – but surely with one of the most honest and likeable managers Nigel Clough, son of the famous Brian Clough!

Well, the Kids did a great job,  England won the Tournament and one of our two Derby players even scored a goal. We were over the moon! I wished our Derby players had scored yesterday evening too, in the Championship… I hate that they they lost against Reading, spoiling my so far so wonderful Valentines Day!

Now the games took place at different stadiums all over the Algarve, and we had to travel a lot. Apart from that, it was freezing there, like never before, at least not in my lifetime! No much chance really to make some sketches on-site. But I still wanted to remember that wonderful little trip in some paintings, somehow. I always do it. For me travelling is painting, and I can’t really deal with having been somewhere without having some painted memory of it.

So, I just made this watercolour, inspired by a wonderful statue of a fisherman I saw in Albufeira. It was not on the beach, but in a town square, not far from the beach though. And in fact there were many more figures involved in that “still life”, and if I can find the time, I will try to make another painting where one can see them all. They are surely worth it! I am not generally a big fan of statues and sculptures, but the Portuguese have a very playful and creative way with that particular artform. And one can see them in many places, outside, in town squares, on roundabouts, etc. Much more interesting than to see them in museums… it makes them look almost alive!

For those who don’t know where Albufeira is, I attach a Google map

Albufeira in Portugal

The painting above is available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widgets below to access my FAA store

Photography Prints

If Portugal interests you, you can see many of the sketches and paintings I did there on some different trips. Just click on the image below and you will enter my Portugal Gallery

Portugal Gallery - by Miki

And more generally you can see ALL THE STUFF I paint by going to my gallery “Miki’s Enchanted World”. Just click -gently!- on my face.

Miss Ponte de Lima 2010

Houses in Ponte de Lima – Sketch by Miki, 2008

The other day, looking at the referrers to Cafe Crem, Kevin wondered about following URL


Well, he wondered because “Ponte de Lima” is a little town in the north of Portugal where we spent a lovely day 2 years ago. He followed the link and suddenly I heard him bursting into laughter.

“What is it?” I asked. He just pointed at  his screen, continuing to laugh like the mad Englishman he is.


What I saw gave good reason to laugh

This URL is a site about Ponte de Lima, and in the home page, there is a slide show, and on one of the slides, it’s me, standing there with my bicycle. And more: this same image is used as the background for the whole site… and it is a damned big site!

Kevin of course finds it incredibly funny, because he knows how much I hate to get photographed. And thinking that a site chose a photo of me and puts it all over the place, yes, I admit it, this is very hilarious.

“If somebody from there would have asked you to pose for one minute with your bike for an advertising photo, you would have told them to go to hell and ridden away as fast as you could!”

says Kevin… and he is so right.

Here is the photo

Many people would be outraged to find their photo in such a public, official site, without having been asked for permission before. Well, surprisingly, you may think given my aversion to being photographed, I don’t care.As long as I don’t look monstrous on it… and in this case, the great thing is that one can hardly sees my face  🙂 . In fact, the photo is a great advert for United Colors of Benetton, as the little photo bag on my shoulder is one of theirs! Have THEY perhaps paid the site to put this photo there?

The painting above is available directly online as Giclee prints in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widgets below to access my FAA store

Art Prints

And more generally you can see all this stuff I paint by going to my gallery “Miki’s Enchanted World”


Serpa – 7 – (Travel Sketches Portugal 2009)

Here follow some of my last 2009 Portugal sketches. I arrived to the end eventually, more than happy, with a feeling of being totally saturated and never wanting to paint Portugal again, but also with the satisfying feeling of having completed a big job (more than 100 paintings) with -at least for me!- satisfying results. I generally pay a big attention not to lose the fun when I paint and rarely do something what I don’t fancy, but I also pay attention to finish my works, especially my paintings series. Anything else would leave me with that unpleasant feeling of having failed. Luckily I have quite a stubborn character, I seldom give up.

To be honest I still have some cute ink sketches form that trip, which would be worth some water colouring job, but i had lost them, just found them back. But they are for me like cold coffee, I can’t have them. They will join now the big drawer with all the other, coloured ones, I will put a label on the drawer “Portugal/Spain 2009”, and then never looked at them again I suppose!

I wonder which my next travel sketches will be. It was planned to go to the Provence in September/October, but this is finally cancelled. One big trip seems to be sure for January/February: 5 or 6 weeks visiting New Orleans, Austin, Memphis and Nashville, following the Mississippi. An old dream from Kevin and me, which could come true. And if yes, sure that there will be a lot of inspirations to me as  painter, and to Kevin as a musician.

Serpa 37 2009 S


Serpa 38 2009 S


Serpa 39 2009 S

These art works are available directly on-line as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting card. Just click on the widgets below to access my FAA store

Sell Art Online

Sell Art Online

And more generally you can see what else I paint by going to my gallery “Miki’s Enchanted World”

Serpa – 5 – (Travel Sketches Portugal 2009)

I still haven’t finished to work on my sketches from our last trip through Portugal in June/July 2009, still hanging around in Serpa… I am kind of saturated now with this work, I would like to stop, but on the other side, I still have many cute sketches, which need some work, and I can’t really put them on the side. Yesterday evening I felt quite down, felling trapped in this work somehow. I want to do other stuff, and I want to go on holidays again, but on the other side, I don’t want to spend my life working on travel sketches! An unpleasant dilemma…

Going on holidays without sketching the new places we see is for me unthinkable, but coming back and starting again to work on travel sketches, is unthinkable as well! Above all because it looks like as we will do a big trip in January/February, to totally new places for me, and surely when I will come back, I will have a lot of work to do…

Oh yes, I know, moaning is not very sexy  (this is what I say to Kevin all the time!  🙂  ), and above all obscene when one has such a great life as we have!!!

Serpa 25 2009 S*********

Serpa 27 2009 S


Serpa 29 2009 S

These art works are available directly on-line as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting card. Just click on the widgets below to access my FAA store

Sell Art Online
Art Prints

Photography Prints

And more generally you can see what all I paint by going to my gallery “Miki’s Enchanted World”

Serpa – 4 – (Travel Sketches Portugal 2009)

Serpa 22 2009 SThat little olf woman in the sketch, who is trying to open her door, is one of the rare Portuguese people who came and spoke to me while I was sketching. A lovely olf lady, who wanted to know what i was doing there, by no means understanding that I could find some charm in what i was seeing! She was above all worrying about me sitting in the sun without a hat… i gave her one of my galleries leaflets -I had nothing else, not even that sketch which I had just started!-  with all the tiny little images of my paintings, and she was over the moon, carrying into her house as if it was a treasure. it was very touching…

Serpa 24 2009 S


Serpa 23 2009 S


All these paintings (and many others!) are available as Giclee print in different sizes and on different supports (paper, canvas) in my FAA Gallery

Photography Prints

Serpa – 3 – (Travel Sketches Portugal 2009)

Serpa 15 2009 S

After I had spent 2 or 3 days in Serpa sketching all kind of buildings, I got quite bored, and needed to sketch something else. This is why, on the  7th of July (2009), I sat with kevin at a cafe outside, and made sketches of the people sitting there. I liked the faces I saw, and had quite a nice time doing that. As always my sketches tend to be caricatures, I just can’t help it… but I swear that I have warm and sympathetic feelings towards all these people I sketch, my intention is really not to make them look silly or ridiculous or whatever negative… I am sorry if some recognise themselves (what i doubt in fcat as I am not really searching for a good likeness) and feel offended…  🙂

Serpa 16 2009 S


Serpa 19 2009 S********

Serpa 20 2009 S********

These are some of the people I sketched that day. if you wnat to see more, go please to my Flickr account

Serpa – 2 – (Travel Sketches Portugal 2009)

Some days ago I presented here my first sketches from Serpa, our last stop in Portugal, in July 2009, Here are some more.

One of the most beautiful lanterns I have ever seen in my life. They were all over the town. That dragon must have something to do with the town history, but I have no idea what as I I am not  keen at all on history! The guy going down the staits is an invention of me, no idea who lives in this house!

Serpa 04 2009 S


Somehow I can’t help making caricatures of the people. perhaps it is a natural reaction to me being forced to make very accurate, realistic portraits when I paint on commission…

Serpa 06 2009 bis S********

When i put the colours on this ink sketch done outside, i could not help adding the festive decoration in the sky. it reminded me that last year, as we were in Portugal, it was a big feast everywhere we were, all town had this kind of stuff floating in the sky. This time, we didn’t see any… perhaps because it was later in the year… anyway simply a trick to break the vertical composition, I needed this contrast!

Serpa 08 2009 bis S