Cafe Life in Germany

1999 in "Cafe Filou" in Reute - By Miki

I explained in my last post “Back To My German Past” that I had recently found some sketches from one of my many previous lives… more exactly from the one in Reute, a municipality  about 10 kilometres away from the wonderful town of Freiburg, in Baden-Wuertenberg and on the edge of the famous Black Forest. And I promised some insight into the cafe life in and around Reute, based on some of these sketches done on site… some of them probably drawn while drinking one of those fabulous big Weizenbeers! I certainly was having one as I painted the above sketch! “Cafe Filou” was the main Gasthaus in Reute, a very cool place, where the whole town, young and not-so-young people gathered most every evening, to have some drinks or a meal. Or to have a date. This was THE place where to find a new girl or boyfriend if you had inadvertently lost one. A typically German place, with loads of wood and beer and solid tasty food… and allowing intimacy as well as social interaction if you needed to… I just loved it! And of course I loved the name, “Filou”, a French word, which my dictionary inelegantly translates into “crook, cheat”. Well, I suppose you don’t have any filous in English speaking countries, as a filou is nothing of that. It must be something typically French. I don’t know if you have heard from Arsene Lupin, the gentleman thief, but he was a typical filou. In fact, a guy doing very naughty stuff, but doing it with such a charm that one can’t help forgiving him, and even loving him! Normally used for a guy, but my mother sometimes calls me that, when I am especially “cheeky”… and honestly, I am, deep inside, a filou… but so deep that only my mother can know… and Kevin of course – who just told me that ‘rascal’ is perhaps the closest approximation to filou! But this, to my French ears, is far less delightful!

I Am Only Here For My Beer - by Miki

The above sketch was drawn in Cafe Conditorei Cappuccino, in Hochdorf-Freiburg. This also was a great place, but more for the morning or the afternoon. The Milch Café were served in immense bowls with much foam on top, gargantuan mueslies and fruit-salad yoghurts in huge crystal dishes .The cakes you could get with them were just soooo tasty, lecker as they say there! Most people indeed went there for breakfast, especially business men when they had their morning break like the guy with the tie in the background. I do miss sometimes the food from Germany, there was something quite gemütlich in it. Gemütlich, a word I could never find an appropriate translation for in French. In English I would say something like “cosy”… well, I guess the French don’t like it cosy, they just like it filou!

But even though it was more of a breakfast or afternoon cafe, you could also see people drinking beer there, at any time of the day… and when it happened to be in the morning, it was usually a lonely person and a very sad view indeed…

And now a last sketch from that time in Germany. I believe though that the subject is universal!

You drink too much! - by Miki

I am wondering though if times have changed since 2000, the date when that drawing was done … is it perhaps more the men nowadays moaning after their women that they drink and smoke too much? Possible, isn’t it? The world has changed so much these last 10 years…  🙂

So, this was my trip back to my past in Reute. It was fun to relive this time through these sketches. As I always notice, sketches and paintings have a much deeper and much more emotional memory value than photographs. Probably because when one does them, one generally goes much deeper into the subject, and stays much longer on it, even if the sketches are quickly done, like mine normally are.

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

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Art and Sports 09 – Boxing

Boxing 01 - by Miki

I was thinking about sports which could be appropriate for my new technique, the one developed this Summer to paint the Tour de France, and Kevin proposed that I try boxing. I was convinced immediately! Most people, who know me superficially, or only from photos, would ask:  how on earth can such a tiny, soft looking person  be inspired by that violent sport? Well, this is another aspect of my life which does not match at all my physical appearance, and contribute to my fame of being an “ALIEN”, kind of.

Fact is:

I am a green belt in kick boxing.

And I love kick boxing, Well, better said, I loved it. I stopped practising it some years ago, as my partner was worried for me. I first tried to convince him to do it with me, but he is a professional musician, you know, and as such he cannot run the risk of appearing on stage with broken teeth or nose, a blue eye, broken fingers or tibia, etc… Although this could look very rock ‘n roll I think! And concerning myself: a famous rock’n roller can’t allow himself to have a messed up chick.. at least not that kind of mess!!!  🙂 So I stopped my kick boxing career. abandoning the dream of a black belt around my delicate waist one day….

Of course he is right. Each kick boxing class or fight I attended ended in somebody, me or somebody else, being injured, sometimes heavily. I am an intelligent person, I can control my own force, I am disciplined, I am aware of all the dangers coming from all sides, especially when legs and arms and fists and feet are at work. But some people are not, they are there to get the hell out of them, and you can’t do anything against it: The best self protection technique and defensive attitude can’t impede some kicks finding their way to your sensitive parts…. This was all quite traumatic, and I hated it.

What I loved in kick boxing was the training itself. It involved the whole body and brain in an extreme and challenging way, more than any other sports I had ever practised. After each class I was always extremely exhausted, but felt fantastic, and also so proud of myself.

Then, to get the classes were always a hell of a performance. Sometimes I had to throw up afterwards, so excited I was, and this, although my body was very well trained, through other sports too like daily swimming. But you know what? I had many examinations in my life, and some of them very difficult, but I never felt so proud of myself as when I got a new kick boxing belt. By far not! I suppose the pride comes in proportion to the effort one has to invest….

Anyway, here is my first boxing painting. I like the result, so I might do some more soon.

This painting 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

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

The Forbidden Fruit and so on…

Le Fruit Defendu - by Miki

Yesterday afternoon, tired of all the travel sketches business = finishing, photographing and publishing works from Portugal, Italy, Spain, Republic Czech – I spent some hours in my atelier “for the dirty work”, as I call it. This is a place specially designed for my colour wildernesses, and believe me, after such a seance, the room is a total mess! I play with colours, instruments, waters, knifes, needles, sprays, whatever comes undo my hand and my inspiration. The result is quite random generally. Then I just let my fantasy free with the task to make something artistic out of it. Later on with help of the computer if necessary. In the above piece I incorporated within the acrylics chaos a tender pastel portrait of that beautiful girl called “Tara Summers” , whom I discovered in in one of my favourite TV shows “Boston Legal”

Eternel Feminin - by Miki

Similar technique for this one, with a pastel portrait of one of mu nieces… the result looked pretty feminine to me, hence the title…

These paintings  (and all my work too too) are available as Giclee prints in many sizes and as Greeting Cards. If you are interested to purchase some,  visit my Fine Art America Gallery or drop me a line

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Togetherness and Loneliness in Old Age

Together Old in Italy 01 - by Miki

As I was travelling through Italy in April and May 2011, I decided to start a series called “Loneliness and Togetherness in Old Age”. The idea of the series came as I saw this striking old couple in Montepulciano, Tuscany. I had painted an old couple once before , it was during my Portugal trip in 2008, an old couple walking through the streets of Lisbon, a simple but striking sketch which received many compliments and has been featured on many occasions all around the world  (such as a magazine cover related to International Old Peoples Day in Costa Rica…).

So here it is, the first Togetherness in Italy,painted in watercolour and ink on site. Well, the drawing has been done there (secretly, I had to hide not to disturb the scene), the colours have been added later in the day at home (well, in the motorhome).

I love old people, somehow when I look at them, the expression in their eyes, the whole body language, I get very emotional. I absolutely can’t stand that they get hurt in any way, physically or psychologically, it just breaks my heart. This is why it will be an immense joy for me to work on this new series. I plan to follow the series in all the countries we are visiting, of course I wished I had had that idea before! But well, “mieux vaut tard que jamais!”

There are big differences between the European countries, how the old people take part in public life. I was amazed and so happy to see them everywhere in Italy, in the streets, the parks, the beaches… I remember from my time in Germany for example that in the big towns one hardly saw old people outside.. anyway, it will be very interesting to carry out this project, to see the differences, to see how old men and old women behave publicly differently according to the country… a big project this, a little bit scary perhaps,but I think this is the best homage I can render as an artist to Old People!

And here is the first of the Loneliness series. That old lady was sleeping on the bench, late afternoon, somewhere in Tuscany. I found the scene very touching. Makes me want to cry, somehow…

Old and Alone in Italy 01 - by Miki

These paintings are available as Giclee prints in many dimensions and as Greeting Cards. If you are interested to purchase some,  visit my Fine Art America Gallery or drop me a line

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The Sower is A Woman

The Parable of The Sower

About one year ago, I presented in this blog my new series called “Biblescapes”, inspired by stories and parables from the Bible, and painted in the style of my Fantascapes. It was originally an idea from a church man from the Lake district in the UK, who contacted me asking if I could so such a work. As an example, he gave me “The Parable of The Sower”.

As you can in my first post about the Biblescapes, I did not start with this parable, but eventually, leaded like always by fate and associations chains, I came to  paint The Parable of The Sower. Really, that man knew what he was speaking about, as that painting has become a big hit. Many prints have been purchased already, and the painting has often been shown at several occasions in different parts of the world.  The most relevant to me so far being perhaps  the one purchased by a church congregation in the USA,  as a farewell gift  to one of their retiring female pastors, Here is a photo of teh Farewell ceremony, with my painting standing on the easel.

The Parable of The Sower... a Farewell gift

For some reason, this painting seem to speak wonderful words to people. 2 days ago I was again contacted by a woman, who sent me a wonderful email

“Dear Miki,
Your painting on the parable of the sower is exquisite in its movement and color.  I am a teacher of the parables and your image depicts the extravagance of the sower so beautifully.  I plan to show this image to my students and would love to include some of your own thoughts on the painting.  Would you be willing to write back to me and share some of your ideas about the work?
Thank you and be well,”

I must say that I am very pleased that my painting will be used for educational purposes. I answered

“…  I thought that in my painting, the Sower should be a woman… I don’t know exactly why.. perhaps because The Sower is always depicted as a man, and I cannot see why. Perhaps also because I feel that sowing the right seeds in the right place and in the right moment is a deeply feminine ability… but as I said, I did not think very much about it.
As to the movement in the painting, well, you will find it in all of my paintings: For me life IS movement.. everything I paint moves, even houses or coffee mugs!
As to the colours, also all my paintings are rich in colours… I just need them!, they are for me THE LIGHT OF LIFE… “

By the way, for those who know the place: the background of the painting is based on a stylised sketch of Turre (Provincia de Almeria, Spain)!

This artwork is 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

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My Love Wins!

This afternoon I had a wonderful surprise, really something I had not expected at all.

Curtis Helm, the owner of the Art Gallery “El Retiro” in Turre, where the Valentine Art Show competition took place this morning, came personally to our house and handled me an envelope.

Inside was this lovely Valentine Card. I thought, well this is a thank-you for my participation.

But when I opened it, I read the following declaration:

I could not believe my eyes! I was so immensely happy, deeply touched  and so thankful to everybody, especially to Curtis who has organised this show and created this wonderful Art Gallery, gradually giving our town a whole new dimension of togetherness, creativity and fun.

It is a wonderful feeling to win with my art a Valentine dinner with my amazing partner Kev Moore, without whom most of the artwors of the last 5 years would not exist.

So, we will have that dinner on Monday the 14th of February, about 20h30, in this wonderful restaurant:

MESA Bar & Restaurant, Mojacar Playa, Almeria - SPAIN

2011 Valentines Countdown 03: Valentine Duval and his Love Wave

Here is the artwork with which Kev Moore will enter the Valentine’s art competition in our local Gallery “El Retiro” in Turre. With such a name and his heart-shaped guitar, that cute musician will surely be very welcome in the show and break many hearts!

Valentine Duval - by Kev Moore

By the way: it will be the first time that Kevin exhibits publicly one of his art works. This will be followed by a solo exhibition on the 11th of March, where he will present about 25 of his recent character paintings, all striking by their vibrant colours, the love of details and the humour.I wish him good luck for this new artist career.

As for myself, I will exhibit one of my Lovescapes, called “Love Wave”.

This painting is meant to show how I feel every time I think of Valentine Duval’s Father!  🙂

Love Wave - by Miki

HAPPY VALENTINE 2011!

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