Dolphin Dives

Dolphin Painting

… Animal Paintings Beyond Realism 03 …

In my last post I introduced my new series of “Animal Paintings beyond Realism”, inspired by a painting group recently created by Studio Tolere. The first of the series featured a dog, the second depicted owls. Today I present a new painting of the series, done in acrylics, gouache, China ink and pastel chalk. It is called

“Dolphin Dives”

My emotional connection to dolphins goes back almost 50 years (scary to think how long ago it is!) when the American TV show Flipper was broadcast. I guess just about any child in this world and of my generation, and perhaps of later generations too, knows and loves Flipper. I am no exception. I deeply enjoyed the show and since then have kept a very emotional connection to dolphins. A deep fascination too…

I had a few more experiences with dolphins in my life. When I was around 20 years old, I had a German boyfriend, who was a diving instructor on his holidays, in Spain and in Thailand. Where we spent our holidays in Spain, there was a Zoo not too far away, with a dolphin show. Once my friend was called to perform a special task in the pool where the dolphins swam. It was incredibly touching to see him swimming among them, and to witness how playful they were, and how they let him come closer and caress them. They seemed to enjoy it so much! It was again a very deep experience, confirming that Flipper did ‘exist’, that it was not only an American show.

Now I will make a jump of 20 more years. I was on a sailing boat, sailing with my brother from Gibraltar to the Canary Islands. I was on the deck, keeping an eye on everything while the captain -my brother- was reading in the cabin. In fact there was nothing to keep an eye on, as we were all alone on this immensity of water which is the Atlantic ocean. And suddenly HE appeared… he swam some seconds along with us, then dived into the water. I was in shock. To see dolphins on the TV is nice, to see them in a zoo is great, but to see them in the wild is  just… beyond words! I ran down to the cabin and told my brother that there was a dolphin outside. When I say “told”, it is wrong : in fact I was hysterically screaming. He looked through the porthole but he could not see anything. I had my eyes glued to the glass, but could not see anything, then ran up to the deck again, spent hours watching the sea, but my dolphin never appeared again… I was immensely sad, I had the feeling to have lost a very dear friend. I thought that my screams had probably scared him away…And to add to my sadness, my brother never believed that I had seen the dolphin..

Last but not least, about 15 years later again… In June 2013 my partner Kev Moore and me were on a little painting trip up the coast here, to a seaside town called “Aguilas”, not too far from our house. Just some days out to “restart the system” and find new inspiration. We went on a boat trip, on a boat called Don Pancho. And there HE was again… here is what Kevin is writing about the experience:

“… the whole crew were great, and clearly loved their job, or at least gave a superb impression of doing so. Smiles all round, and the guy tasked with the commentary on our jaunt up the wilder coastline to the north of Aguilas was passionate about his subject.  When the sleek dorsal fin of a dolphin broke the surface off our port bow, he was about as ecstatic as we were.  I can only say it was mesmerizing. Time after time it buzzed our vessel, playing with the wake, darting off, leaping out of the water to our cries of childish delight. Witnessing a dolphin in the wild makes one regress. It reduces life to a microcosm of simplicity, to something almost Utopian. It speaks to the very depth of your being, of freedom, innocence and sheer, unadulterated joy. I’ve swum with dolphins in Venezuela, but they were in captivity, more’s the pity. This is were they belong, and seeing one exuberant, dancing on the waves where it’s supposed to be, is a privilege, and something I’ll never forget…”

I could not say it better! The meeting with that dolphin was one of the deepest and most emotional experiences in my whole life! And this time, at least, I had witnesses…

The dolphin painting presented in this blog post and other animal paintings are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper, canvas or metal, and also as greeting cards. Please click on the painting to access my Shopping Cart Online. 

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 which painting you are interested in and 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 stiffner.

Poster Price: 50 euros.

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

(the prices for the Giclee prints and posters are not including packing&shipping)

Hand-signed prints incur a surcharge of 30 euros.

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Oscar Wilde in Dublin

To be natural is simply a pose…

My last post in this blog was about Phil Lynott, how “I met” him at his grave. I was describing the pain I suffered intensely visiting the cemetery where he is buried, related to the recent and sudden death of my brother… Well, I just found out that the object of this post today, Oscar Wilde, is somehow very related to my brother too, even if not in the happiest way: they are both buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris! I wished I had known that as I walked through the Père Lachaise in February, but on the other hand, I doubt I would have been in the mood to search for his grave, which is why I renounced to searching for Jim Morrison and many other celebrities buried there…

Anyway, here he is, almost alive, Oscar Wilde in Dublin.

This watercolour painting was inspired by a tribute statue seen in Dublin’s Merrion Square park . I will quote here the words I just found in the net and which I find very good:

“… This may be the only statue in the history of statues both to totally capture the subject’s personality and do to it in a way that would have amused the hell out of him. What a portrait!

Across the walkway are two square marble columns covered in Wilde witticisms. The words are carved into the marble in a way that looks like Wilde’s original handwriting, making it look like graffiti from a distance. One column is topped with a small sculpture of a kneeling woman, and the other of man’s torso, both of which seem ill-fitting with the rest of the installation. But the rest of it is so perfect that I don’t even care.

The sculptor is Danny Osborne. The marker says it was commissioned by the Guinness Ireland Group and unveiled on October 28, 1997… “

The woman in the painting above is “the kneeling woman” the person is referring too. I do agree with her criticism of “ill-fitting with the rest of the installation”, but I do love the subject as a painting motif. Especially with the quote …

The paintings of Oscar Wilde presented in this gallery, and many more music paintings, are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper, canvas or metal, and also as greeting cards. Please click on the widget below to access my Shopping Cart Online.

Art Prints

Art Prints

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 which painting you are interested in and 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 stiffner.

Poster Price: 50 euros.

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

(the prices for the Giclee prints and posters are not including packing&shipping)

Hand-signed prints incur a surcharge of 30 euros.

Phil Lynott in Howth

Live and Dangerous…

Before I went to Ireland last month (April 2013) I hardly knew anything about Phil Lynott. To be honest I only knew one song by him, “The Boys are Back in Town”, and this only because my partner, Kev Moore, had, in the 90′s, impersonated him on the UK TV show ‘Stars in their Eyes’. But I did know that Phil had always played a special role in Kevin’s life.

Now I know Phil better… unfortunately my first “real” meeting with him was at his grave. Kevin had found out that Phil was buried on the peninsula of Howth, to the north of Dublin Bay. Although we had checked on the net where exactly the cemetery was, we could not find it at once, drove a long way around the area it was supposed to be and finally asked a local. As we eventually entered the cemetery, I felt how emotional Kevin was. And me too… but not for the same reason. My reason was that some weeks ago I had suddenly lost my beloved brother Claude. From Spain we had flown to the burial in Paris.. it had nearly killed me… And since then, I can’t enter a cemetery any more. Certainly very unusual for me, as I normally love to visit cemeteries, especially in foreign countries: I feel the way the living people treat their dead speaks volumes about them. Anyway, I thought I would make an exception for Phil Lynott and we started searching for his grave. Three times we went through all the graves, reading carefully all the names, with method even, and I must admit that in that very moment I felt some stress towards my partner to put me through this. Of course he could not know how I felt, but forcing me to face the sadness of all these people having lost their beloved mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and children was much too much for me. Eventually I went to him and begged him to ask somebody where Phil Lynott’s grave was. He didn’t like it, not finding it very cool and rock’n roll, but seeing my sad little face, he agreed. Good job he did, as we were looking in the totally wrong place, in the old part of the cemetery.

If you want to read about that grave visit from the perspective of Kev Moore, please go to his site and read “In Search of Phil”.

I present here the second of my new collaboration works with Kevin, a more or less caricatural portrait of Phil gigging in Howth. Don’t miss the warning in the background:

“Live and Dangerous!”

which applies not only to the cliffs of Howth’s coast, but also of course to Thin Lizzy’s live masterpiece!

The painting of the Beatles presented in this gallery, and many more music paintings, are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper, canvas or metal, and also as greeting cards. Please click on the widget below to see dimensions available and corresponding prices.

Sell Art Online


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 which painting you are interested in and 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 stiffner.

Poster Price: 50 euros.

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

(the prices for the Giclee prints and posters are not including packing&shipping)

Hand-signed prints incur a surcharge of 30 euros.

Painting Tenerife: San Cristobal de La Laguna 01

Painting Tenerife: San Cristobal de La Laguna 01


In February 2013, I spent 3 weeks painting the Canary Island Tenerife. My first two posts about that island were referring to places called “Los Gigantes” and “Garachico”. Today I will present here some watercolour and ink sketches from San Cristobal de la Laguna, a town in the Northern part of the island.

We had visited the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the day before and were a little bit disappointed by most of the town. Then I had read that San Cristobal was the former capital and that La Laguna’s historical centre was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Consequently, I thought that there might be some interesting motifs for me.

Unfortunately it was quite a grey and even rainy day and the light cast on the town really wasn’t motivating me to paint. As we began meandering through the town, I became worried that in fact it wasn’t going to present me with anything interesting at all, but as we happened upon the bustling Sunday market, I quickly found a number of motifs, the first ones being quite funny. I did the ink drawings on the site, adding the colours later at home. The first one represents a fish stand.

To be honest, I hate fish. I mean, I hate dead fish, and wherever dead fishes are, I run away, unable to stand the smell and the sight of them. It might be because I was a passionate diver in the past and spent many hours playing with lovely, living fishes in the depths of the seas, that I firmly believe that is where they belong! Anyway, that day I found that motif so funny that I had to draw it. But believe me, I did it very fast, as I gradually started to feel very sick in my tummy. But I understand that true art demands its sacrifices…

You might think that I exaggerated the size of the big fish in the foreground.. perhaps I did… but really, not that much, as it was exactly that which drew my gaze, the contrast between him and the hundreds of little fishes laying in rows behind him. That guy, although dead, really looked for all the world as if he was thinking: “How did I land here?” Which is what I am often thinking about myself on this Earth… that painting could well be a self-portrait!

You might also believe that I invented the next motif… I swear I did not!

So hilarious… and I would have given the world to know what was going on inside the head of the nun… and of the pig! The chickens had lost their heads, so at least they hadn’t any thoughts, presumed chicken usually think with their heads…

What attracted me in the flower stand above, besides the many flowers which I anyway love to paint, was the woman herself. She stood there for a long time, totally immobile. I myself stood quite a while there, sketching and observing, and I could not find out who that woman was. I first thought she was the shop owner, but would she have a bag in her hand if she was? Was she a client? But where was the shop owner then? And why didn’t she move at all? I am not even sure if she was alive!

Later that day, I painted some more motifs from the town itself, as it finally stopped raining and the sun came out, coinciding with our discovery of a pretty part of the town, and I will present these sketches in my next post. But for now let us end with a well-deserved “Churros and Chocolate” treat!

Now, for those who don’t know what Churros are, and still don’t understand it after looking at my sketch, here is what Wikipedia has to say:

“…A churro, sometimes referred to as a Spanish doughnut, is a fried-dough pastry—predominantly choux—based snack. Churros are popular in Spain, France, the Philippines, Portugal, Latin America (including Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands) and the United States. There are two types of churros in Spain, one which is thin (and sometimes knotted) and the other which is long and thick (porra). They are both normally eaten for breakfast dipped in hot chocolate or café con leche….”

Well, these churros from San Cristobal were a killer.. not only in quality but also in quantity!

The paintings of San Cristobal de La Laguna presented in this gallery are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards, in my FAA Gallery. Please press the link below to access it.

Buy prints online!

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 which painting you are interested in and in which size. Go to Goodaboom Boutique to see a guideline of pricing for different dimensions.

 

Christmas in Lanzarote

I have just come back (December 2012) from a painting trip to Lanzarote, the easternmost of the autonomous Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 125 km off the coast of Africa and 1000 km from the Iberian Peninsula. I had already visited there a long time ago, but at that time my holiday interests were more focussed on partying than painting, and consequently my memories of the island itself were rather blurred!

Lanzarote - Google Map

These last 3 weeks spent in Lanzarote have been a wonderful experience, in many senses. Landscapes, people, towns, little harbours, boats, cafés, shops and even toys have delighted me and made of my daily live painting sessions a deep pleasure. I hope with this new series of sketches, to have succeeded in capturing the soul and the heart of that place, and to transmit the fun and joy of living I felt all the time.

I will make diverse blogs about my painting time in Lanzarote, publishing sketches from many different places there. But as it is Christmas soon, I will start with a series of funny sketches related to Christmas and mostly inspired by toys and shop windows decorations seen on the island.

I don’t know if the people from Lanzarote have ever seen snow on their island, but I did find it funny how snowballs and snowmen were a repetitive element in their Christmas decorations. Especially funny when an elephant is also involved… not an happy elephant though: you might have noticed, some love story is going on between the smart little boy and the snowman, and I do sense a bit of jealousy on the part of the elephant…

The Christmas balls on this sketch were directly inspired by wonderful real ones I saw in a local market in Teguise. They were representing scenes and landscapes from Lanzarote. I loved them so much that I would have adored to bring some back, but I thought they were too fragile to survive a plane journey. On one of them you can see a red demon: he is the emblem of Lanzarote. Why a demon, you might as? Simply, because the early settlers interpreted their first experience of a volcanic eruption as the work of the devil. In fact I also wanted to bring back a big sign with it for our entrance door – you know, exactly how people have “dangerous dogs” signs, to warn prospective thieves… – a way to say: careful, in this house lives a demon, and even two – me and my English rocker, — but unfortunately I could not find an adequate one to sufficiently convey our fearsomeness!

Nothing really special to mention about this one, except that I was attracted by the juxtaposition of Santa Claus and chicken. Who knows why? I seem to remember having seen many wooden or ceramic chicken in window decorations, and wondered why. Because the fact is that we have travelled through the whole island and never seen a real chicken! What we did see though, in the volcano park of Timanfaya, were real chicken parts being cooked by the heat of the volcano!

And now, last but not least, comes the masterpiece of my Christmas in Lanzarote sketches series:

The Troll

I saw him in Playa Blanca (meaning “White Beach”), the southernmost town of Lanzarote. He was standing all alone in his high child chair on the sea promenade, and in the background, a ferry was leaving… It was a ferry from “Fred Olsen”, the Oslo based Norwegian shipping company. The ferry was probably only on its return trip to Fuerteventura, the Canary island closest to Lanzarote, but in my little romantic head, I was imagining a heartbreaking story of the little troll coming directly from Norway with his troll parents and them having abandoned him in Lanzarote, a long way away from home, never to come back…

These paintings, as well as many others of Lanzarote, 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

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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.

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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)

Please click on the widgets below to directly access my shop online.

Sell Art Online

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Street Life in Nicosia 02

Street Life in Nicosia – Watercolour and ink travel sketch, by Miki

I had promised a second part of the Street Life in Nicosia, so here it is. But forgive me please, I have not much time nor the nerves for written words today, I need to keep most of them for football and politics. Football, because the game Man City v Newcastle is about to start, and for many reasons I absolutely need the Newcastle Magpies to win. I will follow it simultaneously to making this post, so don’t be surprised if some terrible screams suddenly pierce the silence of the internet 🙂

And politics because right now in France they are electing our new President. I am not a political person at all, but today I feel very nervous about it, having somehow the feeling the result might be very important, perhaps more important than ever…

Cypriot Beauty 01 –  Watercolour and ink travel sketch, by Miki

I saw these Cypriot beauties in the main shopping streets if Nicosia. It is quite amusing to find that as soon as you cross the border between the two Nicosias, you enter a street full of shops selling all the well-known labels of the world for peanuts. Difficult to resist even when one knows that they are fake! … well, these beautiful women fronting the shops surely helped us to buy some sexy Adidas pants for my guy!

Cypriot Beauty 02 – Watercolour and ink travel sketch, by Miki

I was glad though that this golden girl from the shop above didn’t have mugs that appealed to us… we only had very little room in our luggage and  had to be disciplined.. we usually bring dozens of mugs back from our trips, it’s really total addiction!

And then I had the chance to see a street musician. After about a week in Cyprus, he was the first I saw. For some obscure reason he picked me from among the crowd and gave me a little private concert. Well, concert is perhaps too fine a term… he put his guitar in his hands, acted very professionally,  but no sound came forth… no wonder I guess, he had an electric guitar and didn’t carry an amp around. I was quite sure that he would want some money from me. Well, some people pay for silence: I don’t! I just took a quick photo and walked away. Not without feeling a little bit guilty though, the guy might have deserved some coins only for his great appearance…

Street Musician in Nicosia –  Watercolour and ink travel sketch, by Miki

and who knows, perhaps there is a law in Cyprus which forbids street music? Now the more I think about my behaviour, the more ashamed I feel! It is not always easy to behave well as a tourist: in some countries one gets assaulted by the locals who think one is loaded with money… and to be honest, compared with them, we probably are. But I personally hate to feel milked like a bloody cow, so as soon as I suspect a milkman is coming, I run away!

And as I mentioned it in another post about Cyprus, the cats are always present, wherever one looks!

Cats in Nicosia – Watercolour and ink travel sketch, by Miki

And before we crossed the border in the other direction, we had the usual coffee break. We had seen a cafe where they served the lattes in lovely glass mugs, for us certainly THE reason to enter the place. Well, the mug was great but the latte was average, the servers were nice but the prices were incredibly high! I made a sketch of the mug, “Occupied Latte”, including the menu, exactly as it was written…

Occupied Latte in Nicosia – by Miki

I was thinking, these people, they pretend to have a posh place, but they only have posh prices, and they can’t even spell such an internationally well-known word as chicken! In fact I was quite fed-up, having again the impression to have been milked…

By the way, this sketch is the beginning of a series of “travel mugs” we had in Cyprus and Crete. By that I mean that I started a series featuring our coffee breaks, a good complement to my anyway beloved coffee mugs series. For us, these coffee breaks are often the highlight of our holidays, and most of the time we have quite sweet memories connected to them… the paintings keep them alive for ever!

The paintings above are 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

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First update: Man City won! F..K!

The Art of Survival

I am immensely proud to announce that my African Godson and wonderful artist Emmanuel Baliyanga is making the cover of our local English spoken magazine “The Sentinella” with one of his marvellous paintings “Senegalese Woman” of an African woman carrying a baby

The Sentinella – March 2011 Edition

But not only that. The Sentinella was so kind to publish an article I wrote, “A Modern Way of Humanitarian Help: The Art of Survival”, telling the story of my encounter with Emmanuel. It is indeed an interesting and exciting story, as Emmanuel is originally from Rwanda, and had to flee the Genocide after all 10 members of his family were killed.  Actually working occasionally for a book publishing company in Cameroon, he contacted me for the first time some months ago to ask my permission to use one of my Obama portrait paintings for the cover of a book in homage to Obama.

Here is a screen shot of the article in The Sentinella

Emmanuel Baliyanga and Miki in The Sentinella

But to be able to read it more comfortably, and anyway to browse through the whole magazine (do it, it is packed with exciting articles!), go please to the Edition online.

Even better:  if you live in our area (Turre, Provincia de Almeria, Andalusia, Spain” pick up a printed edition at your local bar, cafe or supermarket. And don’t forget to tell The Sentinella what you think about it, they love to get feedback!