New Year’s Resolutions…

Posted: December 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

Just because I’ve got some time on my hands and this thought won’t leave alone.

So, what are your New Year’s resolutions for the new year?

This year I think I’ll pass on the usual, eat less, lose weight and exercise more because honestly, it’s not fun and it’s pretty much everybody’s resolutions or not far. (Not even mentioning it never works).

So this year, I thought I’d be a tad more original. Ahem. Sort of. Ready? ….. Go!

One: Learn Italian. Okay, my mother was Italian, the better half of my family is Italian and speaks Italian, but just because my mom married a French guy, we are the only ones who don’t speak the language fluently. I’ve got basics, you know, you gotta pick some things here and there along the years, but I can’t say that I’m actually speaking and (mostly) understanding Italian. And that will eventually be useful for number two:

Two: Spend the summer holidays in…. Italy! Aha! Ever since I saw that James Bond movie (Casino Royale? with Craig) I wanted to see Venice. I mean the place is so beautiful and there are so many things to do or see in Venice. I’ve got to add that Em’s going there this year rekindled that lost wish in me. Okay, I have actually been to Italy once when I was… bloody hell, 16? Well something like that. So that’s a loooooooooooong, looooooooong time ago. I went to Rome for a cousin’s wedding and since her father was a guide, he showed us almost everything there was to see in less than 3 days. Exhausting (well not for me, remember i was 16 or so). I still remember St Peter, the Pieta, the Caravago paintings and a lot of other extraordinary things. But I haven’t seen plenty of others that I yet have to discover. Then we went to San Marino and Urbania which was my mother’s native village. And that was fun too. But that’s about all I saw of Italy. So this time I would love to see, well, Venice and a few other places as well. I’ve heard of a cave, a blue cave* that is a real splendor and I guess I also would like to go around the country for a proper tour of Italy, land of my ancestors. I got a feeling I’ll have to make plans to organize all this.

Three: Take piano lessons. I have always wanted to do that. When I was little (about 8) we moved into a house that had an old piano in the basement. The thing was every bit of scrawny but I had the greatest fun with it. I would sing and play and compose grand tunes on that thing and since it was in the basement, I guess nobody suffered too much from it. *grins* Actually, I would also love join a choral or take singing lessons and if I was bold enough I would have done so since a very long time ago but I still lack the courage.

And that’s about it for now although I could add some things like see real icebergs, see the desert and… damn I forgot the other one but I guess I’ll have to keep that for another year. I know we usually have to make about 10 resolutions but if I can get at least those three to become real, then I’ll be a happy bunny, ahem, person.

Now your turn.

* Drat. I have actually just seen on Google that it’s in Greece. Oh well. *shrugs*

Highlights of the Year

Posted: December 20, 2014 in Real life

Seems like the thing to do and I found I had some things to say about the highlights of my year after all.

1. Favourite novel of the year?

Geez now that is a tough question since I have probably read only ONE book this year… Ah, no, I actually finished two, Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb and A Dance of Dragons by GRRM, although I must say that it’s taking me probably as long to read one of his book than it takes him to write it. I had started it about 3 years ago, ahem, yes, don’t laugh.

Oh actually no, make that three with The Piebald Prince and the Willful Princess (by Robin Hobb too). I was really having great expectations for that one and I’m sorry to say that it disappointed me greatly.

So in the end….. I guess I would give the palm to Fool’s Assassin as Dance is a little bit out of the competition. But I honestly preferred Dance.

2. Favourite non-fiction book of the year?

Well…. Does a book on petrol qualify? As that is about the only other thing I read that wasn’t a non-fiction one and it was work-related. But it was interesting.

3. Favourite short story of the year?

I’ll pass. Unless you acknowledge The Hobbit as a short story, I mean, honestly, it’s only 253 pages long!

4. Favourite movie of the year?

Ah now that is probably one question I actually can answer. I saw LOTS of movies this year (wonder where all my reading time went heh?). 42 so far and some were quite good. Some not so much.

My favorite movies of 2014 were New York Melodie (Begin Again), The Gardians of the Galaxy, Gone Girl and Dallas Buyers Club, although I also would like to mention The dream life of Walter Mitty (or whatever the title is in english), Philomena, The book thief, 3 days to kill and John Wick on the top of the list too.

If I had to choose only one? Probably New Yok Melody (Begin Again). But if you ask me again tomorrow, that can change and be another one from the ones mentioned below.

5. Favourite TV show of the year?

Well, that has to be Supernatural. Look below, nothing more to add except click for larger version.

cute-jensen-ackles-68288_797_1200

6. Favourite song of the year?

Lost Stars by Keira Knightley (or Adam Levine) whichever version you prefer, from the excellent movie “Begin Again”.

http://youtu.be/DnX7PtkRdjM

7. Favourite album of the year?

Well, I was tempted to say the Origninal Score of Begin Again but the truth is I don’t like half of the songs on it, and only the ones by Keira or Adam. So instead I’ll say Xscape by Michael Jackson because, yes, I really LOVE that album and it came exactly at the right time in my life.

8. Favourite video game of the year?

Neverwinter. (although I have cowardly abandoned my character about 3 months ago).

9. Favourite app of the year?

Walkroid – an app that tells you how many steps you are walking and how many miles or km you are doing each day. (not very much in my case, I’m sorry to say, but it’s a good way to monitor your health and a good way to get motivation for walking more.)

10. Favourite (something else) of the year?

Favorite moment of the year was my holidays in London at Loncon3 where I saw old friends and met new ones plus saw a bunch of great authors and even got some signings and then at a friend’s place for a couple of days in the British country. Really wonderful memories and a great time for me.

I might add, the two people that most impressed me this past year are Matthew McConaughey and Keira Knightley. McConaughey because honestly I didn’t know he was such a good actor and the Dallas Buyers Club will stay with me as his best performance ever. Keira Knightley because she actually can sing! And also act. I think I’ll keep an eye on those two in the future.😉

A year…

Posted: October 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

It has been almost a year since I posted something in this blog. Poor blog. I’m really not a good blogging person.

Well. Now you know I’m still alive.

With some new aching pains. I’m getting old. But then, everyone does so it’s a consolation I suppose.

Okay, since I’m absolutely not ready to share private things with the whole wide world yet, I’m gonna try to post a few pictures from today’s walk and hope it’ll be much easier than it used to be.

The wonderful colors of Autumn and the sleeping dragon.

IMG_0147 IMG_0142IMG_0137 IMG_0130 IMG_0135 IMG_0139

Long time no see

Posted: December 14, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

It’s been a while since I posted anything there or anywhere else as it matters.

But I haven’t been idle art-wise. Here are a few pieces I did this year:

Alise  Image

These were done with the oil pastels Neocolor by Caran D’Ache. I must say that I’m not a big fan of Caran d’Ache color pencils usually, not since I discovered brands like Derwent or Prismacolor. But I must say that those Neocolor pastels just blew my breath away. They are so soft, so easy to use, melt and mix colors and I still haven’t tried every way to use them! Really awesome products.

I also discovered via James Gurney’s blog Gurney’s Journey, lots of amazing new things. First, this Casein paint he’s using, and that I still have to try out. Unfortunatly, I still haven’t discovered a good place to buy some around here.

What I really like on James Gurney’s blog, apart from him detailing every step of how to paint with this or that medium, it’s that he also introduces me to other illustrators or painters that I have never heard of, or am not very familiar with. Like Leyendecker.

Image

And my own rendition of one of his study (see below):

Image

Image

Voilà, it’s about it this time.

Happy holidays and see you next year!

Image  —  Posted: July 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

Here are a few artworks, doodles and other that I did recently. No scans, just snapshots sorry.

I was watching the tvshow BORGIA and I got fascinated with the looks of the young isolda-dychauk who plays Lucrezia. This picture made me want to try to draw her. Below is the modest result done in Prismacolor pencils.

Lucrezia-Borgia-Isolda-Dychauk_diapo_full_gallery

Prismacolor pencils

Prismacolor pencils

Then, I did this little one as a gift to a friend for thanking him for a nice afternoon spent at his house.

Nausicaa

Prismacolor pencils

Prismacolor pencils

And finally, this piece that I’ve been working on for a little bit more time (and still am occasionally) with pastels, Prismacolor pencils and oil pastels. (Oh and it’s from a piece from the mighty mighty Frazetta – of course-).

The Hunter

The Hunter

Close up

Close up

And that’s all for tonight. More soon (I hope!)

I was very lucky to receive this amazing box-set for my birthday a month ago.

It’s filled with 32 songs recorded by the Jackson 5 while they were still working with Motown (between 1969 and 1975) that I had never or rarely heard before (although some are floating around on YouTube for years apparently), but to me they are all amazing pieces of history. I’m immensely grateful for that box-set, even if I think the packaging deserved more goodies. Some of these songs are even so good that they surely didn’t deserve to stay hidden for so long.

Here we go:

DISC 1

01 (WE’RE THE) MUSIC MAKERS – Unknown date

This very short song was clearly for an introduction to be sung at concerts, I would say. I wonder why it never was used. It is catchy and even if it’s very short, it’s a good little one.

02 IF THE SHOE DON’T FIT – 1970-71

For me, this song is totally in the J5 spirit of the first albums, fun, light and full of joyful force. It could have been a pretty good hit.

03 COME AND GET IT (LOVE’S ON THE FIRE) – 1970

This one is the first that I think is a little bit weak, I guess it certainly could have been better with some more polishing.

04 I GOT A SURE THING – January 1970

A cover from Ollie & The Nightingales classic from 1968, there’s a very catching melody on the chorus especially with Michael going up in the heights as he usually does. It’s mostly a Jermaine but it’s another example on how Mike and Jermaine worked so well together. This song could have easily climbed the charts; the J5 did a really nice job on it.

05 AFTER YOU LEAVE GIRL – July 1969

A nice and decent song that could definitely have been on ABC or Third Album in my opinion. Although not really a favorite of mine. This track could have stayed hidden as far as I’m concerned.

06 MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME –Summer 1970

Probably the funniest song I have ever heard from the J5 (or anyone else actually). A big favorite of mine. I’m very glad it finally got out. It shows that the boys could really do lots of things musically, and it’s so nice to have Marlon and Tito and Jackie have their part too.

07 IDDINIT –Summer 1970

Very good song, it could have been on an early album.

08 SINCE I LOST MY BABY – August 1969

This song is very interesting because it’s one of the rare ones where we can hear Jermaine a tad before or meanwhile his voice was changing. It’s a cover of the Temptations from 1965. I honestly prefer the Jackson Five version.

09 KEEP AN EYE – January 1970

I totally didn’t like that song at all when I first heard it. It’s a first for me because I usually love all the J5 song, but I’m glad they never released it on an album. I think I didn’t like it because it’s so dark and not at all in the J5 spirit of carefree and joyful kids.

10 MOVIN’ – 1970

I really like that song. It’s one of my favorites.

11 FEELIN’ ALRIGHT Studio Version – 1971

I like that song a lot, but the Studio Version left me wanting for more. My favorite version is the one they sang on the Diana! Show in 1971. But still it was a good thing they included it into that box set.

12 YOU BETTER WATCH OUT – October 1971

A very happy song in the true spirit of the Jackson 5. Once again, a true pearl Motown should have included on one of the boys album. Maybe on Looking Through the Windows.

13 I’M YOUR SUNNY ONE (HE’S MY SUNNY BOY) – 1969-1970

I really like that song. Another one that should have not stayed hidden for so long. A real hit.

14 SOMEONE’S STANDING IN MY LOVE LIGHT – January 1971

I loved that song from the first hearing and still think it’s really awesome. A shame they never released it on a J5 album!