Friday, July 29, 2011

Prepping for a Painting

Portrait of African Model, Carmen Solomons

I'm setting up to do another painting. 
It'll probably be a long one...meaning it'll take awhile to finish.. I guess we'll see.

I feel like I'm always SO serious and stoic about painting! It’s kind of funny, but I guess I’m just like that. I feel a little odd talking about my process, my paintings, my aspirations, but I think it’ll help me flush out some of my ideas.

As you know, I'm enciente or "pregnant."  My art school is closed for the summer and being almost 7 months pregnant, I spend my days at home cleaning, cooking, reading, researching, talking with friends, blogging, pretend shopping (I’ll have to do a post on that one later) and getting our nursery together, studying for the GRE, and planning paintings, among other things.

Although I'm on a maternity leave, I still need to keep up with my art and make sure my portfolio is strong enough for re-admittance. I’d like to enter into the Master’s Program for painting within the next year or two, so I need to be kind of serious about my work.

I also need to document this special time in my life through art; I know everyone would think me sort of weird if I didn't draw or paint myself while pregnant since it’s such a transformative time.  I haven't done any self portraits as of yet. It's not like I don't bask in the dewy glory of my ripe body, I do! And so does my husband might I add, who benefits greatly from my 3rd trimester...passion :) He appreciates the lush fullness of my curves and delights in watching my body BE sacred. So yes, I love my body and feel that love from my husband as well.

But I guess my pregnancy has been sort of private. Since I'm not living close to my family and I don't go out very much, my pregnancy is a small jewel I've been able to keep inside of me and only show others when I want to. So I guess that will have to explain why I haven't done any nude pregnant portraits yet.

But yes, ON with this tome: I'm pregnant, therefore I can't use oil paints. The fumes could be bad for the baby; and while I have an air purifyer/cleaner it's not industrial so I'm not chancing it. Plus I'm not keeping our windows open as much as I used to. It's horribly hot outside AND there are bugs out there, which would like very much to come visit me…and lets just say they are most unwelcome.

SO, I'm using acrylics. I guess we'll just have to see how that goes. I like the luminosity that comes with oil paints, and I'm not great with acrylics, so we'll see what comes to pass. I'm going to try to work up layers....yikes! Well, like I said, we'll see.

I like how I’m excited to start, but I’m totally stalling…I’ll post an update when I’m done.
I’m listening to 60’s French Pop. Gives me a nostalgic naturalist vibe….

I hate acrylics! They dry so quickly! I’m super afraid to start. Oh well, biting the bullet...

Monday, July 25, 2011

At Versailles Right Now!!!

How the 18th Century influenced modern Fashion

Sorry! The video is in French. But the images are lovely for my non-francophones *~

This is an exhibit which is being presented at Versailles now through October.
Too bad it wasn't being shown last October! When we were at Versailles there was a Murakami exhibit. And while I do like his work, I like 18th century fashion and art un peu plus(a little bit more!)!

I do wish the 18th century would influence fashion a bit MORE! I can hardly ever find clothes that suit my tastes! I mean, I don't want to be trapped in a stogy old creaky corset, but there IS so much you can do with the fashions of that time period (and I DO love modern corsets).

If you want to see more pictures, check out the article in Vogue-Paris:

Vogue à Versailles

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Secret Admirerers~*~*~*

Unaltered Painting is Portrait of Miss Dido Elizabeth Bell Lindsay

Âllo Mes Chères!

Is that you up there? Secretly popping onto the blog when I'm asleep and then leaving mysteriously before leaving a comment or "following"?

It's ok, I'm guilty of the same thing! There are like 4 blogs that I regularly read that I didn't "follow" until this week! I'm naughty!

But PLEASE, don't follow my bad example! Be active on my site! Make comments! Suggestions! Give Advice! I'd like to have more of a community vibe.

Based on my "stats" it seems as though you enjoy reading my blog! Thank you!
But why? Who? Which posts are your faves?
And most importantly...Please let me know what you think?

I write basically, to get my thoughts out there, but your opinions do matter! I love hearing from you!

You know, without comments, or following, it's hard to know whether or not anyone is really interested. Also it makes it hard to focus my writing. Being of the artistic persuasion, I can write about nearly anything. I'd like to know what YOU like to help focus me.

Ok, also I just really want to hear from you! Tell me what you'd like to have featured on the site: more video? more pictures? more fashion? more home décor? more of my life (prolly not! :D) More about my travels? (that would be fun!) my curly hair styles? Being an artist? Being a wife? I think I need to write about all of that anyways! It would be great!

Mais oui, Thank you for stopping in, whenever you do! Grand Bisous!

Love Always, Imogen~*~*~*

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Following Dreams~*~*~*

Portrait via blackhappinesslove

How do you follow your dreams????

Well, the first thing is to HAVE a dream;
multiple dreams, really.

Can you divide your dreams into personal and professional? 

If that’s too daunting or if you’re not sure how to start, maybe begin by writing a “what I’d like” list. That way you’ll practice organizing your thoughts. It’s also good to define WHY you’d like something, so when you’re writing your other lists, you can clarify your thoughts and reaffirm your plans!

Here's an example "what I'd like" list: 

What I’d like:

1- Louis Vuitton Purse
why? It’ll last forever; I won’t have to shop for another purse; It’s stylish, classic and goes with my style.

2- A colorful palette of matte eyeshadows
why? I’d like to be able to try more vibrant eye shadow looks

3- A hot post pregnancy wardrobe
why? I deserve it! ha! And also because I think it’ll help fight depression and I like to look good.

After making your “Thing’s I’d like” list, you should be able to use the same thought process to make your other lists. 

For me, I’m not sure exactly what the endpoint will be. I’m not like “I want to be a professor at a top university and translate documents in my spare time.” I don’t think you have to know what you want to do “at the end of the rainbow” and maybe that’s good because you can’t predict the future and even the best laid plans have a way of growing and changing to accommodate your growing and changing mind (which is a good thing).

So let’s look at an example; basically my goals for the future:

My Professional Goals:

1- Continue my fine arts education and become a better figurative oil painter
why? I’ve always loved painting and while painting, I find a peace and a challenge that I’ve found nowhere else.

2-Get into a Ivy League PhD program in Women’s Studies or Communications
why? I want an advanced degree. I want to study something that's really interesting to me. I want to make a difference in the field and beyond.

3-Finish my PhD dissertation abroad
why? I love France. 

4-Open a B&B with Husband
why? It seems like fun
5-Teach at a University and online
why? I like teaching and it gives me money and more time with my family
6-Do professional editorial work 
why? I like money :D 

I think one thing that holds people back is thinking “I’m too old! I’ll be so old by the time I finish” Well Honey, those years are going to pass no matter what, you’ve just got to decide what you’d like to do with them.

My Personal Goals

1- Be a loving, attentive, and hot wife
why? I love being in love

2- Be fashionable and cute everyday if possible
why? I love looking as hot as I can; makes me feel good!

3- Have a healthy lifestyle and be fit
why? being out of breath is not cool. I’ll have a baby to run after too.

4- Be a positive person and have a healthy outlook
why? It’s better for me and all those around me.

These are ALL pretty lofty goals, so the thing is to start small.
Let’s take #1 of my professional goals. I already have my BA in English from a prestigious college. But applying to a top Professional Art School was a little daunting because I needed a portfolio and to tell you the truth, I didn’t know if I was good enough!

So I took it one step at a time. I did the easiest stuff first: I filled out the application: hey! I know my name and where I live, piece of cake! Then step by step I went through the requirements: asking for recommendations, and slowly making work. First I did research on the type of work I needed and how to best make a portfolio. Then I got to work: I made a schedule of how many pieces I needed to get done and by when and I dove in. I also talked to other artists, people who were also older students, and who had been accepted; and I received some really good advice that was integral to my being accepted (I think).
I wrote the small essay (piece o’ cake again) and was accepted WITH financial aid! Bingo!  It was great. It was a lot of hard work, but it felt great to start class that fall.

So now that I’m “in the motherly way” things are a little more challenging (I can’t oil paint now : (  But I’m in contact with professors and trying to decide how to best proceed for my goals.

**I am also doing the same thing for my PhD. I’m slowly taking notes and gathering my thoughts on what I’d like to focus on and also doing research on how to synthesize my many and varied thought ;)

I’m also studying for the GRE right now, WHILE PREGNANT! oy!

So tell me, what are your dreams?~*~*

Friday, July 15, 2011

What do you do when things are bad?

Portrait of Wakeema Hollis via LeCoil

Not apocalypse-bad...but bad like...
"You are not who I thought you were"-bad.

Have you ever had to say that to someone?

It sucks. It hurts.

Has someone you care about changed so much, lied so often, that you feel like you can't trust what version of them is the truth?

You can't trust that they themselves know, who they really are. 

Maybe a situation like this IS apocalypse-bad, because that person, has in effect destroyed your vision of them and in doing so rocked your relationship and really...your entire world.

Is that good? Is it good that they "came clean" and tried to make amends?
What if they didn't tell you willingly, but reluctantly, leaking "truthlets" out over months; so that each time you spoke with them, they amended what they had previously said, in order to get a little closer to reality; to the point where you feel like you're the "bad cop" in a lame TV drama, pistol-whipping the truth out of them.

To me, this kind of "flip-flopping" feels like betrayal; to have a picture in your mind of who someone is; and then for them to destroy it by showing you the person underneath.

Am I being articulate? I'm not trying to be convoluted...I hope you get what I'm saying.

What do you do when a loved one has lied to you?

Do you trust them?


How do you know that little lies, aren't linked; fencing in even bigger falsehoods?

How can you have a relationship, any relationship, without trust?

How long until the relationship breaks down, taking you with it?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Sweet Baby Shower: for our Little Principessa!

Photo via Curlz

So my mom and my aunt are planning a couple’s baby shower for my husband and I. 

(Why a couple's shower? Well, why should I have to be alone? We're in this together. Plus, why should my husband be left out? He gave our daughter 1/2 her chromosomes!)

I think it’s really sweet of them to want to do this.

My mom is all for my putting in my two cents because she knows I LOVE planning and that I don’t get to do much of it.

If I could have the baby shower of my dreams, it would be as elegant and lovely, as was our wedding. Hello, I want my LIFE to be as elegant and lovely as our wedding! And it actually is. :)

But for the Baby Shower:

I’d like the colors to be pink and gold. 


Not a garish and shiny gold, but a soft champagne hue


And not a vomit-inducing bubblegum pink, but that you’d find while walking a secret garden in Paris.

It’d be nice if there could be some fresh roses. There wouldn't have to be many, just one bunch would do. I adore flowers, especially roses. 

I’d also love to make some treats for the Baby Shower:


I'd love to make macarons! I doubt they'd be as sumptuous as Laduree's, but I'd try and hopefully get pretty close!


And cupcakes with pearls! I don't even like sweets! But I'm sure they'd be yummy.  And Husband would appreciate them. I'd just love to look at them.  That's why I love him. He never tells me that I'm "over the top" or "weird" or "extravagant;" he truly sees me as special and a work of art; "unique in all the world."

I'd like there to be fun games at the party too! 

And other yummy foods, like pizza! Salad! Fruit Salad! Water! and caffeine free Coca-Cola!

And of course presents! Which everyone will have thoughtfully picked from our registry or at least kept a receipt so we could take back their gift if it was not our style or not up to safety standards.

Below are some decor ideas that I’ve collected, which I really like. Hope you enjoy them!

Source Unknown

Source Unknown

Source Unkown

Decor by Blair Britt Events

Decor by Blair Britt Events

Decor by Blair Britt Events

Decor by Blair Britt Events

Decor by Paula of Frog Prince Paperie

Do you like my shower ideas???

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When family isn’t supportive of your hopes and dreams… or just YOU.

Portrait by Sølve Sundsbø
via le coil

I consider myself to be really blessed. I have faith in a higher power; in God. And I have the imagination to come up with dreams and the determination to see them made real.

I count myself as blessed because of many things, but two of my greatest blessings are the love and support I receive from my Mother and Husband. Although I have quite a large family, I’d have to say I truly depend on those two; if I’m a dream weaver, they are my dream believers!

I won’t go into the unsupportive words and actions that can rear their ugly heads in familial relations, but I will take a moment to try and explore the root of being unsupportive…when dealing with someone of your blood.

I think being un-supportive comes from:

1. Fear- They fear that you’ll fail. They fear that you’ll succeed. They fear the unknown.

2. Jealousy- They’re jealous that they weren’t able to try, or go further with their own dreams. They’re jealous because they don’t even remember what it’s like to have dreams.

3. Ignorance- They think that their way, their ideas, their desires, are the only ones that truly count and they refuse to go beyond their own viewpoint

4. Obliviousness/Insensitivity- They don’t see or understand that their rude comments hurt your feelings. “Why should they hurt? If you weren’t so weird, then you’d agree me.”

5. Immaturity- They are unable to step back and look at the big picture, but instead fight to be right or to assert their own misbegotten righteousness.

6. Cruelty- They know they’re hurting you and they just don’t care

I had to deal with an insensitive relative today. It’s not that this person doesn’t love me, it’s just that they think that I should think exactly the way they do. And when I don’t think the way they prefer, they call me names and belittle my ideas.

Not a sign of maturity.  But I don’t think maturity is gained through years on Earth, but rather we become mature by…actively growing in mind, thought, and emotion.

I’ll tell you the truth, I was angry with this person.

But then I reflected on their life, on their stresses, their medical conditions, their general outlook on life, their refusal to reach for more, their inability to care for themselves but to stubbornly care for others, I became sad and also came to the conclusion that while we may not see eye to eye, I love this person and they love me. They ridicule me and they don’t understand me. They hurt my feelings.

But after reflection, I’ve decided not to take their actions personally. I just think this person has some more growing to do.

And maybe I can help them … and our relationship… by being mature and understanding and by trying to set a good example.

How do you handle un-supportive family and/or friends?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Moving to the French/Italian Alps

Chateau de Vizille Park, Swan Lake, French Alps by Walter Bibikow

Wow, right?

Well, Husband and I always thought we'd eventually move back to the Midwest. We're from the Midwest, we met & fell in love there, and most of our family lives in the Midwest now. We love the friendly and easy-going pace of life. But, to be honest, I don't feel a strong pull to live there anymore.

After I moved to New England for my career years ago, the Midwest became my idol-area, my golden beacon, calling me back. New England was too fast, too rude, too business and no heart. I missed the cows, the smell of hay, heck...after awhile I was even nostalgic for the smell of skunk. Being secluded and in an entirely different culture will do that to a person. -_-'

But, perhaps now that I'm pregnant, or maybe because I'm not so Midwest-idealistic anymore...I just don't feel the frantic need to get back there. I guess...I don't think the Midwest is "perfect" anymore. I know that there is no perfection, unless it's where you want to be.

I'm also honestly thinking of issues surrounding racism, community, job prospects, and being an interracial/multi-cultural family. Growing up I dealt with a bit of racism, but like a sweet Midwestern Brown girl, I was a little hesitant to call it by name. I just thought that there were some misguided people in the world, desperately in need of friends, and that I shouldn't take their slights personally.

I'm not sure if that was a good outlook to have or not; I'm not sure how it prepared me for the nuances of broader American society where racism was more blatant and hurtful.

But now I'm thinking about how it will be for our kids to grow up in America, in the Midwest, as biracial. I'm also thinking about American culture and media and how I don't like how it's degrading towards women. Wherever we move, we won't have a television. (Please excuse how rambling this email might's a serpentine and convoluted topic for me)

So, I asked my Sicilian what he thought about moving to Europe, since I didn't feel a strong pull to the Midwest anymore and he said "Sure." 

My brain reacted thusly: ".... did that really happen? Did he just say yes?"

So I asked him again, and again he confirmed and said he was open to it.

Now don't get me wrong: I'd miss my family, I'd really miss Husband's family, and I'd miss the rolling hills of fresh lushness found in the Midwest; those are the only things that could keep us in the States. But hey, family could visit us. ;) And lushness is everywhere. If we can't find it in the landscape of Europe, I'm sure Husband and I could find it in the dips and curves of our bodies as we enjoy matrimonial bliss.

(Back from a short fantasy about my Sicilian ;)
So, I work remotely as a Writer and Editor and I plan to continue doing so since I'm going to become a Mother. So, I can work anywhere.  Husband is a Scientist and those are needed all over the Earth. So I think after 4-5 years, we could be moving to Europe, permanently; at least that's one of the ideas we're throwing around.

So why the French/Italian Alps? Well, I speak French, I love French culture, I'm comfortable in France. Why the Italian Alps? Well, we'll have Italian citizenship, our kids will be basically 1/2 Italian and my Husband is Italian (and Sicilian); so it'll be nice for them to have a direct link to one of their cultures. Husband also still has family in Italy.

There's so much I want for the future, for myself and for my family.


For my family: I want a calm life. My Sicilian has the tendency to overwork. He's a scientist, which is a great career, but he's also very spiritual and needs to be outside. He's very manly and needs close and immediate access to the wilderness. I also want the country for our family. I want our babies to have a big area to run and play. I want animals, I'd love to have some sheep. And I'd just love to have LOTS of babies and lots of room for babies, Husband said he'd like 5 children, I'd like that too. I'd like our cappuccino colored babies to live in an area with nice neighbors where I won't have to worry about having to kick someone's ass for being rude to our babies; don't tell me I won't find that place! It's illegal to burst a pregnant woman's bubble!
(Sorry, "turn the other cheek" is great, but I will always protect and confront on my children's behalf).

For myself, I want to continue my classical art education focusing on figure painting and I want to then go to graduate school for Masters or PhD. I'd like to do my PhD at a university in the States and then finish it in Europe. I also want to continue my hobby of playing the violin. So many dreams!

ps. I've found where we should live! I'll save that for a later post!

DO YOU have a dream-place you'd like to move???

Friday, July 1, 2011

Saying "non" to Baby Einstein and My Special Treat!

Bonjour Mes Cheres!

It's such a lovely day! As you can see, I'm really trying to blog more consistently. I totally have the TIME it's just I haven't had the know, with the nausea and all. And then life just got busy with trying to get our flat together for the Baby.

But things have calmed down a bit; our flat is getting back to it's elegant and orderly self and I have more energy than I did 3 months prior :) I'm SO happy about that. My next post REALLY should be an update on my garden...or maybe I should say "garden." I wish someone could help me!

But I digress: Baby Einstein.

Baby Einstein by Disney

Have you heard of this? It's a franchise based around a series of DVDs for babies. Before getting pregnant, I crossed this off as some consumerist scheme to inundate babies with television and encourage passive parenting. But magically after becoming all round and glowy...I began to wonder "will Baby Girl be missing out if we don't get Baby Einstein?"

A little background: Husband and I don't own a television. Ok, that's a lie. My aunt bought us a small portable television last Christmas; and it lives in our closet. However, we do watch maybe 1 television show online per night (legally) but we agreed that we'd rather give our extra time to each other, not the boob tube (and television has literally become the "boob and butt" tube. Maybe if you watch it often, you don't notice how racy and demeaning television, and the media in general is towards women and women's bodies).

But a couple of months ago, my Sicilian showed me a baby prodigy who had apparently watched Baby Einstein and then started playing the piano ferociously well. So that made me wonder...should we try it out?

So I did what everyone does when they have a question: I posted it on my facebook. Let my friends tell me their opinions! Well...after saying my husband and I didn't watch TV so we could spend time with each other, I was confronted by an acquaintance who demanded that I get our unborn child a television! and proceeded to tooted the benefits of tv watching for babies.

Honestly I don't agree with anything she said,  but I didn't want to hurt her feelings (she's also pregnant) so I tried to say nicely that I respect her opinion but that it's not for us.

The reason that I work very part time now, is so I can give our baby all the attention she needs (I also like giving Husband all the attention he needs; because he deserves it and also because that love and attention is mirrored back to me. Meaning, you mimic what you're around everyday: if you're around someone who ignores you; you'll begin to ignore them. If the person you love adores you, you'll find yourself adoring them. This is not a universal, but I think it's true for marriages. Or it can be true if both partners are open).

So anyways, the conclusion is: I don't agree with Baby Television. I didn't like it when I first saw it, and I still don't. Instead when she's tiny, we'll play together. She'll have "tummy time" and a few toys. As she grows a bit bigger, we'll do different activities: singing, drawing, Mommy-Daugther dance class, outside play time, library fun, play dates, and baby sign language. I think active learning, through interacting with real people, is better than passively watching television. We may watch SOME movies later on, but the tv is not a valued member of our household.

It's fine if you don't agree. I'm not the ruler of your life. But Husband and I have decided what's going down in our home. And the constant drone of the boob tube is not happening. I don't like the pseudo-porn that is shown anyway. But we may get a television later on, to watch some wholesome favorites like: Mr. Bean (ha ha! ok, it's not traditional, but it's cute and funny), the Duggars, History Channel, Discovery, and various movies.

We also don't need any tv boobies and booties to add spice to our love life. Just mirroring love and affection to each other seems to be all the spark we need to ignite our blaze...if you know what I mean ;)

Ok, on to my special present....................................
this takes too long

A Louis Vuitton Ladies Handbag!  Hooray! 

Ok, it's totally not mine yet! I have to work in order to buy it! I refuse to buy luxury items with our savings or with our everyday spending money. That defeats the purpose. You shouldn't have to sacrifice your RENT or your meals out or your everyday necessities to buy a luxury item. If that's the case, you need more money or to wait a bit longer to make a luxury purchase/investment. Unless you're single and having a very well-paying job where you won't be fired, then...I think it's ok :) Or if your parents' give it to you, that's super nice too.

I started thinking about a luxury bag back in 2007. I thought I'd buy a cute little Dooney & Burke, but they are not really my style. Neither were Coach bags (there are some I kind of like now, but none have really jumped out at me).

I'll tell you a secret: I don't like purse shopping. I like my bag to be like my Husband: DEPENDABLE; able to carry heavy loads, handsome, and goes along for the ride, whatever that may be.

I don't like switching purses. I don't like shopping for them. And even thinking about doing it makes me tired. All the purses I have now are pretty poor looking. Strings are popping out, they're broken, the faux leather is cracked, and they're just tired looking. Why? Because I USE them! And they're not Quality!

I bought a black faux lambskin arm bag from Walmart the day we left for Europe. (I know...Walmart?! well, I was rushing to finish packing for our flight and it was the only store that was close!) It was a lovely little purse. It did everything I needed. It handled well and looked great with ALL my outfits. But, at the end of our +2week trip, the top handle which attaches to the "leather" had ripped! :( I still have the purse, and still plan to wear it out, I just wish it would last forever so that whenever I carried it, I could remember those special traveling memories. :)

Apparently, I need a Louis Vuitton. They look chic and they last forever. An acquaintance told me that her mother has had a LV Speedy for 30 years. That sounds like my kind of man...I mean purse! ;)

But...I have to wait and see if I'm hired for this job; since I already said I'm only using my play money (my own personal spending money) to buy luxury items! And after I buy this one special item, the rest of my money will go to our Nest Egg and investments <3