Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Herbie Love

Ruhi has developed a slight obsession with VW Beetles since watching a Herbie movie...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Own Outdoors

I have been dreaming a lot recently of having my own little outdoor space, to relax in, to entertain with, and generally to make look very cute.

Right now we live in a rather cramped apartment. Though I should not complain really, because there is a massive supermarket right-smack downstairs. Honestly, I can literally supermarket-trolley my shopping up the lift to my doorstep, and return the trolley in a matter of jiffy.

In any case, here are some pics of patios and gardens I am totally crushing on...

(pics from housebeautiful)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kreativ Blogger, Me?

I woke up this morning to a wonderful game of tag.

Emily of The Marginalian tagged me as one of her fave reads, and I am ever so not-worthy. Thank you so, so much, Emily!

Here are the rules...

1) Thank the person who nominated you for this award.

2) Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3) Link to the person who nominated you for this award.

4) Name 7 things about yourself that people might not know.

5) Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.

6) Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.

7) Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

So here my 7 bite-size FYI's...

1) When I was 5, I wanted to be a supermarket cashier. When I was 12 I wanted to be a fashion designer. When I was 16, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. So you could say I realised my ambition. And I NEVER thought I'd be a jewelry designer...

2) I am 5' 4", and weigh 56kgs. For your visual reference.

3) I yoga twice a week on a very regular basis. Sometimes I squeeze in an extra session.

4) I was in Uni in England for 3 years (though I vaguely remember 2 of them), where I met my husband, Yuvi. We will be married for 15 years come February.

5) I lived in Dubai for 6 years after getting married. Maya was born in Ajman, a neighbouring Emirate.

6) I get debilitating full-moon headaches.

7) I am so intuitive I scare myself sometimes.

And here are my 7 Kreativ Bloggers besides Emily herself...

1) Jo of A Cup of Jo

2) Jasmin of peanutbutterfly

3) Tavi of Style Rookie

4) Lory of The Sunshine Studio

5) Natelle of Zealously So

6) Julie of tangobaby

7) Stephanie of Nie Nie Dialogues

Do drop by their blogs when you have the time. 'Coz I am sure you'd stay for a while... :)

Thanks again, Emily!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Acquisition

Stunningly similar to the one on my Lust List, no?

These are from ZARA. I was thinking of getting the dove-grey version, but I thought the brown looked nicer with my tattoo. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tamara de Lempicka

This is Tamara de Lempicka. Born on 16 May 1898, with the birth name of Maria Gorska, she was the second child of aristocratic Polish couple Boris Gorski and Malvina Gorska.

Her Garbo-esque good looks may lead you to think she's a Hollywood star. But instead, Tamara de Lempicka is the creator of some of the most iconic masterpieces in art history. Yes, she was an artist.

When Maria Gorska was 15, she spotted a handsome lawyer at one of her trips to the opera, and there on launched a personal campaign to snare the guy. Such was the guts, drive and invention that was to define the woman and her future, and her work. She eventually married Tadeusz Lempicki, the very same handsome lawyer she had set her mind on.

When the Russian Revolution erupted in 1917, it was de Lempicka's quick wit, well-made connections and seductive charm that got her husband out of prison. And with that the couple fled to Paris.

de Lempicka at work on a portrait of her husband, Tadeusz Lempicki

Paris was filled with bourgeois exiles from Eastern Europe. Tadeusz Lempicki was not able (sometimes documented as unwilling) to find a job. The couple lived in a cheap and cramped apartment and led a life far from glamourous.

When de Lempicka gave birth to their daughter, Kizette, she had to sell off her heirloom jewellery to be able to keep the the family afloat. Out of this despair, de Lempicka swore to herself she would return to a life of wealth and status, and turned to art.

Vase with Calla Lilies

She took lessons from French symbolist painter Maurice Denis, who imparted a lyrical sensibility to her style; and cubist artist, Andree Lhote, who influenced her Art Deco simplicity. She hung out at the Louvre, and studied the masters, including Botticelli, Michelangelo and Caravaggio. This was also around the time she became known as Tamara de Lempicka. Simply because she knew what the sound of a name could do for a person's persona and hence, lifestyle and career.

Woman with a Green Glove, 1928

Printemps, 1928

Tamara de Lempicka's first show was in 1925 in Milan, Italy, under the sponsorship of Count Emanuele Castelbarco. For this show, de Lempicka completed 28 new works in 6 months. That is how driven she was.

With her exceptional social skills, self-made inventiveness, superb networking, and not to mention extraordinary artistic talent, de Lempicka was soon inundated with commissions to immortalise on canvas countless friends, socialites, royalty, and her many lovers.

Portrait of Marjorie Ferry, 1932

Portrait of Ira P., 1930

Portrait of Mrs M., 1932

I think de Lempicka's work is simply quite genius. The foundations, composition and themes are almost classical, and the style and technique uber-modern and slick. There is a realism in her execution of light and shadows, and this is cleverly juxtaposed with a cool and crisp cubist treatment. Her work, by now, is all the rave. And de Lempicka was both a celebrated artist, and a glamour icon.

Glamour icon she may have been, but de Lempicka also hung out with the bohemian set of Pablo Picasso, Andre Gide and Jean Cocteau. On one hand, she worked the high-society rounds, and on the other, she was a free spirit who completely ignored what society was going to say about her.

de Lempicka created for herself a persona that was sophisticated and fashionable, yet artistic and bohemian - so clever she was in managing her Self as a brand, the fabulous would not denounce her as some shabby artist, nor would the arts circle doubt her artistic integrity and deem her some bimbo-fashionista. She was, seriously, a self-made woman. And in complete control of her status: sexy, sensual, self-assured, successful.

Self-portrait in the Green Bugatti, 1925

This is clear in her self-portrait, Autoportrait (Self-portrait in the Green Bugatti). Here, she is the driver, the ruler of her own Universe. She is helmeted and gloved, cold and inaccessible. But therein lies her free spirit, which sparked a whole new sense of beauty for that time.

With the rise of her fame and fortune, de Lempicka's lifestyle became increasingly reckless with cafe society, drugs and promiscuity. In 1927, her husband got sick of her ways, and left her. In 1928, they divorced.

Kizette in Pink, 1926

As a mother, de Lempicka was no better. Kizette grew up with her maternal grandmother in Italy, while de Lempicka revved up the social and arts scenes of Paris and subsequently New York.

Ironically, some of de Lempicka's best works are those of Kizette. Whatever little time mother and daughter spent together, Kizette was sitting as a model for her mother. As a result, she is immortalised in a gorgeous series, some of de Lempicka's most heartfelt and gravitating works.

Kizette on the Balcony, 1927

The Sleeping Girl Kizette, 1933

Soon after her divorce, de Lempicka remarried, to a Baron, no less, and cemented her position in high society. de Lempicka met the Baron Raoul Kuffner, an Austro-Hungarian royal, when she had painted a portrait of his mistress, Nana de Herrera, a few years before.

From her experiences with the Russian Revolution, de Lempicka advised her Baron to sell off property as soon as she sensed another World War on its way. This was much earlier than anyone else had anticipated. And together they moved to New York, and continued their lush lifestyle.

I am absolutely bowled over by de Lempicka's work, as well as fascinated by her life and how she led it. For a woman (and a woman of those times), she had amazing balls, to say the least. She had immaculate insight into how things worked, and remarkable foresight on who and what could and would grant her the happiness that she pursued.

To me, her life was a curious case of abstract self-invention, and abject recklessness. From the extraordinary will to learn and create for herself a life of wealth and artistic success, to the miserable existence she had to balance it out with, with drugs, promiscuity and being a negligent mother. What she created for herself was so larger-than-life, that perhaps even she could not keep up with her Self.

I just wish someone would make a movie about her life. Hmm... with... Cate Blanchett? Gwyneth Paltrow?? Jennifer Aniston??? I digress.

de Lempicka eventually lived out her old age, after the death of her Baron, with her daughter Kizette, in a quiet and chic neighbourhood in Mexico. She died in her sleep on 18 March, 1980.

Kizette de Lempicka-Foxhall went on to write a stunning biography of her mother, Passion by Design: The Art and Times of Tamara de Lempicka.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yoga And Go

I have a whole list of things to do and errands to run today. How am I going to survive it with 4 hours' sleep behind me?

I know. As soon as Ruhi leaves for school, I shall yoga. And then see how it goes...

(image via ffffound)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Let's Eat Cake

Isn't this just gorgeous? Imagine this perfectly rainbowed slice emerging from a plain ole all-white number.

So. Cool.

(recipe here)

Friday, September 18, 2009

New stuff

I have been recently quite smitten with these candy-coloured combinations, complete with the opulent 24K vermeil. These are positively "statement", and I love how they are fun and sophisticated at the same time.
Frankly, I am not quite sure what to do with these. Should I put them at Colette, or list them at Etsy?

Swarvoski pearls, carnelian, pink agate, amethyst, turquoise, vermeil

Swarovksi pearls, olive agate, pink agate, lavender jade, vermeil

Pink agate, Swarovski pearl, purple agate, turquoise, vermeil

Swarovski pearl, turquoise, pink agate, sandstone, vermeil

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Born To Blog

I have been surfing, and I have been reading a lot about Tavi, the 13-year-old fashion-blogging phenom. And true to form, she is sharp, witty, mercilessly outspoken, cleverly critical, with a fashion sense and general knowledge way beyond her years. AND she is funny. This is what she has to say about herself.
"Tiny 13 year old dork that sits inside all day wearing awkward jackets and pretty hats. Scatters black petals on Rei Kawakubo's doorsteps and serenades her in rap. Rather cynical and cute as a drained rat. In a sewer. Farting. And spitting out guts."

Basically, she is "doomed" to be the next Devil in Prada...

Check out her blog.

See what she wears.

Plus, she scored a magazine cover.

Since being on the cover, Tavi has generated a lot of attention, positive, as well as negative. It's amazing how many people are denouncing her talent, suspecting the blog's being written by her mother or older sister... and so on and so forth.

I just think it all reeks of sour grapes.

Good grief, she is just a kid! She's young enough to be my child!! (That's an eye-opener...)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Designer Dressing

Judging from what they're wearing, who woulda thunk they design some of the most covetous pieces of fashion?

Mr. Marc Jacobs

Ms. Miuccia Prada

"Earth calling John Galliano. Come in, Galliano."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Claude Monet

This is Claude Oscar Monet. Born 14 November 1840, and hands down the most prolific of the Impressionist painters, with more than 2500 paintings under his belt.

Fact is, Monet helped a gallery owner and critic, Louis Leroy, coin the term "Impressionism". Leroy had thought Monet's original title of "Sunrise" for his sunrise landscape too boring, and with Leroy's probing into Monet's style and inspiration, it became "Impression of Sunrise".

Impression of Sunrise, c. 1872

And so began the Impressionist Era, with Monet heading the band, waxing lyrical about painting interpretations of light rather than straightforward images, capturing the emotion of a moment rather than the visual of a moment.

The Impressionists famously never used the colour black in any of their work. Instead they created their dark palette with mixes of blues, reds and greens. For they believed that even shadows are forms of light, and deserved to be expressed in colour.

Monet was the first artist to "play" with light, with his series paintings. He would do a series of paintings of the same subject, but in varying times of the day, to capture the different tones of light, and appreciate the differences. His famous ones are Haystacks and the Rouen Cathedral.

To this extent, Monet remained staunch. This deep respect and understanding of light for what it was, and not what it looked like as part of an obvious whole. I mean, he saw a blade of grass as a dance of greens, blues and yellows, as opposed to a blade of grass. You know what I mean?

What amazes me is the fact that he continued painting and produced some of his finest work, even as he went increasingly blind with cataracts, well into his sixties.

Below are two paintings of the same subject, the Japanese Bridge in his garden. The one entilted "Japanese Bridge" was done in 1899. The one below that, in 1923, when his cataracts had gotten the better of his sight.

Japanese Bridge c. 1899

"My bad sight means that I see everything through a mist. Even so it is beautiful, and that's what I would like to show."

- Claude Monet

Waterlily Pond, c. 1923

Interestingly, Monet's cataracts filtered the colours he perceived and, because he painted what he saw, he gradually began to abandon his blues, and his paintings became increasingly awash in reds and yellows. Fact it, he didn't need to be able to see the Japanese Bridge. He was happy just enjoying the light of it.

By the end of 1922, Money could no longer see enough to paint, and so he stopped. Under the advice of his good friend George Clemenceau, he underwent an operation, and managed to regain sight in his right eye, with the help of special glasses. But he refused have his left eye operated.

Thus, Monet resumed painting. With the operated right eye seeing in blue, and the ailing cataract left eye seeing in reds and yellows. The result is below, "The House Seen From The Roses Garden". This was his first painting after the operation on his right eye.

The House Seen from the Rose Garden, c. 1922

My personal favourite Monet remains "Garden Path at Giverny" done in 1902. I love the vibrant colours, the speckly bits that seem like every single little flower and bud is swaying in the breeze, and the way I can almost breathe in the fresh air of the very garden path. It holds a certain peace, glorious yet humble, celebratory and appreciative, all reflected in both Monet's surroundings and his life. I swear I border on tears everytime I scrutinise this.

Garden Path in Giverny, c. 1902

(Plus I can SO see a pair of chandeliers earrings, of mandarin and rhodolite garnets, peridots, amethysts, freshwater pearls, carnelians, iolites, hessonites... ah, GORGEOUS!)

More than anything else though, I like the entire circumstance under which this painting was done. Monet was in his fifties, and had by now, earned himself enough money to live comfortably with his family in a sprawling countryside estate. He was as far away from the standard image of "starving/womanising/scandal-ridden/drug-addict" artist as you can get. Instead, he was financially sound, with a loving wife and family. You could also say he defied the norm by being a "blind" artist!

He passed the rest of his time and days cultivating, designing and landscaping his gorgeous garden grounds, with the help of gardeners and landscape artists. All so that he could enjoy putting it down on canvas, as how he saw light hit them. With or without cataracts.

Monet passed away peacefully on 5 December 1926, having completed his last painting just a few months before.