Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Movie Review

Have you heard of the movie "Portrait of a Lady on Fire?" I hadn't either until one of my daughters recommended it. This French movie with English subtitles is stunning visually, thought-provoking in its examination of themes, fascinating in its setting and time period, and unforgettable in emotions explored. 

The most striking thing about Céline Sciamma’s fourth feature—in French with English subtitles—is its sumptuousness. Close your eyes, listen to the spare dialogue and you might wonder what all the fuss is about. Open them and you’re confronted by colors of a purity and subtlety that not only befit a story of art and portraiture (among other things) but carry much of the drama’s emotional content. Cinematographers used to be called lighting cameramen. This production’s lighting camerawoman, Claire Mathon, conjures with light as if it were palpable, and as spreadable as pigment on canvas. Many scenes evoke the creaminess of Vermeer, although the action is set not in 17th-century Holland but on an island off the Brittany coast at the end of the 18th century.

Before taking us there, Ms. Sciamma introduces us to her heroine, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), a portrait painter and teacher who is doing double duty in her art class by serving as a model for her students, all of them young women. (Men figure only as incidental, unnamed characters.) “Take time to look at me,” she tells them.

This could be the film’s motto. It’s about looking long and carefully enough at a subject to see, then seeing deeply enough to feel. That’s what Marianne does on the island. She has been commissioned to paint a wedding portrait. The bride-to-be, Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), is as lovely a subject as a portraitist could ask for, but melancholy and withdrawn, with good reason. Caught up in an arranged marriage, Héloïse has been promised to a man she has never met. She doesn’t want to pose for the portrait, which will symbolize her loss of freedom, so Marianne, representing herself as a walking companion, must observe Héloïse surreptitiously and paint her from memory, using her brush as a kind of candid camera.

The writer-director, Ms. Sciamma, uses her film to cast a slow-release spell; it’s a daring approach that doesn’t seem like a strategy, let alone a choice. At first the pace is lulling. Our involvement depends on our willingness to watch and wait, and we’re ever more willing. We watch the artist watching her subject closely. We wait to see if Marianne, who has set up a small, secret studio in her living quarters, gets caught at what amounts to a betrayal of trust. (My only quarrel with the film is why Héloïse can’t smell Marianne’s solvents or paints.) That’s the first source of tension in the plot, but the prime mover is sexual tension, which grows inexorably as the women learn the contours of each other’s lives. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”—the fire is figurative, but also real—goes beyond painterly beauty. It sees into souls.

Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal


Images c/o Slant Magazine and IMDB

Sorbet for the Soul, Hope

HOPE sculpture in Manhattan by Robert Indiana

This is the last of the “Sorbet for the Soul Series,” at least for now. I hope to get back to the MOMA, the MET or any other place where creativity, inspiration and peace of mind resides. Shout out to Lyn Sirota who shared a September 13, 2019 program on TED Radio Hour NPR called “How Art Changes Us.”

Marc Chagall, The Lovers, Oil on canvas.

Gustav Klimt, Hope II, Oil, gold, and platinum on canvas.

Pablo Picasso, Guitar and Clarinet on a Mantelpiece, Oil, sand, and paper on canvas.

Life is Beautiful Music Festival Video

Music with a Message

I am astonished by the gorgeous, detailed, layered and meaningful art and animation created by Morgan! She directed a promotional video for the Life is Beautiful Music Festival, which will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada September 21-23, 2018. According the festival’s homepage:

Every September we gather in the streets of Downtown Las Vegas to create a world that celebrates the beauty in ourselves and our surroundings.

A world in which music and art transform, positivity prevails, discovery ensues, inspiration overwhelms and creativity thrives.

A world that cannot be explained – it must be experienced.

Lyrics to All Together, the spoken-word poem by In-Q. 

If you’re not inspired by life, you’re not paying attention

Our world is beautiful beyond all comprehension

But we rarely look around

we’re so used to looking down

It can feel heavy when we even lift our heads up off the ground

We get lost inside of crowds

We forget that we belong

That our voices come together in this human song

It’s more than merely right or wrong, it’s learning how to get along

But it’s gets darkest right before the dawn


We are the rays emanating from the sun

Because faith is always blind

And the stories that we share become the mirror of our times

Our journeys intertwine, so the reflection is divine

I can see myself inside your eyes

We recognize the truth behind the disguise

Our struggles are the same

We have to celebrate the joy and celebrate the pain

We have to elevate the energy and rise to the task

Because change comes slow, but it happens fast

And since this moment doesn’t last our future is the past

But the answer has to first be asked


We call upon the dreamers, and the poets, and

the prophets, and the seekers, let your music reach out from the speakers, let it echo from the bleachers, from the artists to the teachers, from the painters to the preachers,

There is no one that will lead us, we the people are the leaders

And we don’t wanna wait on someone else to change the world

Or pawn it off on the next generation of boys and girls

There is no one that is coming

Because everyone is here

We can be found in the crowd from the sound of a cheer


So when it brings us all together

What will we have to say?

When it brings us all together

And the music starts to play

When it brings us all together

How will we own today?

Because life is beautiful

And it’s up to US to keep it that way

Icy Art

Lucy and I never know what we’ll find on our walks.

It snowed. It rained. It froze. 

My daughter asked, “What’s something both beautiful and terrifying?” Hubby said a lion. I said a tarantula. Today, when walking Lucy very carefully, I thought ice. It’s beautiful yet, also, terrifying for many people.

So, here’s to the beauty of ice…

….and to it melting quickly!

Branches outlined in ice.

Water frozen while flowing.

A rock covered by  an Impressionistic stippling effect.

Foam frozen in a pattern.

Ice and dirt create a puppy’s face.

Roof Garden Art, The Theater of Disappearance



A visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the roof. Not only do you get an amazing view of Manhattan, you get to explore changing exhibitions. On view until October 29, 2017 is sculptor Adrián Villar RojasThe Theater of Disappearance, a “performative diorama, where banquet tables occupy an oversize black-and-white checkerboard floor punctuated by sculptures that fuse together human figures and artifacts found within the museum. The resulting juxtapositions put forth a radical reinterpretation of museum practices.”

Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas has transformed the Cantor Roof with an intricate site-specific installation that uses the Museum itself as its raw material. Featuring detailed replicas of nearly 100 objects from The Met collection, The Theater of Disappearance encompasses thousands of years of artistic production over several continents and cultures, and fuses them with facsimiles of contemporary human figures as well as furniture, animals, cutlery, and food. Each object—whether a 1,000-year-old decorative plate or a human hand—is rendered in the same black or white material and coated in a thin layer of dust.

The artist has reconfigured the environment of the Cantor Roof by adding a new pergola, a grand tiled floor, a bar, public benches and augmented planting throughout the space. The Met’s own alphabet has even been incorporated into the graphic identity of the project. To realize this extensive work, the artist immersed himself in the Museum and its staff for many months, holding conversations with the curators, conservators, managers, and technicians across every department who contributed to the realization of this installation.

Hidden woman.


Kissing couple.

Man with eels and rock.

Masked man.

In honor of my love of art, and especially Impressionists, check out new Edgar Degas exhibits on Artsy. In addition to Degas’s bio, over 200 of his works, and exclusive articles, you’ll find up-to-date Degas exhibition listings such as The National Gallery in London exhibit Drawn in Colour: Degas from the Burrell, and an upcoming show at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Related post: Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty

Happy viewing, hon.

Love In Art, Lovin’ Art

Spray paint cans.
Spray paint cans.

Spray It. Say It.

In a previous post, Steel Pop-Up Books by David Kracov, I visited the Eden Fine Art Gallery in Soho where colorful book sculptures drew me in. Walking further into the gallery, I discovered a room covered in work by Queens-born graffiti artist Hoacs. It was a blast of immersive, colorful collages, concepts and tags. Click here to read an interview with Hoacs where he dishes about No Days Off, his First Solo Exhibit.

Calling all writers! You know how “voice” is a magic word in Kidlit? Click here to hear Hoacs’ distinctive voice. On the website Neighborhood.com he says,” I started doing graffiti in the mid to late 90s. Back then NYC graffiti was on smash, from highways to track spots to street spots, all crushed.”  He’s got voice covered!

I’ve included pics of two more pieces displayed at the gallery. Love in Art.

How true.
Hoacs says he has no days off. Neither do writers.

Surprising work by graffiti artist Hoacs.
Surprising work by graffiti artist Hoacs.

Dorit Levenstein, hand painted aluminum.
Dorit Levenstein, hand painted aluminum.

IMG_9565 (1)

Steel Pop-Up Books by David Kracov

Book of Love
“Book of Love”

Concept + Steel + Paint = Amazing Books

One of the things I love about New York City is the abundance of art. There are world renowned museums to visit, outdoor art to experience, and galleries to explore. You never know what you’ll discover.

Hon, you know I love bright colors, so it’s no surprise that I was drawn into the Eden Fine Art Gallery in Soho where David Kracov’s steel sculptures are on display. Aren’t they super cool?

Eden Fine Art’s website sheds light on these one-of-a-kind book-lover’s books:

Kracov’s vibrant color palette shows up again in his unique steel wall sculptures. Each in a limited edition of only 55 works that begin with hundreds of small sketches that are then hand-cut from a single sheet of steel and then finished with detailed hand-painting in a high-grade, water-based, acrylic polymer paint. Each edition is finished individually so that no two are alike. The meticulous steel work along with his scrutinizing attention to detail allow these sculptures to take on a life of their own. These playful and creative works are each a testament to the genius of Kracov as well as his steady hand and wonderfully unique artistic ideas.

Book of Life
“Book of Life”


Eden Fine Art
Eden Fine Art’s window filled with angles and color.

Religion in Rome, Michelangelo’s Pietà

Dome of St. Peter's
Dome of St. Peter’s

Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter's Square)
Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square)

Vatican Museum, Rome
Vatican Museum, Rome

The Vatican Museum was one of my favorite places to tour! I’ll definitely share some of my favorite sights in a later post, but in honor of Easter weekend I wanted to show you Michelangelo’s Pietà.

Michelangelo carved this beautiful Renaissance Carrara marble sculpture in less than two years, from 1498-1499. Our museum guide said that after Michelangelo heard people attribute the sculpture to another artist, believing Michelangelo too young to complete such a masterpiece, he decided to “sign” his name on the sculpture so no one would ever doubt that HE was the artist. He carved his name of the sash running across Mary’s chest. This is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed.

I was amazed by how fabric, muscles, veins and expression could be rendered lifelike in stone.

Have you seen this sculpture? What did you think?

Happy Holidays, hon!

Michelangelo’s Pieta (professional photo source below*)–Mary and Jesus after the Crucifixion.

Michelangelo's Pieta
Michelangelo’s Pieta (There was a big crowd around this statue.)


*Sources: Photo attributed to Stanislav Traykov and Wikipedia


Row, Row, Row Your Boat (in Venice)


Gondolas in Venice, Italy
Gondolas in Venice, Italy

Buon Giorno!

I recently traveled to Italy to visit one of my daughters (aka. Liquid Copper and Baby A of the triplets) who is studying abroad this semester. The food was fabulous, the art amazing, and meeting people from around the world was wonderful . Hon, you’re the recipient of the many photos I took.

Hubby said I was “dawdling,” but I disagree!

Bmore Energy’s tag line “I find the extraordinary in the ordinary” isn’t for nothing! In addition to our fascinating surroundings, there was so much to see. I wanted to soak in the shop windows, architecture, paintings and sculptures. I hope you enjoy reminiscing with me.

In Venice we could take a gondola ride, but wouldn’t it be more fun to learn how to row? We booked a Venetian Rowing Lesson with Row Venice, where we didn’t actually row a gondola but, rather, a batelina. Row Venice owns 3 out of the 6 of these hand-crafted, shrimp-tailed boats in existence today.

Learning how to row turned out to be a memorable experience!


Our instructor, Nan, showing Hubby how to hold the oar.
Our instructor, Nan, showing Hubby how to hold the oar.

Hubby gets the hang of it.
Hubby gets the hang of it.










The oars are heavy!
The oar is heavy!











Rowing is MUCH HARDER than it looks!
Rowing is MUCH HARDER than it looks!

Gliding along the canal.
Gliding along the canal.








On the lagoon.
On the lagoon.


Have you been to Venice?  Are you a “Get-Me-On-A-Gondola” or a “Row-Like-A-Venetian” person?  

(I won’t judge, I promise!)

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe

Teen Daughter at exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.
Exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

Prada's Flame wedge sandals, 2012
Prada’s Flame wedge sandals, 2012

Do you live near New York? Do you love metaphors in material? Are you a fashionista? A shoe-aholic?

If so, I highly recommend the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibit “Killer Heels:  The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe.” Interestingly, curator Lisa Small didn’t arrange the shoes chronologically but, rather, in categories. In doing so, visitors learn historical contexts for modern inspiration. (exhibit runs until February 15)

As a writer, I didn’t just see shoes; I saw characters. One grimaced as she rubbed her bound feet. One strutted down the runway in her silver, architectural heels. One cantered alongside Mr. Tumnus in Narnia. And me? I stomped atop Horse Shoes, hand-on-hips, then swished my black velvet cape rimmed in red as I turned my back on the Demons and galloped into the forest where the fairies and elves awaited my return.

(Please excuse the poor photo quality. Shoes were behind glass in dark rooms.)

Jean Paul Gaultier (French) Nude Tattoo Boots, 2012, leather, plastic, metal
Jean Paul Gaultier (French), Nude Tattoo Boots, 2012, leather, plastic, metal

Manchu Woman's Shoe (Chinese), Qing Dynasty 19th century, cotton, embroidered satin-weave silk
Manchu Woman’s Shoe (Chinese), Qing Dynasty 19th century, cotton, embroidered satin-weave silk

Prada (Italian) Fuoco Silk and Lizard Platform, 2013
Prada (Italian), Fuoco Silk and Lizard Platform, 2013







Winde Rienstra (Dutch), Shutter Heel, 2013, Laser cut PerSpex (Plexiglas), screws, elastic, wooden beads
Winde Rienstra (Dutch), Shutter Heel, 2013, Laser cut PerSpex (Plexiglas), screws, elastic, wooden beads

Shoise, Matilda Maroti and Petra Hogstrom (Swedish) 2013, "Mother of Pearl:
Shoise, Matilda Maroti and Petra Hogstrom (Swedish) 2013, “Mother of Pearl:









Zaha Hadid X United (Iraqi) "Nova", 2013, chromed vinyl rubber, kid napa leather, fiberglass
Zaha Hadid X United (Iraqi), Nova, 2013, chromed vinyl rubber, kid napa leather, fiberglass

Christian Louboutin (French) 2011-2012, "Deja Vu", patent leather, suede, ornamental eyes
Christian Louboutin (French), Deja Vu, 2011-12, patent leather, suede, ornamental eyes

George Sakier (American), 1930's-1940's,  "Glass"
George Sakier (American), 1930’s-1940’s, Glass









Dolce & Gabbana boots (Italian)
Dolce & Gabbana boots (Italian)

Sputniko! (Japanese/British) 2012, "Healing Fukushima"
Sputniko! (Japanese/British), 2012, Healing Fukushima









Shoes for Women's Bound Feet (Chinese) 19th century Qing Dynasty, embroidered satin, wood, paper
Shoes for Women’s Bound Feet (Chinese) 19th century Qing Dynasty, embroidered satin, wood, paper

Christian Louboutin (French) 2011-2012, "Puck", goatskin, leather
Christian Louboutin (French), 2011-12, Puck, goatskin, leather







Masayakushino (Japanese) 2013, "Stairway to Heaven", goatskin, baby lamb, crow feather
Masayakushino (Japanese), 2013, Stairway to Heaven, goatskin, baby lamb, crow feather

Iris Schiefertein (German) 2006, "Horse Shoes 3", horse fur, horse hoof, wood, zipper
Iris Schieferstein (German), 2006, Horse Shoes 3, horse fur, horse hoof, wood, zipper










"Horse Shoes 3"
“Horse Shoes 3”



Day Trippers.









Hon, have you seen the exhibit? What did you think? Which shoe on display here is your favorite?