Sunday, November 28, 2010

5 Divas

I've had this post in mind for a long time. Let me introduce you to my five divas or super fabulous talented women. I'm using diva not in the English meaning of "leading female singer" but in the original latin "diva", meaning "goddess". Some of them are not singers, some of them are not "real" (although the actresses are), some of them are not female and one of them is... made of plastic! But they all inspire me to the point I'd like to be a bit like them (not only because of their looks!). The order is not meaningful:

1) Satine - Nicole Kidman in "Moulin Rouge"

To me, Nicole Kidman got to be one of the most beautiful actresses alive when she starred this movie, if not the most beautiful. Satine's beauty, her pretense of cold manipulation and her lonely, caged heart that became free when she fell in love with Christian and triumphed in death have always inspired me. I love the cabaret genre, musicals and plays and Moulin Rouge is one of my favourite movies.

2) Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma in "Chicago". 

I've been taken with this beautiful lady since I was a teenager and I saw her in "The Haunting" and "The Mask of Zorro". As Velma, she was superb; manipulative, charming, mercenary and downright sexy.

3) Jasmine You

Yuuichi Kageyama was not a girl, but he probably stands as the strongest, more sublime diva in my mind. He was the bassist of the Japanese philharmonic metal band Versailles, and I saw him live several times; I also met him briefly and shook his hand. Under the many layers of baroque, purple or red, feathery, rose-packed outfits there lay a natural elegance, a warmth and a beauty that drew everyone to him. He never overdid it; he was himself all the time down to the last pointed fingernail. Musical talent and beauty complemented a wonderful soul. He was probably too good for this rotten world, and had to leave us way too soon...

4) Kaya 

Kaya is a Japanese (male) artist who is unique in many ways. He's openly gay, he's stood up for the right of falling in love with whoever we choose in a society in which gay people lack the freedom to be open about their sexuality for fear of "not fitting in". He does his make-up, helps design his outfits and has a beautiful, beautiful voice. Through his interviews, blogs and live events his charisma is made obvious; he can handle a crowd of 10 or 1000, and make you smile on a stormy day. He tends to see the bright side of things and share it with others. All his roles on stage point at the honest boy and wholehearted aesthete he is. 

5) Barbie

I'm not kidding. She's been around forever; she's done everything; she's been everyone. She is a fashion icon, beloved by little girls and famous designers alike, and yet she could be any young woman in the world. I love Barbie dolls and try to collect as many of them as I can (I have 4 at the moment; my over 20 childhood dolls were lost. Barbie WAS the 20th century, and will be the 21st. She will never stop to amaze me and inspire me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Christmas and Birthday Wishlist

I made this list for my Facebook but I'm posting it here as well. Stitch is so cute! My birthday is on December 27th so friends usually get me birthday-Christmas presents ^__^

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Grandpa's pencils

As we sorted out through different stuff that had been kept at my dad's workshop (currently under renovation), I found this colour pencil box with all its 12 pencils, some shorter than others. The name "Princess" under the STAEDTLER logo refers to the beautiful pictures of a prince, a princess and a castle on the tin lid and on each pencil. I haven't been able to find any information of this "Princess" series on the internet, which reinforces our guess that this pencil box is at least 35 years old!

My grandfather was an artist (a painter), and my dad is another artist, a sculptor in his case. These pencils probably belonged to my grandpa first, and ended up at dad's workshop at some point (so he's told me). And believe me when I say that I knew this as soon as I held the case in my hands. I felt the power, the magic of these pencils. Their age, their memories... I also felt they were rightfully mine to keep and take care of. Dad told me they are mine now. I pride on the artists in my family; sometimes I feel the need to make something out of the talent running through my veins. I've never learnt to draw properly, or taken lessons; I haven't even practiced enough. But I can draw passable stuff, and these pencils may inspire me and help me. Cool as my PC tablet may be, useful as Photoshop and similar software may be... they can't compare to my grandpa's 12 pencil case, can they?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My picks - National Gallery (London)

Some weeks ago I visited the National Gallery in London for the second time. I had some time to spare, and I walked around taking notes, writing down the titles and artists of the pantings that really caught my eye and made me stand gaping at them. This is exactly what I want to share with you. I know Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" or Velazquez's "The Rokeby Venus" are among the most famous, I like them and everyone should go see them. But these are my picks, less known works with a special appeal, a certain  charm.

In the first place, Botticelli's beautiful "Venus and Mars" (15th century). Mythological themes are favourites of mine! I love the little satyrs who play with Mars's armor and weapons as he sleeps, visibly "defeated" by Venus's charm and love.

Next, "The Agony in the Garden" by Garofalo (16th century). It's no secret I like Renaissance art very much; religious themes can get boring at times but this paiting caught my attention. Jesus is praying alone while his disciples sleep, and the soldiers are already coming from the shadows to fetch him:

This is one from 4 wonderful paintings by Paolo Veronese (16th century), brought together under the title "Allegory of Love". The title of this one is "Scorn". Notice how the little Cupid is about to strike the lying man, probably in punishment for some love-related misdeed!:

The model for the next painting is thought to be one of Rembrandt's lovers; the title is "A Woman bathing in a stream" (17th century). Her simple gracefulness and beauty in such an everyday scene are remarkable, I think:

An anonymous follower of Rembrandt painted "A man seated reading at a table in a lofty room". I found that I couldn't look away from it; the use of shadows and light is extraordinary, haunting: 

The last painting I want to show you is by the Spanish artist Murillo. I love his work in general, but there is something really charming in the face of this simple street boy: "A Peasant Boy leaning on a Sill" (also 17th century). 

I may post similar lists with paintings from other museums! Please feel free to tell me what you think. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Alec and Seregil

I am so proud of the result! I've been working on this fanart for several days. And now I've even shown it to the author (in her facebook), OMG. They are Alec and Seregil from Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling. The poem is not mine, but by a 16th century English author I love.

I can't help showing this off everywhere!! My inking and colouring has improved a big deal, I think. How can I ever thank Lynn enough for her wonderful, inspirational books that fill me with hope and wonder. I, too, will find my soulmate one day! I've finished the third book and I'm moving to the fourth today.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This is my new fanart of KAZ, guitarist and pianist of VII-Sense, one of my favourite Japanese bands at the moment. I started following this band because I'd been a fan of their vocalist, Shaura (ex-Moi dix Mois Juka) for years, but after seeing them live in Tokyo this summer many times I decided I like the other guys as well; they are very talented and I think they can make it big at some point. KAZ's skills are remarkable, his compositions, such as the song "Not vide ID", breathtaking. He used to compose music for videogames in the past, and I think he is really having fun in the band (and isn't that the most important thing?). His guitar-playing onstage is as impressive as the songs themselves. If you are curious about this band, please check me and my friend's official fansite

Have fun tonight, everyone! I'll be fluttering around in my fallen angel costume (complete with black wings). 

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Today I bring you a book recommendation. Or I should say, books: the Nightrunner Series, by Lynn Flewellyn. I finished book one, "Luck in the Shadows", and I'm halfway through the second, "Stalking Darkness"; but so far my review is really, really positive. I really wouldn't like to spoil any of the plot for you, so I'll just say it's set in a fantasy world (pseudo-16th century, I'd say) and the main characters lead a very particular lifestyle full of adventures, secret missions (they are thieves/spies in a way), and multiple identities. The author does an impressive job in character-development, description, mythology-building (a whole new system of gods etc.), etc. But, fascinating, dark and full of action as the plot is, the main characters, Seregil and Alec, have captured my heart and they are the reason I can't stop reading for a minute. This is one of the prettiest fanarts of them I've been able to find; I don't know the name of the artist:

Moreover, Mrs. Flewellyn's treatment of homosexuality and bisexuality (in Skalan society bisexuality seems to be the norm) is unique in the sense that she normalizes different preferences instead of making them a central issue. But I wouldn't recommend these series to fans of shounen-ai (male-male) relationships only; doing that would be deprecating the author's rich writing style and the wonderful universe and characters she has created. I recommend these books to each and every fantasy fan out there.