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Another artist that I have a new interest in after reading Alice b. Toklas is Kees Van Dongen. I didn’t have much inspiration for a post today so I just wanted to share some of his paintings that I loved. I am thinking of using these colors to inspire some jewelry I am working on. I hope to share some of those pieces on here very soon.






You may already have discovered this cool publication, but it has become one of my favorite free mags. Skirt actually started out in 1994 in Charleston, SC and now have offices throughout the southeast. I learned about this magazine for women when they opened up in Winston Salem, NC.

I love their calendar. In case you need a little inspiration around town or for some good reading. It was on their February calendar that I was inspired to read up on Gertrude Stein.

I also love that they spot light on current working artists. This month the feature is on Brian Kershisnik.


I love anything that brings women together to support each other and to better ourselves. A few minutes spent flipping through their pages or browsing their website feels like getting in a bit of girl time.

So which is your Favorite Skirt!?

I have been and have almost finished reading The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein and have been enthralled with the illustrations of such personalities of Picasso, Matisse and Juan Gris. However what I have found even more interesting were those artistic personalities associated with Paris between 1907 and the late 1920’s that I had not yet really studied.


I hate writing in my books. I like to think I am building a library, but with this one I found myself underlining names and works for research later. Literally on almost every other page there was another name. Gertrude Stein did us all a favor by doing some serious name dropping.

One of those artists was Man Ray. An American who spent the majority of his career in Paris. He left only because of WWII and came back once it was over. He was loosely tied to Dada and Surrealism, but was best known for his Rayographs. Portrait photographs that he took of so many of the ‘characters’ mentioned in this book.

He photographed Duchamp, Picasso, Ezra Pound, Matisse, Stein herself and many others. I was enchanted by these images. Not only are they interesting subjects, but they have that beautiful quality that old photo processing gave images taken during the 1920’s.

The Man Ray Trust holds all rights to these images including paintings and other works. I have great respect for those copyrights and will not post any images here.  You can view them online and even purchase reproductions at the Man Ray Trust Website. I truly fell under the spell of his photographs. They give each subject a mystic even if the subject is his studio.

I found the 1922 portrait of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas interesting for obvious reasons. I loved having an image of her Paris home to go with her descriptions.

I absolutely LOVE the 1923 portrait he did of his companion Kiki de Montparnasse, titled, portrait woman at a café with a hat. I am seriously considering this one for purchase. It just captures that feeling of a chic Parisian girl in the 20’s.

Continuing in my theme of Zen as related to the modern classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance…

I thought one of the greatest ideas I took from this reading was about how your state of mind is the key to the level of anxiety and stress in your life. It is how you approach not just the world, but each obstacle you face, however small, that is the difference in attaining that even small amount of  Zen. This book cannot be adequately paraphrased or quoted but this is how I would describe the main idea.

It is peace of mind and oneness with your surroundings and situation that produces the circumstances for a solution to reveal itself.

If you need a better grip on the basic description of Zen I think Wikipedia does it right.

The descriptions help, but what I really want to get at is the way in which these ideas of oneness with your surroundings and simplicity can be incorporated into your life. Especially your interiors.

I think the, Enso, the calligraphy symbol used to illustrate true enlightenment is a great place to start.


In Western culture I most closely associate this with the Elegy’s of Motherwell. I have had to privilege to view a few of these in person. The harmony of these shapes bring about a peaceful and thoughtful state of mind.


These images are wonderful and the basic ideas in each composition can be adapted to a more meditative and peacful home. It does help that when you look for Asian inspired furnishings that they are ususally minimal in details, but high on form and function. That however is for tomorrow…..

I’ve had a bit of free time lately. Well about six months of it to be exact.

I took a great trip out west and words really cannot explain the effect it had on me. The space, the beauty and they aren’t lying about how big the sky is! To an east coaster this is a true revelation.

In addition to my trip I decided to dive into some really good books. The first one I took up first was inspired by this trip.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.

I feel like at this time in our collective history we could use a little more Zen in our lives. I found this book to be a great way to understand how much simpler and better your state of mind can be with a few changes in how we approach every day tasks.

I want to make this a theme for a few days. Zen for the everyman. I am by no means an expert, but I find it a topic that deserves more than one posts attention.

Below are some of the pictures from my trip. The imagry in that book is very strong and deserves some illustration. I also happened to take a similar route as the main characters, at least up to Montana.

Make each day more fabulous than the last!

December 2018
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