Monthly Archives: February 2013

Julie’s Parallel World

“There is no question there is an unseen world.  The problem is, how far is it from midtown, and how late is it open.”  Woody Allen, 1972.

Julie's Parallel World, 1981.

Julie’s Parallel World, 1981.

I saw the Woody Allen quote at The Art Museum of Western Australia on Sunday.   I was at the exhibition “Picturing New York”- photographs from the Museum of Modern Art.

Well, I have always dealt with unseen worlds so Woody’s words hit home base.

Much as I love to live in the real world; the here and now, I like to draw from parallel worlds.  The photo above is a postcard of Wellington (New Zealand) with a carefully cut out horse and rider flying above the landscape.   I made this little scene in 1981 when I was living in Christchurch and missing Wellington (my city of birth).  Back then I used to imagine myself flying above Wellington on my horse.  The postcard-with-cut-out-horse was made to illustrate a story “Julie’s Parallel World”.  I still have the postcard but have long ago lost the story (accidently on purpose).

However I have not lost the idea of parallel or unseen worlds.  I look for a spiritual world within a world when I am in the streets of Kyoto and Paris.

I wonder if you have seen “Spirited Away” by Japanese filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki?  I have watched it so many times that I have lost count and listened to the musical score even more times (as I own the DVD and soundtrack).  “Spirited Away” reveals spirit worlds within worlds.

It is the ‘spiritual within-ness’ of places which I try to connect with and capture, first with my camera, and then in my drawings.  Oh, but it is so elusive.  Sometimes I cannot find it at all.  If I look too hard, it won’t reveal itself.  But if I am relaxed and quiet and fortunate, I will be rewarded.  Which takes me to another quote from the New York exhibition:

“Most good photographs, especially the quick and lyrical kind, are battles between the artist and luck, and the happiest victories for the artist are draws.”  James Agee, 1946.

I am not really sure what James Agee means by ‘draws’ however I like the word.  In my kind of art, the happiest victories ARE ‘draws’ (drawings).

I like this quote too…

“I began to like New York, the racy, the adventurous feel of it at night and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye.”           F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925.

OK, so he was talking about New York, but I can replace it with Paris or Kyoto and feel the same sentiment exactly.

Ichifuku-san with Julie in the background. (Permission kindly granted by Momoyama whose photo this is.)

Ichifuku-san with Julie in the background. (Permission kindly granted by Momoyama whose photo this is.)

In about five weeks I will be going on another trip to Japan and Europe.   I will continue my search, deep within and without, for the parallel worlds.  I will hope for victory between artist and luck.

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Love is in the Air

"Le Georges Rose" 2012

“Le Georges Rose” 280 x 290 mm, 2012

The drawing “Le Georges Rose” sold today.    It was purchased as a Valentine’s Day gift, a fact that makes me feel happy.  Unlike purchasing a live red rose, this rose will stay fresh for years and perhaps be handed down to the next generation.  Some time later today the drawing will be  handed over by my buyer to his loved one.

I wonder if the buyer has been to Le Georges Restaurant at the Pompidou Centre?  I would love to know.  (Maybe he will tell me.)

I was at the top of the escalators at The Pompidou Centre in Paris last October.  I noticed that the double doors leading to the outdoor area of Le Georges Restaurant were open.  Perhaps this meant that people NOT eating at the restaurant were allowed to go out to look at the views.   I stepped out.  There were a few people outside also looking at views and taking photos.  Nobody was stopping them.

I quickly set to, trying to decide what to photograph.  On each table was a single red rose in a vase.  I decided to photograph rose + view.  First I had to turn the flower I selected to face me.  I moved a couple of chairs to be out of the way and repositioned the rose.  I took several photos.

Very soon after I had taken my photos and was pondering on what to take next, a waiter came outside to shoo me (and the others) away.  In English (how did he know I wasn’t French)? he said that this was private property.  I replied “I’m sorry but I couldn’t help myself.  It is so beautiful.”  He smiled.  Perhaps he was also an artist, working as a waiter on the side?

My husband does not believe in Valentine’s Day.  Therefore I rarely think about it.  When I was younger I used to hope for a valentine.  On one memorable occasion he was away from home and I had hinted, perhaps by phone, that it was Valentine’s Day.

In the late afternoon a delivery van pulled up outside our house.  A man got out holding a big bouquet of flowers.  My heart skipped a beat.  Could it be?  I watched as he … took the flowers next door.  Ahhh.  But.. then he came back and knocked on MY DOOR.  With my heart in my mouth I answered the door.  ‘Matthew, could you have?…’ I thought.

“Your neighbour isn’t home so would you mind taking delivery of these?” I was asked.

I had to laugh – and chalk it up as a good story to tell.

Matthew travels a great deal for work.   At each homecoming I wait for him in the International Arrivals area of Perth Airport.  He comes through the ‘Do Not Enter’ doors.  His face scans the hall (every time), then sees my face and smiles.

It is always like that.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Matthew!

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I did this drawing in February 2013. It is from the same photo session as for the latest drawing.

Here is a drawing which took me three weeks to complete.

In this drawing I have returned once again to the fork in the road between rue de Seine and rue de l’Echaudé in Saint Germain des Prés.  This view mesmerizes me and I have drawn several different versions of it in the last few months.

It is a reflective work; the street reflects the lamps while the plate glass window of Galerie L. de Puybaudet reflects the gallery lights across the road.  The reflection in the window makes a composition within a composition.

There are some funny little details within this work.  A pair of eyes has been put onto the left stop sign.  Under that, on the sign, between the letters S, A and U (of SAUF) are a pair of glasses and on that same sign is a camera.  On the furthest right wall there is another pair of glasses.

I think these small pieces of street art are reminding us to observe our surroundings.  Of course, observation becomes more acute when we are quiet.

At peace in Paris on a Sunday before dawn…


This drawing was awarded an Honorable Mention in Fall Artspectations 2013, an art award run by Colored Pencil Society of America.  The website is

Related post: Quiet is my previous post on this drawing

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