And the result is in…

 

 

LA CHATTE NOIR
LA CHATTE NOIRE

Several weeks ago, I asked for your help in finding a name for my business. There were several wonderful submissions. With the help of some very special trusted friends, and a few of the feline variety, the struggle has come to an end. However, that was not before spending hours trying out the suggestions, a few of my own and variations of them all. On 10 June as I drove away from the lovely beach village of Leucate after my weekly French class, a title popped into my head. There has been some criticism as the famous Black Cat painted by the late Henri Toulouse Lautrec was Le Chat Noir. Yes, I do love that cat. However, I am a female and what I write, publish, paint, photograph… is with a feminine perspective and I desire that the name reflect that. Ergo, I present to you for the first time, LA CHATTE NOIRE PRESSE.

LA CHATTE NOIRE PRESSE can also be found on my LinkedIn page.

My sincere thanks to all who participated and all who lent their support. Thank you to my friend Natalje who hashed it out with me last night and gave me valuable feedback and aided me in realising this is what I had been searching for.

 

Bisous et calins,

Léa

 

 

Fin du monde – zeitgeist

“The world began without man, and it will end without him.”

 –       Claude Lévi-Strauss

“The world dies over and over again, but the skeleton always gets up and walks.”

–   Henry Miller

***

Fin du monde         

...
Pic du Bugarach – the upside down mountain

On the eve

Of the world’s

End

I sit

In my village

Reading poems of

Renewal,

Beauty, and

Tomorrows

A short drive away        IMG_4399

Bugarach

The final portal

 Des gendarmes

Des journalists

Paying a premium

To cover the

Spectacle

To witness

The end

Bugarach village
Bugarach village – Pic du Bugarach

Make a dash

For the final

Portal

Another world

To trash

And

Burn

Security is

High

Sensationalism

Sells

While I

Make plans for

L’printemps

***

Bisous,

Léa

Skagit Valley: Tulip Festival

During a visit to my cousin who lives in Everett Washington, she took me to the Tulip Festival in the Skagit Valley. On the drive up there, I thought about the possibilities; floral arrangements, a few fields of Tulips and how lovely they would be. Perhaps a photo or two would be in order. However, I was not quite prepared for how beautiful it actually was.

From 1-30 April each year, hundreds of thousands make the journey to witness this annual celebration of spring. With a backdrop of the North Cascade you will not lack for things to do.  Besides, the photos were too pretty to waste! Thanks for indulging me.

Bisous, Léa

Cours français

“No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he believes to be of value.” – Bertrand Russell

Cours français

Serge

Serge’s eyes twinkle

As he drills us

Conjugating

Je donne

Tu donne

Il donne

Nous donnons

And on

He gives

We receive

His love of teaching

His love of Country

Of words

Bisous,

Léa

Parc Guëll – Barcelona Spain

Furniture by Gaudi

“The creation continues incessantly through the media of man.” Antonio Gaudi

Since my other blog is strictly about France, this gives me an opportunity to showcase some of the other places I’ve been. Besides, I have too many photos not to display somewhere. The most difficult part of this is deciding which from hundreds of pictures to include.

This popular park started out as a development project. Eusebi Guëll, Catalan industrialist, aquired a 42 acre plot north of Barcelona. His vision was to turn the area into a residential  village with English styled gardens.

In 1900 Guëll commissioned Antoni Gaudí with the development of the project. With the support from other architects including Josep M. Jujol and his disciple Francesc Berenguer, Gaudí worked on the garden village. By 1914 it had become clear that the project was a commercial failure and Guëll failed to sell even one single property. In 1918, the property was acquired by the city and became a public park.

Gaudi Museum
From 1906 and 1926, Gaudí lived in one of the two houses that were completed. The house, known as the Casa Museu Gaudí, was designed by Francesc Berenguer. Now a museum it displays some of Gaudí’s furniture which includes some from the Casa Batlló and drawings. The park also includes the Casa Trias, which is not open for visitors, and winding roads with paths supported by tree-like columns.

Gaudi Museum

Serpentine Bench or the Gran Placa: A  Circular flight of stairs leads to another famous feature of the park: the Gran Placa Circular. The plaza that was created here was conceived as a market place. The Serpentine Bench, which borders the plaza is the largest bench in the world. Its colorful ceramic tiles with more than 80 columns  snake and curl around the place. From the Gran Placa and the terraced gardens above, you are are granted a spectacular view of the Mediterranean.

Bisous,

Léa

Serpentine Bench and the Gran Placa

Cézanne, Art & Poetry

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.
Paul Cézanne

Fete de Cézanne

While visiting Aix-en-Provence in 2006, I had the good fortune to arrive at the beginning of fête de Cézanne. Paul Cézanne 1839 – 1906, a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter. His work was instrumental in bridging the transition from 19th century Impressionism and 20th century’s line of enquiry, Cubism.

Born in the town of Aix-en-Provence, he had a fondness for painting Mont Sainte-Victoire. He left over 60 paintings of the mountain. His studio remains as he left it. Now owned by the University, it is maintained as if he just stepped out. Even the basket of ripening apples is kept so that there is fruit in each stage and the aroma permeates the room. Over a hundred years since his death and his spirit lingers large. The grounds that surround the studio are a maze of paths dotted with work by students. I must admit to visiting more than once and it remains one of my two favorite places I have visited since first visiting France. While I do appreciate the policy of no cameras inside the studio, I do wish I had photos of it to share. You will just have to visit it yourself!

Upon returning to California from the first visit, I was approached by my friend Carol. Carol, an artist, was putting together a limited edition art book with a grant from the Art’s Council. As we talked, she asked me about art & France. I told her that “art is the loom the tapestry we know as France is woven upon.” She asked if she could quote me. Bien sur! (of course) Then she told me that she would require a poem from me that would speak of art & France. That was what brought about the writing of the poem below.
Dans le jardin de Cézanne
Meditations on Visiting Atelier Cézanne

One hundred years
After his death
The doors to his shrine
Open to the masses
I but a privileged pilgrim
A witness – I inhale deeply
The plethora of scent
Aging fruits
A wicker basket
Darkened by harvests of the past

A long shelf balanced
Across the western wall
Dusquenoy’s cupid keeps company
With the three skulls of death
Enlightenment radiates
From the northern exposure
A burst of light
Color spreads wantonly
I am humbled in each direction

Le choeur fantôme
Intones hymns of praise
Peaches, apples and pears
Whisper of fields they have known
An old apple dreams of freshness
Home is Aix-en-Provence
Sainte-Victorie
He paints their secrets
With celestial vision
And transparency

Since moving to France, I have returned to visit Atelier Cézanne and was just as moved as my first visit. Having spent six weeks exploring France on my first visit and living here for over four years, I continue to be delighted at every turn. However, I must admit that to date, my favorite places are Montmartre and Atelier Cézanne. There is no doubt that I shall return again and again.

Bisous,

Léa