Month: May 2009

La vie en rose


It´s amazing how my attitude towards it has changed since I started my painting classes a little over one year ago. In the beginning, it was a means of meeting people and of practicing drawing, painting, proportions, composition, colour… you name it. A year later, I´m finding myself aiming to solve specific problems I feel I have, like “paint from the inside to the outside”. I´m also doing some “homework” prior to going to class, like preparing canvases with a background before having the model posing.

Having painted the background in a very pink tone, it is also fun to realize how helpful it was for me not to have a white canvas, as it helped me avoid the fear of starting and ruining a painting. I call it the white canvas syndrome.

Yesterday we started a series of sessions with a fixed pose, which means the model will hold the same pose for four consecutive sessions. That allows students to really focus on details, proportions, as well as expression. This isn´t my favourite exercise – I like quick poses a lot better -, but I´m definitely enjoying the challenges it brings me. Let´s see how this painting will evolve over the next sessions.

See more pictures here.

E porque o efeito-férias se vai dissipando…

…(e o frio até já chegou!) de vez em quando sinto necessidade de regressar às fotografias australianas e babar um bocadinho enquanto me lembro dos episódios vividos.

Jumping in Sydney

Luna park entrance in St. Kilda, Melbourne

Regostei tanto de Melbourne e de Sydney! “Re” porque já lá tinha estado e já tinha gostado; esta foi “apenas” a confirmação de que a Austrália era tudo aquilo que eu lembrava e ainda mais.

Bom fim-de-semana!

Knitting in Sydney

I know I´m going to repeat what has already been said by so many, but it´s amazing how taking up knitting has changed my life! Here in Buenos Aires it has helped my adaptation to this new city more than anything I can think of. Well, painting has helped a lot as well, so I´ll make that a tie.

While travelling, tourists normally don´t mix much with locals – for all the obivous reasons, of course. Knitting is an antidote against that, or better still, a pass for tourists to meet locals. And that´s such an enriching experience, specially because there´s always one common language – knitting. Mention yarn, needles, gauge or knitting and purling and there´s some common ground between complete strangers.

That happened to me as well in Sydney. As I mentioned previously, I went to the former Tapestry Craft, now Morris and Sons to buy some yarn and join the knitters´meeting I knew happens every thursday. It was so nice! For two hours, I sort of forgot I was a tourist in Sydney. Apart from the fact that I had to speak english (my usual knitting meetings involve spanish), I felt immediately at home and a connection with everyone else. Obviously everyone is different, but what a common ground we all had there!

(photos kindly taken by Paulo, who came a bit early to pick me up so that he could catch us all for digital posterity)

Guys, thank you so much, I felt so welcome! I hope your knitters retreat was nice! (By the way, Jerry Springer the Opera was a very funny and provocative show and the venue, your Opera House, is… well, I guess I have no words to describe how amazing and beautiful it is.) See you soon, next time maybe in Argentina?

Yummy yarn from Australia part II

The other yarn shop I visited was the former Tapestry Craft, now Morris and Sons.

Lovely yarn from Australia

I went there on Thursday, the day of their weekly knitters´meeting. First of all, I cannot even begin to describe how nice the shop attendants where. I was thoroughly shown and explained what yarns there were that were australian and came home with yarns that are of australian origin and made abroad. Well, they were so yummy I decided that that would be australian enough for me. Anyway, I wouldn´t be able to find them here in Argentina anyway!

I bought some delicious DK tweed and kid mohair from Jo Sharp… and have absolutely no clue of what I´ll use them for. I´m sure I´ll be able to match them when the appropriate pattern comes along!

Yummy yarn from Australia part I

Lovely yarn from Australia

I haven´t posted much here about my trip to Australia (I posted in my other blog, though) so I think that the yarn I bough there is a very good (and perfectly reasonable) way to start.

Australia, from what I could read on australian groups on ravelry, suffers from the same “condition” we see here in Argentina: lots of high quality wool is produced only to be exported and transformed overseas, and then imported at prohibitive prices. Basically, I think it´s a shame that this happens to most of it. I have nothing against exporting or importing quality yarns, but it´s a pity that almost all local fibre gets exported. But I digress: what I mean to say is that apart from local artists, who sometimes sell online only, LYS in Australia do not have a lot of australian yarns to sell. Still, the ones available are veeeeeeeeeeery yummy, veeeeeeery tempting and… well, impossible to bring them all home.

In Tasmania we made a very quick stop at Ross, a small town near the road that links Hobart to Launceston, the second city. Ross may be a small town but it is home to the Tasmanian Wool Centre, where I bought (for the sake of accuracy, where someone very sweet and nice bought and gave me as a present!) these wonderful skeins of organic wool.

Lovely yarn from Australia

The colours are beautiful and vibrant – I wonder what I am going to use them for?

Out of my comfort zone

2009.05.11_01 baixa

The last three painting classes were spent doing the exercise I love best: composition of two (sometimes three) quick poses. As I said, I really enjoy it but I was finding that my work was looking all a bit too similar. Then, the question arose in my mind: is this what one may call “personal style” or am I not venturing out of my comfort zone?

So last week I was determined to do this exercise in a different way. Let me explain: I always do the line and do not worry too much about decomposing shapes and volumes into geometric forms. I just lay out the line and then correct it with overlaying lines, if needed. Line, or better still, the contour is the structure I work on, then – and only then – adding filling to this contour, adding volume and matter.

That´s why last week I decided to make an effort to work from the matter out, from the volume out, and if a line was to be needed, then I would add it in the end.

I think this week I was more sucessful than last week, specially on the smaller figure – I really like his arm, actually.

2009.05.11_01 detail

The same happened for the second exercise. This time the model was moving, repeating certain movements but never actually keeping still. The aim of the exercise was to represent movement, however we wanted. Once again, I tried to start from the volume outwards, not from the line inwards.

2009.05.11_02 baixa

It´s funny how laws of composition or perception work, because at a certain point I felt the urgent need for lines, for the contour of the moving body.

All in all, these are the exercises that most quickly bring out certain unconscious features of one´s work – that´s why I love them so much. Next monday, though, we´ll start our four week still pose. Which brings me several new challenges.


Já há muuuuuuuuuuito tempo recebi de “Muipiti” e do blog Ideias em Contas este simpático selo. Como tenho tido a cabeça noutros planetas (Planeta Lua-de-mel, Planeta Jetlag, Planeta Volta ao Trabalho) só hoje surgiu a oportunidade de o pôr aqui.

Até porque de caminho aproveito a boleia de outro simpático selo, que recebi nos últimos dias, desta feita do blog Utopie Calabresi.

Desde já agradeço a Muipiti e a Domenico Condito pelas duas distinções e peço-lhes infinitas desculpas por não indicar mais blogs a quem enviar a mesma alegria que eu senti. Por um lado, são tantos os blogs de que gosto, que seria difícil escolher; por outro, se já demorei tanto tempo a acusar a recepção destes, se ainda fosse fazer a lista de blogs escolhidos poderia demorar até ao ano que vem…

Assim sendo, muito obrigada a ambos e espero que tenham vontade de voltar sempre!

A different kind of sweater

Paintings on the wall!

Paintings on the wall!

Paintings on the wall!

One of the tasks for the weekend (I actually turned down an invitation to a knitters´meeting for this!) was to hang the paintings I made last February, during the summer painting workshop. They were simple exercises but then I was so happy about them – so was Paulo – that we decided to have them framed. We picked them up a couple of weeks later and they were against a wall, waiting for the day to be hung on a wall.

They´re large (A1 size, I believe) and the three of them almost fill the whole wall, which gives the living room a nice and cosy feeling. I like having them there. As a friend of mine says, we´re putting the sweater on our home. It´s two and half years since we moved into this apartment and it now feels like home.


Este fim-de-semana recusei um convite para um encontro de tricotadeiras para executar uma série de tarefas que estavam pendentes há algum tempo. Nem todas foram cumpridas (hmmm, a roupa de Inverno ainda está dentro de caixas!) mas esta, a de pendurar quadros na parede, foi concluída com sucesso e a nossa casa está finalmente a vestir a sua camisola, como diz uma amiga minha.

Os quadros são grandes, formato A1, suponho eu, e as molduras ficaram muito bem feitas.

Acho que a troca da roupa de Verão para a de Inverno vai ficar para o próximo fim-de-semana… isto se não tiver de ser durante a semana, dado que prometem uma mudança drástica de tempo para amanhã. A ver vamos… mas os quadros já estão na parede!


Last Monday, on my weekly painting class, we had as a task to paint 10 minute poses and compose a page with two of them. My personaly task, however, was to try and experiment doing things that I don´t usually do. One of the changes I wanted to make was to mix more my colours and, therefore, have them less saturated. I don´t believe I succeeded on that one, though, I guess you just can´t fight who you are!

In my second challenge, however, I was slightly more successful, I believe. Usually I need to draw a shape and then start highlighting the brighter and darker areas. This time around, I wanted to avoid the first line and go directly into the mass, into the body. Not so much the shape, but what makes it a shape. I think I still have a long way to go on that one because I didn´t feel specially confident doing it – it was good to get out of my comfort zone, though – and wasn´t particularly thrilled with the results. Still, I liked experimenting with it and will try to do it again next Monday. If, at the time, I am so inclined, of course.

(More photos here.)

Server down

I´m sorry to report that my website is down as I´m having some issues with the server. I´m doing my best to get it back on air as soon as possible but the interruption may be longer than expected (or wished!). Thank you for your patience and I´ll let you know as soon as everything is back to normal.

In the meantime, do come back here and visit my shop, which is up and running as well.

Daquelas coisas que acontecem cá

O que é que se faz num monumento (a um herói da independência, claro está!) numa tarde de sol?

what to do on a monument I

Admira-se a escultura e o graffiti, admira-se o calorzinho que se sente, observa-se pessoas que bebem mate, lêem, jogam ao disco ou passeiam os cães.

what to do on a monument II

E há quem aproveite para tostar um bocadinho, armazenando energia para o Inverno. Uma autêntica formiguinha no trabalho para o bronze.

Good reads

books I´m reading

I started reading “As Benevolentes” by Jonathan Littel quite some time ago but as it is very visible by its size, it isn´t very easy to read. Well, maybe the size doesn´t actually tell it, but the theme (World War II) is very dense and the same is true for the pages´visual appearance: the author uses no paragraphs, or almost no paragraphs, and that means that you need large amounts of time to get into the subject and read a considerable chunk of text without getting lost. It´s not uninteresting, not at all; it´s just that for the graphic designer in me it is difficult to read. I love white space but don´t know what happened to it in this book. No white space whatsoever, just lines and lines and lines with almost no space between them.

Anyway, the story it tells isn´t a nice one either: the main character was a german army officer during World War II and tells the story through his perspective. He tells about the conflicts the arian philosophy and his homossexuality raised in him. Some parts of the story are very engaging, some are so appalling that it takes time for me to get through them. It´s a very good read, nevertheless, but not for the faint of heart.

Totally the opposite are the books by Malcom Gladwell. I read “Blink” during the weekend and loved it. It´s interesting and I realize that I love that style of writing. I call it “magazine writing” – a term that, I reckon, lots of people might use too. So, to get back to his books, the topics are interesting, the style of writing is very fluid and engaging and the data is presented in a way that makes it easy for me to understand, relate and remember. I´m now well into “The Outliers” and enjoying it almost as much – not just as much because I´m reading a spanish translation, albeit a good one, I always prefer to read the original. But that´s what I had close at hand.

Mujeres que corren con los lobos” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés is like a referral book to me. I´ve been reading it slowly for months now and I find it to be the best way to assimilate all the information that it contains. It´s been a revelation, so it works best for me to take it in little sips.

Well, last but not least, a mention to what I read during the vacation in Australia: “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert – I was probably the last woman on earth to have read it but if someone hasn´t yet, then I´ll recommend it – and “Dom Casmurro“, by Machado de Assis, one of the classics of brazilian literature, of which I know so little. Both are good and entertaining reads, and both have something to teach too.