Every Picture Tells A Story

Along with food and cooking, I find enormous pleasure in art and, particularly from paintings and ceramics. Having attempted watercolour painting myself, I understand that dedication and natural flair distinguishes a talented artist. My personal taste is wide ranging and part of this pleasure is the background story to the picture and, this is how I met USA based Lillian Milgrom, stumbling upon ‘Bathing Beauties’ in a brocante at Conflans-sur-Oise, west of Paris. The colours were outstanding and the subject matter made me smile whilst contemplating which one of these ladies would represented a future me.

A little research and contact with Lilianne was made; an exceptionally talented artist who grew up in Paris but, now lives in Washington D.C. though has many other links with many different countries. Lilianne has served as a copy artist in the Museé d’Orsay where she was awarded a coveted commendation; L'Origine du Monde by Gustave Courbet, a vastly different painting to ‘Bathing Beauties’. Painted in Israel, the colours that Lilianne used are a true representation of the scene at Hof Dor but, it was the zest of life, oozing from the jolly companions that provided inspiration. Lilianne remembered that the painting being purchases by a French couple and, there the story would end except for its timely appearance in Conflans.

I have several paintings from Lilianne, a remarkable lady who embraces life and is always fun to meet during her visits to Paris. It is difficult to catagorise her style; she creates instillations, works in ceramics and paints in a variety of styles, some with photographic quality though it is her enormous Baguette Boy, hanging in my kitchen that makes me smile.

Our home was built in 1830 for the French composer, Charles Chaulieu and original features remain; paneling and fireplaces. There is a responsibility to protect this ambiance but, as this was simply the fashion of its day, I relish the challenge of combining this era alongside contemporary style. The ultra-modern kitchen of shiny white, black granite and steel leads the way with paneling, fireplace and an oil fresco balanceof old and new; it was for here that I wanted a large, modern painting.

Conversations with Lilianne produced ideas and sketches. I adore her Royal Copenhagen platter with lemons and was fairly set with this as the painting (I now have a small version) but bizarrely, it was from meeting my husband that the idea of a Supersized Baguette Boy appeared. Always a keen joker, it was his humour that sparked Liliannes imagination and several sketches and quick paintings were made. Way out of my comfort zone yet the attraction was instant – this was definitely the painting though all was not plain sailing; several versions that were discussed with a little miss-communication for good measure and the ‘wrong’ one was ready, with a baguette on his head…

Other paintings that I enjoy include the work of a friend; a sailing boat scene that I had admired and, was generously given as a gift in return for the extra tuition for their children and also, a copy of a Monet as a gift for my husband, the original owned by the Museé d’Orsay in Paris. Not often discussed but, Claude Monet visited and painted many canvases in Norway so, as we lived in Oslo, a particular mountain scene was exciting: Kolsas Mountain. Since the time of the painting, rural Kolsas became and, still is a Norwegian military base including the mountain that now contains a cavernous bunker where my husband once worked during his RAF Officer posting.

Donna Acheson is a Canadian artist who now lives in France and a regularly exhibits her acclaimed work. It is a privilege and fascinating to watch her work; once she selects the colours Donna allows the pain to run and dribble into shapes, some being pre-planned and others perfectly formed though imposed entirely by the path of the paint. My favourite and, a painting that I own, has a very special connection being one of several that Donna painted from my photographic images.

Elizabeth Whiteman’s talent pours out from her collection of acrylic and oil paintings. To begin, her inspiration came from a passion from her own garden, painting fruit and vegetables, reflecting the produce that she grew. Currently, Elisabeth’s keen eye for texture and colour is visible in a series of seascapes that she encountered during her recent far flung travels. Grow Paint Cook is an apt name for her website, gallery and blog.

Having admired Ann Robinson’s work for several years, we recently purchased the collage ‘Cascade’. Ann’s muted paintings are simply beautiful and include landscapes, local architectural scenes and modern abstract however, her present focus is collage but, quite unlike any other that I have seen.

With Swedish heritage Ann grew up in Brussels before moving to Paris. One has little need of a car in such busy cities and so Ann’s love of public transport began.

‘Cascade’ depicts a waterfall with dark, wet stones to the left and adjacent to them is the cascading water and spray. Ever changing daylight coaxes different effects into focus and we have lost count to the number of times that we have peered sideways to check that the canvas rally is flat. Ann’s use of colour creates an illusion of surging currents that stand proud of spray in its wake. A photograph cannot do proper justice to this work; it is impossible to give a true impression of the texture and movement so the image is purely for illustrative purposes.

However, it is public transport that makes her work so fascinating, the majority of the collage created from Parisian Metro tickets. There are different tickets too… so far, we have discovered a London Underground ticket; rail and air trips that Ann has taken to Copenhagen, Brussels, London and Italy that are coincidentally, places that we have our own connections to. There are many more surprises to find though the ticket denoting a non-payment fine is inspired (who hasn’t done that at least once, whatever the reason?) but, it is the centrally placed Paris St-Germain football ticket with its shimmering, silver authenticity stamp that dictated our purchase; taken from bagful’s of tickets that we collect and deliver, this particular ticket displays husbands name, stamped across its middle, bringing a quite literal meaning to “but, it had my name stamped on it!”