22 September 2014

Art, Books and a Handsome Scotsman


via


An artistic life...

I am not an artist, I can not draw to save my life...but once upon a time,  I had a yearning to create on paper and canvas. This epiphany happened ten years ago, when we were living in Sydney, Australia. Life was full...we had just bought a house, a puppy, our four children were ages 3 -13,  Mr. H was a travelling man and I wanted to learn to paint. It seemed an impossible notion.
As luck would have it, when on home leave in America, I met an artist, who turned out to be one of my mother's art teachers, twenty years earlier. Kismet..we started chatting...as you do..and I told her my story.  She suggested that on our return to Sydney, I find an art teacher with a private studio and start one on one classes. I decided if their was a will, their was a way and flew off to Sydney with a mission. My exploration had begun.

The world turns in marvelous ways. I mentioned my quest to an artistic friend, Evelyn, who knew just the person. Enter Sonja.

Sonja, a talented artist and teacher was a dream come true. She had an amazing studio, filled with atmospheric light. It was sensational, she was sensational. It wasn't just an art lesson, it was a life lesson. Before I could begin she wanted me to find my inspiration, in art, words, music...wherever I felt it. I filled volumes of books with ideas and images to help me find my way. My first creation was the painting "Collage of Life". I had an idea and she helped me put it onto canvas. The ideas spilled on from there. My greatest challenge was drawing, gripping fear was more like it but she managed to get me through that as well. She told me not to look at what others were doing but to look to myself and realise that my vision was what mattered and to be comfortable with my "unique" style. Well..that is one way to look at it.

Agony and Agony...drawing.

Work in progress, Collage of Life.


In between the lesson we chatted about music, books, cinema...all the things that inspired us. When I look back at our sessions together, I can see that she had a strong influence on my artistic life. My bookshelf grew in leaps and bounds. Poetry, art history, design, art, literature and historical fiction. Amongst other things, Sonja introduced me to series of books by the author Diana Gabaldon. From that point on, if someone were to ask for a good story...the kind of story you can get lost in, I would say the Outlander novels..

The Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon via


A handsome Scotsman...

Ok..I admit it, I am a soft touch for romance in a story, an even softer touch when it happens to be a handsome Scotsman. If you live in the USA you may have read or seen the TV version of Outlander. When I first heard about the TV show I was reluctant. I was quite happy with the Claire Randall and  Jamie Fraser of my imagination these past ten years, why risk it? One look at Sam Heughan, the actor who plays James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser, Laird of Lallybroch and I thought better of my reservations. Surely it wouldn't hurt to watch just one episode...


Sam Heughan in the role of
James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser
Laird of Lollybroch
Actors, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, the heroine of the novel,
Claire Beauchamp Randall/Fraser via


I watched it and I was in...hook, line and sinker.  I happily spent  my remaining weeks at Tahilla Farm catching up on episodes as they appeared on Starz TV. Then the unthinkable happened when I returned to Vietnam, I lost all connection to Starz and any chance of seeing the remaining episodes. Blast! I took immediate action, went to my bookshelf, pulled out the first book and decided to devote myself to all eight novels. I have lots of flying time coming up in the next three months. I am sure I will be good for all eight books...after all, I have an amazing cast to fill my imagination. Easy!


Cast of Outlander via

In case you think I am a crazy lassie...well, I am...but...I have to say, all the actors are remarkable.  This story is rich in history and life..and it is woven though Scotland. Can't get any better than that in my books.


I think Sonja would agree.

Hopefully, the video clip below is working, if not, you can view it here.




I leave you this fine Monday with thoughts of 
art, books and a handsome Scotsman.
If you have any of the above in your life...would love to hear about it!

Best wishes for a wonderful week!
Jeanne xx

From one world to the next...
latest news from Vietnam

30 comments:

  1. Beautiful posting as are they all.
    Love and hugs
    Jeanne

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  2. The Outlander books.....oh yes! I lost myself in those books with Claire and Jamie. I've always been an avid reader and especially love series books. I recently loaned all them to my oldest daughter before the tv series started. I watched the first episode on Youtube and was hooked. But....I didn't get Starz, which I'm regretting. That might be one of my tasks for today. Oh & Scotland, that's now on my travel list when I saw the stunning scenery on the show and after reading Jeanne's (I Dream of) blog post on Inverlochy Castle Hotel.

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    1. If you get a chance Roxane, try and see the rest of the show. It will be well worth it, promise! :)

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  3. Hello Jeanne,
    Like you said, an artist is an explorer. Your gift of photography, writing, art, film, interior design and the list goes on, I feel, make you an artist. I will look out for the series the Outlander. You are the second blogger who has mentioned this recently.

    Wishing you long afternoons of reading.Hi to Connor and Tika

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    1. Many thanks Helen...I hope you have a chance to watch it, if not, the books are well worth the effort. Especially on a long winter's day...possibly in Ireland? :) xx

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  4. Thank you. I'm so excited to have this series and the books to dig into now that Autumn is officially upon us. Starz has certainly surpassed my expectations. Loved The White Queen. Have you watched The Honorable Woman--8-part mini-series on Sundance. We loved it. Lots of back and forth and parallel scenes, but you can mostly keep track.

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    1. I am not familiar with any of the ones you mentioned Marielle. This was the first I heard of Starz. Unfortunately, we can not access the station from Vietnam. I will be sure to take note of your suggestions for the next time I settle into Tahilla Farm for a few months. :)

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  5. Do you think it's a Virgo thing that makes it difficult for us to draw? I can do lots of things, but drawing is not one of them.

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  6. Now I've gotten rid of my reservations about seeing "Outlander"... thanks to you, Jeanne !

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  7. I don't think you're crazy. I think you are very creative and you always give us wonderful book and TV/cinema suggestions (amongst others). A few handsome Scotsmen won't hurt either.

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    1. Ahh...canna be more lovely words Loree...;)

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  8. You had me at Matisse. I'm off to see a huge collection of his cut outs, opening 13 October at MOMA. Loved seeing samples of your art.

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    1. NYC and Matisse in October...does not get any better than that Joan. Enjoy!

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  9. Oh oh.... I heard that Scottish lilt and now I want more! Thank you Jeanne.
    I tell my students.... if you want to draw a straight line, use a ruler......

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  10. Jeanne - you are SUCH an artist - your drawing is lovely, even if you found it agonizing to create. And, your photographs and writings are definitely those of a true artist! I hope you have settled in back at Chateau Mango. Have a lovely rest of the week! xoxo

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  11. I'm glad you posted this, because I had an idea that this show was based on what must be a completely book! Interesting. I'll put it on my list of things to check out this Winter.

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    1. I think it will be worth it Quinn, especially in the winter. :)

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  12. This Virgo-rising can't draw either, so I gave up that idea a long time ago. Haven't given up on my love of Matisse, however. One of my little Paris finds so far is an old postcard featuring a photograph of the door to the confessional painted by Matisse at the Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence. Moved over to the Left Bank today and now I feel like I'm at home. :-). Thanks again for sending encouragement for my travels.

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    1. You are very welcome Judy...and speaking of Paris, your postcard arrived today. Thank you so much for your kind words...sooooo appreciated!! :)

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  13. Such a great post! I love your foray into art. As a professional painter, my experience has been that so many people are intimidated away from painting because they think they can't draw. But, it's just learning. And actually, while there are some techniques one can pick up, drawing is almost entirely about seeing. If you can see, you can draw. It's just that most people don't take the time to really look at something. They draw what they think is there, not what is really there. If that makes any sense. The hardest thing for me learning to paint was not to compare my beginning works with masterpieces by masters who had been painting for many more years. xo, N. P.S. LOVE Outlander! Yay!

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    1. It makes absolute sense Nina and sounds very familiar. I was very excited to connect The Lady Life to you...I did not realise you branced out. I am looking forward to reading along. :) xxx

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  14. Dear Jeanne
    If you are hooked sadly would I be too. I am afraid to chance it! Ahhh the art classes...all interior design majors (back in the day before CAD) had to be able to draw. That is what caused me to drop out of design school and pursue Political Science (alas another worthless major). So here I am doing what I wanted to do but sans a degree....

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    1. Love it Cindy and you are brilliant at what you do...even if you had to take the long road to get there. Your daughter's new digs look great! xx :)

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  15. YOU draw better then me!I have ZERO talent in the pen and paper or paint!
    I have NEVER heard of this show........Looks GOOD!Our TV today has nothing good.......I think we buy the BASIC package.......I have given up 3 pushy buttons maybe 4 and I can not operate if my LIFE depended upon it!That is the ITALIAN husbands domain.............I would rather read!XX

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    1. Beware Elizabeth....TV show or books ( I would recommend starting with the book)...you will be hooked. :) xx

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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