The Soft Skin

 

On the occasion of François Truffaut’s birthday (February 6, 1932), let me throw some more “attempts to draw Françoise Dorléac” at you. Not just because I like her, or because they were both French. She actually played in one of his movies, La Peau Douce (Engl. title: The Soft Skin). It’s about an intellectual, married man who falls in love with a stewardess (Dorléac), and in consequence they have an affair. Without spoiling anything let me just say that the movie ends tragically.

I have mixed feelings about the movie. The main character is not sympathetic — and probably should not be. He appears quite awkward in this affair; maybe he really fell in love with her and is insecure… But it looks more like he is “unsteady”, restless, especially the look in his eyes. And of course he acts morally wrong by cheating on his wife. The stewardess’ morale is equally questionable as she surely knows that he is married, but she at least tries to convince him to tell his wife the truth. But also the relationship between the two is hard to bear as a spectator; it is unequal. At one incident he denies knowing her, even when she is harassed by a stranger while walking through the night, despite him watching the scene from a pub, uneasy but not reacting. It’s a torture to watch this. So far I completely left out his wife, the real tragic figure in the film. She is a strong person, she guesses what is going on, and she alternates between kicking him out and begging him to stay… She is really the one the viewer feels with, the one we can understand.

Anyway, it is a very good movie, a Nouvelle Vague classic, and Françoise Dorléac is lovely as always! Of coure there are many other Truffaut movies to talk about, but that’s for other times to come.

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Rose avec des étoiles vertes

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Recently I have a crush on Françoise Dorléac, the late big sister of Catherine Deneuve. It’s mainly due to one of my favorite movies, “That Man from Rio” (French: “L’Homme de Rio”), an attempt to a “The Adventures of Tintin”-like film. Some might call it silly, but I love it! You should give it a try! She’s just wonderful in it, just adorable, enchanting, charming — and also crazy, unpredictable, impulsive. The girlfriend of Jean-Paul Belmondo, being kidnapped (twice!), hunting an ancient statue which leads to a treasure, driving through Brazil in a pink car with green stars, dancing samba — just an extremely lovely childish “pain in the neck” :)

But she’s not the only reason to watch that movie: you can see people running, driving, and even flying through the not yet completely built Oscar Niemeyer Brasilia! Okay, this might be a selling point to architects only :P But it’s from 1964, so there’s plenty of stylish things to see!

Now I’m slowly catching up with her other movies. Sadly, she died at the age of 25 in a car accident, so the list is quite limited. There’s a very lovely one, the French musical film “Les Desmoiselles de Rochefort”, in which she and her sister play twins, both looking (waiting?) for the great love. It is very colorful, very sweet, and with a very weird macabre subplot casually told en passant.

Anyway, as my portrait skills don’t seem to improve, I hide how bad the portrait really is by some colorful covering. Hope you like it!

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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It’s Christmas! Already. Or finally? To get into the Christmas spirit I need Christmas music. I haven’t had enough of it this year. I do look forward to this evening(s) with the family, part of which I haven’t seen for a while. But it can also be a bit annoying, having (or hearing) the same discussions on the same topics over and over again. Anyway, instead of music I had something else keeping the Xmas spirit up: the idea of making my own Christmas card! And here it is :) My first linocut since 10th grade some 13 years ago. The hardest part was to design it. But once during shopping in a supermarket I suddenly had the general idea, and then it took an afternoon to work it out. I am very proud of the result! It was much fun carving and eventually printing it.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

À Bout de Souffle

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The cars hiss by my window
Like the waves down on the beach
I got this girl beside me
But she’s out of reach

The Doors — Cars Hiss by My Window

Another piece that grew out of my attempt to get better at drawing faces. It is based on a picture of Jean Seberg in Breathless, a very iconic movie by Jean-Luc Godard, probably the most famous Nouvelle Vague movie. I love this movie, it is very stylish, I love the young Belmondo, how he’s buying and barely reading newspapers all the time, casually stealing cars, talking nonsense; and Jean Seberg, her uncertainty about everything, how she deals with certain situations, evading and not; their clothes, how they talk with each other…

Recently I bought a coffee-table book with photos Raymond Cauchetier did during the shooting of some of the most famous Nouvelle Vague classics. The above drawing is based on one of them. When finishing the pencil sketch, I decided to make a very “basic” shading, only dark or light, no shades in-between. I thought about doing it black-and-white, covering half her face in black (the movie is in black/white). But I did not dare to try it. Luckily I was not alone, but sitting in a café with other sketchers, and they helped me in choosing the colors. Hope you like the result as much as I do :)

Mrs Peel, we’re needed!

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After the Breeders’ picture, I have been trying out some more portraits. I’m really bad at drawing faces, so it’s quite hard to recognize my portraits… But I want to improve, not only drawing faces but also using my watercolor pencils. And this Diana Rigg portrait is the latest outcome of my efforts. I like it :) Just as I like her, as Emma Peel on The Avengers! I started the drawing on her birthday a few days ago, but after finishing the pencil sketch I did not dare to change anything. So I finished it only last night. Actually I’m not sure if it is already “finished” or if I should do something with the sorrounding white space…

 

Just do it!

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When I was a painter I painted you well
Too bad I have to die

The Breeders — When I Was A Painter

The most amazing thing happened! Yesterday I was at a concert of The Breeders, the band of Kim Deal, who was the bass player of the Pixies. And during the last days I made the above drawing of the band, based on a picture that is in the liner notes of one of their albums and hence quite well-known. I brought it to the concert, with the vague intention of bringing it on stage somehow. If I would dare to do so. And I did it! During the encore I threw it on stage, and Kelley picked it up, looked at it a bit puzzled, and put it on an amp. When they left the stage after the concert, they let the picture there, so I thought that’s it. But then today a friend told me to look up their instagram page. And there it is, they posted my drawing on their instagram, and also twitter and facebook accounts :) Amazing feeling to see my picture there, with all those likes. And in complete anonymity ;)

It was a fantastic concert by the way! The sisters are sooo cute, and they all seemed so normal and nice, it was really fun :)

Strangers In Hofgarten

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…Alles auf dem Rasen

Die Toten Hosen — Hofgarten

In the last few weeks, whenever the weather was good, I sat on a popular green in the evening, thinking, listening to music, avoiding life — and sketching my fellow layabouts. The result is a series of postcards, some of which you see above.

Midnight Lace — Nostalgia in Blue

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I’m a bit old-fashioned in some sense: I like old stuff. Among this stuff are old movies, I like the aesthetics, the dresses and the furniture, I like the music, I like the pace… Among my favorites are old James Bond movies, Hitchcock movies, Noir movies, some Hollywood classics like Casablanca (and recently musical movies like High Society), or also simple comedies like The Pink Panther, but also French Nouvelle Vague etc. These times had a great style. Recently I was watching Midnight Lace, a wannabe Hitchcock movie with Doris Day. I liked it, and while watching it, I made some sketches, one of which turned out quite nice, I think.

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The next days I redid it to get something clean, and I made some copies and played around with the dresses. Considering the results, I should probably not become a fashion designer.

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Finally I used this to make an etching out of it, resulting in the print you see as the first picture. For this I used an old piece of metal which already had some damages that give the whole thing a vintage look. Another print of that plate is the following, where the orange color was too thick and did not properly go off the paint roller. The blue is really nice though, and I like how it fades towards the couple.

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Alone in lavender

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I am very happy about this post because it features my dear penpal Sophie :) Recently she sent me a poem she wrote. Somewhat independently of this, on the next day I made some sketches that could be used to illustrate poems. They didn’t match the tone of hers, but then I wanted to illustrate it anyway. The result you see now grew out of a doodle I did at work.

 

A closed geodesic on the shadow of the moon, part 2

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[Listen to this while reading]

The reason why I came to this island is not important. People leave their “homes” all the time for the least of reasons. The reason why I stayed here is the moon. I have never seen a night sky like this. It is the reason why many scientists come to this island; there’s a number of telescopes on the summit. People looking for something our eyes can’t see, our bodies can’t reach, but our minds can imagine. However, I only care for the moon. A lonely heart feels with the moon rather than the sun. One cannot rely on the sun, it is always shining. But the moon hides sometimes. And then you know: you’re not alone, when you hide, too.