I don’t know what it is about abandoned buildings – the older the better – that gets my imagination fired up, but its seems I’m not alone in my fascination. Who doesn’t love those renovation shows where hidden rooms are discovered in historic, long-abandoned houses? I adore George Clarke’s Restoration Man.
Recently, while researching the setting for my latest story ‘Pokerface’ I found this glorious old theatre on YouTube.
This one is much larger than the one in my story, which is host to an underground poker game with an unusual prize, but the atmosphere and decor is perfect!
PS See my last post if you’d like to read more about ‘Pokerface’
And if you’re looking for it at one of the many ebook retailers, click on the cover:
The French are known for their enjoyment of all things sensual – food, wine, art, sex… and its not only a recent phenomena. Some of the most daring, expressive and indulgent creations originated in historical France. Poets, writers, artists, chefs… and magazine publishers.
I love browsing through the titillating old covers of La Vie parisienne (the Parisian Life) magazine. Founded in 1863, it was published without interruption until 1970. When the magazine changed hands in 1905, the new editor Charles Saglio changed its format to suit the modern reader, transforming it from a general arts magazine into a mildly risqué erotic publication.
I imagine one of the main attractions for readers were the covers and full page color illustrations by popular Art Nouveau and Art Deco illustrators of the time such as George Barbier, Chéri Herouard, Georges Léonnec and Maurice Milliere.
If you like a your art a little bit naughty, you can immerse yourself in one of the largest collections of La Vie parisienne magazine artwork in the UK at The Advertising Archives
I had the privilege this weekend to view some beautiful paintings, including a striking and sensual work in pastel, by artist Kate Smith. The local gallery I visited is a feast for the senses, with a lush garden outside and eclectic décor inside, but this one piece captured my imagination.
My attention was initial drawn by the jewelry, makeup and hairstyle, so richly evocative of the Jazz Age (my favorite historically period) but it was captured by the sensuality of her expression and pose.
“Master pastellist Kate Smith has for years been famed for her depiction of fascinating women. In this captivating piece, Kate conveys the sensuality of womanhood … The soft pastel medium is skilfully blended so that the rich chocolate tones in the background meld into the soft mauves and purples of the drapes that gently flow over and caress the model’s body. The provocative placement of a long strand of pearls over the woman’s breast enhances her sensuality…” Tiffany Jones, fine Art Consultant.
Slow and sensual in a sun-dappled park; enthusiastic and artless on the banks of the Seine; fast and furious down a cobbled lane-way … Paris is the ideal place for kissing, and has been for decades (or centuries?)
There are many gorgeous images of passion in Paris, captured on paper, canvas, or through the lens of a camera, but there is one that—for me—captures the essence of the City of Love.
Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville (The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville) was taken by the great French photographer Robert Doisneau. It’s a photograph of a couple kissing, in the midst of a crowd. The image was captured on the corner of rue du Renard and rue de Rivoli, across from the town hall, in the Spring of 1950.
Doisneau’s pictures made the private and the personal visible, focusing on people to make a connection with the viewer. There is an excellent article about how he used friends and actors as models, in response to privacy laws (yes, even back in the 1950’s).
I recently decided to create my own Ex Libris label to use on my vast and much loved collection of books in the hopes they will return to me one day when I loan them out. So, I had a quick peek at what others were doing.
It seems the humble book label is the perfect outlet to express one’s individuality and creativity. I was not expecting the eroticism of some of the artwork I found – obviously many people express the erotic leanings of their personal library through their Ex Libris label.
Some of the designs are gorgeous, many are wonderfully titillating. I noticed a trend in the sensually themed labels toward the myth of Leda and the Swan. I’m not overly familiar with Greek mythology, but obviously there’s an erotic tale in there. I think I’ll have to do a bit of reading in that direction … there may even be inspiration for a modern retelling.
One of my favourite escapes from reality is to submerge myself in the stunning images on Pinterest.
I came across a photograph which really resonated with me (aptly called ‘The Point of No Return’ by Tatyana Druz, found at 500px.com). I thought I’d share it and the visceral reaction it prompted.
I love the closeness of the couple and the immediacy of the plunge they are about to make together. I instantly recalled that wonderful, scary excitement when you’ve just met someone and you just know you are about to fall hard – for good or bad.
Or when you’ve just begun a new sexual encounter and all the pieces are falling into place – every touch is perfect and builds the anticipation and pleasure to dizzying extremes. You’re tensed and impatient for that blissful, heavenly drop – when you become an ethereal being with no physical boundaries.
Recently I had the rare opportunity to view a very special piece of work by one of Australia’s most iconic and controversial artists, Norman Lindsay, at a friend’s art gallery.
I have long been a fan of the artist’s work and am especially interested in ‘Pantera’: the exceptional detail (especially in the gorgeous dress) and the mysterious subject matter. Just what is going on in this sensual arrangement?
The original etching is one of five in a book called ‘Idyllia’, published in 1922. The gorgeous book was printed as a very limited edition of 133 (only 100 of which were offered for sale) and intact editions are extremely rare – unfortunately the books are more valuable sold as individual etchings.
Here are the opening lines of the poem that accompanies ‘Pantera’, one of the fifteen poems by Hugh McCrae contained in ‘Idyllia’.
“Pantera dear, between us two,
How much is dream… how little true?
If one a phantom… I, or you?” Continue reading →
I adore beautiful images and sensuous words and in my search to feed my addiction, I came across the evocative fine art photographic images by Brooke Shaden. Her creations are the embodiment of the atmosphere the poet Mary Oliver’s words paint in my imagination. I’d like to share some of my favourite pairings.
“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
I hope you all received a warm welcome from the new year and 2016 has treated you well so far.
My job as a graphic designer becomes very demanding at the close of each year and I admit to suffering a touch of burnout. I’ve spent the time since Christmas quietly re-energising: lots of sleeping; reconnecting with nature & myself; cooking & eating. I’ve read some beautiful fiction (The Lake House by Kate Morton and Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase), found the inspiration to do some writing of my own and spent many hours exploring gorgeous images on Pinterest.
There are some very talented artists and photographers sharing their images and I became addicted to collecting my favourites and following the trails from one alluring image to another. I found some of them titillating, a reflection of my latest foray into mild BDSM in fiction (prompted by Sierra Cartwright’s ‘With this Collar’ which also lead me to try my hand at writing a Dominatrix character in a novelette called ‘Mistress’ to be released on Amazon in the coming weeks).
Some images I found a little too naughty for my comfort. I guess the line between naughty-but-nice and shocking is dependant on the viewer, their sex, cultural background and his or her personal experiences. And maybe we become jaded or blasé over time.
I’d love to hear if you think my collection is on the nice side of naughty. I do…
Welcome to my dedication to all things sensual. I am a lover of beauty in all its forms and seek to capture the essence of what I admire in my writing and art: drawing, painting, photography.
This blog was inspired by a recent trip to Paris where my every sense was delighted, from the aroma of freshly baked delicacies to the unique architecture. I am now an admirer of the innate sensuality of the French and their passion for all forms of beauty: art, fashion, the human form, literature, conversation, food, wine, nature.
I hope to use this space to share my discoveries… be they images, words or both.