Passover, or Freeze!

City of Lights, ink on paper, notebook n°9, 2013

It seems that this March was a strange month. Around me, many friends went through something emotionally challenging, and I can add myself to the list. Indeed, for a few weeks, me and my partner suffered from terrible insomnias, leading to challenging days where we cruelly lacked energy and motivation. Sleepless nights can occur to anyone and at any given time, but this last period felt special, as if the stars had something to tell us… forcing us to acknowledge our state of mind, to be attuned, and sometimes even, to make changes. 

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Karma Paradise

After Fauves, 2017, dried paint strips (I like to think this is a trace of Fauves’ exhibition which has been destroyed after the show, see link below)

A year ago, I started learning the guitar and this journey continues to feed me with inspiration and joy. Presently, I am working on two tasks: one is to learn ‘Riviera Paradise’ of the great Stevie Ray Vaughn, the second is to do a cover of the no-less iconic ‘Karma Police’ by Radiohead. Even though the two exercises are different — one mostly executive, the other, mainly creative — it is exciting to see that they overlap and assist each other. I can only hope to live long enough to master Stevie Ray Vaughn’s songs one day; as for now, it’s mostly hard! But the effort I put in studying ‘Riviera Paradise’ helps me in my approach to music composition, too. From this experience, I’ll gain tools, techniques… maybe even some style, which may reappear, who knows, in a revisited version of ‘Karma Police’.

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Diamonds and Rust

In my family, fashion is a big thing. Already as a child, I had a stunning style, carefully put together by my mother, who found great satisfaction in dressing her kids with taste. At school there were no uniforms, so selecting our clothes for the next day became part of a ritual: every night, I would look at the weather forecast, and prepare accordingly and meticulously my outfit for the day after. It goes without saying that the process sometimes ignited some insecurities, especially in the tumultuous period of teenage-hood, when the relation to our changing body can be complicated. On some dark days, I would have preferred to hide in a school uniform. But… we were free.

Red Horse in Green Forest, 2015, oil on canvas, 50*60 cm (Sadly, this painting has been painted over…)
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City of Stars meets Ziggy Stardust

Happy New Year!, 2020 mixed papers and digital collage

I heard from dear friends who follow the planets’ constellations that we are now in a very special period: the Great Conjunction of two massive planets, namely Saturn and Jupiter, will happen on this 21st of December. This meeting of the two biggest planets in our Solar System is considered a cosmic event, but these conjunctions are not all equal — the last one in May 2000 happened too close to the sun for us to observe. The coming Great Conjunction, on the contrary, will be as close as it gets: the planets will be only 0.1 degree apart, unseen since 1623, and the closest observable since 1226. Quite an event!

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White Lines

Throughout my life, writing has been important, especially in periods of changes. Even if I never sent a manuscript to a publishing house, the thought and desire did emerge after writing fiercely 250 pages in a few months. Somehow though, at the stage of re-reading and re-reading again, the courage left me. As if the writing experience had transformed me, I could not recognize my own style, I couldn’t vouch for these pages that felt already outdated. I decided to let it go, with no regrets. Some books are meant to be written, not to be read.

my bedroom, Tel Aviv, 2013 – photo © Francesc Pascual Torrens
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Love & Anarchy

Most of us are in our second lockdown and it isn’t easy to stay in high spirits. Being closed again is frustrating especially after having tasted some semblance of back-to-normalcy over the summer. Nevertheless, I like to remind myself that this period is the right moment to welcome new perspectives and begin seeding again. At least, let’s open the gate. What will come… may come!

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Trust Magic

I only started writing this blog a few posts ago, and I already have cold sweats thinking I will run short of ideas to write about. It’s a rather childish thought. Rationally, there is no reason to worry: I started this blog because I like to write, therefore I enjoy being triggered in this sense. Not having ideas creates ideas. I guess my fear is more in the long-run, how to keep on, sustain interest and energy.

Fortune Teller, 2020 collage 18*13cm
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Sguaba Tuinne

My name Ethel, is a special one. Unfamiliar to most people, my parents were attracted by its gentle sound but chose it mostly for its singularity. Although it has only two syllables [etɛl] and seems relatively simple to pronounce, the general reaction is often one of confusion. It just doesn’t sound like any name that people have heard before. For every new encounter, I need to say it several times until it takes hold, making me very aware of its sonority as if I were repeating a line from a text book. Fortunately, I am always complimented on the beauty and originality of such a name. In addition, what makes Ethel particular too, is its meaning in French: ‘est-elle?’, literarily ‘is she?’.

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Tempo Rubato [Stolen Time]

Collage on painted notebook, 1998

I remember rather clearly my last day of first grade in primary school. At least, the souvenir I fabricated of it is very clear: I said goodbye to all my friends with a lot of excitement, knowing we would all meet in September with enough summer stories to keep us going until Christmas. My biggest worry was to find time in my vacation to write to Elian, my boyfriend, who would spend the next two months in Brittany. I was very fond of him. In my souvenir, my parents came to pick me up at school and while we were heading towards the parking lot, my father told me I would not return to this school in September since the whole family was moving to Brussels after the summer.

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Freeze, and continue

left: Untitled (Solitude I – Study after Luc Tuymans), 2011 – acrylic on wood, 18*24cm
right: Would You Like to Hear My Voice (Solitude II), 2020 – acrylic on wood, 18*24cm

Lately, I came back to painting although I hadn’t done so in the last year. Why now? Maybe because of a series of questions I was asked to think about. The most difficult ones for me were: Which dominating emotion is an engine in your creative work? and Which emotions do you normally work from? Though it seems easy for a creator whose every-day activity is to create, to say what prompts and guides the act of creating, I realised later that it ended up being much trickier than I expected.

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