Tag: painting


Let’s talk about the muse and how they function in the life of the artist. We all have influences that kick our artistic butts into gear. Growing up with my grandmother Helene‘s paintings I’ve long been fascinated by the literal artist model. I took a

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Helene on the radio in 1959

I had a fair number of technical difficulties with this entry as the reel-to-reel from 1959 was damaged. You’ll hear some interference despite my best efforts to clean up the audio. In any case, this is an 8-minute interview my grandmother did on talk radio

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I call the Reagan Library

Immigrants to a new nation are often the most ardent in their love for their new country and my family was a classic example of the streak of conservatism that runs through newcomers. I think it’s the desire to follow rules and blend that immigrants

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Another sketch – Elise

Herein another sketch my maternal grandmother, Helene Lasserre, made; this one of her mother, Elise, c. 1938. With a photo of Elise from from a few years prior to that same time period. My grandmother was a very talented artist. The whole family has been

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Ballerinas are tough as nails

My maternal great aunt Hermine is a spitfire who has always amazed the family with her abundant energy and stubborn streak. She is tiny. Here she is in her teenage years, a sweet slip of a girl, looking smaller than even her father, the jockey.

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The portrait problem

Gothic horror, film noire, and melodrama will frequently feature a scene with a spooky portrait. Here are a few examples off the top of my head: The House on Telegraph Hill Dark Shadows The only thing I find odd is that they have so few

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Halloween past in suburban America

The Halloween costumes of my mother’s youth doubled down on her opera training. Here are three from her teenage years. They were living in the suburbs of Chicago at the time. Her mother’s artistic creativity is evident… not only in the costumes but in that

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Beach 1

My people, going way back, must be a seafaring people. I want to discover pirates in my family tree. No, I probably won’t. I’ve always lived by the ocean and when I travel to a place far from the salty sea breezes I feel a

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Jazzy sounds from my cousin Sophie

In my family, you can be a physician or a musician, but you can rarely be both. My cousin Sophie Bourgeois is extraordinary for managing the delicate balancing act of running her own dentistry business, raising two sons, and singing jazz. My family, bunch of

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She painted Jane Berbié

Maternal grandmother Hélène was often enlisted to do the portraits of performers over her long career. Here’s one she did of the French mezzo, Jane Berbié. I love how my grandmother captures the spirit of a person in that single look. From this portrait, doesn’t Berbié

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