Monday, November 10, 2008


I found this translation from a Japanese magazine printed a few years back and thought it would fill in until I finish my present story. I am surprised at my own enthusiasm.

 A Visit to Mary Blake’s Studio

Situated between the historic Basilica Sacre Coeur on the top of the hill in Montmartre and the lap dancing sex shops of Pigalle, we visited artist Mary Blake’s atelier.

Outside rue Tardieu. thousands of people stream by.

Mish mash of languages. maps and guides. Inside the artist’s courtyard, we find a calm serenity.

Two very serious cats observe our arrival.  A shaggy dog greets us tail wagging - offering a broken tennis ball – want to play ?  We knew we were safe.

Mary Blake’s doors, arched, with tinted yellow glass  greets us with a big smile.

“Don’t worry about Nina.”

“We’re not going to play with your stupid ball." she explains to her canine friend.

Nina’s tail stops wagging. Reluctantly, she retreats to her bed and rolls up like a donut. One eye open.We  enter. Three steps down. The “atelier” is twenty feet high. Paintings  full of color from floor to ceiling.

AKO “This place is great. How long have you been here?”

M.B.“Ten years this month.”

Ako: “How did you find it?”

M.B.: The grace of God, some charm and a lot of luck. Nobody wants to rent to an artists these days.

Mary Blake invites us in with a big smile.“Wine, fresh orange  juice or green tea with mint?

Her studio  is a cocoon of colors and shapes.

AKO :  “You like color.”

M.B.  I am color. I think color. I dream color.

AKO What inspired this  fascination?

MB In 1973, I visited a small village in Italy. The landscape was nice, but it was the laundry hanging between the houses… Beautiful. I stared at it until it was dry.

Then in 1977 I visited India - a country intensely  saturated with vivid pigments. Their colors became my palette. I can still see images. The train ride -yellow fields - the bright green canaries- the purple saris and the Bengali pink turban - all at the same time!

The earth in Goa looks like it comes from a Gauguin  painting. Morning in Agra  with  gentle contrasts  of blue. I woke up in a rose garden across from the Taj.

Or was it heaven?

AKO: What inspires your style?

M.B: I just begin - with a line - a color – Then, it’s the canvas that talks to me.

For the moment I’m in an abstract period, but they all have order and honesty. When I say.

“This  water- color is Gurjurait.” No one doubts it.

 “Oh yes Gurjurait.” I hear.

Ako:When do you work best?

Mary: After I’ve brushed my teeth. Early in the morning if I’m home.

Ako: How do you start? Do you have a plan?

 M;B. I  Just begin. The paint is in front of me. My colours  begin to whine.

"Me first. Me first."

After the first stroke- The other begin.

"Why not me? Have you forgotten?"                                             

I like the colors that are patient and wait their turn.

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