Monday, 11 September 2017

Inspiration for my French Café art journal layout - and some progress!

I could not resist tinkering with my plaster wall background this morning - I grabbed my Archival Inks in Coffee (BUY NOW) and Wendy Vecchi's Potting Soil (BUY NOW) and the French Elements 8" by 8" stencil by Andy Skinner for DecoArt (BUY NOW). I added a thin layer of each, very softly blending them through some of the elements of the stencil - first using Coffee and then Potting Soil - and then edging the page gently with each of them just to add a bit of tone to the edges and cover some of the gaps in the background. The Ranger Mini Ink Blending Tool (BUY NOW) has been getting such a hammering this week - I've had to buy 2 new packs of foams for it! I've now left it for 24h to see what comes to me. You may notice in the photos below that the opposite page is now a pale shade of pink? This is gesso, would you believe? I wanted to have something tonally similar - it will be a different layout of course - and I achieved this plaster-like gesso layer by mixing my usual cheap white Daler and Rowney Simply Acrylic Gesso (BUY NOW) with a small amount of DecoArt Fluid Acrylic in Quinacridone Gold (BUY NOW). This gesso IS a bit low on pigment but to be honest for a big 500mL tub for £5 or US$10 kind of price range, I don't mind applying 2-3 coats! This Quinacridone Gold uses pure PO48 Quinacridone Gold as the only pigment - which in watercolour, I associate with a wonderful and vibrant gold-yellow-brown with a lot of tone and depth - but as acrylic mixed into gesso, you get a kind of plaster-y shade of pink and it worked pretty well for covering this page up. There was a bit of black Dylusions ink in the spine so I blended it into the wet gesso with my brush to give the background a bit of extra tone.



I think I've gone mad and it's all Wendy Vecchi's fault - she's created a monster since telling me to try her spattered plaster technique, which I've tweaked slightly. I've since made this beautiful background in my Dylusions journal using an extension of this method that used 11 different Archival Inks to get just the right look - and there's a new background technique coming up later tonight!

The idea of a French café that I had has crystallised a bit more in my mind today. I was trying to think of a quote an immediately a lyric that has haunted me for well over 20 years came to mind, since I first heard it on a Piaf compilation album belonging to a friend (back in the days when we still called them "records").


Shine another glass, make the hours pass

It comes from the song "Lovers For A Day" recorded by Edith Piaf in the 1950s. The original French lyrics "Les Amants D'un Jour" (which translates to almost the same thing - "The Lovers For One Day") are as follows, with a literal translation by myself - I do find that singable translations of French songs lose quite a lot sometimes of the original emotion and meaning. In essence, this song is about a young couple who rent a room for a day so that they can sleep together, and their tragic ending. In the original French, the genders of the two young people are not specified, so it's possible of course that they were a same-sex couple persecuted by the world who wanted somewhere safe to be together and then end their lives before rumours spread? Or maybe it was a boy and a girl from different classes or religions? It's a very enigmatic song and I do enjoy it. The English translation that Piaf released had slightly different lyrics and specified that they were a male-female couple - so I prefer the original as it has more mystery and can mean what you like. It's in the key of D minor, which always sounds melancholic but enticing to me - I tend for some reason to find songs in D minor interesting for some reason. I have wondered if it's the key I speak in naturally or similar as it seems to really stand out to me.  You can hear her English release here:




Literal translation of "Les Amants D'Un Jour", original lyrics by Claude Delecluse and Michelle Senlis. Music by Margeurite Monnot. Copyright © 1956 (renewed 1974) Editions Paul Beuscher.
Les Amants D'Un Jour The Lovers For One Day
Moi j'essuie les verres au fond du café
J'ai bien trop à faire pour pouvoir rêver
Mais dans ce décor banal à pleurer
Il me semble encore les voir arriver...
Ils sont arrives
Se tenant par la main
L'air émerveillé
Comme deux cherubins
Portant le soleil
Ils ont demandé
D'une voix tranquille
Un coin pour s'aimer
Au coeur de la ville
Et je me rappelle
Qu'ils ont regardé
D'un air attendri
La chambre d'hôtel
Au papier jauni
Et quand j'ai fermé
La porte sur eux
Y'avait tant d'soleil
Au fond de leurs yeux
Que ça m'a fait mal.
Que ça m'a fait mal.
Moi j'essuie les verres au fond du café
J'ai bien trop à faire pour pouvoir rêver
Mais dans ce décor banal à pleurer
C'est le lendemain qu'on les a trouvé...
On les a trouvé
Se tenant par la main
Les yeux refermés
Vers des lendemains
Remplis de soleil
On les a couchés
Unis et tranquilles
Dans un lit creusé
Au cur de la ville
Et je me rappelle
Avoir refermé
Dans le petit jour
La chambre d'hôtel
Des amants d'un jour
Mais ils m'ont donné
Le goût du bonheur
Et j'ai leur soleil
Tout au fond du coeur
Qui me fait si mal
Qui me fait si mal.
Moi j'essuie les verres au fond du café
J'ai bien trop à faire pour pouvoir rêver
Et dans ce décor banal à pleurer
Y'a toujours dehors
«La chambre à louer »
Me I wipe the glasses at the back of the café
I have too much to do to be able to dream
But in these banal surroundings I cry
I still seem to see them coming
They arrived
Hand in hand
The air rapt with wonder
Of two cherubs
Wearing sunshine
They asked
In a quiet voice
For a roof [place] for their love
In the heart of the town
And I remember
How they looked
With a tender air
The hotel room
With yellowed paper
And when I closed
The door on them
There was so much sunshine
Deep in their eyes
That it hurt me
That it hurt me
Me I wipe the glasses at the back of the café
I have too much to do to be able to dream
But in these banal surroundings I cry
It was body-to-body
That we found them
We found them
Holding hands
Their eyes closed
Against other mornings
Filled with sunshine
They were lying down
Quiet and together
In a hollowed-out bed
In the heart of the town
And I remember
Having closed the door
At daybreak
The hotel room
The lovers for one day
But they planted
Deep in my heart
A taste of their sunshine
And so many colours
That it hurt me
That it hurt me
Me I wipe the glasses at the back of the café
I have too much to do to be able to dream
But in these banal surroundings I cry
It is always outside
"Room To Let"

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