Cover Crush: Finding Doro Maar by Brigitte Benkemoun

Finding Dora MaarFinding Dora Maar

An Artist, an Address Book, a Life

by Brigitte Benkemoun

Getty Publications

Arts & Photography, Biographies & Memoirs

Pub Date 05 May 2020

Description

In search of a replacement for his lost Hermès agenda, Brigitte Benkemoun’s husband buys a vintage diary on eBay. When it arrives, she opens it and finds inside private notes dating back to 1951—twenty pages of phone numbers and addresses for Balthus, Brassaï, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Paul Éluard, Leonor Fini, Jacqueline Lamba, and other artistic luminaries of the European avant-garde.

After realizing that the address book belonged to Dora Maar—Picasso’s famous “Weeping Woman” and a brilliant artist in her own right—Benkemoun embarks on a two-year voyage of discovery to learn more about this provocative, passionate, and enigmatic woman, and the role that each of these figures played in her life.

Longlisted for the prestigious literary award Prix Renaudot, Finding Dora Maar is a fascinating and breathtaking portrait of the artist.

This work received support from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States through their publishing assistance program.

 My review of the cover: 

First of all, the subject matter interest me on several levels. Imagine buying a vintage diary on ebay to replace the one you lost and discover upon arrival that its contents contain contact information of acclaimed individuals. That extraordinary find is something dreams are made of for collectors, artists and history lovers.

The cover itself caught my eye because of the composition of the images of paper. I’m a lover of paper crafting you see and journals. Though I feel the background on the layout could be better. From seeing the cover, I went on an exploration about this book soon to be published and have added it to my wish-list.

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Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

Other book bloggers who participated in the great cover crushes series. 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

(All book reviews, interviews, guest posts and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

 

Layered Pages: This & That

Last night I had trouble getting to sleep so I decided to get my art on by up-cycling scraps from my mixed media stash. Yesterday, I posted a list of items you can use around your home to create with without breaking the bank. Below are more items to add to that list I thought of last night. These items are fantastic for adding texture and adding to your paste.

Never say you’re not talented and can’t create something. Just play. Creating free-form is beautiful and you’ll never know until you try. You learn something by doing… -Stephanie

nightly Art Final

I will be adding slow stitch through this collage for the finishing touches.

 

 

Idea List of materials for your creations:

  1. Baby Powder
  2. Tea leaves
  3. Tea Bags
  4. Parsley
  5. Oatmeal

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Follow my closet @artsycouture42 and use my code: ARTSYCOUTURE42 to get a free $10 credit when signing up for Poshmark! www.poshmark.

Crafting on a Budget

Art Supply JarsMany would love to create art and get their craft on but they feel they don’t have the money for such an expensive hobby. Guess what? I get asked all the time  how I afford my obsession.  It doesn’t have to be expensive and you can use material around your home or from outside. Here is my check list of items you can use. The skies the limit!

 

 

List of materials:

  1. Old Clothes.
  2. Boxes-Any kind!
  3. Nail Polish
  4. Up-cycle Coffee Grounds. I keep mine in a glass jar to reuse later.
  5. Old make-up
  6. Q-Tips
  7. Paper from mail.
  8. Newspapers
  9. Magazines
  10. Make-up brushes
  11. Old books
  12. Old bed sheets
  13. Buttons
  14. Bottle caps
  15. Old Wrapping paper
  16. Wrapping Tissue paper
  17. Napkins
  18. Paper Clips
  19. Fallen wood sticks from your trees outside
  20. Weeds
  21. Roots
  22. Grass
  23. Leaves
  24. Acorns
  25. Sea Shells
  26. Plastic Grocery bags
  27. The tins from cans
  28. Plastic Knives
  29. Forks
  30. Make-Up Sponges
  31. Cotton Balls
  32. Toilet Paper Rolls
  33. Egg Cartons
  34. Food Coloring to make Paint
  35. Wine Corks
  36. Safety Pins

The list goes on…You will be amazed at what you can create with items from your home or from the outdoors for that matter. Get in the habit of thinking twice before throwing something away. You might be able to create something wonderful from it.

If you need adhesive-it can get pricey-I use Mod Podge Matte-Mat in a pinch. You can get it at a Wal-Mart for cheap or use a coupon to purchase a bottle at your local craft store.

I don’t have a lot of money so when I need to purchase art material-like adhesive, I have a jar of change I save for purchases like that. Also, I purchase painters tape at the Dollar Tree among other supplies from there.

I create art with the items I have listed above all the time and I have a lot of fun with them. This year I will be posting about mixed media art you can make using theses items. My next post on creating art will be about what you can find at thrift stores and places like the dollar tree to add to your art supply.

I hope you all had a lovely day yesterday. See you again soon!

Stephanie

Cover Crush: Where the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow by Rashi Rohatgi 

Where the Sun Will Rise TomorrowIt’s 1905, and the Japanese victory over the Russians has shocked the British and their imperial subjects. Sixteen-year-old Leela and her younger sister, Maya, are spurred on to wear homespun to show the British that the Indians won’t be oppressed for much longer, either, but when Leela’s betrothed, Nash, asks her to circulate a petition amongst her classmates to desegregate the girls’ school in Chadrapur, she’s wary. She needs to remind Maya that the old ways are not all bad, for soon Maya will have to join her own betrothed and his family in their quiet village. When she discovers that Maya has embarked on a forbidden romance, Leela’s response shocks her family, her town, and her country firmly into the new century.

 

My Thoughts On The Cover:

The layout design really stands out and that is what captured my attention to find out more about the story. Added this book to my watch-list! -Stephanie

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Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

Other book bloggers who participated in the great cover crushes series. 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

(All book reviews, interviews, guest posts and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

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Layered Pages Book Art And Current Read

dreamland book artI’m having such a fabulous time reading Bilyeau’s latest stories. Not only that but creating art based off her book covers. There is definitely a blue theme going on with her last three books!

I took photos of my own art and created layers for the background to give it a dream like quality for the creation of the DREAMLAND Banner. My next art project for the cover layout will having slow stitching involved.

I’m currently reading DREAMLAND and loving the story! I’m hooked on a story whenever there is a circus and bookstore involved. Y’all, Bilyeau is one of my favorite writers and she is so engaging online. I highly recommend her stories and following her on social media.

By the way…her e-book, “Ghost of Madison Avenue” is currently 99 cents on Amazon! That is a steal!

-Stephanie Hopkins

Dreamland by Nancy BilyeauDREAMLAND by Nancy Bilyeau

The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.

The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.

But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.

Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.

Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.

Relevant Links: 

Read about The Secrets of J.P. Morgan’s Private Library

The Morgan Library & Museum 

Nancy Bilyeau’s Amazon Page 

Saturday Sunday Book Review

Layered Pages: Art Of Journaling

Layered Pages Journal Banner

Every year I journal events, moments, thoughts, poems and what not. For 2020, I decided to make an art journal made from my fabric scraps. Each page will be a hand stitched pouch that I can put photos of my art and my writings. The pictures show the fabric pages I have created thus far.

When I’m jotting down my thoughts on paper, my mind brings me back to the story, “Possession by A.S. Byatt.” The thought of my journals being discovered a hundred or so years later…

The journals, letters and poems unearthed in the story “Possession” are by two literary sleuths. How romantic is that?! I highly recommend you read the story and watch the movie based on the book. The actors who star in the film are Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, and Jeremy Northam. I’ve watched that movie a dozen times throughout the years while my imagination runs wild!

The art of journaling comes from your heart. It is what you make of the moment of thought and self expression. -Stephanie

PossessionAbout the book:

Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.

Quotes from Possession:

“My Solitude is my Treasure, the best thing I have. I hesitate to go out. If you opened the little gate, I would not hop away—but oh how I sing in my gold cage.”

― A.S. Byatt, Possession

“Think of this – that the writer wrote alone, and the reader read alone, and they were alone with each other.”

― A.S. Byatt, Possession

“…words have been all my life, all my life–this need is like the Spider’s need who carries before her a huge Burden of Silk which she must spin out–the silk is her life, her home, her safety–her food and drink too–and if it is attacked or pulled down, why, what can she do but make more, spin afresh, design anew….”

― A.S. Byatt, Possession

 

 

A Glimpse At Layered Pages 2020 Reads

MeToday I’m highlighting a few books I’m planning on reading this year. There are seven listed here and three of them are for review but excited to be reviewing them and the others I have on my to-read wish-list. This year I’m not putting any stresses on my reading and art projects. Though I do have quite a lot of books to review I’m not worried. Also, I’m creating a few art pieces inspired by these book covers. Anyhow, I do have several art books on my reading list as well that I will be sharing throughout the year. I hope you have a beautiful day! -Stephanie

THe Gold LEtterThe Gold Letter by Lena Manta

Fenia Kantartzi, a Greek living in Germany, inherits a small fortune from her grandfather, a man she never knew. While working on the property, Fenia comes upon old letters and begins to learn of an intergenerational story of unfulfilled loves of her mother and grandmother. Between the letters and the tale told to her by her cousin Melpo, Fenia puts together a story of generations and learns her true paternity.

But will the knowledge Fenia gains be enough to help her recover from the legacy of heartache and abuse she endured in her childhood? Bestselling author Lena Manta captivates again with her sweeping saga of individual lives caught in the rapids of history.

Women Talking by Miriam ToewsWomen Talking by Miriam Toews 

One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.

While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women—all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in—have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape?

Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.

Dreamland by Nancy BilyeauDreamland by Nancy Bilyeau

The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.

The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.

But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.

Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.

Sin EaterThe Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.

For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.

Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why.

Code Name HeleneCode Name Helene Ariel Lawhon 

Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names Nancy used during the war, Code Name Hélène is a spellbinding and moving story of enduring love, remarkable sacrifice and unfaltering resolve that chronicles the true exploits of a woman who deserves to be a household name.

It is 1936 and Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper. She is fighting to cover the disturbing reports of violence coming out of Vienna and Berlin when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.

As LUCIENNE CARLIER she smuggles people and documents across borders under the guise of an oblivious mistress. Soon enough the Gestapo hears of a female operative with a remarkable ability to evade capture, and Nancy earns a new nickname: THE WHITE MOUSE. But this one carries with it a five-million-franc bounty on her head. Forced to escape France and leave Henri behind for the safety of both of them, Nancy enters training with the Special Operations Executives, who transform her into Hélène. Finally, with mission in hand, Nancy is airdropped back into France as the deadly MADAM ANDRÉ. She soon becomes one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance, known for her ferocious wit, her signature red lipstick, and her ability to summon weapons straight from the Allied Forces. But no one can protect Nancy if the enemy finds out these four women are one and the same, and the closer to liberation France gets, the more exposed she–and the people she loves–will become.

The Bass RockThe Bass Rock by Evie Wyld 

In 1720s Scotland, a priest and his son get lost in the forest, transporting a witch to the coast to stop her from being killed by the village.

In the sad, slow years after the Second World War, Ruth finds herself the replacement wife to a recent widower and stepmother to his two young boys, installed in a huge house by the sea and haunted by those who have come before.

Fifty years later, Viv is cataloguing the valuables left in her dead grandmother’s seaside home, when she uncovers long-held secrets of the great house.

Three women, hundreds of years apart, slip into each other’s lives in a novel of darkness, violence and madness.

LABYRINTH OF ICE by Buddy LevyLabyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy Levy

In July 1881, Lt. A.W. Greely and his crew of 24 scientists and explorers were bound for the last region unmarked on global maps. Their goal: Farthest North. What would follow was one of the most extraordinary and terrible voyages ever made.

Greely and his men confronted every possible challenge—vicious wolves, sub-zero temperatures, and months of total darkness—as they set about exploring one of the most remote, unrelenting environments on the planet. In May 1882, they broke the 300-year-old record, and returned to camp to eagerly await the resupply ship scheduled to return at the end of the year. Only nothing came.

250 miles south, a wall of ice prevented any rescue from reaching them. Provisions thinned and a second winter descended. Back home, Greely’s wife worked tirelessly against government resistance to rally a rescue mission.

Months passed, and Greely made a drastic choice: he and his men loaded the remaining provisions and tools onto their five small boats, and pushed off into the treacherous waters. After just two weeks, dangerous floes surrounded them. Now new dangers awaited: insanity, threats of mutiny, and cannibalism. As food dwindled and the men weakened, Greely’s expedition clung desperately to life.

Labyrinth of Ice tells the true story of the heroic lives and deaths of these voyagers hell-bent on fame and fortune—at any cost—and how their journey changed the world.