Painting with words

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First stroke Acrylic on canvas

OK. You all get it by now: I love art. I love the drag of my loaded brush against the canvas and the sensuous feel of wet clay spinning beneath my hands.

I also love how art can come to life through words. Reading about the lives of famous artists and the stories behind their seminal works adds important context that a purely visual encounter cannot. My novel L’Origine: The secret life of the world’s most erotic masterpiece was inspired by the remarkable odyssey of an iconic 19th century painting that continues to ruffle feathers to this day. Lots of exciting podcast interviews, articles and live readings are coming up in place of a traditional book tour.

Click on the image below for a deliciously entertaining clip of Lynne Hanley from Beyond the Palette in London promoting our first joint live Instagram event. Her motto is Art, Drama and Passion. She delivers on all three!

JOIN US ON INSTAGRAM @lynne_beyondthepalette FOR THIS WILDLY FUN EVENT JULY 31ST 6 pm BST/1 pm EST. SEE YOU THERE!

Before you rush off I’d like to recommend two recent novels by women authors who shed light on the hardships that female artists faced in different centuries and cultures.

Sofonisba. Portraits of the Soul by [Chiara Montani, Verna Kaye]

Sofonisba is a historical novel with the taste and the colors of the Renaissance. You’ll fall in love with this unforgettable heroine.

The Painter from Shanghai: A Novel by [Jennifer Cody Epstein]

The Painter from Shanghai is a re-imagining of the life of Pan Yuliang and her transformation from prostitute to post-Impressionist.

Namaste.

See Spot run: Where it all began…

Painting by Lilianne Milgrom. Acrylic on canvas

Who can remember the thrill of learning to read? I distinctly remember the very first time my heart leapt as I strung letters together to sound out a word. That memory is so vivid that I created an installation called Memory in Yellow that was exhibited at Artomatic in Washington DC several years ago.

I had found a reprint of the Dick and Jane book that I learned to read from and that inspired me to recreate my memory as a site specific installation.

Nothing much has changed since then in so far as my love of reading – if I don’t have at least four books in the pipeline I start feeling anxious! Over the years I have channeled my creativity in both the visual and literary arts.

Which brings me to my HUGE, EXCITING, LONG-AWAITED NEWS!!!!!!!!!

Yep – that’s my name there…I can’t quite believe it myself. It only took me ten years but who’s counting?? I just posted this cover reveal on Instagram and wanted to share the news with my loyal blog readers as well. Lots more in the weeks to come about L’Origine but if you can’t wait and are inclined to *PRE-ORDER* a copy of this historical novel that traces the riveting odyssey of the world’s most erotic masterpiece, be my guest! I guarantee an enlightening, fun ride 😉

HUFFPOST: 15 minutes of fame

HUFFPOST LOGO

Thrilled to share my personal essay just published in the Huffington Post, entitled

‘How An Encounter With The World’s Most Famous Vagina Painting

Changed My Life’ 

**DISCRETION ADVISED**

Typical crowd

WHAT’S EVERYONE STARING AT? READ MY ESSAY TO FIND OUT!

Showing some skin and is there a point to social media?

You have to hand it to the d’Orsay Museum in Paris. They know how to titillate the senses and draw the crowds with promotional material that whets the appetite and borders skittishly on the pornographic. Check out this commissioned video to promote their upcoming show inspired by the Marquis de Sade (whose erotic writings gave birth to the term sadism). Watch the 60-second video – it’s glorious!


The d’Orsay Museum is not averse to controversial art. Several years ago, I spent six weeks at the d’Orsay Museum in Paris as the first authorized copyist of one of the most iconic erotic paintings in the history of art – Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du monde (1866) . During my stint as a copyist I also filmed the highlights of one of my days copying what is essentially a close-up, peep-show view of a woman’s vagina.

Speaking with a visitor a the d'Orsay Museum during my stint as a copyist
Speaking with a visitor a the d’Orsay Museum during my stint as a copyist

I’m proud to announce that this documentary will be screened later this month at the Institut Courbet in Ornans, France to coincide with their annual copyist week in honor of Gustave Courbet. This is a huge validation of my work, and I feel quite excited about this exposure (no pun intended!). However, I was positively speechless when I found out that a trailer for my documentary had amassed close to 1,500,000 views (that’s right – one and a half million views) on the The Great Nude website that focuses exclusively on the nude in figurative art.

After feeling giddy about these statistics for a full ten minutes, I came down to earth when I realized that nothing actually resulted from all those views. Even if we dismiss one million of the views as voyeuristic lechers, out of the remaining five hundred thousand viewers you might think there would be one or two art critics, or gallerists or artists who might have contacted me with some exciting creative proposal. Nada. Not a one. Which begs the question – is there really a point to social media? So what if a gaggle of people have viewed the video? Does exposure really lead to anything concrete or positive? Maybe I’m missing the point. Love to hear from you.

For more about my work with L’Origine du monde click here.

Making the headlines…sort of!

Making the headlines...sort of!

I almost fell off my seat today. There I was checking my email and doing a quick peruse of all the various art news feeds and blogs I subscribe to, the most prestigious and informative being Blouin ARTINFO Daily Arts Digest. They write about the very latest trends and happenings in visual arts, architecture, culture, innovation and design.
Today’s headlines featured the most stunning revelation about a particular 19th century work of art very close to my heart – Gustave Courbet’s iconic 1866 painting l’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World). This notorious close-up of female genetalia is one of the most famous works in history and as the authorized copyist of this work (that’s my copy above, self-censored for this article!!) at the d’Orsay Museum in Paris, I have a particularly close affection for this famous work.

Blouin Artinfo broke the news already hitting the French and British newspapers that in fact, there may have been a head associated with the truncated torso and it appears to have been partially authenticated as a Courbet work. This is sending ripples, or rather tsunamis, across the art world. So where do I come into all this? As I hungrily scrolled down to the bottom of the article, who should I run across but a video of me painting none other than Courbet’s l’Origine du monde!! Check it out with your own eyes, in Video of day slot 🙂