About accharlotte

aspiring writer; future satirist; voracious reader; experimental cook; armchair traveller; animal lover; occasional green activist; shopaholic; shoe fanatic; sweet-teeth

Artist Interview: Didier Lourenço

Didier Lourenco

[BLOG NOTE: This exhibition is over.]

Didier Lourenço was immensely popular at the opening reception of his Singapore debut at Barnadas Huang gallery.

ellas  (330 dpi)

I imagine everyone was asking him about the girl with the large eyes that appears in every one of his paintings – including one where you are invited to seek her out among a crowd.

rostre  (330 dpi)

I spied my own chance to speak with the Catalan artist when he was posing for the photographer in front of the mysterious girl, this time on a bicycle, displayed in a smaller separate building opposite to the main exhibition area – where a 2-by-2 metre canvas takes centre stage; just her, no crowds no bicycles, brought to live with oil, on a black background, outlined with what looks like red chalk.

But no, it’s oil, the gallery owners assured me. The 46-year-old artist certainly has a way with the medium, the finished effect sometimes resembling chalk, sometimes peeled paint.

I approached, just as Lourenço “comes out” of his pose.

Tell us about your family.

My parents grew up in France – my father was born in Portugal, my Mother in Spain, but with the civil war in Spain, their families had to leave for France. When they got married they went back to Spain, and I was born there.

And how did you get started in art?

I learn the trade of lithography from my father. A tedious process, preparing the silk screen, long hours… But I wanted to make my own art, so I started painting in a corner of my studio. Self-taught, 25 years I have been painting.

Is there an artist who inspires you?

I‘m influenced by many painters, each has his particular interest. But If I have to pick one, Pablo Picasso for his creativity, a guy who never stops creating, sometimes the same story but in a different way.

What direction will your future works take?

As we get older, we want our lives more simple, and we become more abstract in a certain way. That’s a normal progression in my opinion. But I think my work is going to try to say more with less.

You selected some songs to accompany your works for this exhibition, does music play a big part in your life?

My favourite songs are related with things in my life. Like now we are listening to Joan Manuel Serrat (the Spanish singer’s 1971 hit Mediterráneo), who is a Catalan, and he is talking about the Mediterranean which is from I come from. When I’m painting I listen to anything. It’s many hours in the studio, the music sometimes I don’t listen, it’s just atmospheric. It’s difficult to pick 15 songs and say “That’s the one!”

Who is that girl?

I wish she was real, but she exists in my mind. I see her everywhere.


I had imagined a rather different response. But as I concluded my interview with Lourenço, a Joan Manuel Serrat song plays  in the background. He sings of a sailor’s romantic love and the love for his homeland, I couldn’t help but wonder if Lourenço’s paintings speak of a parallel where a Catalonian girl disturbs a flutter of butterflies as she rushes home on her bicycle to feed her hungry cats.

el equilibrista  (330 dpi)

[Pics courtesy of Barnadas Huang gallery]


French women… Oh la la!


I was a pretentious git in my twenties. Often visiting library@esplanade to loan out artsy stuff. http://www.nlb.gov.sg/blogs/libraryesplanade/

Most of the art house movies never did make a lasting impression on me. One did – well, one scene did: Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris, where a butt-naked Brigitte Bardot asked her husband Paul if he liked her body part A, body part B…

Tu les trouves jolies mes fesses? (Do you find my ass pretty?)

Oui, tres (Yes. Very.)

Et mon visage? (And my face?)

Aussi. (Yes.)

Tout? Ma bouche, mes yeux, mon nez, mes oreilles? (All of me? My mouth, my eyes, my nose, my ears?)

Oui, tout. (Yes, all of you.)

Donc tu m’aimes totalement? (So you love me totally?)

Oui, je t’aime totalement, tendrement, tragiquement. (Yes, totally, tenderly, tragically.)


Oddly enoughly, the francophile in me never developed fierce cravings for snails…


I was in my French phase then – a phase that never did go away completely, for I still spurt out random grammatically incorrect French sentences.

But let me just state for the record, Brigitte Bardot had a beautiful ass.

There was also made an attempt to stir up interest in ballet when I chanced upon Marguerite and Armand, the synopsis had said “The stellar world premiere featuring Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn, as the star-crossed lovers that would become their signature roles.”

Ballet never did stick.

I started my music education with heavyweights like Verdi and Puccini. Aida and Turandot bored me – certainly not because of plots that were wanting, but from a mind that was wanting. Only the catchy – and I suspect it was precisely because of that – La Donna è Mobile from Rigoletto did take root. I didn’t understand the Italian lyrics, of course, but only remembered it was sung by the character of the duke and spoke of women who are fickle like the wind.

Years later, on a whim for something upbeat but with no desire for The Sound of Music, I listened to La Donna è Mobile on YouTube, and had from its “suggestions” list found Sylvie Guillem, the 2nd French lady in this story; this is also where this story comes full circle: The French dancer announced her retirement in early November, and I’m placing watching her live in action as the top spot in my bucket list (sharing equal lust factor with watching Madonna live).

And it wasn’t even her fame – for I didn’t know Guillem from Eve then – that drew me to the clip, it was the title “Maurice Béjart – Boléro (2002)”. I had thought it was a classical piece by a French composer (see above, my French phase).

Béjart was indeed French, but he was a dancer-choreographer with his own very successfully dance company, the Béjart Ballet Lausanne (thank you Mr Wikipedia!) – though the late dancer-choreographer-entrepreneur did share the same first name as the composer of Boléro, Maurice Ravel.

Even though I never got ballet, I understood Guillem’s body language. The choreography compelling as it was, the clincher for me was her flawless executions on the platform. Seemingly fluid limbs move in tune with every beat, her intense energy and concentration that in turn energised and compelled the audience to follow every fall of her arm, every turn of her torso, her every step, her every breath. And till this day, whenever I listen to Ravel’s Boléro, in my mind’s eye, Guillem’s beautiful form always accompanies.

Sylvie Guillem will take her final curtain bow next December in Tokyo, plenty of time to catch the prima ballerina in action, plenty of time for me to save up as well.

See you in Tokyo!

Summer Favourites


I have never experienced winter. Though it would be nice to build a snowman and sip hot cocoa in front of a fireplace, I have no doubts I’ll be complaining about the bitter chill, just like I’m bitching about this Indian summer.


So to thank my lucky starts, I’m sharing a list of my favourite summery beauty products, starting with this gorgeously scented body oil from Sothys made with lotus and cherry blossom. I could wax lyrical about the scent, but it’s its staying power that I truly adore.

Tip: Although the oil absorbs fairly fast into the skin, I spray onto my palms to warm it up for a speedier absorption and to minimise wastage.

Domestic goddess tip: Apply in the bathroom to prevent getting the oil on your stuff and prevent it from mixing with dust – a real nightmare to get rid of, taking time away from your other goddess duties.

(Note: Intrigued by the Egyptian goddess icon, I googled the Sothys Institute, and discovered a whole universe of yet more intrigue.

You have heard of the value and the elaborate picking process of the May rose – the main ingredient in Chanel No. 5. Well, the Sothys institute is just as dedicated to the ingredients that go into its products. Like Chanel who has its own May rose farm, the institute has a garden where plants are studied. Visitors are most welcome and a restaurant within the compounds serve seasonal food.

This is a story that deserves more research, and will form part of my French education 🙂

In the meantime, go to Les Jardins Sothys’ website to find out more.)

Vive la France!

On this particularly blah afternoon while listening to Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune, my favourite classical piece – that I’m almost a little ashamed to say Twilight the movie introduced me to – on YouTube, I got to wondering about the composer, and thus turned to the other Internet giant, Wikipedia, for answers.

Claude Debussy grew up in a privileged house, and started his musical education at the age of 7. His talent won him the coveted Prix de Rome, a scholarship initiated by Louis XIV, the flamboyant Sun King, that allowed winners to go to Rome and study – and thus emulate – the great works from antiquity and the Renaissance (thank you once again, Wikipedia).

Prix de Rome winners would stay at the Palazzo Mancini before 1803; when they would then stay at the Villa Medici.

Prix de Rome winners would stay at the Palazzo Mancini before 1803; when they would then stay at the Villa Medici.

It was from the Prix de Rome Wikipedia page that I learnt of the prize’s rejection of several vastly talented individuals such as Edgar Degas who painted lots and lots of dancers – that made up, in fact, more than half his oeuvre – and Édouard Manet whose most famous works include Luncheon on the Grass featuring naked women but clothed men, and Olympia featuring a nude woman starring right out of the canvas, and directly at the gazer – that art experts speculate to be the portrait of a prostitute. Le scandale!

And because I identify myself as an underdog and a Francophile, I have decided to immerse myself in the French arts and culture.

This will culminate in an extended stay in France – sort of an Eat, Pray, Love, but all within the French borders.

Try sipping chardonnay from these critters!

Try sipping chardonnay from these critters!

And just so I don’t make a fool of myself by mistaking vair for verre“Un vair de vin, s’il vous plait.” – the former refers to squirrel fur and the latter glass, I shall begin a series of posts about the French culture and arts.

Stay tuned!

Smoky Christmas Eyes 2014


Glam up your round neck tee with smoky eyes!

Glam up t-shirts with smoky eyes!

I used to work in a makeover studio, as a stylist-cum-makeup artist where I designed various looks for patrons – hair worn down, hair worn up, sporty, glamourous… You get the idea.

The girls who came in tend to wear little to no makeup in their daily lives. Hence they are usually quite horrified when they see themselves with smoky eye makeup – complete with false eyelashes – for the first time. And we always placate their nerves by telling them the lights in our photo studios are so bright they’ll look washed out if colours are applied with a light hand.

Well, I reckon it’s just a matter of getting used to your new smouldering look  plus they are the ideal match to the Christmas nails I had previously demonstrated. And when everyone is ooh-ing and ahh-ing over how glamourous you look, get ready to reap not just the compliments but also the extra glow of confidence that just welled up from within – knowing you pulled off a look you had previously never considered and a makeup job well-done.

Practice is key to perfectly executed smoky eyes, so whip out your brushes now and follow my step-by-step instructions.

You’ll need:


  • Bobbi Brown’s holiday edition Mini Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick Trio (in Espresso Bean, Smokey Topaz and Pink Sparkle – respectively, a dark brown, bronze and light pink all sprinkled with a light dusting of shimmer)


  • Lancôme’s Hypnôse Doll Eyes (mascara) in So Black!
  • M.A.C.’s Lipglass in Impossibly Sweet (appropriately named, I might add, because of its bubble gum scent)



  • Eyeshadow brush – the brush head is rounded and is about the size of the pad your small finger.

I love that the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick glides on without tugging and dries to a shimmery finish. Plus, the Pink Sparkle doubles as blusher – saves you the trouble of fumbling around for it during touch ups, and toting another brush.

And I adore that the Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes curls lashes like magic – no eyelash curlers, no lash abuse!

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Swipe Smokey Topaz across your lid, close to the lashline, and blend upwards, forming a domed shape.
  2. Next, swipe Espresso Bean in the outer corner of your eye in a horizontal V. Then blend with fingers, or use the eyeshadow brush for a more polished look.
  3. Line outer third of lower lashline with Espresso Bean, and follow with Smokey Topaz for the next third. Or right up to the inner corner for more definition.
  4. Apply two coats of Hypnôse Doll Eyes to eyelashes.
  5. Swirl Pink Sparkle on the apple of cheeks, and blend. Yes, the Bobbi Brown cream shadow stick is versatile that way!
  6. To give definition, swipe Smokey Topaz twice very lightly under cheekbones, and blend with fingers.
  7. No lipstick, your eyes are the focus. Just smear Impossibly Sweet in middle of lower lip, and with the residue on the lipglass wand lightly dab upper lip.