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Today the French are celebrating Bastille Day, when the rebels stormed Bastille prison and it not only resulted in releasing seven inmates but it was also the turning point in the French Revolution. It is the French equivalent of the Fourth of July and there is a lot of partying and fireworks going on right now as you’re reading this.

For this occasion, I’m going to once again show my animation The March of Liberty since it includes an appearance by Marianne (who’s the symbol of France) as she marches to “La Marseillaise” (a.k.a. the French national anthem). This is the same animation that was shown at Light City in Baltimore earlier this year. Enjoy!

My last post was about my latest page in my Doll Dreams book that had my artwork based on the French symbol Marianne. I finished that page a few weeks ago but I scheduled the post to go live today since it’s Bastille Day in France.

Who would’ve thought that just hours after that post went live that a truck would plow into a crowd full of holiday observers in Nice? Now I’m seeing reports on my Facebook newsfeed that this was no tragic accident but a deliberate act of terror.

There are times like this when I hate my fellow human beings.

UPDATE (July 15, 2016): The Bastille Day Nice incident has been officially declared as an act of terrorism.

Previous Entries in This Series

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11

Since today is Bastille Day in France, I decided to show off my latest addition to the Doll Dreams Book. Previously I did an American-themed page which I based on a three-part online tutorial that was posted on YouTube. That page faced a blank gesso page. Here is what the page looked like before I covered it in gesso and art.

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I know that three countries celebrate major national holidays in July—Canada Day on July 1, Independence Day in the U.S. on July 4, and Bastille Day in France on July 14. I managed to finish the American drawing in time for July 4, which falls after Canada Day. For the facing page I decided to do a similar French-themed work for Bastille Day.

I basically followed a similar format to the previous page where I did a quick cartoon-style sketch in pencil then used ink for all of the foreground elements and a watercolor pencil that was dipped in water for the background. I did her clothes, hat, and shoes in the same red, white, and blue flag colors. Her belt has the words “14 juillet” or 14 July, which is the date of Bastille Day.

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As for the woman, her name is Marianne. If you’re wondering why a woman named Marianne would fly the French flag wearing a belt that has the date of Bastille Day, you need to educate yourself. Basically Marianne is roughly the French equivalent of Uncle Sam but she also has some American ties as well. She was the original inspiration for the Statue of Liberty, which makes sense considering that the Statue of Liberty was created by a French sculptor named Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

This project was basically a quick one that I managed to finish in about a day-and-a-half. Right now I’m currently taking a little bit of a break from working on any more pages in this book because I’m trying to avoid burnout, like what happened by late August of last year. (I had originally intended to wait until around December or January before I resumed work on this book but I ended up not resuming until just a few days before Memorial Day weekend.) I only have four more pages that I need to work on before I’m totally done with this Doll Dreams Book.

Ramadan
Lately I’ve been perusing the Roadside America site where I discovered something that looked interesting. Since it’s located just around the corner from The Wind-Up Space, which is the venue that hosts the monthly Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, I decided to arrive a little bit early so I can check out this nearby attraction. (I also took advantage of the longer days of summer.)

When you first arrive at the address that was listed on Roadside America’s page, you think that you’re in an empty lot.

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As you get closer to the empty lot, you realize that the lot isn’t so empty after all.

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One side of the empty lot is bordered by this really colorful wall mural.

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The center of the empty lot has a statue of a giant head. It’s a replica of one of those famous Easter Island statues.

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This head definitely stands out, even on a very cloudy day. (An intensely heavy thunderstorm began after I finished taking pictures and I returned to my car.)

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This head silently looks out over the passing cars and pedestrians on North Calvert Street.

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I eventually found some parking on a side street near The Wind-Up Space where I noticed this convenience store that has a wall mural that looks like a scene from a silent movie.

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I couldn’t resist taking this one photo of my Diet Coke that was served inside a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer glass. That beer was one of the beers that my late father used to consume on a regular basis.

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After that last photo I switched to my drawing pad and colored pencils where I took part in another session of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. A burlesque performer named Dolly Longlegs was the model for this evening. (That night happened to be Bastille Day in France but Dolly Longlegs posed mostly in patriotic American outfits in honor of the recent Fourth of July celebration just 10 days earlier.) Some of the drawings in the post are definitely NSFW.

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I took part in two contests that evening. One was a challenge to come up with the most over-the-top patriotic drawing of Dolly Longlegs while she posed with an American flag. I drew Dolly flying on the back of a bald eagle near the face of the Statue of Liberty.  My drawing didn’t make it among the finalists.

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The one other contest I took part in had a better result for me. That night was the 102nd birthday of artist Gustav Klimt so the contest was to try drawing in Klimt’s style. While I had heard of the name, I had to do a quick Internet search on my smartphone in order to find out that he tended to paint in a geometric style with lots of gold. So I gave it my shot when channeling Gustav Klimt while drawing Dolly Longlegs. My drawing made it among the finalists but I didn’t win. Oh well!

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I drew one more drawing of Dolly Longlegs before I called it a night and headed home.

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UPDATE (October 19, 2014): Here’s the official video of this event, including a few of the drawings I had done.

Ramadan

Like I wrote in my last entry, I went to two sessions of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in the same week. The first session was in Baltimore on July 8. Six days later I went to the other session that was held at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room in the Adams-Morgan section of Washington, DC. It seems like everytime I go to that area, I always find something new to photograph with my smartphone camera. This time I noticed a German restaurant called Doener Bistro. I don’t recall seeing this place before but, then again, I don’t go to Adams-Morgan very often. It looks new to me.

Doener Bistro, Adams-Morgan, Washington, DC

It has been a number of years since I last ate at any German restaurant. (I think it might have been the time my husband and I ate at the German Pavilion located in Epcot Center during one of our many trips to the Orlando area.) That’s because I live in an area where Salvadoran, Peruvian, Mexican, Japanese, Korean, Italian and Chinese restaurants are more prevalent. If I had known that this place existed, I would’ve tried to arrive in Adams-Morgan by lunchtime, eaten there, then spend the afternoon walking around Adams-Morgan until the 5:30 p.m. start time of Dr. Sketchy’s. I took a couple photos of the menu and other outside decorations for future reference.

Doener Bistro, Adams-Morgan, Washington, DC
Doener Bistro, Adams-Morgan, Washington, DC

Based on the menu, this place looked promising but I had to pass this place by due to a tight schedule. I was especially charmed by the sign that was in one of the windows. For people of a certain age, this sign should bring back plenty of Cold War memories.

Doener Bistro, Adams-Morgan, Washington, DC

Here’s a building that’s obviously in the process of being torn down so a newer building can replace it.

Adams-Morgan, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013

Here’s a colorful mural against a cloudy sky. Despite the presence of clouds, it was a very hot and humid day with temperature in the low 90’s.

Adams-Morgan, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013

I finally arrived at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room with plenty of time for me to order and eat dinner (I had a grilled cheese sandwich) and settle in for the evening. I took this photo of what the stage looked like before the event began. It looked luxurious and very comfortable.

Stage at Chief Ike's Mambo Room, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013

Mourna Handful of Black Tassel Boolesque was the model for this session, which means that some of the drawings in this entry are definitely NSFW. Since it was held on July 14, which is celebrated in France as Bastille Day, Mourna posed wearing some French-themed outfits, starting with a mime costume.

Mourna Handful, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013
Mourna Handful, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013

I took part in the first contest of the evening where we had to portray her as a superhero somehow incorporate a famous French landmark or something French. (After all, this event took place on Bastille Day.) So I had this idea of drawing Mourna Handful propping up the famous arch of the Arc de Triomphe. This drawing made the finals but I didn’t win anything.

Mourna Handful, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013

Mourna Handful changed into a Marie Antoinette-inspired costume complete with a very high white wig and a hat shaped like a cake.

Mourna Handful, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013
Mourna Handful, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013
Mourna Handful, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013

It was time for another contest but no one had asked about what the theme would be. We basically just started drawing. I was in a pretty weird mood by then. (The fact that I had eaten one of those DC Crunkcakes probably helped.) I remembered that Marie Antoinette’s life ended by being put inside a guillotine so I drew this picture of Mourna Handful, still dressed as Marie Antoinette, in the guillotine. I remember from previous attendance at the DC Dr. Sketchy’s that the usual MC of the show, Reverend Valentine, admitted that she had a thing for dinosaurs. So I named the guillotine the Dinosaure 1800. According to Google, "dinosaure" is the actual French spelling of the word "dinosaur". I added the "1800" in order to make this guillotine sound like a futuristic state-of-the-art killing machine. (The year 1800 would sound futuristic in 1793, the year that Marie Antoinette was executed.) This drawing not only made it among the finals but I also won that contest.

Mourna Handful, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013

I got a bagful of goodies that was provided by one of DC Dr. Sketchy’s sponsors, Third Eye Comics. I didn’t look through the bag until after I got home. Here is what I got.

Free Swag From Third Eye Comics

I got all kinds of comic books along with a few Third Eye Comics promo items.

Free Swag From Third Eye Comics

The coolest part was this $25 Third Eye Comic gift card. I now have an incentive to go back to Third Eye Comics. (LOL!)

Free Swag From Third Eye Comics

The last drawing I did of the evening was one that was also for a contest. This time we had to someowh incorporate the Eiffel Tower. I had this really twisted idea of a mime holding the top half of the Eiffel Tower. I didn’t win this time but that was okay since I had already won something.

Mourna Handful, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013

I did a little socializing after the event ended for a while. I noticed that there were fewer folks present than usual but I learned that some of the regulars were on vacation while others decided to go to one of the many impromptu vigils that had sprung up throughout the U.S. due to the jury finding George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting of Trayvon Martin late last night. (Many of the people there felt that it was unusual for the jury to be deliberating throughout the weekend then go into the courthouse on a Saturday night to announce a verdict.) When I walked out of Chief Ike’s Mambo Room, the first thing I noticed was this graffitti that was across the street. I don’t know if the Trayvon name had anything to do with the Trayvon Martin shooting or not but it reminded me of that jury verdict at George Zimmerman’s trial the night before.

Trayvon graffiti, Adams-Morgan, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013

As I was walking back towards the Columbia Heights Metro station I noticed how majestic the All Souls Unitarian Church looked at night.The clockface in the tower totally lit up and it was a really pretty sight.

All Souls Unitarian Church at night, Washington, DC, July 14, 2013

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