By Miki de Goodaboom
As I said in my last post, I have decided to reconnect with Cafe Crem, our wonderful Cyber Cafe for artists, musicians, photographers and writers. I hope I won’t be the only one here, although I know, as a very wise friend of mine said:
“Don’t expect too much from people!”
Anyway I just checked and saw that the last mug painting I published was my “Mobile Mug” on the … 12th of September 2010! My God, I can’t believe it is more than 3 years ago! Shame on me! But at least I was not inactive in that time, and my love of mugs is still alive: I have painted some new mugs from our fantastic and always growing mugs collection. Also, during a quite recent painting trip to Cyprus, I started a series of sketches showing the coffee mugs we get when we have a coffee break while we are travelling around.
So, speaking of love, there is nothing more natural than starting with my “Love Mugs”, a gift from Kevin to me for Valentines 2012.
I really adored them, they are just like Kevin and me: happy, funny, intertwined and…
hearts all over and around us!
By Miki de Goodaboom
Is anybody out there?
here is Miki… not sure if anybody is still around in our lovely Cyber Cafe “Cafe Crem”… probably not… except of course Kevin, who apparently comes here from time to time and tells the world about his music and the music he loves!
Well, I personally haven’t come for ages… there is nothing more depressing than an empty Café, and I had no idea how to try to bring it to life again. At the occasion, apart from Kevin, I would like to thank Shelley with all my heart, who has been so faithful and active all the time, from the very beginning…
Shelley… are YOU there?
I have a very special reason to come back today, but I hope I will come more often again. Since my last post, I have painted many new mugs, and I will gradually publish them here, together with their little story. But for now I want to present you the “Irina Bloom” Mug.
Irina Bloom is the heroine of the new book with the same name of Brazilian author Tamara Ramos. And is as well a painting by me. If you want to know how my girl landed on the cover of Tamara’s book, please go and read the story in my main blog. You can also read l’histoire d’Irina Bloom en français if you don’t understand English or find French language sexier! 🙂
Here is my original painting
As usual: mugs are a wonderful personalised gift, and Christmas is coming… does it ring a bell? So, if you want to purchase an Irina Bloom mug, please go to
So, this is it for today. Kevin and I would love to hear again from any of our Cafe Creamers if you are around. And if you have a new mug, with an interesting mug story, or anything else interesting in your life, just come to Cafe Crem and let us know!
SEE YOU SOON I HOPE!
Stopping by to share a cup with some old friends. This piece is part of my new altered book series, “Liquid Topaz.” It’s been a fun summer project. I should be finishing it up this week, so I can call it done before the kids start school next week. Symphony rehearsals start up again in a couple weeks, so I need to put more time into practicing my violin.
I’ve been selling my art at more outdoor venues. Just last Friday night was one of the fun Art Walks on the Square. I enjoy being a part of this growing creative community, and there is a wonderful energy to interacting with potential customers this way. I’ve got more Art Walk pics at my gallery blog. I’ve entertained thoughts of playing my violin outside at one of these events, when it cools off a little. I’ll keep y’all posted on how that goes 🙂
I humbly submit, dear readers, another snapshot of our Italian trip for your delectation…..
Volterra was a wonderful medieval town, walled, and perched atop a hill where one could survey the rolling Tuscan countryside. The town even incorporated a State prison within the walls of its Ancient fortress, the first time I’d really seen a correctional facility in the guise of a tourist attraction!
They seemed to get the mix right here, lots of shops selling wines, pasta, local produce, and lovely cafes, but the town still had natural ambience about it. One thing that’s amazed me is the amount of great swimming pools. Even the tiniest towns have them, and everything points to Italy being quite a wealthy country, certainly when compared to Spain. We enjoyed a great couple of days in Volterra, getting in a couple of kilometers in the pool, too.
San Gimignano, or ‘San Gimme Gimme’ as I preferred to call it, was a different kettle of fish altogther. Another classic medeival town, boasting no less than 17 towers (there used to 72!) it rose above the hills like some kind of renaissance Manhattan.
About 2k outside the town, on approach, I spotted a HUGE gathering of motorhomes – at least a hundred, in an official parking area. These places charge the earth, and we avoid them like the plague – our logic being that if you’re shelling out big bucks to buy a motorhome, you sure as hell don’t want to be paying the price of a hotel room to park it. Unbelievably, a geezer at the gate tried to wave us in! He looked like some kind of hooker, touting for business. I drove on. We came upon another motorhome park, asking a euro an hour, meaning a day’s stay would have been 24, with no electricity, water, nothing. We gave that a body swerve too.
Eventually, using the tried and tested method of heading for the local football stadium, we found a lovely quiet spot, completely free, within walking distance of the town. The town seemed drab, a collection of greys, perhaps the overcast weather didn’t help, but neither did the legions – and I mean LEGIONS of tourists scrambling over each other to photograph the many towers, each other, or both. We normally gauge the TROQ – Tourist Rip-off Quotient by the price of a Latte. Portofino won hands down – 5 euros for a singularly unimpressive cupful. Volterra was 2.50, a lovely one, served with a smile. In San Gimme Gimme, they wanted 3.50, and we didn’t even get any frickin’ froth. Musuems (door charge) Churches (door charge) all were ignored by us, as human snakes with a guide at the head waving what often appeared to be a white flag of surrender “and we’re waalking, we’re waaalking…”
Unfortunately, my lasting impression of San Gimignano is one of a Medieval shopping mall, built to cater to the Americans.
Anyone who has listened to my track “The Heretic’s Song” will know my views on being charged to enter a so-called house of God. I also found it mildly amusing that San Gimme Gimme was also falling over itsalef to sell ever piece of tourist tat and then some on Easter Sunday. Noew, I’m no Christian, but wasn’t JC seriously pissed off with the merchants on the steps of the temple?? and this, on the day he did the big Houdini thing??? (Cue Mott the Hoople’s ‘Roll away the Stone’) Seems like a serious faux pas to me, if you believe that sort of thing.
Siena we were looking forward to – James Bond rooftop chases, etc. – But once again we were confronted with 20 euros to park. Eventually, I found a place just outside the town where we could park for free until 7pm, at which time I assume we would have been machine-gunned. We walked up the steep hill to what we thought was the town, but in fact turned out to be a fort, built by or for King Leopold, who had a stab at being King here a while back. It turned out to be a good move however, because as well as giving us a nice walk around the battlements, it also gave us the chance to check out at least 30 pristine Ferraris parked out on the gravel in the courtyard, awaiting their appearance at a weekend car show. Cue boyhood enthusiasm! Actually, without wishing to offend the Ferrarinistas, if a Lamborghini Miura had been parked there, I’d have nicked it, and hang the consequences!
“My other car’s a Skoda….”
From the walls of the fort we looked out to see the huge Cathedral and clock tower in the distance, and set out for it in the sunshine, me tempting fate in a vest and shorts. We’d managed to see both monuments when God, clearly aggrieved at our failure to purchase tickets to see the inside of either, sent down a deluge of biblical proportions. The upside of this was I got another ciocolatte calde in the cafe we had to shelter in. Every cloud, etc.
Suffice to say, our Siena trip was brutally cut short, so we headed off for Buonconvento, a small town on the road to our next destination proper, Montecino. We got parked up for free next to..the local swimming pool! After spending the night, we got a swim in, and were on the verge of giving the town a minus score after shelling out 6 euros each to swim and finding you needed to pay extra if you wanted to shower after, plus getting moved along by the Carabinieri because we were incorrectly parked. But that soon turned into a plus, as I found internet that has enabled me to write this article, and a lovely friendly Cafe which has currently got the record for a Latte Macchiato – only 1.10, and extra foam and chocolate sprinklles. Eat that, San Gimme Gimme!
Coffee and romance — what a lovely combination for February.
I know, it’s about time that my mugs and me make a new appearance in Cafe Crem!
It has been such a long time since my last mug painting, I guess the last one was the Memphis mug about 6 months ago? Something like that. Not that I love my mugs less, or find them less ‘paintable’, I was just busy with some other motifs.. and some other people.
By the way I want to thank Shelley and Danu who joined me on Easelspace, this artist community from which I have been part of the co-hosting for some months now. I am glad to have them with me there, it makes me feel home. As well as Kevin of course, who is also a quite active member there, with his art work and with the poems he writes inspired by some Easelspace artists’ paintings.
Anyway, here comes the new mug…
be careful and keep out of his way, he is coming very fast!
By the way: “Mobile Mug” was a gift from Kevin… I was sad that day, he went out and came back with Mobile Mug for me… that mug was really full of love – even though it’s expression might not convey it! 🙂
Space Food, by Nicole and Shelley
Starting on my trip
In my new white spaceship,
I thought I would cry
When I hit a blueberry pie.
Certainly this would stain!
Who knew it would rain
Bananas, oranges and kiwi
So dense I could hardly see?
I heard tomatoes splat,
And when I thought that was that,
Space coffee flew past.
I had to think fast.
I filled my cup, grabbed a cake,
And landed for a coffee break.
I wanted to creat a cafe scene similar to my “Magic Coffee Cup,” but where that piece looked more Moroccan, this one is more, well, Alien. I couldn’t resist another “phosphorescapade” (cleverly coined by Kev), this time traveling to a glowing blue moon.
I took my kids to a science museum yesterday, and learned a bit about rocks that phosphoresce, and how there could be entire planets out there made up of phosphorescent rocks. This is my version of a visit to one such planet. Of course I would need a cup or two of coffee after such a long trip!
We’d already decided what to do for our final full day’s excursion, having attacked both headlands. When we’d climbed the first one, we’d noticed a path that wound its way across the top of the hills way into the distance, so we planned to follow that for a few miles, perhaps then making for the main road and coming back on more forgiving tarmac. But first, my regular trip to the Cafe while Miki sketched some more. You can check out some of her Agua Amarga sketches HERE.
The weather was still picture perfect, and I also got a bit more sunbathing in before our walk. We followed the path which we’d come down two days previously, and then headed out across the hills. Earlier on the beach, although it was sunny, I’d been ‘sandblasted’ a bit, so I knew it was going to be windy, but high up on the exposed hilltop, it was enough to take your breath away! Quite exciting, but I think Miki was having trouble keeping her feet on the ground!
As we made our way along the rough hewn pathways, we saw in the distance what seemed like an enclosed bay, and we managed to find a path that led us down into the valley and towards it. What we discovered was a beautiful unspoilt beach and the most fabulous rock formations. (We also discovered a couple scrambling to get their clothes on – apologies for spoiling your ‘from here to eternity’ moment, if you’re reading this!)
Once again, I was reminded of the fabulous album cover art of Roger Dean, particularly his YES album covers. It was quite breathtaking. We tried in vain to scale the rocks to come down onto yet another bay, separated from us by water, but we thought better of it! The couple having departed, we now had this idyll to ourselves, it was truly amazing.
Reluctantly leaving this place behind, we headed further on, paralleling the coast, but behind the hills that met the sea, hoping to find a way back to another cove. But when we achieved a vantage point to see the coastline once again, it was clear it had curved away from us, and a sign on the path marked peligro -danger , made our minds up to circle round and head homewards.
On the way we discovered a strange building. Huge, incomplete, and not really that old, it was stuck out in the middle of nowhere. From its layout, we could only surmise that it was to have been a hotel, or perhaps a residential riding school. We were in the middle of a National park, but unscrupulous developers in Spain think nothing of greasing the palms of some corrupt official (of which there are plenty) -usually with Russian mafia money – and blunder on building whatever the hell they like in a protected area. There is a hotel on the coast between here and where we live that has been the subject of Greenpeace action for just this reason. Now, I’m not a flag waving hippy activist, but this brazen disregard for the law and spoiling of protected areas is unconscionable in my book.
Clearly, somewhere down the line, this project was simply abandoned. The investors prevented from fulfilling their scheme, but blighting the countryside nonetheless. We managed to find a different path across the hills to head back to the Boomobile, and, after the longest hike of the three days, chilled out for the evening with a Woody Allen movie.
Agua Amarga had been a revelation, and had given me a new appreciation for our immediate environment. The coast line where we live is full of wonderful surprises, and we are incredibly lucky to live in this part of the world. needless to say, we’ll be going on a few more ‘local’ trips over the coming months! Tomorrow, I’ll conclude this series with a few more Agua Amarga views.