Fall 2016 Literary Portraits, Part 1... Colette, Anais Nin & Marcel Proust

Ahhh, France...I spent a week in Paris this August and was inspired to create some portraits of my favorite French writers. Here are my latest watercolor paintings...French Literary Portraits!

First off was the incredible Marcel Proust.

Marcel Proust Literary Portrait

Debra Styer, "In Search of Proust", 2016

Here's my sketch of Marcel. Just look at those eyes...

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is best know for his 7 volume literary work, "In Search of Lost Time" aka " A Remembrance of Things Past". He is known to be one of the greatest writers of all time and one of my favorites.

"If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time."
Marcel Proust
Young Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust c. 1895

Next up, my portrait of French writer Colette!

Debra Styer, "La Vagabond Colette", 2016

Debra Styer, "La Vagabond Colette", 2016

My illustrated ode to French Novelist, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette AKA Colette (1873-1954). Best known for writing about the underbelly of the french art and literary worlds. Some of her most famous books were "Cheri", "Gigi," the "Caroline" series and "L'ingenue libertine."

Her stories spoke of the problems of love, of passion, and sex. She was no shrinking violet in her writing or her life and I love her for that. She is one of my literary heroes. A true feminist.

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."
Colette
Colette for her Moulin Rouge pantomime,  Rêve d’Égypte -  Photography by Leopold Reutlinger c. 1907

Colette for her Moulin Rouge pantomime, Rêve d’Égypte - Photography by Leopold Reutlinger c. 1907

Isn't she awesome?

Finally, my portrait of the fabulous Anais Nin!

Debra Styer, Winter of Anais, 2016

Debra Styer, Winter of Anais, 2016

The incredible Anais Nin has always been one of my favorite writers! I poured through her diaries in my younger years and her thoughts always echoed my own. She is artistic, feminist and a writer who shared all of her darkness and her triumphs with her readers as if she was speaking with a friend.

Nin is most known for her diaries (which she wrote throughout her life), erotica, and love affairs with famous men. She was both loved and hated by the literary establishment, and struggled to be taken seriously as a writer. But to me, she became a icon of literature.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”― Anaïs Nin
Portrait of Anaïs Nin in the 1970s by  Elsa Dorfman

Portrait of Anaïs Nin in the 1970s by Elsa Dorfman

I hope you like all my new portraits, they are currently available in the shop.

Who's your favorite french writer?

It has been a crazy few months, (sorry about the lack of log post) I've had the luck of spending a month visiting Europe, which was incredible. My head is still spinning. I hope to write a nice long post about it but for now, it will all just have to sit in my memories. I have been drawing and painting a lot, and hope to share the second set of literary portraits in the next week or two.

On strength...

I have to admit, sometimes I feel that doing this art thing is just so impossible...I hate it when I feel this way.  It is just so damn depressing. I really just want to curl up in bed while my career miraculously gets itself straightened out. And yep, I know that this is not my reality.

So what do you do? This depression thing just can not be.  I know that I need to stay positive and just push on through. And I have to grow a little everyday and stay strong if I want to see my dreams become real.  I must just keep going today and everyday. Ignore my fears and anxieties and keep pushing forward. That is the key even when you feel you can't go any further. You must. And remember to take those baby steps...

I love this picture of Anais, does anyone know who took it?

Sometimes just getting out of my own head for a few minutes helps. Take the pressure off and try to read something that makes you feel good.  Here are a few inspirational quotes from the lovely Anais Nin that might help:

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."

"I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live." 

"Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death." 

Well, it feels good to get that out. Sometimes writing it down really does make you look at life differently.  I am a firm believer that journaling saves lives...

So, I better get moving. Maybe go out and enjoy the sunshine and have a nice cup of tea. Or maybe I just might do some drawing. Yes...that seems about right.


What do you do when you get the blues?