A Specific Combination

Everything we do is influenced by thoughts and emotions, and the choices we make about those thoughts and emotions.

Those choices, thoughts and emotions, are influenced by those who are meaningful to us.

My most meaningful photograph from 2017 is this one:



It appeared in The Iconophile post – With a Pinch of Salt – on January 27th, 2017, with a quote from one of my favourite fairy tales – Salt Over Gold.

The image is of my lips with salt applied to lipstick.

I love salt. The taste and the feel of it.

I also love lips.

I have a particular passion for close-ups of lips.

Vibrantly coloured lips.



The above image is a stylised and zoomed out version of the same photograph I used for the With a Pinch of Salt post.

This particular passion for close-ups of lips began when I was about 7 years old.

Don’t worry, the reason for it isn’t sinister.

It’s not superficial either, as it goes deep into my origins as the child of an artist.

In 1975/6 my father, an artist, collaborated with Alain Bernardin and the Girls of The Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris (France) on a creative project to capture burlesque cabaret on canvas.

One of the performers at The Crazy Horse Saloon was Lova Moor, famous in particular for her magnificent lips, which my father painted several times:


La Bouche by Nicola Simbari


While I was not, as a child, allowed to go to The Crazy Horse Saloon (although Alain Bernardin did offer to let me watch the show from a special viewing area behind the scenes – my parents, who were rather prudish for bohemians, politely declined, much to my annoyance), I did get to see the paintings, both once they were done and as they took shape in my father’s studio.

They were magical and miraculous to me (luckily I was not hampered in my view by adult considerations). So much colour and life bursting out, loud and proud.

They made a significant impression upon me, as did all of my father’s work, and as did my father himself, both as an artist and as human being.

My father died in December of 2012.

I don’t own any of his work. I don’t need to, it’s all an intrinsic part of me, an influence. If I were to have one of his pieces, I would bypass all the paintings he created of me (for a child of an artist it is a regular feature of life to be a model and prop, so it’s not that big of a deal to be painted and you really don’t appreciate it at all), and choose the lips.


Nicola Simbari (edited photograph via Tutt’Art blog)


That’s a cravat my father is wearing in the photograph of him above (in case you were wondering). It was the 70’s and he was an artist. He’s all dressed up for an exhibition of his work at a gallery, which explains why he looks tired and tortured (and as though he’s about to pounce upon and eat the event photographer).

He did not like attending his one man shows.

He thought the shows should be about his work not about him.

He preferred to be at home, in his studio, wearing worn jeans and a denim shirt which were invariably covered in splotches of brightly coloured paint.


“Of course his dust would be absorbed in other living things and to that degree at least he would exist again, though it was plain enough that the specific combination which was he would never exist again.”
― Gore Vidal




6 thoughts on “A Specific Combination

  1. Oh boy I LOVE this post, the whole thing, the beautiful photos and more about your life, your father, all of it.

    What a deep talent you have, you are.

    BIG cyber hugs and Happy Holidays,

    from your follower, your friend from far away.


  2. Jennifer,
    I was just searching the Internet and ran across this article. We are the proud owners of the painting in the photo of your Dad. Years ago when we purchased, your Mom reviewed the info for me.
    Your Dad is my favorite artist!
    Warmest regards and happy new year,


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