7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #60: Featuring Nicoletta Ceccoli

h1 April 27th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: Eisha and I were almost left speechless when we saw the illustrations we’re featuring today, ones from Italian illustrator Nicoletta Ceccoli. But not speechless enough to tell you a bit about her visit this morning to 7-Imp.

Back at the beginning of March, I reviewed Kate Bernheimer’s The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum (Schwartz & Wade, February ’08). That review is here. I was so taken with Ceccoli’s illustrations in this title—and then I visited her website and fell in love a bit more—that I took a chance on contacting her to see if we could feature her one Sunday. Lucky for me, she reads and speaks English, and she said yes! About the mermaids above, Nicoletta told us: This is a “sample proof I did for an upcoming book I’m illustrating for Houghton Mifflin, titled Dignity of Dragons . . . it will be all about mythological creatures . . . it is a very interesting theme for me. I also wanted to show you some work taken from a show I had last year in a Seattle gallery, Roq La Rue . . . these works (the tower and the angel) are not done for a story or a book.”

Utterly sublime, I tell ya. And keep your eyes out, because Nicoletta told us, “I am also working on a 3D animation film for character studies and backgrounds for a French production (the director will be Mathias Malzieu and the producer will be Luc Besson). The title will be La Mecanique du Coeur, quite a new experience for me.” I did some reading, and it turns out this is an album by the French rock band, Dionysos. Here’s the album’s MySpace page, and here’s even more info on the album and the film adaptation in the works, of which Nicoletta speaks.

Many, MANY thanks to Nicoletta for sharing her art work with us all this morning. If you like what you see, my review of The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum includes a spread from the book, used with permission from the publisher. So, there’s more Nicoletta goodness over there.

As a reminder, our weekly 7 Kicks list is the meeting ground for listing Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week — whether book-related or not — that happened to you (as well as featuring artists like Nicoletta). You — yes, you reading now — are more than welcome to leave your kicks from the week, whether you’ve ever done so before or not.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). Nicoletta’s art work! I can’t stop looking at the water in the first image.

2). Jama Rattigan dedicated a post to me and Eisha. Kickin’!

3). I know, I know . . . you’re probably tired of me talking about Sam Phillips. But the countdown to the release of her newest CD continues. And I keep finding little surprises everywhere, such as stumbling upon a new song from the forthcoming CD at YouTube. Yes, this—and the wonderfully weird concoction under it—passes as a video for someone who is rather media-shy like she is. Don’t expect a manic, hyperactive, state-of-the-art video (thank heavens). I love the song. I love the old sound board. I love these quirky videos.

Did I just say “quirky”?

If you listen to the song (the first video), do yourself a favor and turn it up loud. (As a reminder, this is my Favorite Musician Of All Time. As Esther said about Doreen in The Bell Jar, “everything she said was like a secret voice speaking straight out of my bones.” Yup, I bet you’re tired of me talking about Sam, but that’s how her music is for me.)

For Earth Day, Sam also re-worked an older song called “Black Sky,” and it’s the first song right now that plays at her MySpace site. The second verse to that song has always been a favorite.

It’s just a good time right now to be a Sam fan. We Sam fans don’t get to say that often.

4). The score from “There Will Be Blood,” which I finally saw. (Oh, and this acting, but come on. That goes without saying.) One of my favorite pieces from one of my favorite composers—Fratres by Arvo Pärt—was used in the film. And then the score impressed me so much, I went and read that it was created by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. Here’s the story for anyone who cares.

5). This week’s co-post with Adrienne about demented picture books and all the bigger issues underlying the topic. Oh, and Adrienne sent me an ARC of Cynthia Rylant’s Hansel and Gretel, illustrated by Jen Corace (to be published in September by Hyperion). It’s just as good as she said—and for all the reasons she already named. As Adrienne pointed out over at her post, the book opens with, “It has been said that guardian spirits watch over and protect small children, and that may be so. But there are also stories of children who find the courage to protect themselves.” Damn skippy. Adrienne won’t even let me send it back to her. It’s very kind of her to share.

6). Stopping by with my girls to surprise my husband at work and having lunch with him this week.

7). My cousin’s daughter, a freshman in college now, sending me the sweetest message of hello after visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee, saying it made her think of me.

7½). Having a little bit more confidence in my job these days, for different reasons.

Here’s a bonus: Anyone else seen Nicholas Fehn, the faux political comedian played by Fred Armisen on SNL? I’m sorry, this makes me laugh so hard. I know people like this — who talk a lot but never really say anything. What a clever little comedy sketch (sorry ’bout the ad at the end and the glaring TOYOTA bit):

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

Jules, you can talk about Sam Phillips all you want as long as you keep posting those videos. And you’re right, that post you did with Adrienne was excellent. I know you guys worked on that for ages, and it was totally worth it for the rest of us.

Mmm… wine. Lots and lots of wine. Lots and lots and lots of wine.1* Those mermaids. And the girl in the tower. And the winged girl on the swing. So beautiful!

2* Jama’s Tea Party, which Jules already mentioned. It had all my favorite things: Alice, the Beatles, the Monkees, T.S. Eliot, and all our blog friends. Perfect! Thank you, Jama.

3* I got a new suit, and it was a total bargain.

4* I’ve made good progress on the library project at work, and learned a lot in the process.

5* Saturday, we went with our neighbors (The Poets Upstairs) on a Wine and Herbs tour. The local wineries do this every spring: you get a ticket beforehand, and at each winery you visit you get a free potted herb, plus a sample of food made with the herb. Oh, and wine. Lots and lots of wine-sampling. It was a great way to find a bunch of new favorites, and now we have a shelf-full of plants.

Oh, and herbs, too.6* The weather was gorgeous for most of the day, too – until we got home, when we got a huge thunderstorm. Perfect nap scenario: late afternoon, full of rich food, fuzzy from wine, and rain. I slept for about 3 hours.

7* Actually, the weather has been gorgeous all week, and the sunshine coinciding with the next-to-last week of classes has caused all the college students to lose their minds. This past week I’ve seen: an entire living room’s worth of furniture sitting on a lawn, including a white Queen Anne-style sofa; an inflatable kiddie-pool sqeezed onto a front porch that was almost exactly the same size; students camping on the quad for Malaria Awareness Day; and students lying down in the grass and rolling down a steep grassy slope. I love living in a college town.

What are your kicks this week?

33 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #60: Featuring Nicoletta Ceccoli”

  1. I got to play with an owl!!!!
    We went to a castle this weekend and they had a birds of prey exhibition and I got to be nose-to-beak with a huge bird, and it studied me like I was the most interesting thing it had ever seen. And then they told me it was perfectly legal to own a bird of prey in the UK. Oy, dangerous – I may never come home.

    I never know what is ‘kick-worthy’ but I was grinning so hard I was nearly crying and wanting to laugh and jump up and down about that owl — let me know I was in some serious happy. That, and seeing sunshine did me good this weekend.

    Also, after a day of angsting, I finally figured out that the novel I was writing is not the novel that I thought I was writing — and it suddenly righted itself, and I am …relieved, a little sad that it’s not yet time to tell the story I thought I was telling, but happy that I am brave enough to really look and see it. And that sounds weird, but what the heck.

    My first kick — thanks for coming up with this idea ages ago.

  2. Jules and Eisha,

    Happy Sunday!

    I absolutely love Nicoletta Ceccoli’s art! I have some of the books she’s illustrated. Her illustrations in LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD and THE PRINCESS AND THE WHITE BEAR KING are dreamy.

    Grace Lin visited my children’s literature class last Thursday. Grace, my students, and I spent an hour discussing THE YEAR OF THE DOG, some of Grace’s other books, her family, and her not-yet-published fantasy novel. Later, Grace and I had a leisurely dinner together.

    I’ve had a wonderful time with the students in my children’s literature course this semester. We have had some interesting in-depth discussions about children’s books and education. I’m almost sorry to see the semester end.

    My husband and I indulged ourselves last night with a lovely dinner that included lobster tails and a bottle of Prosecco.

    I wrote last week that I had begun work on a new collection of poems. (I’ve written about ten poems so far.) I got really positive feedback from a friend who writes and illustrates children’s books.

    Although I still haven’t gotten my laptop back, the tech was able to put some of my files on a CD. That meant I didn’t have to spend many hours grading my students’ course projects a second time.

  3. I forgot that I do have another kick of the week. Two more of my favorite children’s authors have consented to do interviews with me for Wild Rose Reader.

  4. Wine and Herb Tour? Sign me up!

    1) Your featuring Nicoletta made me realize that The Girl in the Castle in the Museum is the perfect book to give to my sister for her birthday this week.

    2) My brother is visiting. We knocked around golf balls on Friday—I wouldn’t exactly call it “playing golf” but we did make it through 18 holes and the weather was fantastic.

    3) My son’s boat took third in their race yesterday, their first ribbon as a boat together, and their first time under five minutes. And this was after their normal boat hit a log in practice and they had to switch to a new boat.

    4) Is eating two hot dogs too mundane? I don’t know; I never eat them, and yet, all warm from the grill with some pickle relish…yum.

    5) Anybody back to watching The Office? It’s still funny, thank goodness. Jim’s fake-out proposal just cracked me up. (That was last week, though, wasn’t it?)

    6) Lots and lots of sushi last night.

    7) I bought myself a pencil skirt with olive green polka-dots on it. So, so cute.

  5. Greetings from Portland. I had trouble posting last week.Tried several times. My favorite is the girl in tower and angel.
    Jules, how fun to surprise your husband with lunch and Eisha, hooray for naps. Sarah, how funny you had a hot dog this week, my husband was craving them and treated himself to one yesterday.
    My kicks:
    1. Last week, I saw the amazing art photography of my friends’ daughter at her U of WA senior art show in Seattle.
    2. Yesterday was warm and lovely, a nice break from this cold spring.
    3. Watching my husband get serious about greening up the lawn for the granddaughters to ply on in the back yard.
    4. Rufus hummingbirds have returned.
    5. Students are finishing their poem postcards and are ready to send them out.
    6. The original artwork for Gantos’ Rotten Ralph arrived and will be on display at my school in May.
    7. Planning our trip to Bryce National Park and Flagstaff in June.
    Have a great week.

  6. Hello!

    Wow. Nicoletta’s art is so dreamy and ethereal. Love those mermaids. And yay for Sam Phillips (even though the second video is quite strange). Wine and herbs tour? Fabulous idea! And Tadmack, I can relate to your owl love. We see them here from time to time, and they are mesmerizing.


    1. Jules and Adrienne’s Demented PB post. It was like the best discussion ever on this topic.

    2. I found and photographed a land tortoise in our back yard — he was eating bird seed. He posed for me and I thanked him.

    3. Grace Lin will be my Tea Party guest of honor this week. I am such a huge fan of her work, and she said Dumpling Soup was one of her all-time favorite books, and was an inspiration for The Ugly Vegetables!

    4. Am reading and enjoying Mitali Perkins’ First Daughter books.

    5. Our dogwoods are blooming!

    6. My husband has been in London all week, and yesterday he reunited with a good friend who attended our wedding 30 years ago. It’s a kick for me because we had lost touch and I found the friend via the internet and re-established contact.

    7. Watching “Miss Potter” again, and seeing the cool special features on the DVD. I miss the Lake District!

    Glad you enjoyed the Mad Poet’s Tea Party.

    Have a fabulous week!

  7. TadMack, great news all-around. Castle-visiting, owl-enjoying. Progress on a novel. Kick-worthy, indeed. And, no, it doesn’t sound weird, what you said about the book. Makes perfect sense.

    One of my good friends handles birds at the zoo and lets us see owls and other birds up close, behind the scenes. I was closer than I wanted to be to a skunk last time we visited, too. But I think he was de-odored, or whatever it’s called.

    Elaine, can’t wait for the new interviews! I covet your job, too. I wanna do that one day. And congrats on the good feedback on your poetry.

    Sara, have fun with your brother’s visit. And I think we should see a pic of that pencil skirt.

    Jama, I’d like to see “Miss Potter” one day. Congrats on the Grace Lin interview. That’ll be a good read.

    My new kick is that showing my oldest Nicoletta’s mermaid picture inspired us to sit down and read Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. When the sea witch cuts out her tongue? Ouch. I think Piper’s eyebrows shot up off her face.

  8. Jone, I just released your kicks from spam and then last week’s, too! I’m so sorry spam ate them, but they are free now and at last week’s post. I’m gonna go read ’em in a minute.

    WOOT for the original Rotten Ralph art work! Very exciting. As are hummingbirds (one of my favorite animals) and this lovely spring weather. We’ve got it here, too, and we’re building a nice swingset for the girls in our backyard this weekend. The oldest keeps saying she’ll have her very own park in the backyard. It’s not that big, but it is very club-house like. Which is the best when you’re four.

  9. TadMack, I totally get it. At my last library, we had a guy who we hired every year from a bird rescue/rehabilitation place to bring owls and other birds of prey for the kids to see up close. So, so fascinating. And congrats on the book epiphany.

    Elaine, Grace Lin is writing a fantasy novel? I am so intrigued – you’re so lucky to have the inside scoop!

    Sara, the right hot dog at the right time is a kick to beat all others. Nothing is too mundane here.

    Jone, I’m jealous – I’ve always wanted to explore out west, and Bryce sounds lovely. Take pics!

    Jama, yay for dogwoods! I miss them since I’ve moved up north. And I’m eager to see your tea party with Grace, too.

  10. I’m going to post my kicks quickly, before I head out the door, and then come back later to read everyone else’s. This is my chance to post before comments are in the twenties!

    1) My husband assembled our deck furniture yesterday. This is such good news. We have a small house with an “eating nook” instead of a dining room, and guests often have to eat with their plates on their laps. Now, we can actually have people sit at a TABLE in good weather. Huzzah!

    2) Dan Zanes in concert. Need I say more?

    3) The new Recess Monkey album arrived yesterday, months ahead of its release date, because we attended one of the recording sessions. Rawk!

    4) The chords to “Yellow Submarine” are so easy.

    5) I planted a new trillium yesterday. Trillium are kind of my thing, and I’m hoping that they will spread throughout my shade garden over the years.

    6) I just have to mention the new deck furniture again. We can actually sit outside now.

    7) Seedlings are poking up where I was concerned that they’d just stubbornly remain dormant in dirt piles.

  11. I haven’t caught up with backposts yet (holidays and guests are fun but very time consuming!) but am sneaking away to do this list. I’ll come back and listen to Sam later, Jules!

    The illustrations today are really really beautiful! And Eisha, I’m now craving wine and herbs, what a great idea for a day out. My list:

    1. All of our recent travel. I’m digging this easy travel to a multitude of countries thing.
    2. Despite weather forecasts predicting doom and gloom we had spendid sunny days on our holidays
    3. Staying in a village that had a very dracula-looking castle overshadowing it, and having a waitress serve us who was clearly on her way to becoming one of the living dead
    4. Getting to eat yummy European food such as decent bread (I’m sorry but the cliches about poor bread quality in Britain are true, much to my shock and dismay)
    5. When we came home after 6 days away my flower seeds had all started sprouting!
    6. Yesterday I went to my first genuine English jumble sale. No Bishop’s Birdstump, and it was very very small (local church) but I bought a milk jug and glass cookie jar for 75p!
    7. Leaves are finally returning to most trees, so everything it looking green and fresh. It never occurred to me that for so much of the year there wouldn’t be leaves on the trees so it is so nice to see them here again!
    8. I have to sneak in an extra kick to say I’ve just gone to look at bluebells in a local wood and they’re even prettier than I imagined they would be. I get why everyone loves them now!

  12. Wow! She’s super talented. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. Alkelda, congrats on the deck furniture. I covet that.

    Emmaco, may I please somehow live as you for just one day?

    Kelly, yeah, aren’t Nicoletta’s illustrations something else?

  14. Wow! I’m late, late, late today. I have a boy waiting to read The Talented Clementine for bed, so I have only a minute to write.

    The best thing I can say about the week is that I won TWO books from Elaine in her poetry giveaways — one last Sunday and one today. Woohoo!

    And I suppose my other kick is that the semester is officially over. Finals ahead and then the sweet days of summer. Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to sound as “gloaty” as it does, but I am very happy.

  15. OMG, OMG! The artwork is beautiful!

    We took the girls to visit the Virginia/D.C. area. It is so awesome!

  16. The picture with the tower *looks* like it should have a story, doesn’t it? Lovely.

    Sara, I am dutifully going to the gym every Thursday night so I can watch The Office while riding the exercise bike. I wear headphones, and I have these periodic moments of self-awareness while I’m gasping with laughter where I notice that a lot of people at the gym are for some bizarre reason NOT watching The Office and staring at me laughing instead.

    My kicks:
    1. Posting the co-blog with Jules this week and emailing back-and-forth and seeing everyone’s responses was way fun.
    2. The weather was mid-June good here this week, and I saw some craziness like Eisha did around here as well, although no one put their furniture in the front yard. Sadly.
    3. Yesterday, I got my first fresh asparagus of the year.
    4. My father-in-law fixed a few problems with my lawn mower, and now it’s like a brand-new thing. I mowed half the lawn today.
    5. I went all crazy and bought three new pairs of shoes yesterday. I blame the weather. (They’re all awesome shoes, though, and I love them, and I don’t even care.)
    6. One of my co-workers brought me back a copy of the brand-spanking-new Amelia Rules book signed by Jimmy Gownley from the NY Comic-Con.
    7. I made some really good progress on digging myself out of the mess in my office at work.

    All-in-all, a very good week.

  17. Alkelda, I also covet your deck furniture. It’s perfect weather for eating outside here.

    emmaco, I just want to come hang out with you. Love the castle and the zombie waitress. Sorry you didn’t find the bishop’s birdstump – guess you’ll have to do a bit of time travelling.

    Hey, Kelly. Isn’t she, though?

    Tricia, those are good kicks, indeed: Free books, and summer’s here. Gloat away.

    Vivian, how great! Were the cherry trees blooming?

    adrienne, I fully support your shoe purchases. And mmmm… asparagus.

  18. 1. Fresh eggs from a friend with chickens!
    2. Fresh egg and toast breakfast sandwiches, with just the right amount of butter on the toasted Dave’s Killer Bread.
    3. Working in the yard, weeding the gardens, while birds were visiting both feeders and the dogs lay in the grass to keep me company.
    4. Finishing the new James Lee Burke book, Tin Roof Blowdown.
    5. Shaving 2 minutes off of my 4 mile run!
    6. Those beautiful mermaids!
    7. Getting a new seedling from a friend!

  19. Yum, rmpreston, that egg sandwich sounds delicious. I need to find a local friend with chickens…

  20. Tricia, congrats on the almost-end of the semester.

    Vivian, I’m still glad you all had such a great time on that trip.

    Adrienne, that was one of my favorite posts ever — the demented books, that is. And mmmm….fresh asparagus.

    Rmpreston, #2 is my favorite breakfast, though I don’t get fresh eggs from a chicken and am not sure what Dave’s Killer Bread is. Anyway, every single dang morning I eat eggs on buttered toast. Mmmmm…… Thanks for visiting.

  21. Hi, Jules & Eisha!

    These illustrations are beautiful…they remind me of Mark Ryden’s work, which is WAAAAY freakier, but so compelling. Check him out – http://www.markryden.com/.

    My kicks will extend into today (Monday):
    1. I just slept in until 10:30a. Unheard of and delicious!
    2. It is supposed to be 60° today in Jackson, and almost all of the snow in my yard is gone. Grilling and mojitos tonight in celebration of almost spring-like temperatures!
    3. We took a little road-trip to Fort Hall, Idaho yesterday & played at their Indian casino. Terry blew through his allotted funds, but I ended up walking out with money in my pocket. Not ahead, but not broke. Sometimes I need mindless gaming!
    4. The new show we have been slaving over for the last three weeks opened on Friday night and seemed to go very well – it’s a brand new work, and the audiences seem to be enjoying it.
    5. The director of the show gave Terry & I some gorgeous hand-painted wine glasses for opening. So gorgeous I am afraid to use them!
    6. I was showered with praise during tech of the show. I needed that. I don’t always know that I’m doing a good job.
    7. Two days off with my honey! Whoohoo!

  22. Hi, Tracy! WOOHOO for #6. Well-deserved, no doubt. What’s the show? (Of course, I could always go to the theatre’s web site and look).

    I bet Spring’s gonna be gorgeous there! When can I visit? Oh yeah, when I have enough spending money for travel-for-four. Then, I’ll visit you — and Eisha in Ithaca, too.

  23. I only have one really big kick; I HAVE A NEW (used) CAR!!!! Unfortunately, because I mooch off of the state (apparently when your kidneys don’t work anymore, Medicare takes their place…fascinating!) I had little to choose from to begin with, but we lucked way the frak out and found an almost all convirtible-selling dealership down the street from my dialysis clinic. (drumroll)
    BIG KICK: I now own a 2001 Isuzu Rodeo Sport (mini suv) with a moon roof for the folks up front AND a moon roof for the folks in back!!!
    Now I just have to get used to being behind the wheel again. I wen almost all winter without driving, but will be working my way up to road-tripping. Maybe even to Wyoming, since I have 4WD!
    sidenote kick: That Julie doesn’t hate me for being out of communication enough to, well, not communicate with me.
    Hmmm… that should definitely have gone before the car kick!
    All my love to your lovely nuclear family. When you’ve morphed into “The Oblongs”, let me know, cause then you’ll REALLY be nuclear! (pronounced, by George W. “nuke-yew-ler”)

  24. MLuh!!! HI! Of course I don’t hate you. I could have called you, too. I was being too literal about ML-will-call-me-back. After half a year passes, I should give up on that notion and contact you myself.

    Uh, I guess we can take this conversation off-line. Rather, off-blog. But, in the meantime, happy new car — a mini-SUV? No way. Moon roof. That’s even fun to say but probably way more fun to own.

  25. Lovely work. I keep checking for GIRL…MUSEUM… at the library, but so far, no luck. Thanks for the bonus images. I do so love butterfly wings and swings!

    My seven kicks from last week:
    Visiting friends I haven’t seen in years
    Attending a playwrights festival
    Writing on a scrap of paper at intermission
    Paying 13 dollars for 26 items one day and 47 cents for a bag of groceries the next day
    Finishing two new websites for others
    Refusing to allow cancelled plans rain on my parade
    Knowing what’s best for me

  26. LW, kick #3 is mighty cryptic. But cryptic is good.

  27. I love the leftmost mermaid! Her tail looks like a robin’s egg.

  28. Nicoletta’s work is TDF! To Die For!

  29. Not nearly as cryptic as you think, Jules! I was compiling a list of scenes I have written and scenes I have to write for a play.

  30. Nicoletta’s work takes illustration to a new level. Absolutely beautiful.

  31. […] in April of last year when Italian illustrator Nicoletta Ceccoli stopped by one Sunday to share some art work — and […]

  32. […] an early copy and contacted Nicoletta about sharing some art from it. (You may remember that she visited 7-Imp in 2008, and in fact, she shared in that post some spreads from this book, telling me at that time that the […]

  33. […] readers will recognize her work. She first stopped by here in 2008 to share some art and say a few words. I then featured her illustrations here from Kate […]

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