Threads of our stories move with us through our lives – from childhood to middle age. Fresh, raw experience turns into deeper understanding and reflection. We ask different questions at each landing. Some of the sheer, sensory experiences from other times and places hang in the rafters of my memory – stirring emotions – raising goosebumps…making me laugh or cry.
Truly, it can just be the light…the light of a landscape, a city anchored in its geography, a certain latitude, the atmosphere that is slightly different in one place from another.
I have been going back to my life’s moments in France. It is a place that has woven itself into my story. To study art and live in southern France in the 1980’s, as a college student, impressed upon me the riches of immersing my senses in a place…with its people. As I adjusted to four and a half months of life and work there, I expanded and contracted, listened – learned a new language, saw, felt, smelled and tasted deeply of that place.
In the south, the small village of Lacoste and its surrounding valleys were rough, scratchy, imperfect, places. As students, we hiked out of the village, set up our drawing boards and used fat bamboo “pens” that had a long angled cut at one end, which we dipped into ink…to interpret the hundred year old oaks onto our paper. During the hot part of the Provencal day, the tangled oak trees created shade, so it wasn’t a bad place to be working. Here is one of the bamboo pen and ink drawings, (circa early 80’s), from one of the days deep in the grove. The original is at my parent’s home…so I can pause and look sometimes and remember and feel that place.
We spent time with the farmers and painted in their vineyards, almond groves and around their olive trees. But really, these are details for another story and images for other paintings.
Any trip that I’ve made to France has included time in Paris. Time by myself, times with friends, other trips with my husband and daughter. I finished this painting recently, after looking and looking at a photograph I had made from the window of our tiny, cubicle-of-a-hotel room one night, north of Place de la Republique. The 10th arrondissement of the city was waking up, and I could hear the footsteps of people below, produce crates hitting the street, bike bells and bits of conversation and a car horn or two.
A thread, a moment of light, in a city that I love. I carry a little of it with me…always.
“le matin (morning) – 10th arrondissement – Paris” is now hanging at Le Panier French Bakery in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. It is on a 7/8″ deep canvas, 20″x 10,” that I painted with a warm, orange-red under-painting. You can see bits of the color popping through and the edges of the canvas are painted the warm tone. $475, unframed. It would look good in a floater frame too. Please contact me if you are interested. email; firstname.lastname@example.org
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