Friday, December 28, 2012

Walking in Maxfield Parrish

Do remember the moment when you first fell in love with art?

I do. 

I would have been around eight years old and my parents took me to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. 

My Mom had to finally pull me away from the paintings of Claude Monet as I was truly mesmerized, having never seen something that spoke so clearly to my young romantic self. The one who would hide in her oak panelled closet to read for hours, believe in ghosts and create imaginary worlds.

I was still unformed and uninformed. 

What I liked was because...well, just that. Chords were struck, simple internal music.

Slowly, I taught myself about painting and sculpture but with it came the pressure of snobbery. "Oh, I can't possibly enjoy *fill in the blank*." I would waiver, then abandon. Monet, Erté and Maxfield Parrish to name a few, all deemed entirely too commercial by the New York Citified version of me. 

And yet the other evening, it was Mr. Parrish that came to mind as I strolled outside of Les Baux with Remi and Ben. His colors entirely lit the hills on fire without the slightest hint of menace. Or getting burnt. And so his sweet stories of possibility wrapped around me. I let them.

How grateful I am to have doubled back in some way, almost to where I started. To see, to appreciate, to wonder without caring why.

Do you remember your first brush with art? What did it give you?

Wishing you all a very fine weekend...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Palate Cleanser, Part two

I thought that it might be time for another Palate Cleanser for those of us that have had our fill of goose and foie gras, whose ears are still ringing with the jangle of tinsel and the whiz of Jingle Bells.

So, let's close our eyes for a moment and try to conjure a splash of sun on our faces. 

It is a warm autumn day in the village of Vachères in the Luberon. 

Remi, Ben and I have been determined to discover every single village within a reasonable radius of our cabanon rental and so have found ourselves here after a bit of pointing and tracing on the map.

The authentic calade stone paving, a rarity, pulls us along and eventually, apart.

Vistas beckon and I answer.

Ben is eventually sent down to find me, to pull me out of my reverie...

...and vain efforts of trying to smoosh down the light so that it will fit into my little black box.

When I am lead back to Remi, he is doing what he does best...

...transforming a ruin into an imaginary castle, just for two.

The bees swarm threateningly around us, wishing to guard their treasure trove of fallen prunes... wistfully we move on, continuing to steal glances of inner lives...

...and outward barriers of time's warriors as we go.

I wish to also extend un grand remerciement to all of you who left such kind Holiday Wishes. Thank you so very, very, very much.
A lovely day was had by all.
Remi, Ben and I are about to head out for a much needed walk in the country.
Hoping that you are able to relax and find a bit of peace, wherever you are...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ben's Christmas Greeting

Hello everyone! My friend Ben has a special Christmas Greeting for you:

Got that? This is a special time of year with so much joy in the air. A lot of memories too. So please remember to be generous and give...

...of your heart. That is all that matters! We all have so much to be grateful for. 

From our household to yours, a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!
Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men...and dogs.

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's beginning to look...

...a lot like Christmas. Everywhere you go...


The place du Forum has been transformed into erstwhile skating rink where Friday night teens laugh a little too loudly...

...while the more mature of the lot watch and smoke with casual glances at the hoops and hollers.

It is quiet nonetheless. Most of the cafés are already stacking their chairs...

...a few shops remain open... tempt well-dressed (Constance bag toting) shoppers with their wares...

...but tonight is the beginning of the "Drôles de Noêl", yes, the town's Christmas celebration...

...and the Place de la Republique is decked in fir finery, waiting for the families to arrive...

...but a trail of lights...

...lead me all the way home.

It is nearly eight at night and I am waiting for my honey to arrive from a photo shoot in Grenoble. Once he is here, the holidays will really begin.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bits of peace in Uzes

Do you have friends that you know you are incapable of having just a quick visit with and basta cosi? Our friends in Nimes are of that sort. Actually, one of the very first of our meetings was the (in)famous ten hour day to night "lunch" (do not click on the link if you are hungry, be warned). Similarly, they were the instigators of The Wine Tree Incident, one of the most joyful, only in Provence type days I have had in the seven years of being in this incredible region.

So I knew that I was in good hands on Saturday night. I could trust them to take me as I was and not have to cancel the repas de Noêl that we had planned. A raclette had been promised and oh my it was delivered. The Muscat flowed like a river. Focusing on constructing each bite of just melted cheese with the right amount of smoked ham and potatoes distracted me and the conversation bubbled around me. They did not bring up the recent events, for which I was deeply grateful. The raspberry sorbet buche glacée de Noêl that I had brought was served after we had finally each hit our own moment of "Assez!" We had decided to stay over in advance--with Ben in tow--and at some point after the three AM mark, I excused myself and tottered off down the hall as tango music quietly echoed through their cavernous apartment.

After such a long evening, I would have been surprised if anyone else had brightly proposed that we spend Sunday together as well but not our dear friends. I suggested a visit to Uzes, one of my very favorite villages in the South of France, most especially at Christmas time when it takes on a special glow, one largely free of the rampage of tourists that block its cobble-stone streets in summer. The weather was so kind to us that we could sit outside under the arcade of the Place aux Herbes at a...burger joint. Yes, it was not as if we hadn't eaten enough the evening before (as we all kept joking to each other impishly). I was, of course, the only person at the table to actually eat the burger with my hands instead of knife and forks manipulated with delicate precision. Afterwards, we did need to stroll as long as our legs could carry us. And I wanted to share the beauty that surrounded us, so for a first, I am presenting the photos that I took...with my iphone. Sigh. Not the same but hopefully it will do the job. Sending thoughts of peace out over and over again, even if it is just a tiny moment of it like my friends and loved ones offered me with patience and understanding. I wanted you to feel it too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

In dark days

I know that on the other side of darkness... light.

I'm just not able to make that turn yet.

My tears won't fall and I am numb with grief for the families of the victims in Newton. Somehow I was doing pretty well until last night because I just couldn't fully understand what happened. And then I did.

How is everyone doing?

I am sending prayers of Love and Strength. I bet you are too.

PS. Big Little Wolf has provided a heads up about this excellent article by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times that offers some realistic possibilities for gun control.