Painting lessons-2

"The real voyage of discovery consist not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
Marcel Proust

Wed Dec 9
6:10 a.m.
The rain taps at the window like thousands of little impatient fingers, the strong eastern wind carries the humidity to my bones, deep inside.
Leggings and long sleeve t-shirt have been taken out of closets, replacing the little silk tops of the summer.

Yesterday, i brought my first painting home, Hope wants me to finish it.
"little boats now and then, shining dots on the water, children on the beach, you could add a lot more details and give it more life, more interest, Jicky..."

For now, i like it as it is, gladly surprised that i could paint at all.
For me, the painting is whimsical, already beautiful, it's a miracle it is coming from me.

I had such pleasure painting with Hope at her house! She would paint her own compositions, cleaning house, while i would dash paint as my imagination saw it fit.
"Folk Art, you are painting folk art, was it difficult to do?"
"No, it was fun to do. I wouldn't call it difficult at all. Inspired, yes, but not difficult."
"Do you realize that some painters are requesting thousands of dollars for some of these paintings? Isn't there some type of exaggeration?"

Now i have to remember to find a canvas of the same size or bigger and let my imagination wander on it.
Now i know that I too am an artist, a painter, and if I can stay in a playing non judgmental mood, I could surprise myself with compositions of my own.
As life has taught me lately, everything is possible if i don't think it's impossible.

I am considering the mechanics: without a "chevalet" (an easel) I can place the canvas on a chair and sit in the bean bag to finish the details, or spread it between my legs for a better "hands on" experience.

Laetitia was beaming with delight on Monday. "I just realized I too can paint in front of a scenery or from a photograph, in 30 years of career i always have painted from my imagination. Yet I don't like Jeanine's paintings because they resemble photography too much, the scenery frozen as if still life."

For inspiration when i painted, i used a faded picture Hope handed me to draw the contours of mountains in the background on the canvas, in my eyes they represented SXM. I painted the sea and the shore of a beach in Anguilla, adding 2 huge trees and a blooming red flamboyant on the beach, complete with details of bride's tears covering one of the trees and the beach.
I added white and pink clouds on the sky of a different hue, wanting to convey this luminous blue to the sea (so representative of the Caribbean i love).
when i painted the details of the trees, i looked at pictures from a magazine, and Hope said: "why don't you look outside your window?"
and here were the trees, in their live splendor!  
Folk Art. So be it. I am a painter of folk art.

Leonard will be in SXM between the 15th and the 18th of December. I owe him a visit, so we can reconnect briefly like every year, embracing each other ("did you lose weight, did you put on weight since last year?"), looking deep into each other's eyes ("and how are you, really, deep down in your being?"), exchanging kids' tales, friends updates, projects and dreams for the future.
It may be all we get to have: one or two hours of conversation at the terrace of a French Cafe, coffee, tea with may be crepes or a piece of cake, the reconnecting of two souls idly chatting as if time was irrelevant, on our side this time at least.

Friendships are thus carried on the string of decades, mirroring to us our own physical and spiritual changes.
On the road of life i have accumulated such deep friendships defying the toll of years. They help defining me, strengthening at the core, confirming that love is timeless, forever owning its own breathing space, creating sanctuaries where the beloved child or friend exists forever more.
This is pure wealth, pure prosperity, vegetable soup for the soul (both Leonard and I are meat free most of the time).

A dull and gray light has surrounded me completely, hinting that the earth is quenched from the rain, after yesterday's burning afternoon heat.
Starting gray and rainy most mornings in winter, the weather turns again into a sunny Caribbean day around 10, allowing tourists their devotion to the sun on the beach.
Hope remarked yesterday that the sea water was becoming chilly again "diving in is like swimming in a river or a mountain stream."
All the fresh rain cools down the water's temperature, the tourist season announces itself, stretching until the beginning of spring.
3 months, 4 months maximum of a possible "manna", the allotted time of making money, enough to carry us on during the off season, these months when we have the beaches all to ourselves.
The supermarkets are offering now a wide array of delicacies discontinued in summer and autumn.
For residents and locals, winter time is the promise of bountiful times, summertime is the announcement of drought in weather and supplies at the food stores.

Avocados still show up now and then on market stalls spread out on week-ends around the island. Grapefruits are in high supply, sweet potatoes, tanyas, yams, pumpkin abound, promising nourishing soups and stews. To these Caribbean vegetable i add carrots and leeks (imported) to reminisce about my days in France.
Being French-Caribbean promises a marriage of food taste i love inventing with the choice at hand.

Last night's dinner was my daughter's favorite: cubes of potatoes stirring in the frying pan with lots of butter and olive oil, adding chopped garlic the last 5 mn of cooking; the hearty fragrance carrying tales of delightful family meals shared with children, husbands and friends.
A life line is told in pungent smell of home cooked dinners, olive oil and garlic speaking of Mediterranean fares, French accents, happiness shared.

Here, i have missed the harvest of wild mushrooms in autumn, will not see the stalls of French supermarkets crammed with tangerines, oysters, foie gras, marrons glaces, cheese and Xmas chocolates. All these are now tales of a culture i have left behind to fully embrace a British/American/Caribbean cultural food choice.

Times are changing, time has defined who i am and i still welcome the changes to come, whatever they will bring with them. I cannot despair, life in itself has become the biggest gift I can hold.
There is no sense of lack when gratitude unfolds inside of you. 

Meditation has started its profound changes in my psyche and my body. A new experience i welcome with gratitude.

Merci. Merci. Merci


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