Friday, September 24, 2010

The joy of autumn


After a few months of sunshine, roses in full bloom and blue sky, rain is coming, leaves are falling, fireplaces are lit and...Art Galleries  are putting up their best faces. Autumn is the best time of the year to get interested (again) in art.

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A few days ago I went to Bau-Xi gallery in Vancouver, for an interesting lecture and the opening of a new exhibition of a dear friend, Jamie Evrard, a very talented painter and a warm, fun, smart lady (I should say girl, because she is full of enthusiasm, curiosity and joie de vivre like a teenager or better yet like a child).


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She talked at length, and we all wished she talked longer, about the house in Tuscany where she spends a few months a year enjoying the tranquillity of the countryside and painting still life all day between long walks and long meals at neighbors houses.

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but let's hear what Jamie said:

Pentimento, the title of my show, is an artistic term meaning “the reappearance in a painting of an underlying image that had been painted over (usually when the later painting becomes transparent with age)” .
This talk, too, has something to do with the idea of Pentimento or seeing layers underneath the surface, as I have put it together by reading over my Italian diaries of the last 16 years, discovering forgotten events and feelings, selecting, deleting, and deleting again, trying to discover the trajectory, if there is one, of my last 16 years in Tuscany. I have tried to distill from hundreds of pages of diaries a selection of snippets which have made up my life in Italy: its pleasures, doubts, joys, lonelinesses, friendships, misunderstandings, tastes, laughs and sorrows.

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 and here is when she talked about the first encounter with that charming house:

We walked down a grassy carpet along the wall, turned right under a huge fig tree and continued down some ancient rocky steps with mossy grass growing between them.
Opening the ancient heavy double doors with the key we had been sent we went in. The first thing I saw was a bowl, all white, containing three pears and an apple sitting on a trunk covered with an old rug. Not a perfect apple, but one that looked as though it had rusted, and the smallest perfect golden pears. What about my first fascination being with this bowl of fruit and not the house itself. Perhaps the white bowl was a metaphor for the whitewashed empty rooms of the house, a beautiful simple container to set off whatever one would put inside it; a place for imagining. In any case, my instantly falling in love with a simple bowl of fruit was certainly a preview of what was to become my work of the next many years: painting still life in Italy. (...)

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A six hundred year old parish house has become in many ways the touchstone of my art making, for it is there in that quieter place that I have time to really stop and consider both my art and my life.
(...)  Standing here painting by the window of a darkish room, trying to convey what I see in watercolour suddenly seemed like a crazy thing to do. It would be hard for most people to understand why anyone would travel halfway around the world to a place where bed sheets need to be washed by hand in the tub in order to paint the shadows on an eggplant. Well, I’ve made my choice, and that’s what I’ve done.

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In the Fall of 1999 Jamie wrote in her diary:

What an orgy of colour in the landscape. Probably any normal person would have seen green forests and fields and noticed that the afternoon was cloudy.  To us, everything seemed tinged with purple. Weeds are going to seed--Queen Ann's lace has purple spent flowers, many plants have purple stalks, the green of the forests calls for its compliment. Grapes of deepest blue with vines which are only now beginning to turn gold. Looking down into the valley in the dusky light even the far off mountains are purple.

Only a painter can write such a vivid description of nature's beauty.

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Many of my friends were at the opening and among them Interior designer and blogger Patricia Gray and writer and blogger G.S. Sirotnik (with a very appropriate scarf...)

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Florence Roberge, a painter, who often travels to Tuscany with Jamie to find inspiration for her art.

As you can see autumn has arrived with an explosion of colors.

Photography by Albarosa Simonetti
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4 comments:

Michelle said...

Just stunning! Experiences and art...thank goodness we all have our own perspective, and hers are so full of life...love her descriptions...Looks like a fun night.

Dale at Hospitality Design Inspirations said...

Wow what an amazing artist! I love the colors she uses. So warm. Something about the paintings makes you feel good inside just by looking at them.

peggy braswell said...

I loved reading about this interesting artist/woman.Living in S. CA. it is in 90's on this Saturday, fall comes a bit later... and I am very thankful for our beautiful California weather. Thank you for your lovely post. xx Peggy Braswell

Patricia Gray said...

Hi Albarosa
It was a fun and inspiring evening and it was a treat to finally meet Jamie, as I have owned two pieces of her artwork for some years now. Seeing her paintings that evening was a feast for my eyes and her lecture a feast for my emotions.

 
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