Wednesday, April 28, 2010
When I am asked how Tom and I make a living, this is what runs through my head: long distance truck drivers, roadies, art reps and over-staying house guests. This question is most often asked as I am attired in my finest party outfit, at what we refer to as a “high class tupperware party.”
Making a living as an artist is a tricky thing. Luckily years ago Tom and our clever sister-in-law Laurie came up with the notion of selling art just like one would sell tupperware: have a quality product, a lot of great friends and prepare a magical evening that creates a buzz. Ever since this notion took hold we have finagled friends to host our private art parties.
We do it all. Load the van. Drive to Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville. Unload the van. Set up the stands in the awaiting tent. Put the lighting over each and every painting. Put the paintings up. Tom puts in stronger circuit breakers to handle the mega-watt lighting. Susan fills little pastry cups with magical key lime pie mix. Tom forgets to bring nice shoes. Susan spills the dastardly key lime pie mix on her party dress. We talk it up with the party guests. Stay up late with those last guests that don’t know that Tom’s bed time is 9. Occasionally we drag the dog with us.
There are no finer people than the generous and way beyond the call of duty hosts we’ve had.
After the party and the weekend of folks trying out paintings in their homes we reverse the process. It’s a mighty long 4 - 5 days. We are way past the age when the idea of traveling around with the Stones seems the least bit glamorous. Well, maybe if they promised to have Joss Stone make a guest appearance...
Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Whether early spring finds us in France or Vermont I know the season has started in earnest when the swallows arrive. Suddenly there is a day when the sun has a new strength. There is a certain stillness to the air. Small hints that today might be the day that the swallows appear for another season. My hearing pricks with each new bird song. And then I hear it, that small trrrp trrrp. My heart stops. They’re here, they’re here! Their playful darting movements give them away against the blue sky. I feel every dip and dive of their wings, the joy of playing on the soft air. How far they have traveled. What a sense of freedom and adventure they share.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
The travel genie first made itself known to us on a late afternoon outside the gardens of Villandry. Tom had lost himself in painting these extravagant gardens well past a reasonable time to find lodging for the evening. Trying to be positive Susan helped carry painting gear to the car thinking it would be a long night sleeping cuddled up with an easel. With everything stowed in its place we settled in to figure out where we should aim for a place to stay. As Tom turned the key in the ignition we noticed a small card tucked under the windshield wiper. There was the name of a bed and breakfast with directions from the gates of Villandry to the gate of the farmhouse.
What magician had left this note here for us? How had they known we would need help at this late hour? Was there any hope that it would lead to an available bed? The tiniest chance of finding dinner?
Magic. Just go with it. And so we did.
The bed was tucked under the eaves of a converted barn, the dinner was market day fresh and the hosts were absolutely charming. We stayed for two nights.
From this evening on we have been true believers in the travel genie. Be open, follow good leads and enjoy what is at the other end.
The gardens at Villandry.
Monday, April 5, 2010
In French, a coupe de foudre is a strike of lightning. It is also used to express getting knocked over by something wonderful-- like love at first sight. That was the immediate reaction to stepping into our little house in Bourdeilles. No need to go anywhere past that front stoop. We had to have it.
Prior to checking out this in-the-village listing, we had been looking exclusively at homes in the country. The realtor had patiently been driving us from one shabby, falling down property to another. While she tended to another client in her office Tom and I sat discussing what our options were now that it seemed our dream home was going to involve a lot more money and buckets more sweat then we had thought. Suddenly one of us (we both take credit for this serendipitous, life changing moment) noticed a flier for a home that was so sweet, so perfect and right there in the village that we were becoming aware that we had to be in. Of course it wasn’t in the country and it was a bit more than we had said we wanted to pay but we had to see that house.
To add to the whole Good Karma Thing, it was a house that was always one of Tom’s favorite in the village. This house had already appeared in a number of watercolors.
Chalking it up to the impetuous nature of Americans, the realtor sighed, smiled and said she would get the keys and meet us in the morning. What would become our wonderful morning of coupe de foudre.