Take it Easy

Traveling alone in a foreign country has given me inordinate amounts of time to reflect and reevaluate: maybe too much. Although the plan was to paint this little town, today I realize it’s been painting me. Two nights left at Chez Luthier and I’m starting to get the picture. I can’t imagine who will be interested, but here it is.

Do my thing. It’s all I can really do, anyway, but the little restaurants in town have hammered this one into me. Entering, I announce that I’m seul, alone,  and some nights the table for one turns into a restaurant for one, if you don’t count the owner’s dog gadding about(which I’m all about!). Or maybe six. A big night is twenty five, I’ve learned. Tables never turn. Unthinkable in a country where dining is sacrosanct.

Take my time. Rushing is over. I’ll make an effort to talk more slowly, savor the activity of the moment and not worry about what I have to do next. I’ve done enough of that for a couple lifetimes.

Simple is better. My art. My food. My relationships. Watching Pierre and Fabrice, both city boys who have settled in the country, live simply here in this house day to day has helped me clear my voice, so to speak. The things I’ve loved and love to do, I love more. The things I have to do, I’ve begun doing less grudgingly and more consistently. And the people I love, I can’t imagine living without.

Cherish the intimate. As much as I love New York City, driving to Cannet yesterday really taught me that that’s not who I am; it’s a divertisement. As beautiful as the sun, palms and ocean were, the people were rushing: maybe not American style. French style. Life’s tempo was definitely faster than andante, a walking tempo. I couldn’t wait to get “home”. I want to be able to walk through the rest of my life. And not just metaphorically, either. I’d love to leave the buggy in the barn and be walk(maybe bike) to the store, the bank, or a restaurant. I’m getting close. Part of it’s a matter of retraining myself.

Keep my business at home. The only time in my life when I felt  I had to go to work were the couple of years when I had a storefront away from home. I’ve loved having my studio at home. When the kids were growing up, I was there when they got home from school. I’d stop and snack with them, start dinner then go back and wrap things up in the pottery while they did homework. They’re grown, but that’s still my way of working.

Make a new start. The only way I see all this happening is to take a new approach to marketing. For years I did the cart and pony thing, traveling to art shows. When I was young(I hate writing those words) and did that successfully, there was no internet. New day, new blog. I’m hoping as people read about this silly artist’s life, they may become more inclined to want a slice of it. It will at least define my market! So here’s my plan: build this blog to the point I can start a Patois by Stebner art auction, like a certain Englishman in Provence. Sell one piece a day. He’s given me courage to regroup, keep it simple and be myself.

Thanks Provence.

8x10 oil, Le Chat Luthier

10 thoughts on “Take it Easy

  1. Isn’t it amazing how we find out more about ourselves in these foreign places? Not so foreign, I guess….. I felt so at home in Spain. And I’m glad you’re having a good time.

  2. I’ve really enjoyed your posts, Bruce. Since I don’t see Alan and I making it out there in the near future – if ever 😦 , this was definitely the next best thing. You’ve captured the flavor of the countryside and its inhabitants so beautifully. I’m looking forward to all of the paintings your visit has inspired! Thanks for including me in your beautiful and meaningful journey! All best, Amy

  3. Sounds like this has truly been a trip of self discovery which can only be traveled alone. I am enjoying meeting you this way.

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