Birthday Wishes

IMG_5425Yesterday, I looked out the door to see if art supplies had arrived and noticed two strange looking tubes sticking out of the mailbox. As my eyes focused and my mind wheeled into gear, I realized that my paintings from the week spent painting with Antonin Passemard at the bend in a country road called Mougny, in Burgundy, had arrived. Eight canvases perfectly rolled into the tightest two tubes imaginable had safely traveled over three thousand miles. 

Today’s work became a return visit to obscure parts of the Morvan where I spent a week painting with 10 other painters from around the world, as I spread out the unrolled canvases and restretched each one in preparation for tomorrow’s  framing session. Those days spent painting barns, fields, mediaeval churches and sleepy towns unfurled in my mind as I was transported back to the pleasure and heat of that chapter of life that led up to my cancer surgery.


Come to think of it, the days of this summer have been packed just about as tightly with life as those cardboard tubes. Through the mind’s cleverness, I find myself in so many different places at once. June’s Norman countryside, Burgundian villages and vineyards are as real and vivid as Cleveland’s University Hospital and doctor’s offices. Images of this week’s birthday garden party morph into  balmy evenings spent dining in french country gardens just weeks ago. I can’t remember the first time I made a wish and blew out candles on a birthday cake.

All the same, I’m aware of wishes coming true. Deftly, I slip in and out of each place as I paint my dreams, here in my Akron studio, preparing for gallery deliveries as well as my August 30th summer’s end art sale here in the Patois garden on Dorchester. All this contorts like a Disney Fantasia scene, with the realization that in, two months time, I’ll be back in France’s mysterious Perigord and Quercy, painting winding rivers, cliffs and stone villages I haven’t seen for over two years.

That little boy who dared to daydream of castles and cottages years ago, swells with exhilaration, seeing how dreams come true.

Lazy Bones, Mougny, France. Plein air 11x14 oil on linen. Stebner

Lazy Bones, Mougny, France. Plein air 11×14 oil on linen. Stebner

3 thoughts on “Birthday Wishes

    • Our meeting was book material. As you know I’ll be back in France September 19th. Will be planning French painting tours for next June, as well. I doubt I’ll be able to do all that and go to St. Petersburg with Antonin, too.

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