The Move: Rumor Squelched

1435937649892OK, we really are moving. We bought and sold in a week. But not France. Almost, but no. Why? It’s true, we tried. Look up “red tape” in the dictionary and it will describe anyone outside the EU trying to take residency there. But that’s OK. It got us out of neutral and in gear for change.

All our travels there will be easier in a few weeks, when we move to our new home in Highland Square, Akron’s closest neighborhood to what we crave. A smaller, charming turn of the (twentieth) century house on a much smaller lot, where we can still have a tiny front garden and a secret little courtyard in the back, without being enslaved to its upkeep. The organic grocery, library, pharmacy, restaurants and more are all easy walking distance. Just like we were seeking in France.

10x20 Stebner painting. "Morning Sun"

10×20 Stebner painting. “Morning Sun”

Of course it isn’t France, C’est ridicule! But it’s our new adventure, all the same, just a mile from Dorchester. Crazy but true. Now when I do cross the Pond to have a proper baguette, gorge myself on French cheese(and wine) and teach painting in the French countryside, whoever housesits(Jim’s increasingly France-smitten with each visit!) will have a lot less to care for. In the meantime, I can always strike up a French conversation at the coffee shop a few blocks away with my young French teacher, Nils.

Did I mention I’ll have a painting studio on the ground level of our new digs, to boot? Pas mal, pas mal du tout!


The Final Stroke

Painting a commission is a tenuous venture. After the flattery and excitement that someone likes your work enough to hire you to paint something very special to them, you try to get to know them in as little as one meeting, so you have a chance of creating a painting which will please them. This facet of beginning the process with a client to please makes it different from any other creative venture. I’m fortunate to have pleasant clients.

I missed the mark a bit on the recent canvas you’ve been watching me paint. Only by degrees, but a few degrees can make the difference between a contented client or not. And on a personal level, it can thwart one’s confidence to judge as well as create. But then, I’m a middle child who has lived my life as a firstborn, so I own my part.

Less dahlias in the foreground, more shadows on the right and more treillage exposed on the fence- almost there.

The painting,as it stood when I sent an image to the client(see last blog post), ended up being a little too intense in hue and overly populated with plants for their taste. Hard to believe I could get carried away, isn’t it? The weekend was spent reworking those issues in preparation for a face to face viewing on Monday. Happily, I’d read the concerns accurately and our meeting Monday brought a smile to my gentle client’s face. Having tweeked one last spot to her husband’s desire since then, I should have two satisfied clients tomorrow afternoon when the delivery is made.

I’m rather liking commissions of Akron homes. As we chatted yesterday, I told Beth that, when I die, anyone who sees Akron through the eyes of my paintings of it will be quite smitten with our town. She said the painting gave her a lot to live up to in her gardening next year. That was the vote of confidence I was waiting for.