I like the French word, vernissage. It means the grand opening of an art show, when ones goes to share a glass of champagne with the artists and contemplate their work. The origin of the word is the French vernis, meaning varnish--that glossy shine, the finishing touch. So it’s appropriate that we went to a vernissage for our English friend Tony Mathews, does paintings of antique French tools. We love his bold paintings, which elevate the handmade tools, which often have carved wooden handles with the initials of the maker, to the status of art. He captures their old souls.
The vernissage was in a beautiful stone cave in Sennecy-le-Grand. Another friend, Lida Baas (who is Dutch) was showing her lovely work also. It’s as different from Tony’s as can be: busts of women from history, elaborately fashioned from clay and beautifully glazed. The yin and yang of the two artists’ pieces gave the show an interesting spin.
It happens that this was our second vernissage of the day. Our very original neighbor, Marion, started painting just a month ago and has pursued it with a vengeance, uncovering a latent talent. There is a tiny, abondoned pigeonnier in our village (a little square tower), and she managed to talk the mayor into renting it to her for 1€ a year, if she and her husband Jean-Marie would fix it up. So now, with whitewashed walls and halogen lighting, it is her minuscule studio. We teased her that she should have her own vernissage, and the very next day we got our surprise invite! A table was set up with hors-d’oeuvres and fine champagne, her wonderful modern paintings were framed and hung, and the six of us (we filled the room) toasted her new career.
Salut to all our artists friends, may the inspiration keep coming and the champagne keep flowing!
Photos: At top, Tony's giant tools and one of Lida's sculptures. Above, the impromtu vernissage in the tower, that's the artist herself in the center. At left, the small tower has a cave underneath, one of Marion's larger paintings. Another of her works is pictured below.
For more info on Lida Baas's work, you can go to this site. For info on Marion Madec or Tony Mathew's work, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RECIPE: An End-of-Summer Bellini
We need a fancy but easy cocktatail for our vernissage, so here is a spin on that Italian classic, the Bellini. Add 2 ounces (60ml) of fresh peach purée to 4 ounces (120ml) of pink champagne, plus a splash of crème de pêche (if you're in France) or Peach Schnapps (if you're not). Amaretto would also work nicely. à votre santé!
In the COMMENTS: Rachel (AndThenMakeSoup blog), you have it exactly right: the truly perfectly decorated house is the one that suits YOU! (no “flunking” possible, Natalia!). Anyone who achieves that is lucky. But a lot of folks (your resident perfectionist included) sometimes have trouble transferring the look we want from our imagination and out into the room. And like Colleen (Colleen Taylor Fine Art) and Natalia, I find that “stuff”creeps in and I have to stay on top of it. Gaelle, you asked about bookshelf propping and you can read more on that if you like in this article at The Daily Basics.
On language learning: I've discovered a good new language learning site: Smart Language Learner, "How to finally Learn that New Language". Exactly!