Joie de Vivre in Burgundy
Navigating through “La Route des Grands Crus”, is like nothing I have ever seen before and never does it cease to amaze me. Bright and luscious are the green myriad of countless vineyard blocks against the clear cerulean blue sky. At a closer look, while frolicking through the blocks, I admire the intricate leaf shapes of the coveted Pinot Noir. I notice the soil, rocky, and silty, and I pick up the little stone, and feel its roughness, and bring it to my nose so I can smell its “minerality” before slipping it into my pocket. The trunks of the vine, with their paper-delicate layers of bark pieces, as if pasted on, flaying almost in the wind, are the same tones that make up most of my work; grays, charcoal, umber, cream — feels like home.
Georgia O’Keeffe once said,
“Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time…”
Her words resonate in me like never before. The importance of observation, and awareness not only in art, but in my life. I am old enough to look back and to be nostalgic about how I lived in a non-digital world. It was slower, perhaps more meaningful, and real. In today’s fast paced one, I feel bombarded by information, social media posts, or the pressure of keeping up with the “pack” in what seems to be a global pastime of branding oneself, or posting about ones life, and family. It’s exhausting.
When in France, it’s different. Burgundy is perfect for being present. Its rural, beautiful, and the food and wine is gastronomically yummy. The people are salt of the earth; they are real, without pretense or airs—refreshing. Sébastien and I go to Burgundy, every other year with clients and friends and we see the land Sébastien calls home from a native’s perspective. We visit incredible cellars, boutique wineries, old chateaux, notable museums, 12th century structures and relics, including Christiane and Jacques’s (Sebastien’s parents) incredible chapel, which is attached to their home in the Hamlet of Les Celliers.
We exercise “joie de vivre” like the locals, and taste great wine. Through it all, I draw and sketch what I see, and perceive. The visual images keep me from forgetting memorable moments, and they always spark a feeling of nostalgia when I review them months and years later. And occasionally, I’ll take the time to touch the little stone, feel its roughness, and bring it to my nose so I can smell its “minerality” as I leaf through the pages of my sketchbook…alas, I am in Burgundy again.