14 May 2020

Manon from Nancy in Paris

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 6 May, 2020, 30 X 25 cm

This from last week, came quickly at the end of the session. The sky wasn't quite glowing but there was still something there so I threw up another board and I painted this mostly from memory, if truth be told.

I could hardly see the colours on the palette with my glasses which are outside of my prescription by almost twenty years. There are for long distance, and when the light fades I can no longer focus very well. But, I am attached to them maybe even for sentimental reasons. I had bought them in the Marais when I had gone to Paris to visit a girlfriend years ago but she had dumped me so I decided to stay for a few days in a small hotel I liked in Montparnasse. It was wintertime, and cold and snowing all day when I stopped into the small shop where I found the glasses I would buy and still wear. The saleswoman chatted me up, I think. Her name was Manon and she was from Nancy in the East which I had driven through in 1970 on my Triumph motorcycle while making my way through Europe when I was really even more young and foolish. We talked and talked, went for a drink, then we went for dinner. Much much later I walked the frigid streets all the way to Montparnasse arriving at dawn. It was what youth does. I had a wonderful weekend with Manon of Nancy in Paris, and so when I wear these glasses I sometimes either think of Manon or Paris depending on the mood. 

The light in this small picture also feels quite frigid to me tonight. Everything about it is cold; from the emerald green sea to the pale Prussian blue with a hint of citron over the horizon, and on to the cold pink in the sky above. It is a chilly painting, and right at this moment it transports me back to the memory of a youthful Paris years ago when life seemed simpler.

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