August 5, 2014 – Viens is a village in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. Narrow streets wind between tall buildings that hug the steep terrain. The maze feels more suitable for bikes and feet than for automobiles. Around each turn a unique arrangement of windows, flowers, doorways and stairs offers limitless possibilities for an artist. From a single position I could paint shadowed, mysterious stone steps that hugged the wall of an adjacent building as if stepping aside to allow a car to pass … or …. I could paint a sunlit courtyard where birds gather to sing.
I felt at home in the villages and hamlets of Provence, embraced by the ancient buildings, protected while wandering the streets and alleys, stepping from sunlight into dark shadows and back again into sunlight. Even in the more populated villages, there is an underlying calm that comforts me. The history of the people and the place is recorded in the walls, the wooden shutters, the bricks and stones of the roads. The buildings accept strangers, even when strangers are not necessarily welcome. An embrace is a temporary joining of energy, turning two into one, if only for a moment.