La Maison Verte Travels Part 4

Day 9 was supposed to be Paris day, but after we woke up early and drove to Provins to catch the train in, it turned out that the train strikes canceled the train and the next one wouldn't be for three hours.  It was also pouring out.  So Paula canceled her doctor's appointments and I took a nap back at the house.  Paula and Adrian later went to pick up their daughter, Ariel, at the airport and said the weather was awful and there was a truck that went off the road into a ditch.  We later heard the Louvre and several other major institutions closed and were moving storage from basements.  So I went back to working in the studio!  I did get to meet Ariel that afternoon, which was lovely, and then even later that evening our final new resident, Melanie, arrived.  She'd gotten stuck in all of the train strike problems.

Day 10 I just kept trucking in the studio.  It was still raining.  I really can't emphasize the rain enough.  Lots and lots of rain.  It has been reported to be the rainiest May in France in a century.

Day 11 was a Saturday, so we went to the market in Nogent, and they were having a rose exhibition in the upstairs part.  It wasn't quite as wet out but it was enough so that it was about half the size of the previous week's market.  When we got back, I walked through the garden again and proposed my permanent intervention/installation idea to Patricia and Didier (the director of the Jardin Botanique).  They had asked me to consider doing one (or several) permanent alterations - either painting the bell-shaped cement pillars in the garden, doing murals on some exposed, irregularly shaped walls, or something else.  I had been mulling it over for a few days as none of their suggested options felt right for my delicate type of artwork.  I kept gravitating toward this small door surrounded by a wall of ivy - it felt intimate and its size and shape are more to my taste - plus it was made of wood so I could use the QCC on it if I wanted.  I explained that I wanted to sculpt/paint something on this door, and they agreed.  I had imagined awkwardly trying to do it onsite whenever the weather permitted, but Guillon, one of the workers at the garden, suggested he just take it off and bring it over.  That actually sounded like a much better idea!  Once he delivered it, he said Didier wanted Leo to fix the bottom of the door (which had rotten away a bit and was not structurally sound anymore) first.  I also needed to scrape off all the old paint as it was flaking away, so I needed to borrow paint scrapers.  I took a walk to CAMAC and had a great discussion with a creative writer and artist from Germany (though originally Taiwanese).  She had some amazing flipbooks she'd made, and had some really interesting insights into her practice.

Day 12 was brocante (flea market/boot sale) day in a semi-nearby town (it was about a 45 minute drive, I think?).  This day was thankfully not raining, so the brocante was actually on!  I did learn that it was not as big as it was supposed to be because some vendors were still concerned it might rain... but it was huge, nonetheless.  I was frankly unprepared for the scale of the thing; it just kept going on and on and on.  For about ten or twelve city blocks, I'd guess?  Most of the stuff on offer was pretty worn and/or not to my taste, but I did find a ridiculously loud, thin coat that I bought for myself and a very stern woman/cork bottle stopper.  In the evening I tried to hunt down Leo to ask him about the door (and the scrapers) but I couldn't find him.  I left a message with his mother that I was looking for him.

Day 13 it was actually sunny!  I walked around again - out to the storks, to recycle glass bottles from the house, through the garden - and just generally appreciated the better weather.