As I left a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in Paris this week, a proprietor said to me, “Hopefully, you are finding inspiration.”
Indeed. And in ways, I could have scarcely imagined. Writing in a country new to you opens up the eyes unlike anything one would experience at home. Surrounded by artists who have trekked to France from all over the world, to the natural wildlife inhabitants along the Seine River, to new locals with their lilting French accents, inspiration thrives everywhere.
At CAMAC, the doors of our 17th century former priory opened last night for an Open Studio, designed to show one’s artistic sensibilities. So, The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes has had its international debut. Starting with France. More to come for me and my fellow artists.
The artist’s journey calls for perseverance, discipline, opening up for comments and observations, and learning how to act as a mutually supportive community member. In whichever community one finds one’s self.
In seeking further inspiration, I am encouraged by the journey of many artists with ties to this place. Many are of African heritage. France has a long history of diversity. The famous Musee’ D’Orsay featured statutes of Africans; you may also gaze upon the works of Rodin and Van Gogh. In France, I discovered Gare Rosa Parks, a train station named after the American Civil Rights hero.
Gustave Flaubert. Camille Claudel. Auguste Rodin. Josephine Baker. Henry Ossawa Tanner. Richard Wright. Ada ‘Bricktop’ Smith. Alexandre Dumas.
Alexandre Dumas, of African heritage, is the author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. His mansion has been converted into a museum west of Paris. I’m mulling over a visit for further inspiration.
My manuscript number two for middle school children. Superheroes. Spy Gadgets. Science. And the French Connection??
Enjoy this 360 degree view of site of my residency: CAMAC, Centre d’Art Marnay Art Centre, Marnay sur Seine, France.