VISIONARY REVUE

PLAYING BOULE
PLAYING BOULE
After an intense dispute as to
whose ball was closest to the marker,
Gerrit took out his measuring tape...

June 9, 2002
On the train back to Paris

      The next day, Saturday, Gerrit and Emmy, Ellen, Florence and I went out to play Boule at the front of the house. Ellen and Florence made a formidable team and defeated Gerrit, Emmy and I miserably - twice.
      From there we had a nice lunch out on the terrace. The only problem is that it began to rain, so we ended up in her solarium. There, as the rain poured outside and the wild cats devoured the last of our lunch, the conversation turned to our beliefs. I expressed a fairly Gnostic outlook, saying that we are not at home here on this world, but trying to remember our origins. Ellen seemed quite familiar with esoteric teachings, but prefered to express things more directly. She touched me hard on my heart and said very affirmatively, ‘Everything comes from in here! That’s where the sun is, in here. That’s the inner light.’
      Then we went into her studio where Ellen taught me a thing or two about her and Johfra’s techniques. She underpaints in grey, making the grey from raw umber plus red and blue, plus white. Then, for the shadows, she uses burnt umber. As a medium she uses 1 part linseed oil and 1 part turpentine.
      She said Johfra often smeared brown paint on a grey ground. Then, he drew or defined the forms, using brown to accentuate the shadows and white to make the highlights. At the point of transition, the grey would remain between the brown shadow and the white light. All of this was glazed with a colour.




 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2003

ELLEN LORIEN'S STUDIO
IN ELLEN LORIEN'S STUDIO

      Having told us before that she was a sorcière, Ellen playfully showed us her magic wand - a curved piece of wood given to her as a gift, which showed up later in her paintings.
      Ellen also told us about the conditions working in their hut in Aspremont. They had no electricity for seven years. The powerful mistral would whistle through the holes in the hut. It was too hot in summer and too cold in winter. Eventually, they became dissatisfied with life near Nice. Johfra couldn’t tolerate the destruction of nature all around him.
      After that, Florence and I went for a walk, following the road until it became a path through the forest. Along the way we admired all the little frogs hopping about. In the forest, we marvelled at the beauty of the nature here - the moss and vines growing on the trees, the sunlight shining through the branches. I pointed out a particular plant (fougères) that grew behind my home in Toronto.
      Coming back, we met Gerrit in the gallery, so we had another look at Ellen’s paintings. I was struck once more by the painting of one woman coming down the stairs holding a lotus, and another woman looking into a pool with lotus flowers. Is one having a vision of the other - each locked in their own time?
      That evening, we had dinner in the kitchen. I commented that it seemed like Ellen had lived quite an eventful life. She said that she managed to do a lot of things because she didn’t say ‘no’ to people. She was open to experience. Gerrit amused himself by taunting Ellen, saying she was a hard woman, an authoritarian. She said it was only the authoritarian men who said those things about her.
      We spoke of Paris, the city as she knew it then and I know it now; of struggling, living, and painting. The feeling in the room was marvellous that evening, and Ellen gave me a hug several times and shared her warmth, humour, and joy.



 
 
 


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