I recently did some traveling abroad to visit friends and see some of the galleries in France and the Netherlands. I have always wanted to see Paris, to see the galleries, and to see the city itself and experience the culture. But most of all to see if everything that everyone said about the place was true; that the food is spectacular, the art is legendary, the city is the most beautiful on earth, and that the people are all very rude.
We found that the food lived up its reputation, that the city was indeed beautiful, and the people were only rude if we ran around like drunken apes.
In general people in Paris were wonderful, and really helpful. And using my astounding knowledge of the french language, I was able to successfully negotiate my way through at least three meals, two subway rides, and get myself completely lost everywhere I went.
Here I am on the phone, lost.
If it weren't for the kindness of our friends Olivier, Loren and Annebelle over at the Daniel Maghen Gallery we would have spent most of the trip lost in the subways with the drunken apes.
Aside from the stunning palatial quality of the city, (touring Paris from the Senne river one would think that it was built of nothing but palaces,) it was the statuary that was the most strikingly impressive for me. I would love to spend several months drawing and doing studies from these. There is so much knowledge to be gleaned from these works. They are some of the finest examples of the human form in art that I have ever seen.
The Hunt For Petar Meseldzija
After leaving the wonders of Paris, we journeyed to the Netherlands to seek the counsel of the mythical guru, Petar Meseldzija.
We saw him in the distance, biking over the fields and canals and windmills in the far north. We tried to catch him, but after days of unflagging pursuit, our legs gave out and our bikes fell apart. As we lay exhausted in the marshy fields night came. It had been a wasted trip. The next day we would return to france, defeated.
But as the moon began to rise we heard the creaking of an old bike drawing nearer and nearer. A shadowy figure came through the tall grass. Petar Meseldzija. He stopped in front of us and laid down his bike, which was magical and had only one pedal. He told us that we could not have caught him, had we ten thousand horses, or dragon's wings, or even canondales. He had a magical bike. Then he sat down with us and explained the mysteries of time and space and served us flaming hot Serbian coffee.
The next morning we ate belgian waffles and toured the Rijksmuseum with him to veiw the Rembrandt paintings.
It was a privilege to see these paintings with Petar. Along with being a mythical guru, and owning a magical bike, he is also a phenomenal oil painter and hearing him explain the methodology of Rembrandt's work was worth a decade of college education.
This is Rembrandt's, Jeremiah Lamenting the Burning of Jerusalem. We sat in front of this painting for hours. There is the wealth of a thousands of years of artistic knowledge wrapped up in this single little gem. I hope if you ever have a chance to go to Amsterdam that you will stop to see these paintings.