Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Some Have Gone and Some Remain

I must be somewhat of a masochist for insisting on painting portraits even though likenesses elude me at least half the time. What a thrill it was when, with little effort, I nailed Jean's likeness.  Athough I laboured for hours over Marie Claire, she barely looks like herself. I had to put it aside or go mad. Madam Vallet arrived in Canmore last week and I will be seeing her soon. Being notorious for leaving things to the last minute, I finally sat down and completed the painting, today.    

To fully appreciate this post, I invite you to read There Are Places I Remember from April 28th. With the portrait done, I can now publish the following which has been on hold as a draft since then. I deliberately didn't show you the inside of the Auberge Ravoux because I was saving it for when I had finished this ...

Jean and Marie Claire Vallet   acrylic and oil   12" x 12"

Last month (March 23rd) Jean gave up his battle with cancer. I ache for Marie Claire. In my heart of hearts I painted this double portrait for her. But, perhaps I needed to do for myself, to help me process this horrible loss. Such a fine gentleman gone much too soon.

Lunch at the Auberge Ravoux, October 4th, 2003

During an amazing lunch at the Auberge, Bill and I were seated in front of the lace curtains so that we could take in the activity of the cafe. In the painting I opted to place the Vallets in our seats. The lace of the curtains becomes lighter and brighter towards the top of the image to symbolize the path of Jean's ascending spirit.

Before the kiss

This was a most tender moment, one I am so pleased to have caught on film. We had been talking about the abundance of lovers who kiss publicly on the streets of Paris. Here, Jean leans in as if to give Marie Claire a kiss. I love her look of delighted anticipation. Did he actually kiss her?  I honestly couldn't remember. Marie Claire maintained that he gave her a gentle peck.

Rest in peace, Jean.


  1. Oh Alice. Poignant. I'm so sorry to learn of Jean's passing. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. A touching story Alice.. I have Lung Cancer myself, so it's doubly sad when I hear that a fellow sufferer has gone down in the war...

  3. What a tribute to one who was obviously a lovely man. It's wonderful the Marie will have this photo, post and painting to commemorate such a beautiful time. xo

    1. Yes Win, Jean was a terrific man and Marie Claire is a gorgeous, 70 something, petite, French Fashion Plate!