A while back I showed you Anne’s atelier. Well, just across the garden is another magnificent atelier. And inside you’ll find thousands of pastels…

and a lovely teapot…

and Anne’s husband, Michel Devrient…

Monsieur Michel is a husband, father, grandfather, farmer, writer, gracious adviser on the first draft of a book about some Canadian woman’s arse and a well-known successful artist. He’s currently working on this amazing piece…

This is intricate and complicated stuff.

He begins with a black and white skeleton, then he applies successive layers of pastels in complex patterns and arrays of colour to create large works that seem to play with light, giving an effect reminiscent of stained glass. It takes an inordinate amount of vision and skill and time to get this right.

And taking time to get things right is just what we discussed that day in his studio. He told me that one of the best things about the level of focus required for his work is that “it tames the time.” He feels that life doesn’t race past him here, instead he is in and of the moment and time beomes his ally. Michel has many brilliant thoughts and ideas and this one about time is one of my favourites so far.

Of course I’m impressed by Michel’s many talents, his uncommon kindness and his wonderfully pleasant nature (plus he cooks and thinks wine prices should never hit double digits, my kind of guy) but he has a story that will impress anyone who’s been drawn here by the idea of living a chosen life. See, Michel got this running off to France thing right, long before I ever had a hand in it.

Michel comes from a fine Swiss family and, like many of his peers, he began his adult life in law school, an expected path for such a respectable young gentleman. He told me he was standing around after graduation listening to his classmates discuss their brilliant futures. Suddenly he realized that if he wasn’t careful he was going to end up being a lawyer. Excellent career option unless you’re a lawyer who wants to be an artist. Panic set in and he took off. Inspired by happy childhood memories of France, he and Anne settled in Burgundy and the rest is history.

How I wish I’d had an ounce of his clarity and certainty back in my spring chicken days. Somehow he knew. He was brave enough to do what had to be done, to walk away from certainty in order to ensure his path toward happiness. There’s an art to crafting the life you want and he’s a master.

Bookmark and Share
Share