On an almost-daily basis, I take Wallace out on a  well-worn trail behind my home. On weekends, I choose a longer, more circuitous trail where  trees grow tall, the path winds circuitously and the air is permeated by the scent of damp moss. I never tire of these walks as the trail continually changes. It starts as dry, dusty and slippery, moving to wet, muddy and sloshy, to impassable when a tree has fallen, to delightful when I encounter a friend or neighbor.

There’s one particular section called ‘The Cathedral’.  This part consists of several tall, wide trees growing in two long rows delineating a wavy pathway in between.  A frisson of delight runs through me as I walk through, connecting to earth and nature. Sounds of frogs, owls and a babbling brook are the music of these trails.  Rabbits, deer, coyotes and foxes offer their own visual wows.  There’s nothing quite like a walk in the woods to center and ground yourself.

I titled this painting Frisson, a French word meaning a shiver or a brief sensation. It’s lived in my studio for weeks now, patiently waiting for completion. Like the trail, it’s been a circuitous route, with scents of damp paint and paintbrushes in the air.  Many wrong turns, but always inching forward. Consultations with other artists, navigating ‘I think this might work’ with ‘No, that didn’t work’ to ‘Have you tried this?’.  Finally yesterday, a frisson of anticipation and today, a frisson of delight. It’s done!  It really does take a village, or perhaps a forest?

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  1. Frisson reminds me of another word or phrase, thought was French but–alas–upon further inspection is indeed not! Shadows among memory can play with us!

    Without further ado: Sui generis. There! Recent conversation with a new friend who, by the way, is talented and brilliant and nice. Three for three. Any guesses?

    For me, patterns are all sui generis, all of one–architecture, Japanese, capital markets, meditation, fine cooking, attempting to make a CRM of vast and capacious client data.

    I am indebted to E. M. Cioran, whom I read VERY closely in my twenties, for his use of the word frisson–as in line by line, following every single reference, and references to THOSE references in his stunning, The Temptation to Exist. Profound! “La Tentation d’exister”, Gallimard 1956.

    Believe he wrote in French as a second language, much as Conrad wrote carefully in English outside his native Polish and thus, that much more profound! Remarkable introduction by Susan Sontag alone, made it all most profound …

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