"The Messenger's View" (Chinon; Loire et Indre)

Oil Pencil, Architectural pencils,& watercolor



Here's a portrait/landscape of Chinon...the ancient seat of Plantagenet and Angevin kings.....about fifty miles downriver from Tours...and where Herve and I went for Christmas a few years ago, after passing the actual, all-too-bustling&hurried holiday at his parents' house in Tours. I finished this picture today, having irritatedly got to the point when I wondered why in the world I had thought it was a good idea to take on so many rooflines....they're TEDIOUS to draw. I may have a lot of mental problems, but obsessive/compulsive disorder is not among them.....at least I don't think so. I will never draw this many roofs again, unless I die and God sends me back as the reincarnation of M.S. Escher.

That said?....Chinon is beautiful....very small, of course.  I don't know that I made for very good company with Herve...I was continually drawn BACK into history...which rarely happens with me (it happened also when visiting the St. Paul de Mausole asylum, in St. Remy de Provence, where Vincent Van Gogh was lodged during his late days).   Chinon is where Joan of Arc first met and acknowledged (ecclesiastically speaking) Charles VII. This view is from the Tour Horloge ("Clock Tower", basically),which is pretty much the only original bulding standing in the recently/somewhat-restored Chateau de Chinon (the greater part of which was abandoned by the early 1500's).  Herve and I stayed in Chinon (in the "Best Western Hotel", of all unexpectedly-named lodgings) for most of an entire, very quiet and lovely week after Christmas that year.  I loved it.  The Loire, like the Mississippi, is broad and flat and gleaming every morning....and it was unavoidably strange to realize that, all myths quite aside, I was looking across the river, just as Joan as Arc must have done at one point...except I was looking at the modern (if still very small) town on the other bank.
Do, please, go to this link to hear Leonard Cohen's song "Joan of Arc" (my longtime buddy, William Coke Airial III, will love it, I'm sure).....and I should say that, just about two weeks ago?....a yankee client of mine who'd been included on one of my group-mailings, called up and asked "Do you REALLY know someone named "William Coke Airial the Third?  Where do you MEET these people?".  I told her that she needed to just hang around South Carolinians more, and she'd meet them, also.  go to:
 Now the flames they followed joan of arc
As she came riding through the dark;
No moon to keep her armour bright,
No man to get her through this dark & smoky night.
She said, "i'm tired of the war,
I want the kind of work I had before,
A wedding dress or something white
To wear upon my swollen appetite."

Well, I'm glad to hear you talk this way,
You know I've watched you riding every day
And something in me yearns to win
Such a cold and lonesome heroine.
"And who are you? " she sternly spoke
To the one beneath the smoke.
"Why, I'm fire," he replied,
"and I love your solitude, I love your pride."

"Then Fire?... make your body cold,
I'm going to give you mine to hold,"
And saying this, she climbed inside
To be his one, to be his only bride.
And deep into his fiery heart
He took the dust of joan of arc,
And high above the wedding guests
He hung the ashes of her wedding dress.

It was deep into his fiery heart
He took the dust of joan of arc,
And then she clearly understood
If he was fire, oh... then she must be wood.
I saw her wince, I saw her cry,
I saw the glory in her eye.
Myself I long for love and light,
But must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?
.---Leonard Cohen