THIS EDITORIAL PIECE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE SPRING 2016 "MOVEMENT" ISSUE OF ABRAZINE. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THIS ISSUE IN ITS ENTIRETY HERE!
This past October I took a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania with my parents for my father’s birthday. My parents have been frequenting this quaint little section of PA for the past 5 years or so and they made it a point to bring me along this time. Among our travels, we decided to spend a whole day exploring Downtown, Lancaster which is filled with little vintage shops, boutiques, and art galleries. I remember one of the very first shops that we walked past, right after we had parked our car. It was a cute little art gallery called “The Christiane David Gallery”, and in the window was a watercolor painting of a girl with fiery red hair, playing a purplish colored violin.
Throughout the painting, there were passionate streaks of yellows, blues, oranges, purples, and greens, and it was apparent through the expression on the girl’s face that she was enveloped in this music that she was creating. As I stood there entranced in this work of art, I felt that I was just as moved in experiencing a painting this beautiful, as this girl in the painting was, in making her music.
Just as I was admiring this beautiful work of art, I noticed a lovely woman trimming some of the vibrant red flowers out in front of the gallery. She asked if I would like to come inside of the gallery and browse more works of art. I asked her if she worked there, and she proudly exclaimed that it was her gallery, and she was the artist who had painted this piece that I have found myself so drawn to. She was indeed Miss Christiane David! I excitedly accepted her invite into her gallery!
As she brought me into her magickal little space, my family trailed in behind me, exploring the stark white walls splashed with her colorful paintings. I wandered around the space with a wide-eyed sense of wonder and curiosity, like that of a child finding it’s way through a toy store.
The first room I noticed, and fell in love with right away after we walked through the entrance, was a little foyer with a black and white checkered floor, and a spiral staircase adorned in twiggy foliage, faux owls and twinkling lights. The decor wrapped around the staircase’s ornate banister which ascended up into heavenly bright sunlight. I wondered if I followed the spiral trail up the stairs, would i then disappear into a whimsical time warp-reversed rabbit hole and land in a realm of fantasy lost in space and time? I didn’t dare attempt this voyage, but it was quite tempting.
I continued through the main floor; was enchanting to walk the creaky wood floors and observe each brush stroke that decorated her quaint little creative abode. Her son-in-law who ran the floor and her sales had directed me to the prints that she had available, and right away I started looking for the violin girl with the fiery red hair. I looked through stacks and stacks of colorful prints of paintings that had become her life’s work. Finally I happened upon the one that had entranced me in the storefront window.
IT WAS THE LAST ONE!
You know that feeling when you know something is just meant to be yours? The print was $60.00 and although money was tight, I didn’t know if I would ever see this painting again. It had moved me too much to not have permanently in my life. I said to her, “I’ll take it!”, and motioned to the register to cash out on my splurge item. We had gotten to talking, and she started to tell me a little bit about the painting that I had picked out. She would invite musicians to come play in her gallery and paint them as she played. She would also attend the Lancaster Symphony charity and fundraising events and paint the orchestra as they were playing as well. She talked to us for awhile about how she was inspired by capturing the musicians and their movement, in her visual works of art. She is so moved by their music, she lets her brush be guided by their sound, and matches the strokes to everything she hears, translating it all, visually onto canvas.
We then chatted about my musical endeavors and she invited me back sometime to play in her gallery so maybe one day she will paint me! I would be so honored! After I purchased my print, we were so wrapped up in conversation that she was excited to show us her basement that they just started to renovate for classes, and extra studio space. She took us down the stairs and showed us all the things that she was imagining to bring this space to life! It was exciting for me to see someone so successful in a field that most deem “impractical” as a means to make a living. Most only give attention to the term “starving artist”, but she is in fact a “thriving artist” and the living that she has been able to make for herself through her art is extremely inspiring and moving to me!
After we toured her basement, she took us out onto a little veranda off the back of her studio that was adorned in green foliage and bright pink and orange tropical flowers. She had a mischievous little cat that wandered around the terrace as she chatted more with us about her upbringing in Belgium, her studies of art and architecture in Brussels, and her travels through Europe and Italy. Her whole demeanor and life was something out of a quaint little novel that I wish I could pack up and take home with me. I would read it on days when I was feeling less than inspired.
Picking the brain of someone as accomplished in the arts as Christiane was a nice and unexpected experience for me on this trip, and I hope to one day take her up on her offer to go back and be painted by her wonderful “stroke” of genius. I also hope to one day be as accomplished of an artist as she.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CHRISTIANE DAVID AND HER MAGICKAL GALLERY AT HER WEBSITE:
PICK AN ADVENTURE!