Studio Blog Posts

Studio Blog which includes news, paintings in progress, personal statements, and any other updates about Karen Silve.

Moi et les mouches

 My morning ritual: a really strong good cup of coffee, crusty bread, and my mom's home made confiture from the mulberry tree outside.

My morning ritual: a really strong good cup of coffee, crusty bread, and my mom's home made confiture from the mulberry tree outside.

About 25 years ago, I traveled with some friends to the Loire Valley and stayed with their relatives in a castle in which the husband was a chef. I’ll never forget the open kitchen - it was huge and opened onto the garden in which he had herbs and vegetables with a picture perfect rose filled arbor. Large copper pans hung from an iron ring. Fresh cheeses and fruits were on the wooden counter top, as well as bottled fruit brandies and confitures. It smelled like a french kitchen and brought back good memories of my grandfather and his kitchen. I was filled with delight as my eyes roamed in and out of every crevise over the space. Then, I saw them… a few dangling black dotted yellow ribbons hanging by the big doors that opened to the garden. I took a closer look and realized they were not decorations, but those dots were flies.  I almost gasped out loud, but held back and acted like they didn’t bother me. However, they freaked me out, and I couldn’t believe anyone would have something like that hanging in their home!

 Morning view

Morning view

Twenty five years later, I finally have my own french kitchen. The large doors in my studio apartment open up to the wheat fields in the countryside at the base of the Alps. It’s quite beautiful. Before I arrived, I knew I had to deal with my fears of spiders and bugs. The first week there was a scorpion in the bathroom. And when I opened one of the large doors, a huge harry brown spider ran into the corner. I shut the door as fast as possible. Since then, I put an insecticide strip around the big doors so the spiders stay away. But, I wasn’t prepared for the flies (les mouches). It seemed like hundreds were in my space. If you watched me from afar, you would have thought I had a disability in which I made many sudden sporadic moves. I started using my ponytail as a fly swatter and my feet were constantly tapping on my calves to shoe off the flies. And of course, my hands were constantly waving away the flies. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t sleep. It had to stop.

 My provence kitchen

My provence kitchen

One day, I stopped into a friends house down the road here in the countryside. Once I entered their courtyard, I looked up and saw them... black dotted yellow ribbons hanging above their table. Without hesitation I asked, “Where do you get those?”. I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth with such ease and such enthusiasm. They handed me two new ones and said, “start with these”.

 The first meal I made in my new kitchen

The first meal I made in my new kitchen

I have been here for a little over two weeks, and am still realizing how much more I have to do. It's been a long hard road, and I wasn't quite prepared for all of the challenges. Every time I start a project, I realize I don't have the tools needed to complete it, and I have to go to the store. Over these weeks I have been developing three spaces where I will work, then I will decide on the space I feel most comfortable in and develop it more. One is in the courtyard off of the kitchen (see below). The walls are so beautiful!

 Courtyard painting space

Courtyard painting space

That's all for now. Thanks for viewing. Feel free to write a comment or ask a question.

Warmly,
Karen Silve