Sans famille - Remi and me.

This and last year, my routine is to get a new painting started approximately every second or third week. So I can take it to Hazelhurst where Melissa can then advise me to put more green on the skin (and adjust the proportions).

Roughly on the weekends I start to think about what I’d like to paint next. It’s like having a store-room or chamber, in the back of my head where certain subjects are sitting, leaning, standing, gathering dust, waiting to be picked.
Somewhere I read about favourite illustrations.
It could easily have been on RedBubble (Information overload!) It might have been BookCrossing!
My favourite illustration of all is Remi, standing outside the courthouse, after Vitalis has been put in gaol. (It’s by G. van Raemdonck, in the 1940 edition of the Dutch Version of Sans Famille, by Hector Malot .)

So, now the urge to copy that illustration and ‘dress’ Remi in the colours that I think are appropriate, has surfaced and I shall be taking this ‘work’, to work on, in about an hour, to Hazelhurst.
Having the painting will, for me combine several pleasant memories.
I.e., my mother reading that book to me several times, when I was far too young – so she first left out all the very sad bits – and, in 2005, walking along the Seine, with my Sydney-born daughter, asking the people, minding the second-hand book stalls there, if they had the book, in its original French.
The fun of watching my daughter communicate with these interesting people, so easily, in French and particularly the exchange with the book-seller who advised against buying it because, as a boy, he’d seen the black and white film (I saw that here many years ago, on Sydney t.v., too!)
He said my daughter would cry too, if she read it.
But she did buy it. Not only that but also the second book, which I’d forgotten about.
Several of the booksellers pointed to a street, across the Seine to where Hector Malot used to live.
My other connection with the book, is memories of Mr John Fredericks, our French Teacher, at Maroubra Bay High School (Heartbreak High), unkindly known as’_Freddy the Frog_ by the students, mentioning the book to another Dutch-born boy and me.
Hans and I were pleased about that because our generation (roughly baby-boomers) grew up with that book, in the Netherlands, the way English reading boys grew up with Biggles, Treasure Island, Rip Van Winkle, Oliver Twist, …….

I need to get ready…….

…….5 hours later…… Back home again.

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