My father recently reunited with an old friend, who is a collector of his art and an avid traveler. After many years of not being in touch, him and his wife searched for my father on the internet and when they found him, commissioned for another piece to add to their collection. It was a pleasant surprise and exciting news as this time my father was asked to paint a region in France he’s never been to; a famous view from the small village, Saint Emilion.
Side Note – A little about Saint Emilion
Anyone who’s a wine lover knows about this region as some of the best old world wines come from here. About an hour and half outside of Bordeaux, it is easily accessible by bus or car and definitely worth a visit if you’re road tripping around France. The village is named after a Breton Monk from the 12th century and it is there that you will find one of the world’s largest underground monolithic churches; beautifully constructed and deeply symbolic of the times in which the structure was built. Also found in this little village is the origins of the infamous French Macaron, from Veritables Macrons de Saint Emilion. Before the fancy colors and flavours of Pierre Hermé and Ladurée, the first macrons where simple sweet almond cookies and were amazingly delicious. My trip to this region was memorable for more reasons than I can explain. It will forever be a place of great friends and happy days.
For this piece we didn’t have time to take a trip for onsite research like for his last piece on Positano, but France has always had lasting impressions on my father. He summoned up his memories and created a piece that reflected that exact feeling I had when I stood upon that ledge looking over the vast French countryside. It brought me back to that happy place and all I could think was how I'd be able to scheme up a reason to convince him not to sell this piece so I could have it for my house one day.
The commission piece took nearly 5 months to complete. It started with a few smaller pieces to scope out the color palette and perspective. The draft canvases are always mini masterpieces and are always presented, communicated and agreed over a warm cup of Chinese tea at the studio. After this, he starts to paint the final product and week by week, you will start seeing the painting come to life, detail by detail, stroke by stroke.
The final painting unveiled mid May 2016. The collector invited Jennings and my parents over to their house to mount the painting. The event, although seemingly mundane, was oddly emotional because when my father arrived at the house, he realized it was filled with his old family; paintings he hasn’t seen in over 10 years. He said seeing these paintings were like reuniting with his children after many years of separation and knowing they are being taken care of and happy. The past, present and future was discussed over a lovely dinner and my father left his dear friend's home knowing his family was in a happy place.