Anything can happen:
I've found that many of the plans I have made in life didn't materialize...at least not the way I had originally envisioned them. What I find to be amazing though is that many of the wonderful experiences I have had, just came out of the blue...fell into my lap.
I would like to talk about one such occasion now. Since the mid 1970's after I left art school I was a big fan of the work of Joseph Plaskett...attending as many of his exhibitions as I could.
Mr. Plaskett was a remarkable Canadian artist with a working career which spanned more than seven decades. He was born in British Columbia in 1918 and passed away at his home in England in 2014.
After returning to Canada he taught for a short time, but found that this was not an agreeable career for him. In 1951 he decided to leave Canada for Paris and that was to become his home for about fifty years. He and a friend purchased a historic property in the Marais district of Paris and that became both studio and home.
In 1994 I learned that Mr. Plaskett was having one of his Canadian exhibitions at a prominent gallery in Montreal. I had read much about Paris and dared to dream that some day I might actually go there and see what a wonderful place it really was. I thought about all of the great artists who had lived and worked there including Picasso and Van Gogh to name but two. It had been the “Art Capital” of the world for many years, and was called the “City of Light”. I thought I would like to talk with Mr. Plaskett some time to ask him what it was like living in Paris and could he give me any advice if I were to go there.
Something compelled me to pick up my telephone and call the Montreal gallery. The gallery owner answered the phone and I asked, “Could I speak with Mr. Plaskett if he is in, please?” “Is he expecting your call?” asked the owner. “No”, I said, but if he might talk to me for a minute I would be very pleased.” “I will ask”, said the owner. “Hello”, came a voice on the phone. “Mr. Plaskett?” I said. “Yes, it is”, said the voice “and who am I speaking with?” “I'm Blair Paul...a Canadian artist living near Ottawa”, I answered nervously. I am a very big fan of your work and wanted to ask you a few questions about Paris...maybe staying there for a while to work. Will you be exhibiting in Ottawa after Montreal?” I asked. “No, not this time, but if you would like to come to Montreal tomorrow and meet for lunch I would be pleased to talk with you. Can you bring along some examples of your work?”
I'm sure that my mouth fell open in disbelief, as I said “Yes, that would be fantastic...around noon then at the gallery?” “That will be just fine”, he said, “I'll look forward to seeing you”.
The next morning I caught the bus to Montreal, made it to the gallery by noon and went through the front door. “Good afternoon”, said a man at the front desk...the owner I supposed. “I'm here to meet Mr. Plaskett”, I said. “Oh, right, I'll tell him you are here”. In a moment or two Mr. Plaskett came through, shook hands and said “Let's go for a bite to eat if you wish”.
We went to a restaurant close by, discussed Paris, and all it could offer a young artist like me. I showed him slides of my work I had brought along, and he looked at them very thoughtfully. “Your work is very good, and you should go there”, he said. “I would love to some time, but I don't know where I would stay”. “I go to England every summer so you could stay at my house in Paris”, he said. That would be great, but I couldn't afford it”, I said. “It's yours to use...no charge”, he said with a smile.
In July, I was on the plane heading for Paris...just like that. One day I was sitting at home dreaming of Paris, and in a month I was there. Amazing!
I truly believe in synchronicity.
Leave yourself open to possibility, and “anything can happen!”
To order Joe Plaskett's book contact http://ronsdalepress.com/authors/joseph-plaskett/
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Blair T. Paul
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