By Sarah West
As the new year dawns, I chart out plans. I construct and model visions for future, and I seek experiences which stimulate and balance progressive energy. My life centers around the art world, and so, as January drew nearer, I needn’t look very far to discover those experiences. I consulted my calendar to determine where and when I might reach the museums, cafés and events… Before 2018’s first day, I attended several of them.
A well-appointed café, a good book, a stroll along an unfamiliar pathway or perhaps a new museum exhibit proved to be just the ticket for renewal. I received many an interesting book for Christmas. My nearest and dearests gifted me hardbound first editions: Walter Issacson’s Leonardo DaVinci, Garden & Gun’s anthology about all things quintessentially Southern titled, S is for Southern, in addition to Tom Hanks’ debut collection of short stories, Uncommon Type, and a new biography, The Last Castle (the latest addition to my library on Gilded Age tycoons and American industrial innovation.) Among these were also added three vintage books, a 1947 blue edition of Emily Post, a book on female civil injustice in 1900, and a biographical work on the Ashcan School written by Ira Glackens, the American Independent’s son. All of these, as well as many articles, have informed the start of my new year.
‘Twas a leisure holiday time for me this year. Quite the contrast from previous years, I abandoned my prior established To Do list, and instead postponed the non-too-pressing things that could wait. I settled into a calm and well-balanced state. My mind quieted and I found rest within the solitude of home. I took notice of the fire and its warmth as the wood crackled and popped. In the days that followed Christmas, I hosted Open Studio for art students who needed such an atmosphere and space to work. I too, dedicated the time to drawing and inventorying art supplies for the coming season. Celebrations were shared among the holidays and over the signing of student’s works.
In the quiet of the holiday week, I visited the Quarter in Inman Park. A lovely brasserie known as Bread & Butterfly, had long peaked my interest. The mild, late December day seemed an opportunity destined to explore anew. Positioned along Elizabeth Street, this French café is attractive with a petite bar, tiled porch and cozy Euro chic dining room. The dejeuner menu offered Marinated Bucherondin, Roasted Chicken, Pan Seared Trout, Croque Monsieur and many other delectable dishes. I savored an elegant Tomato Bisque, topped with a puff pastry pillow. The Omelette du jour, companioned with mixed greens dressed in white wine, and Jambon Beurre, buttered with rosemary ham, garnished with cornichon completed this satisfying occasion. The service staff was attentive and provided ample consideration within this café atmosphere which provided both comfort and inspiration for the senses.
On New Year’s Eve, I penned a short list of tasks to be done. By the following day, all things were brought down and put away, until next year when they will return. Today, I reach for another book. I’ll return to the studio and press on with visions for this new year. The turning of a page, exploring new places and more awaits us on this next trip around the sun.
Art is Life Expressed – Sarah West, owner of the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art