Simon, painter writer traveler   
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My travels

"Listen, there's a secret : ease up a bit, let your life be yours. Then take up a run and lead your life with passion" Yvon Le Corre (Les Outils de la Passion)

First Trip : I was born in Brittany and very happily so. However cosy I may have felt in my mother's womb, I felt the perspective too narrow and the outlook rather bleak. I fell in love with the Ocean at first sight in spite of seasickness. I am Cancer, naturally inclined to crabfishing ; tidepools and rocks became my first playground for adventure.

Second Trip : I was ten when I read Jules Verne's book "Captain Grant's children". That was just the thing for me ! Fabulous discovery. Books don't teach you travelling but you can very well pick up the bug just by turning the pages of  a novel under your blanket. Thanks to Jules Verne I could travel anywhere I wanted without even twitching one toe. These bedroom travels were the beginning of everything. And just think a the marvellous black and white plates which have recently come out in paperback. But one day, my toes need more.

Third Trip : 1974.  We left for Algeria with the family. My father as a dentist used to treat the officer's bad teeth during the Algerian war, now I find the drawings he did at that time incredible. Hardly was I drawing at that time, but I stared at things wide-eyed and realized that the world had more than one sun ! Fabulous journey ! I was thirteen, my artist teeth were crunching into the apple of life.

Fourth Trip : 1979. I sat for the Bac in the Lycée Français in London. There were 25 young girls and only 3 boys in my class. An yet another voyage began, at the conquest of the world of women !  A fortnight before the exam, I took my bike and rode along the river Thames. I wanted to see the sea and revise my philosophic course. Joyfull flight ! Nietzsche and a reader's digest book to the Bac on my luggage rack. Lovely nights under the stars ! I still think I owe my success at the Bac to that wild ride. I am still very proud of it as it is my only official tittle to glory. Besides I came back with armful of sketches. I am condemned for life.

Fifth Trip : 1986. I was invited at a wedding in Rome. "Je verrai donc cette belle Italie" wrote Stendhal who is my first model and master in travelwriting. I fell in love with Italian girls, gelati and Michelangelo. I brought back my first travel sketchbook full of notes, drawings and letters.

Sixth Trip : 1987. Self-indulgent travels across Ombria and Tuscany on the footsteps of Giotto, Duccio and Piero Della Francesca. Gobbling gallons of gelati and Renascence frescoes. I began to undestand : travelling just like painting, cooking, writing or archery is an art, it requires somes learning. I never go on the roads without my sketchbooks. They become essential to my training workshop.

Seventh Trip : 1988. My plans to become a film-maker failed. On a sudden impulse, I left for Portugal for three weeks and ... I stayed three years. The world can play tricks on our plans ! In Portugal I lived a second childhood. I made a living by drawing portraits. In the meantime I took the opportunity to organise three exhibitions of my work, to explore sweet Lusitania, to iddle about the beaches, to read Fernando Pessoa and Moby Dick. I brought back seven sketchbooks, various sketches of seascapes, towns (Porto), portraits and selfportraits, fishing sceneries, all sorts of grafic experiments, letters. There are many worlds, therefore I have many visions.

Eighth Trip : 1990. Back in France, with the help of a bunch of my sketchbooks, I wrote my book :"L'appel du bleu", about my stay in Portugal. At the time no one was publishing traveller's sketchbooks. This one was not going to change anyone's mind. From 1990 to 1997 I embarked on an unprecedented adventure, I wrote a travelling novel : Paris, London, Brussels, Berlin, Portugal. Still unpublished, this book is my longest aborted journey.

Ninth Trip: 1991-1993. Sahara, first with my parents and then with my girl. Ressourceful trip. Long walks across the Tassili desert studying the famous parietal frescoes, sharing the daily life with the locals in Djanet Oasis. Contact with the Touareg world became more and more intense. As a proof I came back home with a handful of Saharian folkstories and a hepatitis. (translation by Georges Gernot)

Underneath : my SENNELIER sketchbooks (1987-2007)



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