My friend Patty Lurie leads a full life in Paris, her city of adoption for over two decades. Patty is a Californian transplanted from Boston and now a true blue Parisian. She is a savvy wine merchant, an intrepid world traveller, an accomplished astrologer and above all a published artist devoted to the Impressionist aesthetic.
Four years ago in April, Patty decided to take leave of her busy life and embark on a solo 900 kilometer, one-month trek on the medieval pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago. It is an ancient, sacred route leading through France, northern Spain, ending in the Spanish cathedral town of Santiago de Compostela.
Patty says it was a life-changing experience, depicted in a collection of colorful paintings, the result of four years of work. The collection will be showing at the Galerie Vivienne from December 1 to 13, 2016.
I sat down with the artist recently, curious to understand her life-altering journey.
Why was this journey life-changing?
I became intensely aware of help from the universe. I was always guided to find the yellow arrow, not always well displayed, which pointed you in the right direction. When I was tired, lonely or aching from my multiple blisters, the right people came along to be companions of the road for a while. I even made a lifelong friend.
What lessons did you take away from this experience?
I conquered my fears of getting lost, as I did a few times in the Pyrenees, marching through hills and valleys, streams and towns and villages with exotic-sounding Galician names such as Sahagun, Pamplona, Astorga, and Castrojeriz, to name a few.
But I always found help. And slowly, I got over my fear. Most importantly, I became aware of the power of camaraderie.
That we are all in this together, sharing a physically and spiritually challenging experience. My fellow pilgrims and I were of all ages, came from multiple cultures and religions, helping each other to find the way “home”. I saw the best of humankind.
I felt a connection to this medieval route, humbled by the fact that thousands walked along this path through the centuries.
When I reached Santiago de Compostela, and sat in its magnificent St. James Cathedral listening to the choir of the pilgrims’ mass, inhaling the incense, I cried.
Why this art show?
It’s my first in 20 years. I would like to give my visitors a moment of detachment from this turbulent world. To show them in an hour a transformative experience of 30 days.
I hope my paintings will inspire those who view them to embrace the joys of life and to persevere on their chosen path, because at the end, the satisfaction of accomplishment is truly life-changing. Since coming back, I feel so connected to the thousands of pilgrims on the Camino marching in camaraderie.
This is what gives me great hope that essentially we are all united in the search for harmony.
When: December 1 – December 13, 2016
Where: Vivienne Art Galerie, 30 Galerie Vivienne, 75002 Paris