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7. Meeting Serge

Excerpts from Jill’s book Art, Soul & Destiny: An Artist’s Journey from America to Provence  (p. 13)

In June of 1980, I arrived in the south of France. When I look back on those days, it seems that a perfect tapestry has been woven — not one stitch has been done carelessly. In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined what destiny had in store for me (…) What was supposed to be a six-week stay in Aix-en-Provence turned into a lifelong experience of painting and drawing.

Then there was Serge. Fate had us meet in the streets of Aix my second day in France.

Neither of us could speak the other’s language. But nothing is new under the sun. And so it was as James Joyce wrote in the closing pages of Ulysses, “and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldn’t answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didn’t know of Mulvey and Mr. Stanhope and Hester and father… (in my case of Verdell, Lee, Helen, Nancy, Daddy and Bonnie, Camp DeSoto and the rest) yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall (yes and how Serge kissed me ‘dans la rue’ and on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean) and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

So it was that our love began (four) decades ago and I thought at the time how almost sad it is that I love him so strongly, so intensely for I could not fathom being able to love him more than I did then; it was with my whole being and yet I see now it was only the first golden stitch in the tapestry of my life’s journey.


Click here to read segment eight of Jill’s “40 Years in France Series”.

Interested in learning more about Jill’s story?

There is now a documentary about her life and work as an artist.

Click here to watch the trailer