Madame Nottale died a few weeks ago. Selfishly I would have loved to spend much more time with her, however at 94 years old she was ready to move on. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for having known such a wonderful human being, whose life was indeed well lived.
A recent photograph of Madame Nottale with her daughter Claudia.
When Claudia Nottale came to stay with my family in the States in 1978 she was just seventeen years old. I had no idea at the time that she would become a life long friend.
Claudia Nottale – 17 years old – oil on canvas
In 1984 on one of my trips back to the UK and Europe to visit family and friends, Claudia’s Mother invited me to dinner at her home in Marley le Roi, not too far from Paris. I will always remember the first moment we met. Her warmth and love shone through.
So much could be said about her life….Mother of seven remarkable children, nurse, friend to so many, lover of nature and in her latter years when she had time for herself….the brilliance of her painting and writing shone through.
Portrait of Madame Nottale in 1985…..watercolour/gouache
She was a woman who exemplified what it is to live life well. She exhibited great courage and at the same time compassion for others. – I would say that she spent much of her life alleviating suffering in others in tangible ways as a nurse and Mother and in less tangible ways simply by being who she was. For to be in her presence was indeed a beautiful experience.
Madame Nottale drawing me September 2015
She loved colour and chocolate…….two things we had in common:) During her latter years she painted and wrote every single day. The walls and every other surface in her room were covered in her work.
Three years ago, I made this watercolour of her….which I feel demonstrates her letting go of worldly worries and coming home to her true calling…..that of being an artist and writer.
Deeply spiritual, and an inspiration to all……Madame Nottale must surely be in a heaven with unlimited paints, paper, brushes and pens…and of course surrounded with beautiful flowers and hummingbirds:)
A special moment with Madame Nottale……
‘There are always flowers for those who want to see them.’ Henri Matisse.
Moon, Mountains and Magical hummingbird – inspired by a drawing by Madame Nottale.