Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Armand Merizon

Armand Merizon, 90, a great Michigan painter with international fans and collectors died earlier this month.  At his memorial service last week some of his paintings from the family collection were on display and they are awesome.  Not awesome in the typical teenager use of the word.  But awesome in the way the word is intended to be used:  invoking awe.  The memorial was a beautiful tribute as the speakers came from the various paths that he walked in his life:  his art, his family, his faith. He always said that if he couldn't paint he would die.  While certainly not a medical explaination, in the end, that's what happened. 

Armand was my uncle.  My dad's sister's husband.  In his prime he was a large man with a flowing beard and a giant cigar forever nearby.  He painted every day, usually throughout the night, in a chicken coop converted to his studio.  Painting came first.

During our couple-times-a-year family gatherings, he sat at the head of the dinner table and told stories that usually ended with a loud, deep, booming laugh.  He was king of his court.  And, oh my, he was intimidating.  Not unkind, just intimidating.  As I got older, and the infrequent family gatherings became even less frequent, he intimidated me less but what to say to one another?  Then as an adult, pretending to be an artist, when I would have loved to talk with him about art, it never happened.  I didn't know him well, but wish I did.

During the last year of his life, Uncle Armand lived with one of his daughters and her family.  As a result, his 17-year-old grandson Jesse, got to know him better and wrote this poem in tribute.  It is for his grandfather, but let it also serve as a reminder to all artists.  Our job is to find the beauty in this world that others can't see or simple don't stop to see.

Hidden Beauty
by Jesse Ludema

A blind man ponders as he gazes upon the magnificence
Why can’t we see the beauty?

He treasures every moment, and finds wonder in hidden places
We move too fast for the beauty
He lives a simple life, taking pride in simple things, like dogs and shake-spear curls
Why can’t we see this beauty?

As he looks out he sees a brilliant sight, blue and white wings flapping and soaring in the breeze… or is it just laundry hanging outside…
Why can’t we see this beauty?

He sees roaring waves crashing and tumbling in the sky… I only see dark clouds…
Why can’t we see this beauty?

The sun reflects off a small old window on an ugly aged house… He sees an explosion of majestic illumination beaming before him
Why can’t we see this beauty?

We look and look and look and look, but he tells us to look some more
We are still searching for the beauty.

He sits there in thought and begins to paint; he lets his mind flow free; he loses himself in his art
He is trying to show us the beauty.

He paints dancing colors; his painting comes alive and tells us marvelous tales
Now we can see the beauty.

For more about him you can go to the Armand Merizon website which has more information about him, his work as well as providing information about the documentary that was made about him several years ago.

Keep looking.



Joanne Huffman said...

What a lovely tribute to him and a wonderful poem written by his grandson. I enjoyed seeing the paintings.

Kathy L said...

I am so sorry for your... Your tribute to your uncle was beautiful and I enjoyed being introduced to a legend. I love the use of light in his works...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
last minute lynn said...

Amazing work and a lovely tribute. An artist is fortunate as their work can live on after they leave...

Chantal said...

This is beautiful, Lorrie, thank you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails