Summer Lifestyle: Lucchessia – Dinner at Villa Massei. It is always a treat to go to dinner at Villa Massei, not only for the atmosphere, the garden, the great mix of people and the charming and gracious hosts Paul and Gil, but to top it all when the dinner is in your honor. Philanthropist Gil Cohen and the stylish author, blogger, painter and landscape designer Paul Gervais de Bedee live in the Tuscan villa, which boast a spectacular garden, during the summer months and spend the cold winters in Florida. Two tables are set for dinner under the old camphor trees near the sixteenth century grotto.
The path that leads up to the sixteenth century grotto is lit by lanterns.
Villa Massei. The Orange Garden was born as a herb garden and took on refinement in time.
Meanwhile in the kitchen. Cook Pola Belluomini puts the finishing touches on the food. The simpatica Tuscan cook writes a food blog, Le Ricette di Pola and has also written a cookery book called Le Ricette del Paese delle Camelie.
Lasagne alle Verdure is a favorite with vegetarians Paul and Gil. The delicious recipe made with the freshest vegetables from the garden can be found in Pola Belluomini’s book Le Ricette del Paese delle Camelie.
Mantovana di Fragole or strawberry sponge cake was the perfect ending to a mostly vegetarian meal, which consisted of the freshest vegetables from the abundant growth from the garden.
Guests enjoy the meal in the romantic setting, lit by candlelight.
The Painter’s studio #1. After dinner, more treats in view with a private visit to Paul Gervais’s studio. After more than thirty years of work in non-visual media artist Paul Gervais returned to painting with new works.
The Painter’s studio #2. In 2011 the painting Blue Cybernetics captured the interaction of many short lines of various blue tones, which seemed to be falling in space. The lines are blurred as if a camera had caught them in flight but there is no illusionistic intent with this. The line has now retaken center stage in Gervais's work, but it's a more economic one. Subsequent painted layers can still obscure previous ones as they did in the works of the 1970s so that the depth of field is a more active participant in the composition. Best not described as minimalist—too much drama unfolds in the work—these are paintings that are produced, rather, by a limited set of decisions.
The Painter’s studio #3. Paul imagines the finished product before ever setting brush to surface and he outlines for himself a plan of execution to which he faithfully adheres. The outcome, given the accident of real materialization, can never be precisely that which the mind had pre-seen. The plan of action, in all its modesty, IS the "work" as much as the end result is, in a sense, merely a retelling.
Villa Massei. Panama hats sit on a sofa, in front of which, on another sofa, the visitors’ book is signed by the guests.