Consilium en plein

In a recent conversation with an architect friend of mine, she said that in addition to bringing the outdoors into buildings and enhancing views, the very qualities of light and air need to be beautiful and beneficial to make buildings all that they can be.

Her comment made me think about my own work helping families to restructure, and how the field of family law is broader than just the statutes and case law precedents which shape how we practice law today.

The integrity of family relationships are analogous to the qualities of light and air, they matter as much as if not more than their documentation (like light and air relative to the simpler task of bringing in the outdoors and enhancing views). 

In fully considering family dynamics, we better serve our clients. When lawyers look only at statutes and case law precedents, we practice as if law were static, rather than a living thing which exists to enhance the lives of people within a society. By incorporating more comprehensive lenses (psychological and financial, as well as legal), we have the potential to help clients grow, envision and thoughtfully construct the next chapter in their lives.

Oscar-Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a French painter and pioneer and founder of impressionist painting. He is seen as a key precursor to modernism, especially in his attempts to paint nature as he perceived it.

He and his fellow impressionists coined the term “plein air” painting (literally “the fullness of air” in French) to describe their new style, and in describing the objective of this style, he once said:

“I want the unobtainable. Other artists paint a bridge, a house, a boat, and that’s the end. They are finished. I want to paint the air which surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat, the beauty of the air in which these objects are located, and that is nothing short of impossible.  

I would like to paint the way a bird sings.”

Claude Monet talked about art as being greater than just the physical act of painting what he saw. Instead, he aspired to paint something he felt, something “in the air”. When we describe our goals and intentions as something beyond specific and physical acts, they have the potential to become more sacred, more holy, more visceral. 

Our conception of Consilium is law “en plein air”.

Rare 1915 Film Shows Claude Monet at Work in His Famous Garden at Giverny.

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