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Message started by Admin on Jun 5th, 2008 at 10:07pm

Title: Laurie - Paintfox USA 10of10
Post by Admin on Jun 5th, 2008 at 10:07pm
"Nope.  If your credit card and driver's license don't match, you can't rent a car here."  I had made a reservation with Dollar Rent a Car at Bradley airport in Hartford/Springfield.  I'd just rented for three weeks from them in Seattle: I pointed out this fact to the meanie behind the desk.  Here, in Connecticut they left me high and dry.  "Oh, it's not just us, the woman behind the counter asserted, "all the rental agencies are the same here.  Take a cab".  It's more than thirty miles.

The man who drove the shuttle bus from the airport motioned to me from outside.  "I'll drive you," he offered.  "It's too far," I said.  "No, it's a beautiful out, and your story about your dog really made my day."  On the bus, We had told him how we'd found Harika on the beach in Tunisia, and how she'd been all over the world with us.   He had recently lost his own cat to tainted cat food from China.  We hopped into his Honda.

It was a warm, sunny day, and we took route 219 by Lake McDonough.  Harold, our driver, had swum there years before, and we told him how we picnicked by the lake when we lived in Hartford in 1995.  He knew people from Winsted, where I was born, and he'd worked, like my father and uncles, in factories in the area.  He recalled how pretty it is here, and was glad to see it again.

We've come to Connecticut to participate in the "Gallery on the Green" in Litchfield this Saturday, 7 June.  Our sales were great in Seattle, thanks to so many of our friends, and we're hoping for big things in Litchfield.  We'll be showing my new portraits, some older baseball paintings, and Blair's abstracts.  I will have some smaller, modestly priced work, too.

We're staying at Hemlock Lodge, our usual August roost, while we are here.  This is the earliest opening of the lodge, and some of the former tenants are reticent to leave.  A bushy-tailed red fox ran across the yard yesterday, and hid beneath the porch -- Harika was thrilled.  She followed a chipmunk beneath a tree, and endeavored to dig the opening large enough for herself.  No bats yet, and there are fewer squirrels than I remember.  It was 53 degrees (about 10 celsius) this morning -- too cold to swim.

We renewed Blair's drivers license today.  I painted the mountain laurel, the flower of Winsted, Connecticut.  And if we sell lots of art, we may be here to paint the goldenrod in August.  

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
Mountain Laurel    16 x 12 inches   Acrylic on canvas
Lauriemountainlaurelw6-5-8.jpg (159 KB | )

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 1of10
Post by Bob_Abrahams on Jun 6th, 2008 at 2:14pm

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 2of10
Post by Admin on Jun 19th, 2008 at 12:28am
"Wow, it's my lucky day!:  I exclaimed, as I accepted my winnings from the 50/50 raffle.  Our Gallery on the Green booth was paid for and we carried home less paintings and more money than we started with.  I've learned to pay no attention to where success comes from:  I just enjoy it.

We picked up Harika at my sister's house where our pup passed the sweltering hot day out of the sun.  We lie in the cool grass listening to the birds before piling into my aunt Franny's overloaded 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier.

We were just 500 feet from our destination when a barrage of dust and dirt, glass and lost pennies assaulted us.  The airbags had deployed as we were hit head on by a speeding out-of-control SUV.

Harika's cries summoned my immediate attention.  She was slung in an unnatural pose between my arms and the backseat.  I carried her to the grass behind the car.  I returned to the car to get Blair out -- his door was jammed.  "Go get B!"  I ordered gawking onlookers, and someone ran to the nearby house to find my sister's father-in-law.  I cried for my dog, who showed no signs of life except bleeding.  I handed out business cards  the crowd.  "Someone call me with her news."  I was whisked away to the hospital on a body board, still jabbering, as they cut Blair from the wreckage.

A week later we are back at Hemlock Lodge.  With my broken right wrist and collarbone, I read the "Mental ABCs of pitching":  Anger, Arousal, Breathing, Control, Continuity.  I'd ordered the book some months ago to improve my painting performance.  Now I am painting with my left hand.  A friend tells me it will improve my brain.

After reconstructive surgery, Harika lies, hairless now, on the grass.  With the help of a trekking pole, Blair makes it up and down the hill to the rental car.  I am cruising the internet in quest of speech-to-text software.  Adapt.

A neighbor expresses their sadness at our accident,  "I hope this won't ruin your memory of Highland Lake."  I laugh as I think of our luck.  People look awry as I tell them we beat the grim reaper.  We will be spending our summer here, recuperating.

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER
View of the Laurel (left hand)  Acrylic on canvas   16 x 20 inches
Laurielatlake6-16-8.jpg (125 KB | )

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 2of10
Post by Admin on Jun 19th, 2008 at 12:35am
Nice going, I'm sorry about that stupid SUV. That guy probably didn't even get hurt. And they are still making more of them, with better mileage. I hate 'em.. and the buyers. He was probably drunk. Smoke pot and drive safer and slower. You can tell I'm mad. Get well soon.

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 2of10
Post by Bob_Abrahams on Jun 19th, 2008 at 1:07am
A horrific incident for you and Harika. I feel fore you.

Please keep painting if you can because I believe it can help the healing process    

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 3of10
Post by Admin on Jul 6th, 2008 at 2:08am

"How about some Jimi Hendrix?"  A middle-aged man in a flush of youthful enthusiasm was carrying speakers up the soldiers monument tower in Winsted Connecticut.  The comment wasn't without precedent--the "Welcome to Winsted" sign bore the graffiti "remember Jimi Hendrix".

Yesterday, Blair and I and Harika were out looking for the heart of Independence Day.  We made a revolutionary site ourselves: me with my sling, Blair with his game leg, and our dog hopping along on her 3 good legs.  The day was cool and overcast and we exited  from a picnic.  

At 3:30 PM, I recalled the sign: soldiers monument, open from two until four on fourth of July.  The Soldiers Monument sits atop a hill in Winsted.  Not far from the high school, we would skip out of school to smoke, listen to music and feign study, with a view.

I'd been thinking about Jimi Hendrix as my ten-year-old nephew takes up the electric guitar.  At the Harwinton library, I searched for his music in vain, coming away instead with the score of  my favorite American musical, the Music Man (a Juy 4th story which includes the later Beatles' hit "Til there was you")

This fellow guarding the monument: said he'd originally come up here from Gilbert high school to study for exams.  Today he was keeping the monument open for visitors.  "There's about six of us," he explained, "that preserve the monument".  They had a few visitors today, but with the impending rain he was nervous about the music.

"We'll sit down here and tell you how it sounds," we offered.  At a  concrete picnic table, Blair and I discussed the surroundings -- flags and an odd newish fountain, non-operational.  The fountain has a certain crescent moon look imparting the feeling of a mosque to the tower --  I'm sure that's not what the city fathers had in mind.   After about 15 minutes, a short shrift of the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" rang  out.  "It's working!" we shouted.

He changed the music to the Battle hymn of the Republic.  The bronze soldier atop the monument looked proud.  Inside the monument, cut into stone are the names of the soldiers from the area lost in the Civil War.

I find it amazing that in the North we have very few Civil War monuments,  but in the South they abound.  There's a certain cynicism about everything in the state of Connecticut, disguised as dry humor..  We are rarely proud of anything here, and compliments are scarce as hen's teeth.

"The Soldier's Monument will be open on Labor Day," the man tells us, and we may even offer lemonade.  Blair suggests we bring it.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair Pessemier
Blue wildfowers on dark and light backgrounds   5 x 45 inches each   acrylic on pine
These are part of the left hand series -- not updated on the blog.

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 2of10
Post by Admin on Jul 6th, 2008 at 2:14am

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 3of10
Post by Admin on Jul 13th, 2008 at 11:18pm
After just two innings of the Harwinton-Torrington final baseball game of the season, the skies opened up.  As my nephew stepped up to bat for the Harwinton team, the game was called on account of rain.  It was a hard game to watch.  When my Harwinton nephew got up to bat, wed sit on the on the his side.  When the Torrington nephew got up to bat, we'd switch to the other bleachers.  I hate picking sides.

The game resumed the next day.   I took Harika for a walk around the outskirts of the field.  She raced through poison ivy and then dug a hole.  The game was held at the Harwinton Fairgrounds.  It was a beautiful setting with broad fenced pastures and  large deciduous trees in full leaf.  I got two horsefly bites, but awoke the next morning poison ivy free.

When I have to pick sides, I tend to avoid the situation.  I've always hated that someone had to lose.  I could always see the other guy's point of view.  I am a good art historian -- I can put myself in the shoes of the artist to understand why he painted something a certain way.  I appreciate, without exactly liking, the artwork.

I like baseball, just for the game--I never care who wins.  It's the beauty that intrigues me:  the green grass; the red dirt diamond; the ump dusting off home plate; the effort the pitcher puts in to psych-out a batter: sweat.  I like to watch the fielders converge on a fly ball and the snap of the baseball on the glove.  Like my other nephew, who wasn't playing, I like visiting with the folks at the snack shack.

I've never been able to pick sides.   In Tunisia, I never hung with the Americans, nor the French, nor even the Tunisians.  I was interested in everyone's point of view and  how they acted in relation to each other.   What might have been obvious in Winsted wasn't necessarily so in La Marsa, Tunisia or Trouville, France.

On Sunday morning here the radio station plays hallelujah music; in the middle of the afternoon Louis Farrakhan reads from Islam.  It's marvelous that people in the same city listen to that same radio station and accept those two opposing views.  It was this Springfield, Massachusetts radio station, WTTC, that inspired me to set out to France.  I will not be careful anymore."  That statement set my life in motion.

My Torrington nephew arrived at first base, where my Harwinton nephew played.  My Harwinton nephew smiled when he saw his cousin, and I knew right then who would win this game.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
Picking Flowers    acrylic on canvas 16 x 20 (left handseries)
Lauripickingflowers7-13-8.jpg (115 KB | )

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 4of10
Post by Admin on Aug 18th, 2008 at 7:24pm
"I'm on my way to my burial plot", I announce to Blair as we ply the rainy road toward Branford, Connecticut.  In the past year we have lived in France and Tunisia, and the ride down route 8 to the Connecticut shore seems well, mundane.

For anyone who missed our recent episodes, we've been in a serious car wreck, and are still enduring physical therapy and awaiting the settlement of our accounts.  In July, our ambulance-chaser told us we'd need to stick around for at least six months while our affairs were concluded.

We've been living at the infamous "Hemlock Lodge" all summer, healing.  The ouside walls are only as thick as the boards that cover them, and small animals dart in an out on a regular bais. Inadequate protection for the bitter New England winter.  No phone, no TV, no heat.

On fine July day, trying to rebuild our confidence in the horseless carriage, we decided to drive to the beach.  A couple of wrong turns, traversing I-95, found us close to the offices of a design/builder we'd worked with in past.  We pulled up to his office; he was "in".  He  told us about the new "1712" building he'd just bought.  "Go drive by," he suggested, "we're  painting."  Historic shades of celery, naples yellow, and deep maroon were set off by linen white trims.

In fact, the house was at one time a funeral parlor.  I walk carefully from room to room, coveting a cool breeze in the humid summer heat.  No ghosts.  It is a true colonial, the Samuel Pond house, with 6'10" inch ceilings and 12-over-12 paned windows.   To make a long story short, we are in process of hanging our "art design architecture" shingle in New Haven county, living across the hall.

We purchased a sofabed at a yard sale and the sellers threw in a vase and snow shoes:  "Welcome to Connecticut".   At a local junk store we found an eighteenth century tavern table and three suitably short, similarly aged chairs.  I sit in one as I type these notes -- those girls from Salem were slimmer than I.

Our phone and Internet will be connected on Monday and I will start calling on potential clients.  Harika loves our location by the sea -- we walk along the salt marshes and will play in the sand with her, in the off-season.

Our present artnotes journey is an internal one, physically and mentally.  I keep in touch with a few French clients.  An article I wrote three years ago about selling product in Europe has just kindled a flame in a couple of US manufacturers.  I have them on hold, in case we decide to return to Europe when we are well.

Meanwhile, I look forward to painting in the footsteps of Childe Hassam and Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer and Robert Motherwell.  I am anticipating earthworks by the shore and art lessons for plein air painters.  Death precedes the renaissance.

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER
Magenta Glads  LFP  Acrylic on canvas  12 x 36
Lauriemagentaglads8-11-8.jpg (63 KB | )

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 5of10
Post by Admin on Aug 18th, 2008 at 7:27pm
The thing I am most struck with on my return to America is the number of tattoos.  "It's because of breakfast you say that," Blair tells me.  We've been walking over to the "Common Grounds" coffee shop each morning with Harika -- a number of bikers congregate there at 7 AM.  Harika loves them, especially Eddy who has a broken leg.  I tell him about Harika's leg, "Stainless steel in there...".  They are big and tough, and she reduces them to baby talk.

We're living in Branford, Connecticut, something I tell myself over and over again. It's very beautiful:  a big green in the center of town, and the beach and Thimble Islands just a short step away.  White houses with neat lawns, wide sidewalks and cars that stop to let us all cross the road.  We are very lucky to know someone here, who will rent us an apartment with our dog, and "no tradelines", as the bank puts it.

The library won't give me a card here.  "Your papers just aren't right", Marion the librarian hisses between thin, tightlips.  "Don't you have a car or a cable bill in your OWN name?".  "No," I tell her, "Blair is my husband.  It's not like there are any other Pessemiers living in Branford."  What does she think?  I am going to read without the right?   She tries to keep my Harwinton, CT library card, but I reach over the desk and take it back from her.

We are here to build a business -- make a few dollars, so we can continue the lifestyle to which we are accustomed.  It is more expensive than we'd imagined.   Coffee is 1.95 a cup; if I want espresso, it's 2.35 -- nearly twice the price of Paris.  I try to justify the cost of visiting with live humans against the lesser cost of coffee at home.  Here in the US, it is best to buy everything over the Internet, but I want to open the paint tube, in front of the tattooed clerk.

I love being able to walk to the grocery, the coffee shop.  Lost of folks stop to talk.  There are two ice cream stands nearby, an Indian restaurant, a French restaurant, and several other eating establishments.  Hairdressers and spas, real estate offices and banks are well represented.  Churches, too -- three within a block of us; dogs galore.    I spoke to a man with a Bichon named Topsy, and with the mother of Lily, a West Highland Terrier.  They are eccentric, in a land of sameness.  I am momentarily put at ease.  Soul is what I seek:  I want to feel the interior make-up of the people I meet -- their meat.

It's never occurred to me to get a tattoo -- I don't even have pierced ears.  I ignore my body, my appearance, as much as possible.  I am fascinated looking at others.

I've been reading a new book about Marco Polo, my hero:  a traveling salesman with a penchant for the exotic.  He spent nearly twenty years in China, and then voyaged back to Venice.  He wasn't really happy about returning, but with the death of Kubla Khan, he had no alternative.  Nothing ever measured up again to that experience.   He wrote, in a Genoa prison, about his adventures.  Nobody believed him.  He died a bitter penny pincher, although he was rich.

Today we went to the beach in New Haven, with its Mexican food stands, and extended Spanish families.  Harika forged the waters of Long Island Sound up to her neck; I waded with her (we need a sticker for the Branford Beach -- after my experience at the library I couldn't face another rejection).  We bought Indian-boil-in-bag dinners in West Haven, and visited about Vancouver, BC, with the Vietnamese man installing our granite counter tops.  One of the things I like most about America is it's diversity, its collective soul.  Marco Polo might have been happy here.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
View at the Marsh    LFP   Acrylic on wood  5 x 18 inches  $125.00
69 South Main St.
Branford, CT  06405

Lauriethemarsh8-18-8.jpg (60 KB | )

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 5of10
Post by Admin on Aug 26th, 2008 at 8:56am
Branford is a very picturesque town, and I have been venturing out on foot, with Harika, to paint.

Saturday broke sunny and warm, so the two of us walked toward the marsh.  It's a good bet in the morning for a sunny scene, with stone benches in the shade.  I tied Harika to my skirt, squeezed out my pallette, and began to paint.

A man was fishing -- just finishing up, in fact, so I hurriedly blocked in his blue shirt and grey cap.  He closed up his gear, hopped into his truck and left.

A few minutes later Blair arrived.  What's in this bag, he asked.  How would I know?  In fact, there were two fish and half a mackeral.  The fish eyes were clear, but the fish were dead.  "Maybe he left them there for me," I ventured.  I finished up my painting, 30 minutes later and the fish were still there.  "Let's bring them home and clean them."

They smelled a little strong, but as Blair scaled them they developed a  definite pungency.  We were driving up to my neice's and father's birthday party and needed to leave.  "Let's toss them in the freezer."

We've been making the trek between Branford and Winsted pretty regularly these last few weeks.  On 1 September, our permanent address will become Branford, but until then, we spend half our time at Hemlock Lodge.  I love the rocking chairs on the porch and the clear lake water.

Neither place fulfills our penchant for the exotic.  I convinced Blair champagne was what I needed for the party.  It never fails to make me smile.  We bought two bottles, not really champagne, but champagne method, from a winery just 25 miles from Reims.  

A friend sends me pictures from Cairo.  I see North Africa in them:  dusty and hot; beautiful light brown people, happiness and tragedy in the faces of the children, women and men.  Men dancing like their life depended on it. A donkey pulling a cart.   I can see the beauty in the homeliness of these scenes, that I can't always see in a manicured lawn.

The birthday party is outside, which is a good thing as Blair had a strong fishy odor.  I had to roll down the car window.

We got back to Branford on Sunday in time to let the electrician into the house.  "What shall we have for lunch?" I asked.  "How about the fish?"   Opening the freezer door was overwhelming.  We ran down the stairs to the garbage can, finally realizing those dead fish were probably crab bait.

A man with bloodshot blue eyes and a big black dog sells lobsters just down the street from us.  We select two, 1.3 pounds each.  He talks to us about fishing and hunting and the wonderful places he's been.  Alaska is the farthest, and he talks about a Russian church on the hill in Kodiak. He tied hooks on lines on a fishing boat there -- he could do 1,000 in no time.    We talk to him about North Africa and the huge tiger prawns.  For a moment we are both transported.   Boiled, with melted butter, toast and salad, we start to feel at home.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
Man fishing    Acrylic on canvas  12 x 12 inches
Want to see our architecture/design website?  (paintings on that site are sold)
Lauriemanfishing8-25-6.jpg (215 KB | )

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 6of10
Post by Admin on Aug 31st, 2008 at 8:40pm
Q, fellow traveler of artnotes fame (father of the late Blackie), has made the ultimate journey:  our dear friend passed away on Friday.

He shared his secret to a happy life with us over quenelles and Pouilly-Fume; duck breast and pommes sarladaises; salmon souffle in a three star restaurant.  He could pick the best dish on any menu, and the appropriate wine to accompany it.  A thrifty man in daily life, his pocketbook knew no bounds when it came to a three hour meal.  He taught us to enjoy food and travel and life.

I feel a rock has been pulled out from the beach floor beneath me. As the hours go by, new experiences rush in to fill the void, wave after wave bringing new material from which to form a foundation.

I made an especially good risotto Milanese on Friday night, thanks to a surprise package of fine Iranian saffron from Persian friends.  Summer guests had left us a bottle of Prosecco, with which we toasted "life".

Another box of household goods arrived the same day from a friend in Florida:  a salt shaker resembling Harika among the goodies.  I was grateful for the timeliness.

Harika and I make the Herculaneum walk to the fruit stand on Saturday to buy an heirloom tomato.  It is only a mile, but a mile with a one-year-old dog in a new town can take 30 minutes.  It is a beautiful stand, alongside the marsh and inlet to the sea.  Old barns and tents, a wizened family with a big dog sit around with tiki torches warding off the mosquitoes.

"Is your dog a schnauzer?" one woman asks.  "No, she's a mix," I reply.  "Where did you get her?"  I pause.  "North Africa."
"What were you doing there?" a man asks.  Pause again -- I never know how people will react.  "Painting."  "Do you give painting lessons?"  Sometimes.  Will you teach me to paint?  

I am struck with the surprise and newness of every minute.  What is new?  not a car, not a building, but our own experience each minute.   Like the sea, the newness is unrelenting, knocking down and building up simultaneously.

We visited a friend in the Catskills this week.  We first met him in Seattle, where he helped us formulate our plan to move to Paris in 1998.  Paris seems very far away at the moment, and he has since moved to China.  We drive 2-1/2 hours to his home in the mountains, and break bread together at 3000 feet, in a field surrounded by trees.  It is cold, even thought it is still August.  We barbecue chicken and look at the stars, and talk about friendship.

Laurie (text)  and Blair (painting) PESSEMIER
"Recalling Paris"  MBP, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches   $875.00
LaurierecallingparisTower8-31-8.jpg (290 KB | )

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 6of10 "Recalling Pa
Post by Admin on Aug 31st, 2008 at 9:17pm
Hi Laurie and Blair, I'm sorry for your loss of a dear friend.
Laurie your arm should be well on the way to healed. Now you can hold a brush in each hand an paint.

This an amazing painting Blair.  No wonder you kept it. From the burned out shadows to the deepest caput mortum shadows. Reds actually going from red to yellow in the sun light. One local color shown in so many different stages of brigtness and shadow. Brilliant work, brilliant.

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 7of10
Post by Admin on Sep 12th, 2008 at 10:10am
"So, I wish I had better news for you in terms of a possible position, but I hope to hear more of you someday in terms of the art world."

I have been applying for jobs recently, and have received some of the loveliest rejection letters.  The above was one for an assistant editor position with a trade journal.   I try to apply for a couple of jobs a day, make a few calls for design work, and paint.  I am readapting to being in America, where it looks like we'll stay for a few more months.

At the beach this last week, the fishermen have been catching blue fish.  On Thursday morning last, the line fishermen had caught over 100 specimen.  I felt sorry for the fish, who were jumping right out of the water.  No sooner than a line would be cast, another fish was pulled in.

Early mornings, Blair, Harika and I go to the shore to paint.  Sunny and breezy, it's possible to get a canvas in before 10.  The Connecticut shore is famous for its beautiful light:  a whole group of American Impressionists bore testament to that at the turn of the last century.

Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf and many others came up to Old Lyme (just a stone's throw from here) to stay at Florence Griswold's boarding house and paint.  And paint they did, from canvas to the walls and doors.  A lintel boasts a seaside scene, a door panel holds a portrait.  This is now the Florence Griswold museum.

"Feel free to apply for future openings as your interests seem to be a good fit for the museum environment."  my letter from them reads: I was a day late with my application.

We went to Stony Brook on Sunday, to paint, and take Harika for a walk.  From this arm of Branford, you can see the Thimble Islands -- tiny outcroppings from the sea, each bearing a single house.    There is a tourist ferry which will carries passengers by each one.   I tie Harika, our 23 pound terrier, to my leg as I paint from the shore.  Blair is beneath the gazebo, painting quaint New England seaside architecture.

I've not yet heard on my application for breakfast and lunch chef at the private school, or designer at the Home Depot.  But I have really enjoyed applying for these jobs.  It is something I could never do in Paris, never having earned the right to WORK.

"I have no doubt that you would be very competent at whatever you did, but I have to say that if I had your artistic talent, I would quit (this job) tomorrow and devote myself to that pursuit/life.."  

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
"Thimble Island"  Acrylic on canvas 12 x 12 inches $150.00

Lauriethimbleisland9-9-8.jpg (211 KB | )

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 9of10
Post by Admin on Oct 11th, 2008 at 10:59pm
"Look, a watermelon!" I exclaim to Blair as we walk through the marsh grass at the East Haven beach.  I pick it up, and see there is a cut sealed shut with wax.  It falls open in my hand, revealing cloves, star anis, a photograph of a young man and a letter, in a language I don't read.  I embrace America's freedom of speech, this moment endangered by a vice presidential candidate.  I lived in a country that curtailed my freedoms, and know the danger of banning library books.

I love surprises, like the watermelon.  On our walks we find all sorts of things:  wire, a fishing bob, a penny so corroded it is impossible to pick out Abraham Lincoln.  

I cook Moroccan food with my new saffron this week.  Friends from Winsted come over.  "These are pigeons with kumquats," I joke, as I've had to substitute Cornish game hens and oranges.  

After lunch, we drive to an old artist's studio, W-estbrook G-allery, from the mid-1900s.
The artist, Aage Hogfeldt is now  in a retirement home, and his son is selling off the remnants of his work and land.    A student of Josef Albers, Aage Hogfeldt shunned the New York scene to make concrete sculptures "that make people feel good."  At the 1938 Worlds Fair, he was disgusted by posters from Facist Italy, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and felt art should never be used that way. Fish and cats are among his genre, with signature glass marble eyes. Metal garbage cans are transformed into tubby clowns.  Hogfeldt visited the dump every day for materials.  A huge mass of what looks like oversized lawn chairs and tables stands dramatically  in the center of a pond on the property.   Nobody does anything like this fellow did anymore, just for the fun of it; I am touched to the heart.

The upper floor, now closed, was a "camera obscura" of Route 1 and the surroundings on three sides.  One could belong to the Westbrook Gallery,in its heyday, for just 50 cents, and attend performances and art shows.

Blair is working on a small hotel design this week.  A young black man with a lilting accent takes us on a tour of the property.  "I've been here four years," he tells us.  I wonder if he means the job or the country, and  I realize my culture shock is a relative term.

I am having a decidely difficult time living in my own country.  The bank turned me away at the drive up window today because I walked.   I miss the sense of discovery each time I go to the grocery store, and the fun of transacting a cross-cultural exchange in another language.  Here, I know the rules, and I color inside the lines.

Laurie (text) and Blair (painting) PESSEMIER
"W estbrook G allery"  oil on canvas 24 x 20 inches  $250.00

LaurieWestbrookGallery9-17-8.jpg (234 KB | )

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 9of10
Post by Admin on Oct 11th, 2008 at 11:10pm
"Write your dog's name, and your name on this card," a woman instructed, "give it to him when it is your turn."  I wrote "Harika" and my name.  Blair was off finding the camera to help recall this funny scene.

The Branford town green was resplendent with dogs, cats, gerbils, horses and a pony.  The cat rescue team was handing out literature for the spay clinic.  Did you know an unspayed cat could generate up to 2 million kittens in 8 years?

My sister, brother-in-law and two boys had come for Sunday dinner; afterward we checked out the doings in town.  A few weeks earlier, the Episcopal minister had spotted us performing Harika's early morning ablutions:  "bring that dog by on October 5 for the blessing", he commanded.  It had slipped our mind until we saw the banner in town for "Animal Appreciation Day".

Life chugs along here for us in Connecticut.  Blair's project to renovate the small hotel has expanded, and because I still can't us my right side, my job has vanished.  We are going to be showing our artwork with our old friends at Ardley Hall at High Point Market, so we are busy painting (not yet an easy feat for me).

After the blessing (Harika was not impressed, but I think it did no harm), we headed out to the trolley trail.  The trail is reclaimed space, since the trolley has been replaced with heavy rail.  The trail runs through marsh land.  We hopped off the boardwalk to pick up a fiddler crab, who brandished his big white claw at Henry.    A path through the tall marsh grass led to an apparent hobo encampment.  The train passed very close by.

We pass other walkers, joggers and dogs on the trail.  There is a swing which, at it's apex, allows a panoramic view of the Long Island Sound.  The swing, and the land it sits on, was donated by an artist (deceased) who formerly taught at Yale.  His house, a mishmash of styles and decorations, sits at the gateway to the park.   I guess it will be left up to us to leave the next artist legacy.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
"Harika in the grass"  Acrylic on canvas  11 x 14 inches
Laurieharikaingrass10-1-8.jpg (326 KB | )

Title: Re: Laurie - Paintfox USA 10of10
Post by Admin on Nov 3rd, 2008 at 3:01am
We are just back this week from the High Point Furniture Market.  As an indicator of the economy, things were grim. In general, much fewer people bought fewer things.

But, as Art Buchwald said, "the best things in life aren't things."  
From that standpoint, it was a banner market for us.

We saw many of our old friends, some a great and wonderful surprise.  One of our old employers has opened a new furniture company, with his daughter.  Carefully selected, beautifully executed traditional pieces fill his showroom:  furniture one would have for a lifetime.  I love to run my hand along the curve of the wood, and imagine many pieces in my own home.  His company was doing well, despite the downturn.

We ran into a woman, formerly affiliated with the same company, who now lives not too far from us in Connecticut.  It was fun to see her, and see the furniture from her new employer.   We ran into former friends/clients from as far away as London.

Friends "turned us on" to businesses that might hang our artwork, and to other companies that would like us to sell for them in Europe.  We made arrangements to sell furnishings in Paris with three new, diverse suppliers,in addition to the two we still retain.

One of these companies, from China, is "green".  Their factory is lit by skylights, energy is generated by scrap wood, and their pieces are made without nails or screws, rather like a Chinese puzzle.  They use no synthetic lacquers.  The founder of the company, who lived through the cultural revolution, emerged with ideas she has only recently realized.  We connected.

We managed the "scratch and dent" showroom for old furniture friends, in exchange for hanging and selling our own artwork.  You can't imagine how wonderful it is to hear what people think of our paintings, whether they buy them or not.  It inspired me to paint more, in addition to the commissions we took on.  One commission is for a hippopotamus:  in Seattle, in years past, one could toss a post-halloween pumpkin into the jaws of a hippo under the bridge.

We ate food with good friends:  chicken pot pies and  cheese/pimento sandwiches.  We ran into veteran furniture salesmen, and bemoaned our low sales together, happily.  "I've been here for 19 years," one man said, "and I've never sold so little".  But otherwise, we'd never have had the chance to speak.

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER
The Hippo   LFP  12 x 12 inches (commission)
Meeting House on the Green   MBP   Oil on canvas  16 x 20  $275.00

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