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Message started by Admin on Jul 6th, 2009 at 7:10pm

Title: Paintfox10of10
Post by Admin on Jul 6th, 2009 at 7:10pm
We rearranged the carpets in our apartment.   We have carpets from all nations:  one from Tunisia, made by Ahmed, whose name is woven in right next to Allah (it is why the carpet was inexpensive, someone told us:  you’d never walk on Allah’s name); one from Iran ordered through, and an antique rug made by the Jews when they lived in Morocco a hundred years ago.  Blair and I have always believed that one to be our magic carpet.

We’ve slept on the magic carpet, while we lived in Paris.  It made an exotic mattress pad, and our dreams were full of the desert.  We brought it to Tunisia, where we ate, crosslegged, on it, while  it imparted its magenta flavors to our romantic meals.  Recently, it  sat on the living room floor at 69 South Main St.  On Memorial Day, we carried it over to the green, Tunisian sand and all, to picnic upon.   This morning Blair shook it out again, and we brought it into the bedroom.

Our life has been none too romantic or magical of late.  Vice grips contort our best laid plans and intentions, sending them haywire.   We are terribly focused on work, getting a job, making money as the very last of our sheckles disappear into the coffers of health insurance (we’re up to 1200 a month now, with 2,000 deductible).

We buy our food at the cheapest store around, Ferraro’s, in New Haven.  I was initially attracted to them because they had a two color flyer with words only, no pictures.   I went to the store to collect more flyers, printed on newsprint, so I could paint foods on them.   The store itself  delighted me even more than the brochure.

Ferraro’s is a small store.  You have to squeeze through the entry way, designed so carriages can’t leave the premises.  There’s a window you can purchase prepared foods from, and black men stand around eating sandwiches there, discussing the state of the country.  

The store is almost always packed.  They have a huge meat section, featuring 5 pounds of bacon for 4.69, or pork butt, with the fat, for 98 cents a pound.   I buy veal chops and capon, both incredible bargains.

They have a local concern freeze vegetables for them, and I can get two giant bags of beans, corn, okra or carrots for $5.00.   The five pound, ten ounce can of hand picked tomatoes from Italy is only $4.99 (not genetically modified, like the US brands).   Imported Parmagiano cheese is only 3.88 a pound.  I don’t know how they can offer such good prices, but we have the chance to buy wonderful foods for very little money.

I like seeing all the people there, too.  Some folks fill their entire cart with turkey legs, or sausages.  Others pick and choose.  Italian ladies block the fresh vegetable aisle, discussing the death of a friend.  Spanish women with children piled on the cart, holler NO in the cookie section.   People are remarkably polite to one another, letting carts pass.

The store can’t be more than 7,000 square feet, but I can find everything I need there.   It satisfies my shopping, cooking and visual needs all in one small area.    On Sunday, I cooked up a capon and we took ¼ of it to the beach.  With tomatoes and mozzarella, and sweet potatoes, we spread out our picnic cloth.   For the afternoon, we were transported to a happy place.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
Four girls at the beach    LFP Acrylic on canvas  20 x 16   $225.00
Lauriefourgirlsbythesea7-6-9.jpg (90 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox2of10
Post by Admin on Jul 19th, 2009 at 8:00pm
Our clients this day were two DAR relics:  Felicity and Margo.  I'd set up the appointment a week before, after a couple of phone conversations.  Nonetheless,  Margo had overslept, and Felicity just arriving, let us in.  

The house was a shrine to the 1970s, designed by Margo's late husband, an architect.   A bean shaped pool, a sunken conversation area, and diagonal wood siding bespoke its age.  Margo and Felicity have a design business "mostly downsizing people so they'll fit into a smaller apartment".  From time to time they need an occasional table or rug.

Even though our paintings were a bust ("my daughter's a painter", not to mention the original Debuffet on the wall), the two were chatty about the local art scene.  Margo had overslept this morning because she'd been helping the installation artist Patrick Dougherty construct his villa of twigs on the grounds of the Florence Griswold museum.  "Oh, you must go there and see it," she gushed.

We pulled out, promising to return with a rug catalog, and drove toward the museum.  On the way we found a state park with a still, beautiful lake into which Harika and I plunged.   There wasn't a soul in sight, and there were all of three houses around the lake.  It was a little "root beer" from nearby iron deposits, but judging from Harika, it tasted quite good.

At the Florence Griswold museum, the twigs were taking shape:  arches and a cupola were evident.  "Stickworks" were clearly in the spirit of Florence Griswold (this is the museum where artists painted on walls), surprising and a little wild.  

Florence Griswold opened her "art camp" for New York painters just before the turn of the last century.  After the death of her father, she was left with a fleet of (useless) sailing ships in the age of steam.  Like today, life would never be like it was before.  All that was left from the fortunes of the Griswold family was the house.  So, in the 1890s, Florence invited impressionist painters from New York City to come out and paint in Connecticut.  The result was the Lyme Art Colony.

I doubt if our own life will return to the way we knew it after this recession.  Of course, people will buy furniture and rugs and paintings, but clearly not with the same vigor.

Blair and I are rethinking our plans.  I am taking my Graduate Record Exam later this month and he is preparing a Fulbright application.  It is not clear this will be our final direction, but it seems a shift in course is called for at the moment.  

On Wednesday, we returned with our paints to the Florence Griswold museum and painted the river leading to the sea.

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER

River leading to the sea   LFP   Acrylic on canvas  20 x 20    $225.00
Plein air painting    MBP   Oil on canvas  36 x 24  $375.00
Laurieriveratoldlyme7-19-9.jpg (97 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox2of10 Blair Pessemier painting
Post by Admin on Jul 19th, 2009 at 8:03pm
Plein air painting    MBP   Oil on canvas  36 x 24  $375.00
Blair's painting, 7-19-9

LaurieBlairpleinairpaint7-19-9.jpg (113 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox3of10
Post by Admin on Aug 19th, 2009 at 9:19pm
It’s been a couple weeks since artnotes.  We’ve been to Boston and the near South, New York state and now we’re at Hemlock Lodge.   We are connecting with friends and family, in the proper summer vacation mode.

“Reach into the future” a Boston friend suggests, “don’t look to the past”  I think it is one of the most sound thoughts I’ve heard in years.  Since then, I have been much more positive and hopeful .

We had a most unusual painting commission this past weekend (originally scheduled for the weekend before).  Someone asked us to paint pictures around the house and grounds of an estate that is sold. The family was unknown to us, but a friend paid us to make the images as a gift.  These paintings will become souvenirs for the family who enjoyed more than 50 summers there.

It is a fabulous piece of property, over 40 acres, purchased by grandparents in the 1940s.   Nothing was every thrown away, and many items were real treasures.  We could have stayed a week, and Blair would have liked to paint interior “shots”, earlier intact, as well.    I saw many possibilities for  the gardens and grounds in ever changing summer light.    Our time there amounted to just about 24 hours, and we produced two midsized and three small paintings.

We checked into our own family homestead afterward, Hemlock Lodge.   Because of a parasite, many of the ailing hemlocks were cut down this year, and a great deal more sunlight filters into the house.  I like the change, even if it underscores further imperfections in the aged abode.   I can see the lake better, and I view the interior in a new way.  Certain infrastructure items are under stress, however  – we are being gentle with the fragile structure.

The niece and nephews all swam with us in Highland Lake yesterday.   The boys:   8, 11 and 12, are physically all about the same size, kids turning into young men.  Shoulders are broadening, and they can swim faster and harder than me.    My niece is grown up but will still play with us.  For her sixteenth birthday, on Thursday, we’re taking her to New York City to see the Statue of Liberty and shop for bargains on Canal Street.

I speak to a friend in Seattle who has been an itinerant carpenter for the last year.  He moves from place to place, living with clients and friends along the way.  It is a lifestyle of choice, not necessity.   He tells me, “It ISN’T the person who dies with the most toys who wins.  It’s the person with the most experiences.”

Hemlock Lodge will not stand forever.   I will never have to pore over photos and egg cups, tablecloths and silver.   For now, we swim in the cool, clear water and only think about supper.

Laurie (painting + text) and Blair PESSEMIER

Swimming   LFP  Acrylic on canvas  12 x 12 inches  $150.00
Laurieswimming8-12-9.jpg (88 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox4of10
Post by Admin on Aug 19th, 2009 at 9:29pm
I have been writing  a statement of purpose.  Imagine that:  a reason for being; what makes my life worth living; why god made me.     I am applying for a fellowship at Koc University in Istanbul.   Last year, I realized, when I wasn’t painting as much, how I really liked working in the arts in some form.  I decided to get my masters degree in art history.  Here are some excerpts from my “statement of purpose”.

What if Columbus hadn’t “discovered” America? What if the Mayflower landed in Caracas instead of Plymouth Rock?    I don’t believe in a single answer.  There are many ways to look at a subject, an argument, history, and life.

When the Moors and Jews were expelled from Christian Spain in the 15th century, many fled to Istanbul.   In the same timeframe Istanbul became an Ottoman city.   What went on in that “parallel universe”?   When I look at Western architecture, I see symmetry and an order I recognize.  When I look at Islamic architecture, I see trapezoids, lyrical column arrangements, and a human order.  

When I went to Gilbert High School, I learned Latin.  Latin is one of three languages offered at University, the other two being Greek and Ottoman.  In high school, everything I learned looked at one side of the story, the Christian side.  This was good, but I want to know more.

This application to graduate school hasn’t been easy:  most of my professors are either dead or addled.  One I found and wrote to disavowed any knowledge of me or my performance.   I ordered my transcripts from my previous colleges.  In art school, I graduated cum laude, but with C’s in drawing; B’s in painting.  It was biology I aced, and a couple of math classes pulled my average way up.  Believing I wasn’t a painter, I switched my major to Art History, where I received a bachelor’s degree.   My lowest grade was in film; my highest in Renaissance Art.

I go on about living in Seattle, and subsequently in Paris and Tunisia (you artnotes folks know all of that, so I won’t bore you).  

… all of these skills I have acquired in the past thirty years will be useful in Cultural Heritage Preservation.  I will be able to manage the logistics of lending artifacts to museums around the world:  marketing the show, negotiating fees, packing and shipping, installation.  I have an eye to choose the right pieces.  I have the heart to understand where the artist was “coming from”.   I understand architecture.

Since the summer of 2008, I have been in the US.   I am studying Islamic art.  I’ve borrowed books from the local library system.  I’m learning the Arabic alphabet, to try to read what I see as surface decoration on artwork and monuments.  I joined the Historians of Islamic Art, and signed up for related newsletters and online journals.  I subscribe to Saudi Aramco world where I enjoy numerous articles on Turkish antiquities.   It is through this combination of sources I found my way to KOC University.

I believe that art history and cultural heritage are vital to understanding civilizations which were, and how they became what they are now.  Artifacts speak eloquently:  a boat preserved in mud indicates the exchange between countries;  jewels from the Topkapi palace speak not only of the riches of the prevailing powers, but of the technologies, the tastes, and the materials available at that time.  Artifacts are often universally beautiful, and provide a point for otherwise opposing cultures to agree upon.    I see my work in Islamic art history as a way to develop positive dialogue about art between different, often opposing, cultures.

Blair, Harika and I are all waiting with bated breath to hear about this application.  No other possibilities are on our horizon at the moment, and Blair is painting pictures of Istanbul.

Laurie (text) and Blair (painting) PESSEMIER
"Tourist in Istanbul"     MBP  Oil on canvas  28 x 22    $350.00
Laurietourististanbul8-19-9.jpg (71 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox5of10
Post by Admin on Sep 19th, 2009 at 8:08pm

I wrote a letter to God this week, asking for money.  I told him that I would  do only  good with it, not be selfish, and it would mentally free me up to write artnotes once again.  So far, no response, but I thought I’d go ahead and write to you anyway.  It’s hard to find the balance between doing what I know to do (art and writing) and finding the money with which to live.

It has suddenly become cold crunchy fall here in New England.  We had less than a month of summer weather, and now the first brush strokes of gold and red are painting the trees.    Yesterday, we drove to Williamstown, Massachusetts to see the Prendergast show at Williams College.  Several students were wearing their winter coats.

We picked up our friend, B, who lives in Winsted, and proceeded up the old route 8.   About fifteen miles out, I saw a large black form crossing the road.  “A bear!” Blair exclaimed.  Just then, two small heads popped out of the foliage “and her cubs!”   B took out his camera  at the moment Harika went into orbit.   A dog that has fear of chair legs decided to do her best to ward off these wild animals.  No cub pictures, but a rather nice picture of the mother bear returning across the street to retrieve them.  I could smell her.  We drove on, by old New England barns, a covered bridge, and summer hotels.  We also saw a fox.

Prendergast is a painter I have much enjoyed – he almost always includes people in his pictures, often lots of them.  These paintings were mainly from Venice and northern Italy.  Watercolors and monoprints, it was a collection that merited close up study.  The galleries were not crowded and we got a good look at all of them.  

I go to museums because I love to look at pictures, all kinds.  The Robert Motherwell (in the permanent collection) has an impact equal  to the Dutch portraiture and the Edward Hopper.    In fact, seeing the Declaration of Independence was thrilling,  and the British reply to the Declaration.

Our friend concentrated on the rest of the museum, which I had never seen.  “Come over here,” he beckoned, showing us a Grant Wood which seemed quite modern, painted on masonite.   Blair and I like to go places with other people for this very reason:  they see things we overlook, adding a whole other dimension to our experience.  B pointed out  Steichen’s photos, some taken as advertising in the 1930s.  A picture of matchsticks was destined to be a pattern for a Swiss Silk textile; same with an abstract of eyeglasses.   The art museum is a great common ground, for friends and others, to start conversation.

We three were all shaken up by a photo seen at the end of the exhibits, before the gift shop.  It was of a man in native dress with a pet hyena, standing under a graffiti-ed concrete bridge in Nigeria.  Oddly, it is the piece that has stayed in my mind the longest, but the name of the artist escapes me (as I hope the hyena eventually did [escape him]).

The museum was free, perhaps a sign God heard my prayer.   Good, but I still await more substantial income.

I don’t write artnotes when I am too stressed out, or  have nothing positive to say, but then I reach a point where the dam breaks.  I want to tell you dear readers (who are so supportive) that I didn’t get accepted to graduate school in Istanbul.   The university thought their curriculum wouldn’t sufficiently satisfy my interest in art history.  This was better than simply “no”, I guess…     I might just have to write about art on my own.  
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Title: Re: Paintfox7of10
Post by Admin on Oct 3rd, 2009 at 7:38pm
"Swings!"  Immediately after eating sandwiches and chips, our two-and-a-half-year-old twin friends went for a ride on the swings at Parker Park, the beach in Branford.  My own lunch lurched ominously in my stomach as they hung their heads all the way back, watching the trees and sky careen above.  "Higher!"

There are things one can do at the age of two and a half that will never be the same again.  Their mom, our friend, H, asserts, "they'll only be two and a half once".  Chasing pigeons; wading into the water in blue jeans, up over your knees; squealing with delight…  I really enjoy that refreshing attitude, and try to incorporate into my own life.  But there is something about knowing, understanding, and planning that can put the kybosh on spontaneity.

We are a bit more spontaneous this week, our coffers jingling ever so slightly again.  I won't say it was the letter to God, but it could have been.   I also tossed a penny into the Chinese Super Buffet fountain:  the result came just an hour afterward.  This was the same fountain, into which my mother, a rabid Yankees fan,  pitched a penny, years earlier, willing them  to win the world series, but, through an unfortunate slip of the tongue, exclaimed, "I hope the Red Sox (the other half of the family’s team) win the world series!" The Red Sox won.   Ever since then, our family goes to then fountain whenever in need of a miracle.  (This week’s wellspoke penny seems to have clinched the race for the Yankees).

On Thursday, the famous Branford library book sale opened its tents.  It's a huge affair, with thousands of books.   We paid the extra ten dollars to be "friends of the library" and gain entry a day before the general public.

Blair got in line at a quarter to four, behind others already waiting for the five o'clock whistle.  These, it turned out were dealers, some from as far away as Brooklyn.  When I got there at 4:45, nobody would let me join him, and I was relegated to the end of the line.

A man chatted up the crowd with his African Grey parrot, Rudy.  Rudy's tail was such a brilliant red it hurt your eyes to look at it.  Rudy, 4 years old, could play dead on command, to the delight of everyone in line.  He wouldn't talk to us, but Blair says he spoke to those at the front of the line, no doubt recognizing them as book sale winners.

We'd already scoped out the books we wanted:  Klimt's landscapes, Steichens photos; American Impressionists, an Indian cookbook... we immediately bought those and a few others.  The Julia Child I'd seen was gone -- her first book, done with Simone.  I suspect the book was hidden by someone for a later pickup.  On Sunday, we went back for “donation day”, filling a box with all sorts of books (Turtles, Nicholas and Alexandra, New England furniture…) for a $10.00 donation.

I made a fish cooked in salt, from one cookbook:   the whole fish, scales and all, is covered one inch deep with coarse salt and cooked at high temperature.  It was a dramatic presentation, with Blair cracking it open with a hammer.  It was not salty at all and the only really good recipe in that cookbook, which is why I have a five dollar maximum cost rule for cookbooks.   I already made one of the Indian recipes, justifying its one dollar price tag.

We had a raspberry clafoutis from a Julia Child recipe online,  with the twins, and sent them on their way with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.   When we see them again, I am sure they'll be completely different and new and wonder just who we are.

First Frost Orchard
Acrylic on canvas  20 x 54"   $350.00  

LaurieFirstFrost.jpg (141 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox7of10
Post by Admin on Oct 3rd, 2009 at 7:41pm
It’s been a busy week.  I painted a picture every day;  we applied for multiple jobs (these may be opposing activities, but we’ll see), looked at new places to live, and ate capon every day (capon with rose hip sauce; capon with pasta; capon risotto, capon soup (twice)).     We sold a couple of paintings online.  Thank you, it gave me the courage to go out and paint again.

We’re trying to figure out how to spend half our time in Paris and the other half in the USA.   I put an ad on Craig’s list looking for a basic studio where we can store our paintings and sleep 90 days a year.  We may have found something, very basic, near my family.

We miss Paris very much.   We never really intended to leave it, but circumstances took over.   Circumstances change a lot of people’s lives.  Until our recent events, I never realized what it was like to do something besides what I had intended.

Last Sunday I got a book in the “box of books for a donation” phase of the Branford book sale.  My hand was drawn toward “the beggar king and the secret to happiness” (Joel ben Izzy).  It was a marvelous book about a Jewish storyteller who lost his voice.   It took him an inordinately long time  to adjust to his circumstances -- the story is really about how that happened.

On Monday, while I was painting in the woods, a man came up to me and started asking me questions.  I could hear my own voice droning on and on, in a rather complaining tone.  I realized, at that very moment, it was taking me an inordinately long time to adjust to MY circumstances.   I woke up and shooed him away, promising to visit him at his coffee shop gallery.

My painting spirit lurched ahead.  I completely covered the picture I had started painting, and it ended as another.   The final result was less than perfect, but my muse has been so stifled, she needed to stretch her arms and legs and jump about before we could get back to work.

On Tuesday, I painted an interesting view at Burr Pond,  and on Wednesday we painted yellow trees beneath a grey sky, with the Madison Art Society.  Thursday we painted on the Branford Green, and yesterday a still life of pears in the kitchen.  

I don’t think it is a certain length of time that makes things better, but maybe a knock from the outside that makes one want to break out.     And keep moving.

We visited the man who knocked on my shell.  He was a traditional painter, from Poland, who knew how to use light to its fullest.    “How did your painting come out,” he asked.  “So-so,” I replied.  “Just keep on going.”

September Noon  Burr Pond     LFP   Acrylic on canvas  30 x 15 inches   $395.00
Laurieseptembernoonburr_pondw.jpg (124 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox8of10
Post by Admin on Nov 10th, 2009 at 11:28pm
We’re in Paris and deliriously happy.   We wake up at 8 o’clock every day, miraculously, like we’ve never left.  No jet lag, we are out and about by 9-ish (no fooling around with a shower here in our chambre de service – a sponge bath and tooth cleaning voila), and go about our business.

Our business?  Culinary and culture tours.   We hit the pavement in a certain neighborhood, discovering, on behalf of our clients, food and cultural surprises.   So far we’ve been to the Les Halles region, Montparnasse, Madeleine, Tour Eiffel, Place de Vosges, Pere Lachaise.

“Pour boire, du vin?” the server asks.  OUI!!!  We’ve eaten fricasseed pheasant with fois gras and terrine de lievre, washed down with a Langendoc;   Jerusalem artichoke soup followed by beef bourguignon; a tartare of scallops and an “origami” of cabillaud with baby scallops; and today pig’s feet lollipops followed by two super dishes:  rabbit fritters and roasted lamb, accompanied by whips and froths of veggies; a spicy pear millefueille for dessert.    We’ve made up for a year and a half of not eating in four days.  Who won’t want to come on our tour if it’s like this for a week?

Luckily, our apartment is up 126 stairs – it keeps us from getting too fat.  I had my doubts I could make it, but actually I can mount and descend with ease three times a day:  it’s the fourth time I feel like it’s too much.  I have a small backache, which I am hoping is just from the bed.

My darling dog, Harika, is staying with friends with a fenced yard in Virginia.  Someone gave us a free round trip ticket, flying standby, to come back for a visit.    I wasn’t sure how the three of us would fare under such circumstances:  in fact, it took us two days to get out of Dodge.

Just walking on the streets of Paris puts a smile on my face, despite rain and chilly temperatures.  I love to look in the windows:  boots everywhere is the fashion statement.  My boots, which I thought were here in the apartment are not, nor are many clothes I thought would be here.  I chine together outfits I like to think look Kenzo, but can tell by the looks of others might be just a little too trash can.  Maybe on a younger person they’d be interesting, but I have a certain je ne sais quoi “bag lady”.

With a nod to economy we are cooking one meal a day on the hot plate.  We’ve had civet d’oie (goose stew), which we picked up at a foie gras seller; ravioli with pesto; and last night, truffle risotto.  I have seen more truffles in the shops than ever before.  We were able to buy cepes for tonight’s adventure on the hot plate for not too much money.  We’ll accompany them with salad and a confit de canard.

Painting has been impossible with the changeable weather, but we’ll share a photo with you this week.    I can hardly imagine going back to the Branford for long after this trip to Paris!  Come visit!!!
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Title: Re: Paintfox9of10
Post by Admin on Dec 6th, 2009 at 5:43am

A Famed Paris Restaurant to Auction Its Wines  a New York Times headline reads this week.

I remember the first time I went to the Tour d’Argent (ok, I only went once), our host was scuttled off by a white gloved sommelier to the wine cellar to make a wine selection or two for the party.   This same 27 room cellar is now selling off 18,000 of its 450,000 bottles.    Shocking.  

I was gobsmacked by the whole experience of eating at the Tour d’Argent, a few years ago.  From the young man in period dress bringing us up to the restaurant via elevator (a proud six floors between kitchen and restaurant), to the man accompanying me to the (ahem) loo, every need was anticipated.

It all started when I received a call from “friends of American friends” demanding if we knew a place for dinner in Paris and if we would accompany them.  This is always a tricky question, because one wants to select the right place, but keep in mind one might have to pay one’s own way (or even for others’).   Blair and I settled on a moderate restaurant.   Just minutes before leaving the house, the Americans called back:  Meet us at the Tour d’Argent.

I quickly changed my slacks for a dress and brushed up my hair.  I felt nervous – it was our first three-star experience.   After all, one of the Tour d’Argent’s earliest diners was Henri, King of Poland and France, in 1582, credited with the “discovery” of the fork.  I hope I’d remember which one to use, when.

The speciality of the Tour d’Argent is duck, and most at our table of 8 selected the “canetton” menu:  several courses of duck presented in different ways, including pressed, which sold me on the idea.  Each duck served at the Tour d’Argent is numbered, and each diner receives a card, for souvenir, with the number of his or her duck.  Our duck was  closely approaching the 1 millionth served, a peak achieved in 2003.

We had a very fun time, with these wildly spending Americans (ah, those were the days), in an outrageously pompous, yet not off-putting restaurant.    The view of the lights coming on at Notre Dame was reflected in the mirror across from my seat (I deferred the view to our generous patrons).    After all, I lived in Paris.  The sight of the lights illuminating the church at crepuscule remains one of my favorite things --  although a picnic on the banks of the Seine in front of the restaurant is nearly as good.
Food and presentation styles have changed.  To visit the Tour d’Argent is like entering an eighteenth century painting.   It’s intimidating and not roaring fun, but rather amazing for its authenticity and uniqueness in today’s world.

The Tour d’Argent has lost TWO stars, and even though there are many reasons for selling of this million euros worth of wine, it is a sign of the times:  less diners, less pomp, less rich Americans and Japanese in Paris.    And if wine isn’t consumed in a timely fashion (say, two hundred years) it can spoil.  Cheers.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
DUCKS  LFP  Acrylic on canvas  14 x 11 inches   $135.00

LaurieDuck12-5-9.jpg (69 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox10of10
Post by Admin on Dec 21st, 2009 at 10:08am
High Point Market was a success for a few key showrooms with design and heart.  Yes, heart.   People don’t buy furniture from companies:  people buy from other people.   It is the belly-to-belly, heart-to-heart connection  which seals a sale, and makes the customer want to come back to that showroom again.  It’s one thing to buy a book on, but it’s another to see the lavender in the background of a painting.  A fellow salesman described a painting to me:  “I can see how the brush laid the paint on the canvas and each stroke takes my breath away.”  

Business, in general, seemed to be slightly brisker than in April.   A good friend, at an uptown showroom, sold two 40-foot containers of furniture the first day.  People who came to market came to buy, and all but one of the invitees we saw bought a painting from us.  Traffic was off, is all.  

This market we were once again camped out at the far end of the complex.  Last spring, the showroom owner announced we would relocate to a more mainstream location; it wasn’t until August we learned they opted to stay put. We couldn’t back out –like telling someone you’ll come to dinner, you can’t change your mind when you find out the menu is hot dogs.   As Vinny says, there are three keys to success:   location location location.   We should have quit the hot dogs, manners be damned.

Our location was so remote, some “go-vans”, which shuttle folks around market, didn’t know where the Atrium was.   One day, in a lucky catch of a van, I hopped aboard to travel north to friends in the “designer” district of the furniture market.

“What do you think is happening there?” the driver asked me, pointing to the sidewalk, mid block ahead.  “I think that woman has fallen,” I replied and suggested we help her out.  Sure enough, not only had she fallen, but she was nine months pregnant, and in labor.  “Would you mind?” the driver asked, “if we bring her to hospital?”.  I encouraged the move, and helped the woman get into the van.  The driver mounted the “out of service” placard, and we sped in direction of the hospital.    I never found out if it was a boy or a girl.

Market visitors like us stay in the home of High Point area residents, as there are a limited number of hotel rooms in the city.  This time, we stayed with a friend, a school teacher.  She  asked me if I would consider teaching a fourth grade art class.

I have never thought of myself as a teacher, but business was slow, and I needed excitement and inspiration.  Sure enough, at 8:05 on Monday morning, two dozen smiling fourth-grade faces filed into the room.   The class had been studying the many applications of art in life:  interior design, graphic design, architecture, teaching, ART.

“What is a professional artist?” the teacher asked.  Hands raised:  one who paints all the time; an artist who sells their paintings!   The super smart class asked about what my paintings sold for.  “Did you ever sell one for more than a thousand?

Questions continued, as I set up my easel.  “What shall I paint?” I asked, looking out the window.  ME was the universal reply.  So a painted a number of students, at their tables, in the classroom.  It was a modest 12 x 24 inch canvas.   I had about thirty minutes to complete the work.  I rushed:   no eyes or noses, one boy’s shirt, another boys hair; a girl with a hand on her hip.  I was compelled to finish the painting and have it look good.  “I’ll give you $24.00 for it!” someone exclaimed.

The team from our old (beloved) defunct showroom (where we sold at least 3 times what we are selling currently), still gets together.    “He just wouldn’t listen to what a woman had to say,” one bemoans.   I walk the streets of a depressed market, passing banners honoring the scions of markets past:  photos of big men in expensive shoes , text spouting their take on design.   Like so many US institutions, change has come, like-it-or-not, a little too late.

I met another artist at the “unique boutique”, low priced booths in the bowels of Market Square.   Butterfly wings, silk blouses, jewelry and distressed furniture were among the fare offered.   “Has it been a success?” I ask her.  “How do you rate success?” she replies.  She didn’t sell much either.

Laurie (text) and Blair (painting) PESSEMIER

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