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Message started by Admin on Dec 21st, 2009 at 10:19am

Title: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Dec 21st, 2009 at 10:19am
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

(I lost the painting temporarily. Don)

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009
Post by Admin on Dec 21st, 2009 at 10:26am
It’s Christmas in Branford, CT.  On the green, the tree is illuminated, and Blair and I, like birds, climbed under and inside the branches (before they erected the fence around it).  The birds love the tree, and even though the new LED lights don’t give off much heat, there is a certain coziness inside.

We’re back in the US for the holidays.   I have spent 53 Christmases with my parents, and I guess we’re in for the count.  I assembled their tree, placing red branch holder in the proper slot, before adding lights and decorations.

We spend a lot of time on the Branford green, near the tree, walking our petite charge, Harika.   She likes to swipe my glove from my pocket and run around with it.   We were playing at said game, when a man came up to us and said, “are you getting married?”  Hmm.  Were we in a Christmas song?

The surprise on our face must have been obvious, as he continued, “I am supposed to marry a couple out here tonight in a secret wedding.”  He held a prayer book and a portable light.  I asked him if I could use the light to find my glove, which, by now Harika had dropped in the darkness.  “Well, even if they don’t show up, I will have done some good,” he chuckled.

We pressed on our walk.  It is below freezing these nights, and we have to keep moving or ice up.  The Green Grocer features  a bright orange Christmas tree; all the businesses and churches have single candle lights in each window.   An empty storefront has become “Presence”, featuring goods from every store in town.

We decided to get a tree for our house this year.  It’s our first “big” tree since 1992.   We’ve had tabletop models in Paris, but most years have forgone the tradition in favor of travel.   We went to St. Mary’s tree lot.   “Something less than 6 feet with a trunk diameter of no more than 2.5 inches” we commanded.   The 6 feet was possible, but the diameter not.  We converted a jardinière into a tree stand, full of rocks and water.  It seems to be holding.

Harika and I went out to gather pine cones for ornaments.  We had sundry lights and a box of ornaments from my brother-in-law; Blair got a large bag of assorted decorations for $1 from the thrift store.   The tree is beautiful.

As we circled back from our evening walk, we saw flashbulbs going off by the tree.   The bride, resplendent in white wool and ermine posed with the proud husband in front of the Christmas tree.

I love this season.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
Christmas Tree    LFP   Acrylic on canvas  12 x 12"   $150.00
LaurieChristmastree_12-20-09.jpg (175 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009
Post by Admin on Jan 7th, 2010 at 8:02pm
“Which one would you like?” the pretty woman at the Grande Epicerie counter asked.  “That one”, I pointed to the first 5 liter tonneau of red wine, with the Picasso-like exterior.  “What’s the difference?” Blair asked.  “The picture on the outside, of course”.

It is the best of France to have three attractively housed “box” wines.  One picture was a photo of the vineyard, another a red and green painterly motif, and ours, the Picasso look.  It is a little round barrel, an attractive addition to the eating nook in our rabbit hutch.

The rabbit hutch has been a little trying at times, with the three of us.  Harika is not keen on the 126 steps, either, and we’ve been carrying her down the stairs to ease the pressure on her game leg.  It’s not crested freezing the entire time we’ve been here, and our single paned windows afford little protection.

Otherwise, things are, well, French.  The frustration is as bad or worse than ever, but the beauties always outshine the difficulties.  We’ve added a new café to our repertoire:  le News, which makes a great hot spiced wine in the late afternoon.

Madame at the Petit Lux (the NEW Petit Lux) welcomed us warmly.  Harika sits on the velvet banquet with us in the morning and has a croissant.   Even though she misses her run at the beach, there are benefits.

After coffee, we walk over the Luxembourg Gardens where one fourth of the park is given over to dogs, on leashes.   She’s made friends with Cerise (cherry), a yippy fluff ball that runs around in circles.  Cerise’s mother, Florence, lets go of the leash from time to time so Cerise can really run.  We’ve not got that far with Harika.  There’s a substantial fine for getting caught, sans laisse.

We’ve been eating energy food, like preserved duck, and red wine to keep warm.  Our hot plate is getting a work out:  two meals a day eaten at home, the chambre de service.

“It is the dream of every Algerian man to have a chambre de service in Paris,” M, tells us over a glass of Bordeaux.  He jokes about how the table in his room looked onto someone’s terrace and he would sit there all day looking out the window.  He’s writing a book about architectural terms from the Mahgreb,  a pretty esoteric study.  He resents how all architectural from that part of the world is labeled with a religious term (I can't use or this email won't "send"), when really much of it has to do with domestic and secular needs.

It is currently my dream to move out of the chambre de service, but I’ve no word on my job at the moment.  It’s kind of annoying, but I know it took more than a month between the last two contacts.  I first broached working for this group in May, 2008.

The front table at le News looks out onto one of the park entrances.  People, bundled up to the point of disguise, trundle in and out, hoping for a thaw.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER

Lauriewomanwithdog1-7-10.jpg (189 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009
Post by Admin on Jan 7th, 2010 at 8:07pm
Here's picture of Laurie's dog, Harika.
LaurieHarika.jpg (59 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009
Post by Admin on Jan 21st, 2010 at 9:06pm
What’s happened to Artnotes?  I write it regularly – even more than regularly, but it is so difficult for me to get online in a comfortable place here, I can’t update any of my sites, much less send out Artnotes regularly.   It’s easy to forget just how complicated living abroad can be.

I paid 69 Euros for an “internet key”, which I plug into my USB port.  It included 20 minutes of communication.   Additional hours are about $3 an hour – I have all I can do to download my mail, reply offline, and send it out in a quick spurt.   I go to the American Library (70 Euros for a 4 month subscription), and I can sign on there.   The French library is free, but like many American city libraries, some of the reading clientele is fragrant with the aromas of the street.   Seating is limited; at the moment my laptop is teetering precariously.   I only get 2 hours wifi access.

Writing comes easier to me here in Paris.    I am more upbeat, more hopeful, and less encumbered by commercial interference.   My food tour blog  has a couple of new posts.    This weekend we went to Normandy, where I painted two small paintings.

We’re obliged to go to a hotel once a week, for hygiene.  Our rabbit hutch limits us to sponge baths.  Like Eliza Doolittle, I need to stretch out my dirty feet once in awhile.   I can’t ever see them here in the hutch, things being so cramped and dark.   It is interesting to have this experience, which we all three pray changes in the coming weeks.  I have developed some great one-burner hotplate recipes, meantime.

Today we tried going to the public pool, so we could shower afterward.  I was really scared, sort of a combination of YMCA memories from age five (where I did learn to swim, after being thrown in the deep end of the pool by someone not then recognized as a bully), and the thought of this being a real city with many homeless and a few crazy people.  I scoped it out early in the day (as general public we can only “swim” limited hours), and made note of the swim cap machine.   At 11:30 we arrived.    Let’s leave it with “it wasn’t great”, not to mention people banging on our dressing room door…   I washed my hair, anyway, for only 3 euros.

It isn’t that we can’t rent an apartment, but we are leery of signing a lease on a place we might have to change in a month or two.   Meanwhile, the rabbit hutch is ultra romantic and hotel holidays big fun.   We’ve removed a dozen framed paintings from this chambre de service which are now on exhibit at the Petit Lux:  two have sold, yippee!  I’ve hung lighter, brighter work on our walls and the door opens fully now.

I’ve made it through another  job interview for work I applied for in May, 2008.   I am thrilled to be moving forward with it – it is a dream job for me, and I am most optimistic.    If I get the job, I will wash my feet everyday.

Laurie (paintings and text) and Blair PESSEMIER

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Jan 29th, 2010 at 10:39am
What matters in life is this moment.  If you were never to see your “stuff” again,  it wouldn’t matter.  Because all that matters is this feeling, this moment, this connection to the present.  It’s an extra special bonus if you get to be with people you love.  And your belongings are just a tether that keep you from realizing your greatest potential.   Leave material goods behind.    I tell this to myself daily, with a houseful of furniture still in Connecticut.

My friend, M, writes, make more memories.  I used to think that memories were the most important thing you could have.  Both of Blair’s grandmothers, who lived into their mid-90s relished their memories, and told stories of the circus and the beach and renovating distressed property:  things they loved.  But now we have diseases that suck all the memories from people, and memory care units that  make money nurturing the empty husks of memories.  So maybe money IS what people want to make, so they can stay alive longer.    But those folks in memory care don’t care if they are alive or not.  Isn’t it the weirdest?   I am careful what drugs I take – I am convinced it is environmental influences which create the problem.

I hope to stay alive and vital as long as Blair does.  My friend C’s parents have just been shipped off to hospice, together.  I think it amazing they are together like this until the end.  Maybe there is a thing about being soulmates.  I always loved that expression, beyond the cheesy article in Cosmopolitan magazine.  Soulmates:  forever.

I don’t think it is just life partners that are soulmates.  I think there are people you go through eternity with.  My father is one for me, and Q was, and my friend K.  Blair of course.    My Aunt Franny, now in memory care, was one – she is a poor old empty husk now, and would die of embarrassment if only she could.  But she still has the odd word, a criticism or a chuckle, that bubbles out.  And a group of people are dedicated to her comfort and well being – I can’t hold it against them, but frankly, I can’t understand it.

We’re headed to Cassis tomorrow.  I can’t wait to breathe clean, Mediterranean air.  I love that sea, that light, that ambiance.    There are marvelous fish to cook around there (we’ve rented an apartment), and we will have at least one fabulous bouillabaisse in Marseille.  I loved cooking fish in Tunisia, and these are fish from the same ocean.    “It will be as close as Harika has been to Tunisia in two years,” Blair recalls.  I don’t think she misses it:  she has adjusted to coffee with Andre and Pierre every morning, and runs around the grass at the Louvre.   I don’t miss my hometown, honestly, although I miss my Dad.

I am taking many years of artnotes with me on the trip, which I will try to compile into a sensible order.    This is in case the weather doesn’t cooperate with my planned 12 paintings.   The dream job I had been interviewing for isn’t there, so we’ll just have to keep on with a chined-together living.

I am looking forward to time in Marseille, that 2600+ year old city.  A Phoenician port, home to Romans, the wonderful and courageous Varian Fry,  Jews, Muslims and of course, the French…I can’t wait to hear what its walls have to tell me.  And then I’ll tell you.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER

Laurie-rosedenoel1-29-10.jpg (318 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Jan 29th, 2010 at 10:44am
Hi Laurie,
I just love it when opposition colors appear in nature, and your so good at catching them.
I've been doing pastels lately, there still in my camera.

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Feb 10th, 2010 at 6:43am
It’s raining today in Paris.  After a week in sunny (well, mostly sunny) Cassis, it is hard to accept the rain.  I painted ten small paintings, outdoors, while we were there.   Blair worked on the project he’s involved in, while Harika and I sought out painting venues.   Here, we are confined once again to the rabbit hutch.

Traveling within France is a real treat – each region has its specialties and features.  Cassis, just east of Marseille is one of the most beautiful spots in France.    It’s a geological wonder of white rock, or calcaire:  the brilliant white stone extends beneath the sea, and the result is a bright turquoise ocean.    One can climb on these “calanques”, from water level to several hundred feet, revealing magnificent views.  The occasional pine tree emerges from a crack in the rocks, often hanging out horizontally overhead.   Even though the temperature was cool, one could perch on the rocks and feel the warm delicious sunshine.

We don’t actually spend all of our time in the rabbit hutch when we’re in Paris.  We go out every morning for coffee and a walk , and make a similar foray in the afternoon.  The library, French or American, is a popular destination, as is the Seine and the Tuileries.  We chat with many people, despite my halting French.  Sometimes I think it puts people at ease, not having to be completely proper with us.   Eric, who works at one of our coffee shops, told us of his memory of Marseille:  the family they visited  near there every summer took in an orphaned marcassin (a baby wild boar), which grew up and lived on a sofa in their living room and sat at the dinner table.  It was house trained, of course.

Harika loved the beach at Cassis, closed to dogs in the summer, but apparently in-limits in winter.  France is the only country where a dog can dine in a restaurant but not walk in a park.   She instantly recognized her sea, the Mediterranean, and took to running around in circles and digging big holes in the sand.

We didn’t confine our trip to just Cassis; we took the route de Cretes to Ciotat.  I should have known it would be one of those unencumbered-by-guardrails, circuitous climbs through the hills, giving way to outrageously beautiful, if vertiginous panoramas.  The wind was so strong up there I was obliged to hang on tight to Harika’s leash when we got out of the car.     We took the straight road home.

I looked for wild boar while I was there, but didn’t find any.  The fragrant mimosa was just coming into bloom, and we saw a squirrel in Ciotat.  Ciotat is an historic ship building port in France, although I am not sure much is built there now.  It has a rugged downtown, with old bulk-loading cranes and lots of fishing boats.  We bought a small tuna (the fish monger told us it wasn’t tuna, but it looked and tasted identical) and cooked it up on our two burner cook top.

Our apartment had blue and white cotton upholstered walls, red checked sheets and red plaid blankets.  We took a shower everyday, something we are deprived of in the hutch.  Since we got back, a very generous friend gave us a key to her house so we can clean up over there as needed.

Arriving by TGV in Marseilles (in just 3 hours from Paris!), I let the rental car lady scare me a bit about car theft.  It wasn’t until much later in the week we toured the city of Marseille, only to find the museum we were seeking was closed for renovation.  The old train station in Marseille, St. Charles, is quite dramatic, with a hundred steps, almost a block wide, leading up to the doorway.  The TGV station, attached is more modern.   Marseille, originally a Phoenician city, is situated around the turquoise bay of the Mediterranean.   It was so beautiful, in fact, Blair and I looked at apartments overlooking the water.

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER  (you can see all the pictures there!)
Laurieharika_at_cassisw2-9-10.jpg (218 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Feb 27th, 2010 at 1:12am
“America has beautiful trees, but there are too many.  I prefer a house with one, or maybe a few perfect trees in front. “

I think if I had to describe French design sensibility, that would be it: one perfect rose.  Me, I prefer a dozen, like oysters.    

This philosophy might also describe why we are the only contenders for an apartment with seven windows, wrapping around the flatiron-type building at the corner of rue de Rennes and boulevard Raspail.  I must admit I am a real sucker for “a little is good, a lot is better.”   This doesn’t apply to husbands or dogs, however.

This isn’t the first apartment we’ve seen.  Or the first one we tried to rent.  Now, in Paris, rental agents are requesting 6 months rent to be blocked, in the name of the landlord, in the bank.  “Can I get it back after a year?” I ask.  No, it is for the length of the lease:  3, 6, 9 years.  “Eternity”, I reply.   Like monopoly, if you don’t make the right deal at the start of your turn, you are lost.  

Hardy, our real estate agent talks to us in great earnest.  He has a beautiful, giant white beard that birds could nest in.  He’s a slight man, always wearing a tie and good trousers.  I had always admired his office – small, deep green painted trim and interesting written material in the window.   I knew I would like him, and he would like us.  He wanted to be an artist or a musician, but his parents wouldn’t let him.  So marvelous music plays in his office; and his paintings (and those of others) cover the walls.  He talks to us about how the Paris is “compressed”:  the tree, the bench, the people all together.

After terrible frustration, we decided to only frequent rental agencies that were, to our eye, beautiful.   Not the rental agents:  many of them are beautiful, and provocatively clad.  These ladies will not even present our case:  they revel in saying non, another French specialty.  We offer to pay six months in advance, but not put it in the bank for eternity:  non.   If you think of coming to France to live, dear reader, come now, before you will be required to pay three years of rent before moving in.    

I am back to painting, with the prospect of a show in the US in April.   We just finished up an expo at the Petit Lux, our old hangout, where we sold five works.  I am painting dogs and trees and benches, a la the description of Hardy, well compressed into the ideal French landscape.    

Blair is working, and I am helping as much as possible.  Our internet activity continues to be limited, as does our telephone:  until we join the ranks of the officially housed, we pay huge fees for these services.

We are having much spring rain at the moment, complicating my painting plans.  It is just too small to paint here in the rabbit hutch;  the other rabbits are cramped, risking red paint on their paws.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER

LaurieDog2-25-10.jpg (113 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Apr 11th, 2010 at 12:07am
Subject: artnotes: packing up
Date: April 10, 2010 4:38:14 AM HST

 We’ve packed up our Branford, Connecticut apartment.  We rented a storage locker for some of our paintings (something I swore I’d never do), and seeing as we had storage, we stored:  right up to the gunnels of our 5 x 5 unit in the historic Hitchcock Chair factory in Riverton, CT.   Chairs, Christmas decorations, winter clothes, books, tools and memorabilia are just a few of the items there, and oh, yes, paintings.

This isn’t the first time we’ve moved, but it’s been the first time we had no place to put the odds and ends that don’t fit into baggage.  Our friends, K+A are moving to England on the 15 April, so our only possible site evaporated.    K (mother of Harika’s boyfriend, Frederick) and I would commensurate about packing woes each morning at the beach while the dogs played.  We're planning a rendezvous "a la manche" when we're both situated.

Harika is getting used to it:  from 28 rue d’Assas to 110 rue de Rennes; now out of the home she lived the longest at, in Connecticut, all in a month and a half.   I am not getting used to it, as my sciatica worsens by the day; a little wine helps.

There is no “slow boat” anymore between the US and France – even the price of the “m bag” exceeds that of a first class shipment of  12 x 12 x 4 inches:  $50.00.   We did send my cookbooks that way, even though I might have found them on Amazon for less. I hated to lose the wine stains on the coq au vin page, and the turmeric dyed recipes of Das Sreedharan.  I delayed the transport of the several pound meat grinder until the next trip; maybe I’ll find a cuisanart.

On our first move to France in 1993, there was no airline weight limit at all, and we carried a 100 pound  leather portmanteau full of treasures across the sea.  This time, we will pay an extra $50.00 for a second bag (limited to 50 pounds) and hope not to pay for carry-on.   Don’t even ask what Harika costs – and despite her official dog passport, the airline requires we get a supplemental health certificate from our veterinarian.

We’ve paused for a night with friends in Washington, DC on the way to Charlottesville to visit Blair’s mother.   Here I painted fabulous cherry trees in bloom.   Blair and Harika are going back to Paris on Monday.   I am continuing on to North Carolina, where I will sell our paintings in the super-duper well-located Elysees showroom.  I’ll paint on the sidewalk while I am there, pretending to be in France, where I’ll follow my heart the next week.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER

Lauriecherry4-10-10.jpg (384 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Apr 11th, 2010 at 12:46am
Hi Laurie,
I really love this painting, the magenta PR122 two sides of green make a beautiful split-complementary theme. Nature is perfect and people keep saying "nothing is perfect" like they know what they are talking about.

Your neutral dark trunks made with magenta and green are rich with form, shadows and highlights, The painting is amazing.

I just finished an 11x15 water color using the same combination of colors. It has a pink silk background and green tipped carnations. I started it just after St. Patrick's Day, hence the green carnations.

There is the new pigment Opera PR122+BV10 in watercolors (not yet in oil, but it is in emulsified oil). This perfect magenta is lighter in hue but makes perfect dark neutrals, and bright reds and blues. The Chinese brand by ShinHan has particles so small they stayed suspended for four days in water. Holbine's Opera PR122+BV10 has larger particles that sank in less then a day and has a deeper color. Both are important and permanent. (I changed my mind after the color in my first Opara painting lasted 5 years with out fading any. I used both plus another new color from Holbine, Violet PV7 which start magenta's trip to cyan.

day5MagentaSilkGreenCarnations72dpiFinSharp576x857.png (934 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Apr 19th, 2010 at 2:46am
There is something quintessentially American about the High Point Furniture Market:  cheerful people, dressed up, putting their best foot forward, hoping beyond hope they will sell more than they ever sold before.  I am here, and I espouse all those principles.

This morning breakfast was served outside the showroom at 200 North Hamilton -- quiche, bagels, mimosas.  The most wonderful thing was the Gospel singers.  They played in the way jazz musicians all wound up sound, but at 9 in the morning:  tone, rhythm and SOUL.   Big black women with hair; heavy black men with hand gestures altogether channeling the genius of god,  American style.  Genius comes and takes over when one is present to perform*.  It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it is thrilling.  

The gospel singers’ performance wasn’t universally enjoyed, but I was there almost every minute.  In the end, I was the single member of the audience, letting out a cry of “Ole” (god).

Last night we sat outside on the deck of my host’s house.  Here in High Point, people open their homes at this time to visitors at Market.   We drank wine and spotted fireflies in the trees.  I recounted my favorite firefly story about a friend’s aunt who sewed nylon pockets into an otherwise drab party dress:  when the sun went down the fireflies did their thing.

Conversation led to the subject of courage and cowardice.  It takes courage to face reality, mundane or dramatic as that might be.  I admire the courage of my father caring for my ailing mother; of a friend’s husband deciding to stick with her through a life fraught with problems.  It take courage to do what one knows to be right, when running in the other direction would be ever so easy.

The gospel singers were courageous to be performing here, doing what they believe in.  Putting one's self on the sidewalk to be judged by the public  takes nerve.   It takes courage to do what one knows is right in life, cowardice to cower in a vocation or behavior ordained by default.   Even though I am in a situation where there may be too few buyers, I want to keep on painting.  It is why god made me.

I painted three paintings in the hour of the singers first set.  Here they are.

Bass  Laurie Fox PESSEMIER  Acrylic on wood  6 x 18 inches    $100.00
Women:  LFP  Acrylic on canvas  12 x 12 inches  $100.00
Soloist:   LFP  Acrylic on canvas  6 x 18 inches  100.00

Lauri4-15-10.jpg (230 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Apr 19th, 2010 at 4:56am
Laurie your proportions are so perfect, and those color are true represented hues. Yesterday I taught a 9 year old how to use only 3 transparent primary colors to get those colors from nature. The colors in his painting blew me away, like yours do.

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on May 2nd, 2010 at 6:51pm
My easel arrived this week.  The acupuncture doctor relieved my sciatica.  Amazing result with rocks and pins.   Super good weather I painted outdoors.   The jazz club has new management (just as I adopted the “old”).  I cooked a roast in wine.  Harika and I both think it’s great.

I’ve been reading a book called “six word memoires” after Hemingway’s shortest novel:  
“For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”   I am not sure any of the sentences in the paragraph above qualify, but how about:  Living in Paris hip hip hooray!

We went to the flea market today and bought a table for the balcony (ten euros – very solid old rattan).  We’ve one chair and will make do with the stool until another seat makes itself available.  

The good weather and long days lured us to the grassy field near the Louvre where Harika can run free, just before sunset.  If there are other dog owners present, they are a lighter, less nosy crowd than at the Luxembourg Gardens.  Yesterday she ran around with Enzo, a ten-month-old King Charles Cavalier (the owner spent a lot of time telling me the different between just a King Charles and the King Charles Cavalier, and I must have looked dazed, because she offered to repeat it in English.  I smiled, enjoying the breezy sunshine.)

On Thursday, we had a business lunch at a restaurant near the Gare du Nord.   During the  forty-five minutes we had  to kill before our reservation, we sat on a bench in a church courtyard where plum blossoms fell on our heads.  Later on, I enjoyed looking at us bedecked with pink petals – no matter how serious business might be, we’re all human (spoken like a true salesman).   The scent of lilacs and lily-of-the-valley permeate the air in Paris, as we celebrate the May Day holiday.

It was a Bretagne style restaurant, but with interesting variations on traditional dishes:  I had salmon marinated in the manner of herring, delivered in a glass canning jar beside a plate of mache (lamb’s lettuce).  Roast pork followed, cooked perfectly, not dry, but the crowning touch was the “Paris-Brest” dessert – a buttercream and nutty crunch filling in a ring of puff pastry.   Although I am not a big dessert eater, with a restaurant meal “all’s well that ends well”.

I was delighted to hear an outsider’s  point of view on Paris. He saw the Gare du Nord neighborhood as diverse and interesting, easy going.  Formerly, I’d thought of it strictly as the train station, a bit offbeat, a place to buy electrical replacement parts and Indian spices.  As our guest pointed out the things he saw, I saw them that way, too.  It is such a good argument for having guests.   I hope you will come visit; show me something I have overlooked.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER   (and we have a new Paris cell phone # +33(0)
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Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on May 8th, 2010 at 9:37pm
“You must go,” our friend S says of the market at St. Denis.  “Look at this swimsuit I got for 5 euros!  It would be at least 40 in the regular store.”

So Tuesday we went to the marche St. Denis.  We had to change trains at St. Lazare,  one of the most circuitous stations, but the market was everything she promised.    Our first purchase was battery-powered lights for our closet and “cave”(cellar).

Outdoors, around the main building are stands selling everything from bathtub stoppers to Tunisian sandwiches.   One booth was entirely dedicated to sewing supplies:  a thousand colors of thread; a multitude of needles, fasteners and details.     Other stands sold fabric (there are certain styles one can’t buy ready-made).   Jewelry abounded and women held out their arms to admire their bling.  There were all sorts of clothing – I bought a skirt with (rather loosely attached) sequins for ten euros.   There were stands featuring large sizes – some things I’d never seen so big!

We  were there for a couple of items:  the lights, and window treatments.  I had hoped to find rollers for roller shades, to which I could apply  “panel” paintings (full body portraits of Vladimir Nabakov, Amelia Erhardt,  and a Pilgrim I just happen to have around).  We didn’t find them.   Instead we purchased yellow-green draperies for 10 euros a pair.  I will attach butterflies and flowers to take the curse off the  plainness.  But now, dear readers, if you come to visit, drink too much champagne, and miss the metro, you can sleep in the living room.

At the same stand as the curtains we bought (mid-size) bath towels for 2 Euros each.  Our bathroom is white with an icky orangey-brown glazed tile.   Our current towels are green and blue.  After much discussion we settled on one towel in a red, orange and white argyle, and my towel in the same shades but striped.  

We still hadn’t attacked the food hall.  It is an enormous production.  We decided to eat sandwiches first, so we wouldn’t buy out of hunger.   Chicken or tuna stuffend into that wonderful flat middle-eastern bread, made fresh that day.   The bread itself was the biggest seller at the stand, or you could get it with an uncertain reddish filling that looked as if it could be spicy.

The food hall held meats, vegetables, spices and fish.   It was hard to select a stand, and by noon, some were completely sold out.  One could purchase a whole sheep for 60 euros, an entire goat for 49.  We bought a rabbit and a guinea hen at the poultry stand, 4 euros each, a far cry from the 10 to 14 at our local market (for rabbit).    We bought some potatoes and onions, shallots and garlic – for a very small price.

Armed with our purchases, we descended the subway and turned toward home.  Harika was thrilled with our meat choices, which we cooked up tout suite.

The next morning, I popped in the shower, eager to use the new towel.  When I turned over the tag, it read, “made in the USA.”

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
Buying Jewelry at the Market    Laurie Fox PESSEMIER   5.5 x 9 inches   $100.00 (includes shipping)

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Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on May 15th, 2010 at 7:38pm
There is nothing quite like an espresso in Paris.  All coffees are not equal:  one must find a café that cleans their espresso machine daily.  Otherwise, the bitterness of old oily coffee spoils the taste of the new.  To be chic and parisien, we go the Mazarine in the mid afternoon, but for morning coffee, we have a few choices in our neighborhood.

The Hippocampus (seahorse), a jazz bar on the weekends, serves coffee and croissant in the morning.   It’s in our building, so we like to keep our oar in the water there.  On Friday morning this week they hadn’t  yet gotten their croissants, and sent us out to pick them up.  We got two for free.

The Tourne Bouchon, a delightful hole in the wall that serves coffee and croissants, beginning at 6 AM on market days, serves lunch and early dinner until 8.   On Sundays, we go there for coffee with the organic market crowd, who’ve been up since 2 AM.    Towards the end of the market, the entire sidewalk fills up with diners at mismatched tables and chairs for lunch that lingers until six, at least.

The Petit Lux has a wide variety of pastries, and Bruno makes a perfect noisette, an espresso with just a dollop of hot foamy cream.   From a fabulous butter croissant to pain au chocolate, pain au raisin, abricotine, or chausson au pomme, all is deeeelish.    Xavier is there, and Yannick the florist, always asking us what’s new.

The Fleurus is our usual hang-out, with excellent espresso and good croissants.  Harika adores Pierre and Andre, the proprietors, and she gets to sit in the booth sometimes.    Right now, I am painting some sketches as I prepare to paint a picture of the place, on commission.

Here,  a young man at the bar talked about how important it was to drink coffee in a cup or glass.  “Starbucks,” he groused, “throws an overpriced coffee at you in a paper cup!”    Ask Starbucks for a ceramic cup and it is dug out of the confines of a cold closet, with no regard for temperature.    A North African man talked about coffee from his country – never would anyone accept a coffee in a paper cup.  The whole  idea of drinking coffee in Paris is conviviality – to connect with other people.  “To go” is a rare request, but it is not unusual to see the waiter walking down the street with two cups of espresso (ceramic of course) and sugar on a tray.

We  drink at the bar for  conversation.   Monsieur G lets us know how France and America differ (he likes America, where his son owns a restaurant).      The Tunisian grocer comes in (they are all from Djerba)  and greets Harika, pronouncing her name like the fishermen did, and she cries and leaps with joy.  Mario, the tennis pro at the Luxembourg Gardens comes in for a quick coffee then goes outside to smoke.    Pierre passes us the newspaper.

I am reminded of how men used to go to bars in America to visit and relax , and I hum:  Line ‘em up Joe.

Laurie (paintings and text) and Blair PESSEMIER

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Jun 11th, 2010 at 8:46am
“...the hotel you would build for yourself if you only knew how “ is how the Tribune described The Hotel Lloyd in Amsterdam.   And they seem to be right.

We originally booked this trip, part business, part celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary,  at the Hotel Filosof.  But when we called to confirm our reservation, with Harika, they said they changed their policy: no pets.  We’d stayed there before, with Blackie, Q’s dog.   So two days before the trip, on (no refunds), we were able to change the booking to a dog friendly joint.

The Hotel Lloyd is a 1,2,3,4 and 5 star hotel and cultural embassy.   It makes for a marvelous mix of folks, from us, on the one-star floor, to the rich and famous, all sandwiched together with fabulous artwork (the cultural part).  
The ruins of a house from an island off of Montevideo, where some of Holland’s earliest immigrants hailed from, stand in the dining room.  Handkerchief pictures, printed on handkerchief linen, wave in the breeze in the six story atrium:  this, about sorrow and the lent/easter/pentecost season.

The building itself is super-neat:  it was built in the 1920s to house emigrants arriving in the docklands of Holland on the Lloyd line.  It is a grand-scale brick structure, with large opening windows.  On the backside, the wavy glass still remains in some of the windows, that don’t require sound-proofing.

We look out on a very large canal, and a tram passes over the bridge.  Across the way is a rehabbed warehouse building, brick, with its feet directly in the water.   Nearly 24 hours into the visit, I haven’t left the neighborhood.  (afterward,  I learn of a great restaurant, walking distance; oh well, next trip)

Blair is here for  “Powergen Europe”  a show of energy companies.  My involvement with his work  is limited, so I stay at the hotel and paint.  Three paintings today, not large – I really like them all.   Northern light:  it stays light out until well after 10 and brightens again at 4:30, but even in the day the light vibrates.

Harika and I eat grill-worst sandwiches by the water where she intimidates the ducks.   We are both slightly intimidated by the bicycles here – I have seen what seems like a thousand during my visit.  What a wonderful way to get around this flat city.   My favorites are the ones with the wheel barrow front for the kiddies.  Harika cringes as dogs, on leash,  run alongside the bikes.

There are snacks on the counter, real Spanish-tapas style, in the hotel dining room here:  1.50 each.  Last night we ate a whole sea bass for dinner.    A fig tart, four cheeses…

At the PowerGen show here today Blair played a slot machine at one stand.  He pulled all diamonds, and a big fat diamond (with the name of the company emblazoned) popped out.  “Happy Anniversary” he beamed.

Laurie (paintings and text) and Blair Pessemier
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Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Jun 26th, 2010 at 5:03am
“This entire drawing only takes up 8 kilobytes,” the man operating the computer tells us.    Strictly by using  mathematical equations, he is able to instantly generate a highly detailed drawing that a conventional  computer-aided-drafting program would take minutes and megabytes to create with polygons and triangles.

I might have learned more had there not been guns blazing directly behind me.  Blair and I were at the Eurosatory Defense show at the Paris Exposition Hall this week.  It was frankly unnerving to be among so many weapons and their accessories – I couldn’t even walk by some of the vehicles  (the size of my living and dining room combined) without worrying a wheel might fall off and kill me.  I never imagined I would see a drone, but hey, look over there.   I opted out of the show after a couple of hours and have had bad dreams ever since.  

The cutting edge of technology has always worked hand in hand with the defense industry.  Some of the smartest engineers in the world are in the business of, well, destruction.  I tell myself computer tools we are seeing could also be used for peaceful purposes, but the immediacy of the weaponry was overwhelming.  Why couldn’t I find a spiritual stand, chaplains or something?  How could this terror be mitigated?  I needed a drink or six.

At home, I flew into a flurry of painting:  creation versus destruction, seeing things in a colorful way.  The defense show was strictly shades of grey and camouflage.   Wherever I am, I think of how I might paint it.  

At  the park , it see the broad strokes of the landscape:  distant turquoise trees – pink and purple sand on the paths.   The people are massed together in chunks, rarely individuals.   The chair isn’t solid or rickety, but a line from top to toe.

Flowers are a mass of colors.  I paint the yellow eyes of the cat on a black square.   The outdoor market isn’t just food, it’s stripes, and an array of boxes, red tomatoes and green lettuce.  I overlook the minute details:  the gesture of passing money from hand to hand I see, but never the coins or bills.    

Madly I paint and I feel much better.

I have been reading about a Marine, Michael Fay, who drew and painted in Iraq, and now that he is retired, is off to record Afghanistan.  He must see these war situations in the same way I see the market or the park.  Of course, he acts in his role of soldier, as opposed to mine as shopper, stroller, housefrau.   I love the drawings and paintings he makes, and I can pick up the same thread I feel in mine.   It is as though we are the eye, in the great living body of humankind.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
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Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Jun 26th, 2010 at 6:17am
Great Laurie, that's telling it like it is. I think you painted that cat as it was moving.

I'm most amazed with the "clumps of people" and the flow of the gesture.
A primary and secondary color painting in the blink of eye, love it. I hope some of our paintings are near each other someday, Blair too.

I've been painting with Opera magenta W/C a lot the past few months, it reaches the lighter hues of PR122. It mixes a stronger red than cad red. It was the brighter sunlit pinks of the jacaranda tree flowers that I'm chasin'.
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Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Jul 1st, 2010 at 10:46pm
I am having an expo at the Petit Lux, 29 rue Vaugirard, 75006 Paris for the month of July.  Opening:  from 18-20:00 on Thursday, 1 July.

J'ai une expo au Petit Lux, 29, rue Vaugirard, 75006 Paris en Juillet.   Vernissage:  Jeudi, le 1 Juillet de 18-20:00h.

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Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Jul 4th, 2010 at 3:57am
This  sweltering Thursday evening, my art opening was sparsely celebrated.    Among the  attendees were my friend S and friends, from Tunisia.  I refer to the four as “women of the desert”:  a mere 90 degrees farenheit didn’t bother them.    

Paris has very little air-conditioning.  We only experience two seriously warm months here, and then more than a week of really hot weather is rare.  So we open and shut shades and windows, use hand fans and tolerate a little body odor.    Things slow down.   I actually like the fact I can feel the heat when it’s hot out.  I don’t get those air-conditioning headaches like I do in the US.   Seattle formerly didn’t have so much air-conditioning either, but the last twenty years of development have put them into the HVAC league.  Just try to air condition an apartment with French windows.

We’ve been spending lots of time in the park where I sit in the chair and Harika lies on the ground.  Even though it isn’t grass, she finds the tamped earth much cooler than the macadam which surrounds us.  I have been painting pictures of musicians there, and enjoying the bonus of free entertainment.

Not all the musical groups have been good.  I heard one recently which bore resemblance to a broken music box.  At one point, I thought it intentional, but after the third or so song like that, I knew it couldn’t be.  How could they be that bad and have been selected?  They had a color poster (well, printed on letter paper) and everything.

The winners for me this week were the Wisconsin “Ambassadors of Music”, performing such diverse works as Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever and a bucket number from Stomp.  They played a Belgian march and an Andalusian favorite we all know but I am not sure of the name (it’s a little like the old Marlboro theme, with a Spanish mariachi twist).   The musical entourage had 180 members, including a large choral contingent who sang the Star Spangled Banner.  Everyone stood up.

S is moving back to Tunisia, along with her friend, R, an artist.   Paris has become decidedly less generous in its quality of life:  there isn’t as much to go around in the way of jobs and money.  I am not the only one who notices.   French friends have said to me “it is very bad here”.  They are raising  the retirement age to 62, amidst serious protest.  And my Tunisian friends,  after 28 years in the French capital, are taking the plunge back “home”.

Harika, Blair and I are enjoying our French summer.  Harika encourages us to frequent cafes (especially those with cool tile floors), and we order “Perrier Citron” or some other summery mix.  On Thursday and Friday the market strip was planted with ten-foot neon flowers celebrating the opening of the “Mini Cooper” store on the corner, and we hung around making believe we, too, were part of the cool generation.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
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Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Jul 4th, 2010 at 5:40am
You inspire me Laurie, we had a parade down my street today & I had my drawing pad. It rained but I did see that I can do it. Happy 4th of July.

Good bye S, I feel like I know you. Have a good trip.

Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Jul 11th, 2010 at 11:16am
A man sat beside us I nursed my “Vittel Citron” and chatted with Blair and a friend.  It was too early for lunch, and I couldn’t see through to have another cup of coffee.  The thickly featured stranger settled in, casually hanging his jacket on the handle of our companion’s suitcase.  “Hey,” our friend protested; then the fellow tried to switch suit jackets.  His cell phone rang and he charged out of the café.    It was clear the suitcase zipper had been opened, but luckily, nothing was lifted.

At Gare du Nord yesterday, the gypsies were numerous.  Opening taxi doors, offering “assistance”   --  I had been watching from my perch inside the brasserie, feeling  immune to their  advances.

“Why do they always wear those skirts?” our friend asked, gesturing to the women, “  Isn’t it just a tip off to people that they are gypsies?” I explained it was a cultural thing with them – gypsy women always wear skirts.    I didn’t mention how I was admiring that very item:  a flower print skirt with a sport t-shirt and a tight yellow vest – Kenzo, eat your heart out.  Once, in the Tuileries, a gypsy asked if she could BUY my skirt – I was flattered at such a compliment.

Blair and I have learned to never make eye contact – once you’ve engaged a gypsy, you’re the victim.   We do know a number of gypsies around town, and they don’t bother us anymore.  We’ve even shared our picnic dinner with one who feigns a limp.   I know the “ring” trick and various others, and we always have a hearty laugh when I tell them so.

Later that afternoon, I see from my balcony, on rue de Rennes, a group of four handicapped people straighten up, start twirling their crutches:   a passerby screams.  The gypsies head for home on the metro.     In this weather, home is usually a collection of trailers alongside a minor highway.  From time to time they’ll hook up to a water line, and you’ll see a washing machine in their midst.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before the gypsies are such named because they were thought to come from Egypt.  In fact, they were entertainers imported from India to Persia.  Eventually expelled from Persia, half went north to become the “Rom” people and the other half to Egypt, where they lived in the desert as the “Dom”.

In any case, they are modern day nomads, inhabiting virtually every corner of the globe.  They provide  a certain relief  to an otherwise predictable life in Paris.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not about to take up petty thievery as a living, but society (and its mores) is a completely man-made thing.   Our own rules seem equally absurd to me sometimes – when did it become OK to say “it’s just business”, or to destroy someone else’s livelihood in the quest for petroleum?  Harika will never comprehend the idea of eating slowly, and I, for one, will never understand why men wear ties.

The guards at the station joke with three pretty young girls as they toss them out off the terrazzo and we escort our friend, spared from the clutches of their mischief, to his train.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER

Don= How long do you think that person stood there with their are out like that? And look t those colors!
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Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Jul 26th, 2010 at 5:26am
You can find a parking place on the street in Paris today.  Everybody has left town, as we are about to follow.   It’s an interesting time – the few people who are left seem to be here because they want to be, enjoying the quiet and extra space.  Honestly, if Blair could work during August (everyone else is on vacation), we might stay.  It is my best painting time, my outdoor studio (the Luxembourg Gardens) heated and illuminated for the maximum number of hours.

We’re off to the US to see Blair’s mom, and my parents, sisters, niece and nephews.  It’s a crazy time to go, to Hemlock Lodge, in the high season.  Our ticket is the most expensive we’ve ever bought;  I hope Harika will be ok as she passes across the steamy tarmac in her air kennel in Washington.

Here in Paris, I’ve been making new friends.  I have a painting companion who inspires me to paint well and often.  We attended an American expat soiree last Sunday night which was marvelous – smorgasbord-style food, with a Brazilian guitarist (playing Jobim), and lots of English conversation.   I visited the Edvard Munch show with a girlfriend:  someone who enjoys art history!    I made our electrician eggplant parmesan and tomato pie in my new oven.

I never look at this August sojourn from Paris as vacation:  I bring paintings to America, in a trunk (just purchased, 42 euros) to sell while I am there.  Contact me if you want to see them somewhere between Charlottesville, Virginia and Winsted, Connecticut.  I will organize my storage locker.  I will make the upstairs at Hemlock Lodge my studio and paint in new ways.   I will cook and swim.

And I am already looking forward to our return.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
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Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Aug 8th, 2010 at 12:16am
An Irish landscape?  No problem.  Our trip to the USA has been a flurry of painting commissions.

I have only sold a half dozen paintings since our arrival last week, but the interest in “work to order” has been encouraging.  Tomorrow we are off  for two days to paint a soon-to-be-sold home and garden in Hillsdale, New York.  I’ve painted an orchestra, and Blair and I are each working on a large 4 x 5 foot Irish landscape.   We will be participating in the Art and Antiques Fair in Madison, CT on 14 August, and the Wet and Dry Paint Silent Auction in Stony Creek on Sunday the 15.

We landed in Washington, DC on 26 July, where we spent two days recovering our wits.  It is traumatic traveling with Harika:  I worry about her in this hot weather on the tarmac.  Every time the pilot illuminates the “fasten seatbelt” sign I picture her, down below, flopping hither and yon in her air kennel.  Another vodka calms my nerves, but I emerge from the plane frazzled and slightly hung over.  She bounds out of the cage.

The worst part of the trip is putting Harika into the air kennel.  Blair tried to convince the desk clerk she could fit under the seat, but her 25 pounds are 15 in excess of regulation.   I take deep breaths and my hands tingle, as we walk around the terminal looking for the right place to empty her bladder for the 10 hours in the cage.   “Walk this way,” the clerk demands, and we follow him down a rather gloomy corridor to the special baggage area.   No one is there, and we spend a good 20 minutes visiting about air travel, dogs, the clerk’s parents.   Finally, a super-size black man opens the door.   “That kennel needs to go through the xray”, he announces.   The desk clerk volunteers.   The manager stamps this and that, delicately applying stickers to the cage.    I sit, with the (not altogether) unsuspecting Harika on my lap, whispering sweet nothings into her ear.   A further baggage handler, resembling Peter Sellers, watches us.  I coo and kiss her, petting her and promising all will be well.  By this time he is smiling.  “I am not always this nice with my husband,” I tell him.  Harika goes into the cage and off to the airplane.  We watch as she is brought out, on her own carriage, and loaded just below the pilot.   We go to the boarding lounge for Bloody Marys.

A friend picked us up and brought us to his house for dinner and overnight.  It is nearly 100(f) in Washington.  We  see a show at the National Gallery and love the Folk Art.    Two days later we rent a car to go see Blair’s mother in Charlottesville.   Will the temperature ever drop below 90?

Now we are up at the slightly cooler Hemlock Lodge.  Harika, Blair and I swim every day.   We heard turkeys gobbling this morning at 6AM.  Blair’s taken the upstairs bedroom as a studio, and I am painting on the dining table.  The light here is wonderful and I wake up at dawn, painting the sunrise.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
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Title: Re: Paintfox Laurie 2009-10
Post by Admin on Aug 8th, 2010 at 12:26am
Welcome home Laurie and Blair. Good color Laurie. The warm to cool in the trees is right on. When I do a sunrise I usually have to do the drawing the day before, there just isn't time to to draw and paint, heck the colors only last 10 minutes. The easy thing is that the palette is always ready. I have a tight top that lets me use the same paints for two weeks or more. I grab the colors from in the box and mix them on the lid. Oh, and spray the colors with ammonia to keep any mold from forming. Don

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