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Message started by Admin on May 13th, 2012 at 8:35am

Title: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on May 13th, 2012 at 8:35am
“I used to be a painter; I guess I am a failed painter,” the tall man said.

“You can always go back to it,” I said.

“No, it is an act of love, and one can never go back to a failed love affair.”

Such is the philosophy delivered in a sudden rainstorm, in the garden this morning while we were walking Harika.  We made for cover in the pavilion.  Pyra and Atlas, Christine and Canaille stayed for a short while, eventually braving the elements for home.  We stayed on, as different folks arrived and left.  Among them were a man reading a religious text, a man afraid of dogs (big mistake), and a man from Kashmir who Harika at once fell in love with.  She spoke to him in her ooo-aaaa-ooo-gggrrooo voice.  And we fell to talking with him as well.  Finally, he said he would be more comfortable in English than French, and it was then he told us he was an artist.  Now he would like to be a fisherman.

These are the moments in life I look for, when a universal truth emerges.  Maybe it isn’t universal, or maybe not even true, but it is a statement spoken from someone’s heart.  Thought provoking.  It’s a step beyond discussing the weather or someone’s last vacation, or Harika’s comportment (or lack thereof).

This week we had an art session with a woman celebrating her 50th birthday.  Her daughters paid for her lesson as a gift – she loves to paint, and they would be in Paris.   She undertook a 20 x 30 inch canvas – the largest anyone has ever painted with us.  They were from England and not subject to the same baggage restrictions our American colleagues  face on the airplane.  We met her on the Pont des Arts, which she later painted from the quai below, complete with her family standing on the bridge.

The lesson had a rocky start.  A Jack Russell terrier fell (or jumped) from the peniche docked in front of us on the Seine.  It was a regular occurrence, judging from the large hook they had for retrieving him from the water.  The water police were called, but he was extracted before they arrived twenty minutes later.

Meanwhile, his cohort in crime, a chocolate lab, saw this as an opportunity to escape.  He immediately came over to our painting site, knocked over my easel, palette and coat, walking through the paint, then on  my coat, which will never be clean again.  He was impossible to control, so Blair threw a stick onto the peniche he came from.  He obliged and ran to the boat, traipsing pthalo turquoise and primary magenta all over his master’s vessel.  The fellow gave up looking for the Jack Russell, and started screaming about his BOAT (you know how boat owners are).  No apologies to us, just hateful glares while I smiled.  Comportment!

We revived, and I painted two paintings, while Blair rendered the Louvre in shades of yellow.  A few drops of rain fell on us that we three refused to acknowledge, and eventually the sun shone.

We’ve really enjoyed painting with others again  – even in the rain.  A week or so ago, I painted the lily pond at Giverny in the rain, in the spirit of the Japanese block print.  All weather can be good.

Laurie and Blair Pessemier

Samaritaine across the Seine   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on linen  12 x 20 inches   275.00
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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on May 26th, 2012 at 11:14pm
“You know that dress you would like to buy but think you would never wear?  That’s what you wear to a Tunisian wedding.”

Still, I wasn’t prepared for just HOW extraordinary the women looked at this wedding.    I chose a striped silk jacket with jet black beading from my closet of clothes I hardly ever wear.  The choice was between it and a sequined affair I got at my Aunt Franny’s thrift store years ago (I am not sure Blair likes it).  Anyhow,  I looked like I was going to the office in comparison to the other women at the wedding.

There was an array of sparkles and lace, in the most beautiful colors I’d ever seen.  We attended our  friend H’s wedding last Friday night.  We are friends with him and his family and it was wonderful of them to invite us to the festivities.    We went whole hog, from the early ceremony at the mayor’s office to the final throws of the dance.   A had to pinch myself from time to time to be sure this fantastic event was real.

It was a ladies’ event, where women showed off their finery.    Men sat at their own tables in the back, except for Blair and an 81 year-old Algerian 81 year old who sat at our  table.  “Doesn’t he look like Anthony Quinn?” his wife would ask people.   I thought:  sort of, except this fellow is only five feet tall.

My favorite outfit of the night was a tight black underdress with a brilliant yellow lace (heavy, like tablecloth – reminiscent of 60s macramé) overdress.    And, if that weren’t enough, everyone changed dresses between dinner and dancing (except me, of course).   There were all configurations from low cut, sleeveless to traditional, multi-layered brocades.   The indispensible item was the scarf, worn tight around the hips, for sashaying to the chords of traditional North African wedding music.  Everyone knew the words to all the songs, and would sing along like we Americans do at “that’s amore”.  

I felt I’d entered another dimension, like the sky or the sea.  Like mermaids, the women, just the women, danced madly all night long.    

Despite the French ceremony earlier in the day, the sigh of relief (or in this case, ululation – that warbly, Indian-like yell)  was heard as the imams negotiated with the bride’s father and husband at  the reception.  Wearing little white crocheted hats, the imams  migrated to a small room near where the bride was enthroned – it was necessary that she hear the conversation and agree, while not being present in the room.   The Kor an was read in there, and the grooms mother invited us to listen to the chanting and traditional exchange, ears to the door.  

We ate couscous and fruit and later had sticky sweets in lieu of a western wedding cake.  All was washed down with hot sweet mint tea, or water, juice or coca-cola.    I visited with two Moroccan ladies at our table, who promised to “fix me up with the right clothes” for the next wedding.

The dancing was still going on when we left at 1:30 AM.  I felt like I was allowed a peak in the door of a rich culture and felt awed as we got lost on our way home.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Jun 4th, 2012 at 7:18am

There was a small crowd at the Marmottan as we waited for the doors to open.  We were going to the Berthe Morisot show with another painter, before making our foray into the Bois de Boulogne to paint.  I hadn’t really spent much time with Morisot’s work before this, and the depth of her production was amazing.   She was the wife of Manet’s brother, and a mother, and in an age where women didn’t paint,  somehow  found time to paint not only rich portraits, but many beautiful landscapes.     In many of the painting of her daughter, I could see how much Morisot loved her.  

The Marmottan, if you haven’t been there, is the “Monet” museum.  Lots of smaller (48 x 54” or thereabouts) waterlilies hang, and other impressions of Giverney.  In fact, the painting that gave “Impressionism” its title hangs at the Marmottan.  

There is also a fabulous collection of manuscript illuminations in the museum.  We spent a bit of time examining these, as well as several walls of small portraits (12 x 12 inches) from the late 1700s.  I figure these were the last vestiges of some of the French aristocracy, as depicted by Bouilly, from just before the Revolution.

We’ve have a week of back-to-back workshops.  On Tuesday we went to Giverney with three painters.   Even though we’ve been there before there are moments I sit in Monet’s gardens and get goosebumps.    I was nearly overcome with emotion on Tuesday as I was walking by the lily pond, checking on a watercolorist, and another painter.  I can almost feel Monet walking among us, or at least on the collective minds of we five painters.

We had only one painter with us at Auvers-sur-Oise on Wednesday.  We picked her up on Montmartre, and followed the route by the flea markets at Clignancourt out to the country.  It was a shorter foray than Giverney, only about 40 minutes.  We went to the graves of Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo – I feel different about him now that it is known he did not commit suicide, but was killed accidentally by a local boy.  He had a great respect for life and it always set oddly with me that he would have ended it all during this, the most productive time in his career.  This new knowledge lends a more positive feeling to the trip, and I saw the church, the fields, the river Oise with new eyes.

We painted a couple of pictures that day – and finished up with a visit to the home of Dr. Gachet, the building now a museum.  Gachet was a doctor caring for Vincent in Auvers-sur-Oise.  Gachet  gave up his regular practice, grew a homeopathic garden on the small estate willed him by his parents.  He was a printmaker, and opened his home to other artists as well as Van Gogh, including Pissarro, Renoir, Manet and Cezanne.  

We got home to find a lodger in our flat:  a writer friend from Seattle has found his way back to Paris.  I slept happily that night, with the sense that , like doctor Gachet, we were encouraging artists on their artistic course.

Rowing in the Bois de Boulogne   Laurie Fox PESSEMIER   Acrylic/linen 13 x 18 inches  250.00
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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Jun 4th, 2012 at 7:22am
Blair's painting of the Boats.
Red Boat White Boat (Bois de Boulogne)  Blair PESSEMIER  Acrylic/linen  12 x 19.5 inches   275.00
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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Jun 9th, 2012 at 11:11pm

“You’d better not let that dog get too fat,” barked F, walking her dustmop of a dog in the Luxembourg Gardens, today.  “No problem,” Blair told F, “Harika’s going to be in a book you know.”  F bristled and snorted as only certain French women can.  Blair told her about “Dogs in France”.   “Why, she isn’t even a French dog,” F continued, “she’s from Africa.”  By now, other dog owners congregated.  “Excuse me,” I said, “she may have been born in Tunisia, but she has her French passport.”  The crowd laughed and we left F and the dustmop in the dust.
(I guess we know who she voted for last election)
On the evening of June 7, a friend, with whom we share a mutual acquaintance in California, came to visit from Tehran.    He brought us caviar from the Caspian Sea.   Iran borders on the deepest part of that sea, producing the finest sturgeon and caviar.  I love to think about sturgeon, who can be 150 years old and 20 feet long.  We talk about the opposite of deep or profound:  shallow.   Our friends first language is  Farsi, French second and English third.  We alternated between French and English, but mostly English.  He is actually an American citizen and taught French language in California.   I love America for that.

We went from drinks at our house to dinner in the St. Germaine neighborhood.  We finished with ice cream and awalk along the Seine, reveling in the beauty of the Louvre and Pyramid at night.  The juxtaposition of old and new, in an older form (pyramid) makes for one of my favorite architectural projects.   We stayed up to midnight to wish ourselves happy wedding anniversary:  32 years.

I have been having my doubts about Paris:  only three paintings this week because of poor weather.  But when I walk outside in the fading summer light, after 10 PM, I fall in love with this city all over again.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Jun 9th, 2012 at 11:16pm
On Wednesday we received a notice a package was awaiting us at “la Poste”.  We took our yellow slip and on Thursday retrieved our treasure.   And what a treasure it was: two 8 x 10 photos of Harika and Blair and I, taken by a photographer in the Luxembourg Gardens last fall.   Enclosed were forms to authorize use of the photos in “Les Chiens en France”, a picture book by Rachel McKenna to be released in September, 2012.  We signed YES and sent the forms back to Ms. McKenna at once.

“You’d better not let that dog get too fat,” barked F, walking her dustmop of a dog in the Luxembourg Gardens, today.  “No problem,” Blair told F, “Harika’s going to be in a book you know.”  F bristled and snorted as only certain French women can.  Blair told her about “Dogs in France”.   “Why, she isn’t even a French dog,” F continued, “she’s from Africa.”  By now, other dog owners congregated.  “Excuse me,” I said, “she may have been born in Tunisia, but she has her French passport.”  The crowd laughed and we left F and the dustmop in the dust.
(I guess we know who she voted for last election)

Harika and her friends are oblivious to race, creed or political persuasion.  I try to be more like her when it comes to things:  if it doesn’t work out, just walk away and go on to the next page.  I dispense this advice when asked.  Count on a full dinnerbowl.  

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Jun 17th, 2012 at 11:20pm
This was a week of French Heritage for us, interspersed with art workshops.

On Tuesday, we went to the Champagne country with two generous American friends who rented us a car and took us out to lunch (they threw in a couple bottles of bubbles for good measure) .   We ate in Epernay, home to half the champagne houses, and tasted four types of champagne over lunch.  

We stopped at Dumenil, our favorite little vintner on the way to Reims.  Blair and I have wanted, for some time, to visit the Foujita chapel at the Mumm’s champagne house.  Foujita, the painter, Japanese born and educated, came to Paris in the 1920s.  He hung around with Man Ray, Matisse, Picasso and others.  He was quite a successful artist in Paris.  He eventually went back to Japan during the war, and was a military artist there.   Ultimately, he returned to Paris.

He had a religious vision and was baptized in Reims cathedral  in 1959, with René Lalou (the head of the Mumm champagne house) as his godfather and Françoise Taittinger as his godmother.   Mumms donated the land for this chapel, designed entirely by Foujita.  In his signature drawing/painting style he captured a rather lascivious interpretation of the seven deadly sins; he places Mary and a collection of women around the apse of the church, where one usually finds apostles.  Most remarkable is that Foujita himself executed these frescoes when he was nearly 80 years of age.  

On Thursday night, a French American friend invited us to an art show/book signing.  It was in a part of town we rarely frequent, not far from Opera and the big auction house, Drouot.   On the street was a spice shop:  a very expensive spice shop, but the fragrance slipped through the door and dragged us in by the nose.  The spices they had were quite impressive – maybe the largest selection of vanilla beans I’d ever seen.  The store itself had dark wooden shelves laden with jars of spice – a large ship model made of cloves in the center of the store was also enchanting.  

We left with two cans of sardines in impressive packages, of the sort we could age over time to enhance their flavor.   I took a list of spices and costs,

We went on to the art show, on the second floor of classic 19th century artist studio.  It was a place we would never have found on our own, and we were grateful to have an introduction.   We drank two glasses of Pol Roger champagne and talked about art.  A few wasabi-coated nuts put us in the mood for Japanese food, and we went to Higuma, an inexpensive, fun, fast dinner on rue Sainte Anne.

Last night we went to the closing of the Village Voice Bookstore in Paris.  Famous figures from dust jackets, dressed in arts-and-letters natty, were shoulder to shoulder crying “isn’t it a shame” over glasses of champagne.  Of course, it is a shame, but at the same time I felt we are on the brink of a new era, “living in interesting times” (which, of course, aren’t always pleasant, but stimulating).  We wandered home through the poetry fair at St. Sulpice, where one could buy beautiful handmade books of letterpress-printed poetry for very little money.  “Do you think the French government subsides this?” I asked Blair.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Jun 24th, 2012 at 8:44pm
We had some time to ourselves this week – luckily.   I am not naturally an outgoing person (I know you can’t believe it, but I have to push myself to be with other people), and giving workshop/lessons/tours is a constant worry to me.  My stomach has been in a knot, and the last couple of days allowed it to unwind.  I don’t have a passion for teaching or even entertaining.  But I need a venue to work my art (and am thankful to my customers!!!)  and something to do with the things I cook.  I wake up thinking of what to cook that day, and it is beyond effortless:  I cook to feel happy.

So what do we do on our days off?  Paint, of course.  Where and when we would like; carrying a minimum of supplies; sometimes we even paint at home.  I painted “shoes” on Monday (my lesson cancelled) and we went to the old carousel at the Luxembourg Gardens on Tuesday.

It is a famous carousel – I have been unable to ascertain the date it was installed, but have seen photos from 1902 showing the same elements as today.   I read of a woman born in 1883 enjoying the carousel as a child.   It is the very carousel Rainer Maria Rilke wrote about:  the white elephant has taken on a greyer cast over the years. (or, in my case, lavender)

I have been reading the letters of Rainer Maria Rilke, who spent a good portion of his life in Paris, living just a few blocks from our house.  He wrote a book about Rodin, adored Cezanne and other contemporary artists.  I feel when I read the letters I am almost living in a parallel time.  He describes our physical Paris in another emotional era.  In the early 1900s people went slower, thought things through, wrote letters which took a week or more to get there, and had face-to-face interactions.

I went to the library which is going to be closed for three months – they encouraged us patrons to take out 20 books each.  I only got 10 on account of the hour.  I checked out hurriedly with the deaf librarian.  The sign says to speak distinctly and look at her because she reads lips: but NOT American lips.  We both giggle.

We painted three paintings each with our workshop painter on Thursday:  all in the Luxembourg Gardens.  We tackled (the formerly) impossible Medici Fountain.  It’s the darkest place in the park.  A young boy commented to his dad that the water must be very, very deep.  In fact, it’s just a foot or so, but the shade makes it seem like it goes to the center of the earth.

Christine, one of our dog walking friends, is our biggest fan and she gushed over our work:  YOU painted that, Laurie?  NO!  And she encourages our colleague as well.  We’re going to have a painting day for the dog walkers in September.

On Saturday we rented a car and drove to the sea at Trouville.  I was surprised to see girls, half of them black, the other half white, speaking French and playing soccer (formerly the territory of boys only).   It was sunny and Harika and Blair and I waded in broad, warm pools left by the receding waters.   She dug holes in the sand and ran around with another dog.  At a sidewalk café, we ate sandwiches without crusts  before driving back to Paris in the setting sun.

Carousel Blair Pessemier  Acrylic on linen  10.5 x 16 inches   275.00
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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Jul 2nd, 2012 at 10:26pm
We’ve been minding a friend’s dog this week.  Atlas is a delightful creature, even Harika enjoys him, which just goes to show how likeable he is.  He’s a Jack Russell terrier, full of confidence and authority.  All night long, he and Harika jump on and off the bed, jockeying for position.  Once established, they immediately fall asleep, a condition more elusive for me.  It’s just five nights of this – and I am enjoying an alternate view and the quiet of a garden apartment.    But I’ll be happy to get back into my own bed Monday night, albeit louder.

Noise abounds at 110, rue de Rennes, where we live.  In the summer, we open the windows on our busy corner.  There are cars and sirens and, in the early morning hours, revelers singing the praises of their night out.  It is the sound track of my current life.  I’ve had other soundtracks:  Olivier’s piano playing (he lived upstairs), my own sister belting out “Spanish Eyes” on the organ, and who could ever forget waking up to the tune of the muezzin in Tunisia?

A musician friend, Michael House, has been making a film about us painting the carousel in the Luxembourg Gardens.  We walked around  on the hottest day of the year while Michael took photos of us and the garden.  He’s made films about Eugene Atget and  Berenice Abbot; his film about Somerset Maugham just debuted in the LGBT  film festival in San Francisco.   Ours is a more modest undertaking, for sure.

Today is gay pride day here in Paris.   It’s still gay pride in France, no initials:  there’s a very big parade,  and an all-night party in the Marais.  I am glad I am not living there with my windows open.  I saw a panda bear, who lost the parade route, walking through the Luxembourg Gardens.

We went to coffee with our German-French-American girlfriend, M, today. We  tell each other funny stories over coffee and water (I just cooked up a bunch of fresh sardines, and we drank buckets to counteract).  We laugh out loud at many things, politics, food and the neighborhood.   We talk about the shock of going back to the US and a store clerk actually greeting you; here you stand around until the person working in the store decides to help you.  M lived in New Orleans for many years – “in those days, America was everything:  the dream, the hope, all new and wonderful things came from there.”    

The coffee at the jazz bar downstairs, the Hippocampus, is ok.  The bar recently reverted into the hands of the original owner – this is the fourth time that has happened.  The last operator served such poor coffee and burnt croissants  I just couldn’t patronize the place.   There is something a little awful about a “rental” restaurant:   a gnawing sense of temporariness that doesn’t encourage giving one’s “ all” (plus the Hippocampus  is in dire need of renovation).

Blair and I rent, and growing up in Connecticut, my family always rented an apartment.  In the years before the 1980s, we had landlords who really took pride in the rental apartment.  Anne Healy repapered our kitchen twice while we lived there; the Nelsons put in a new furnace for us while they still shoveled coal.  But something happened and the idea became to milk the maximum  money from the property without investing a cent. I recall my mother’s last years in a place with leaky windows and holes in the kitchen floor.

Atlas’s house is nearly two kilometers from ours.  We walk there at least twice a day.   There is a bus (actually two) which is helpful when it’s very hot out or we’re carrying supplies.   Atlas sits in his chair awaiting our key in the door, to feed him and take him for a walk.  He rushes to greet us with a big dog smile -- grateful, and such a good sport.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Jul 2nd, 2012 at 10:28pm
White Elephant   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on wood   13 x 7 inches  150.00

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Jul 21st, 2012 at 8:48pm
We really need GPS for our car rentals in France, we concluded as we circled yet another roundabout.  On our way to Trouville, we took a brief side trip to l’ Abbaye du Bec Hellouin.     The abbey was started in the 11th century and the (15th c) bell tower remains.  Monks continue to occupy the building, which was knocked down through numerous wars and reconstructed over the last thousand years.   The multi-acre site abounded in old, huge trees; grasses and little rivers encased in stone.   Services are held in the Anglican chapel three times a day for the monks who live there, and anyone else interested in attending.  It bills itself as a “haven of tranquility”, an idea I am currently embracing.

We didn’t have our paints with us.  Because we’ve had so many lessons over the past weeks, we’ve taken some serious days off from our painting.  In addition to our workshop attendees, we’ve had many guests.  We’ve been able to go out to dinner (something we never do when we are alone), and create some exotic meals for our friends (which I thoroughly enjoy).   Harika benefits, as well, from leftovers.

It is not as though we’re not painting at all – with our students this week we’ve painted in the Luxembourg Gardens and Rodin’s Garden.   We hadn’t been to Rodin’s gardens since the addition of the new entry and gift shop, which we pay for with our increased entrance fee.  It used to be one put a franc in the box and got a ticket for the garden.  Now, it’s a Euro and one must stand in line with the museum visitors.  

Rilke, the poet, one of my more recent inspirations, lived, or should we say “squatted”, in the Hotel Biron which houses Rodin’s work.    In the early 1900s a number of artists took over this abandoned convent and called it their own.  It is an exceptional building and property, the view giving way to Napoleon’s tomb in the distance.

We drove on to the beach at Trouville, where it was sunny and breezy, the perfect combination by the seaside.  Harika and I waded in tidal pools before pressing on to Honfleur.   On the way we saw an art expo setting up, so we pulled over in Criqueboeuf.  Although the show was housed in a church, one of the men made it clear it was the state that had restored the building.  “All the stone from the church came out of that pond,” he explained.  He explained much, much, more including the fact he was a house husband and rarely got out, doing all the cooking and cleaning and raising of children.  He needed to talk and we nodded at all the right places.

At Honfleur, we had Oranginas by the boat basin, before buying supplies for dinner and driving home.

Painting Harika   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic on panel  13 x 9.5 inches    225.00

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Jul 29th, 2012 at 10:26pm
ARTNOTES:  Shuffling Off to Buffalo (Don, I wish I traveled like Laurie and Blair)
On Wednesday,we flew from Orly West airport, just south of Paris, France to Newark, New Jersey, USA.    At Orly, there is an Animal Intake Counter, where one checks one’s pet.   We milled about the airport for an hour before turning Harika over to the handlers.  We walked up and down the sizzling sidewalk with her encouraging relief, breathing second hand smoke from people who were having a hard time giving up their cigarettes and cigars while airborne.  We saw an African albino girl, in a family of blacks; ladies in skimpy flowered dresses heading to Provence; and at least a dozen other dogs, not including the “sniffers”, who later checked all our carry-on before entering the plane.

Goshen Connecticut is home to a white buffalo.  Born on 16 June, this one-in-10-million occurrence has drawn the attention of Indian tribes throughout North America.  This weekend, eight hundred Indians congregated for the “naming” of this significant beast.  

Just a twenty minute drive from Hemlock Lodge (where we vacation in Winsted) we drove in the early morning to check out the scene.    Men in braids and feather jewelry, who were wearing   sleeveless tee-shirts rode their motorcycle to the rural New England town.  There were camping  vehicles with  names like  “powwow palace” and “heart and spirit of the buffalo  “ .  We spoke to an Indian woman and her daughter who’d driven from south of Toronto for this event.   I was just interested in seeing the bison, and the little white one, which we did.  I painted a quick picture of the setting, which was extraordinarily beautiful in the early morning light.

As I stood at the fence, people spoke in soft, hushed voices, clearly awed by this rare event.  Goshen is a farming community, but with the feeling of a somewhat uptight New England town.  It is the last place one expects to see Indians from the northern Midwest of the continent.

The Indians believe the calf to be a sign from a prophet, the White Buffalo Calf Woman, who helped the Lakota endure times of strife and famine.

Since we’ve been here in Connecticut (an Indian name), the temperature has  been 90 degrees and humid, making it debatable whether we’re better off braving the sun to swim in the lake or staying on the porch in the shade.   Otherwise we have violent thunderstorms, with lightning piercing the sky from side-to-side.  My nephew says that’s because the ground isn’t sufficiently positively charged, whatever that means.  

We took my nephews to pick blueberries at the u-pick lot. I was overcome by how beautiful the bushes and berries were:  deep green leaves on 5 foot bushes, dotted with berries in shades of pale green, pink and deep purple.    

At 8:30 AM there was already a small crowd.  We’d been up since 5:30 when Harika hears the skunk that lives under the porch returning home.  The Elders, who were to receive the special naming information from the spirit the night before were expected between 10 and 12.    We’d already tempted fate in the face of the sign which  clearly read “no pets” – so we didn’t stay for the actual naming ceremony of Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy.

White Buffalo in Distance   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on wood   7 x 20 inches    150.00

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Aug 6th, 2012 at 10:35am
Wow.  Why is it upside down?

Our biggest project this vacation has been to turn the upstairs of Hemlock Lodge into a Camera Obscura.  Imagine being inside of an old box camera and you get the idea.  We blackened the window and door panes to eliminate all the light coming into the room, and then cut a peephole giving way to the view of the lake and hills beyond.  I hung a white canvas on the opposite wall and VOILA! a picture of the sky, hills, and lake, complete with motorboats and skiers racing by.  All of this is upside down (like Blair’s painting of the scene).

I am like a conjurer or a circus side show:  people are astounded by this trick.  It isn’t really a trick but a feat of optics:  the lens in our eye works the same way.   I have attempted to sharpen the picture by sizing the peephole, but I think it is a problem of distance from the window to the wall.  So, it is a slightly nearsighted look at the view.

Meanwhile, we paint other things, trying not to sweat on the canvas. Lobsters, trees, kids at the lake.   It is terribly humid here, more oppressive than it has ever been since Blair and I have been coming to the Lodge, twelve years.       We relish the car’s airconditioning – as does Harika.  We sleep in the range of the fan.   Last night we had a cricket as loud as a car alarm.  Each time Blair turned on the light to find it, it stopped.  He thought it was attracted by the sound of our fan.  I am not sure.  I find relief as  I float in the lake.

I actually like the feeling of sweat on my upper lip.  I love the contrast of sweltering and then jumping into the water.  I get goose-bumps, even thought the lake temperature is 70-something degrees (f).
  We listen to the radio:  bluegrass, blues and R+B, while making puzzles on the porch.   Harika barks at passers-by.   We rock in the rocking chairs.
  The biggest contrast of all is that of here and Paris.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Aug 6th, 2012 at 10:39am
(Laurie painted this lobster) Notice the correct opposition between the lobster and background. The darks were made combining these two colors.
LaurieLobster8-6-12.JPG (79 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Aug 26th, 2012 at 12:13am
Here in France a new year starts in September.  After a month of vacation everyone is re-inspired and ready to go.  Somehow you know you can make it until Christmas, the next big holiday time.  I know I can.

I am full of new ideas:  a website for selling paintings, with a shopping cart and the ability to take credit card payments.  We are about to sign up for a real studio/small gallery space.   I am going to make a catalog of my tree paintings.

Already I made a new delicious recipe with Lotte (monkfish).  I am thinking of starting a blog of recipes and food ideas.  For this, I’ll need a partner, maybe my nephew who is going to cooking school.

And what inspired me so?  A month in Connecticut, a place I am never keen to be, but I had such a great time this year I couldn’t believe it.  It was swelteringly hot, great for swimming.  I think water brings out the best in me.  My friend K and I used to talk about how we would get great ideas in the shower.  Well, the lake is even better.  He could sing in the shower, and did.  I am not a singer.  

We left the state only a few times, to sell paintings in New Jersey and visit friends in New York.  The New Yorkers have a great cottage they’ve invited us to stay in and paint – at the edge of a marsh leading to the sea.  I can’t wait.

We sold paintings in one of our shows in Madison, Connecticut.  It was the most beautiful setting we’ve ever sold in, on a grassy hotel lawn backing up to the sea.  

I visited my father every day except two. He turned 85 while I was there, and I made a carrot cake decorated with raisins.   I played cards and swam with my nephews, one of whom can now swim faster than me.  I am still taller.   We made lobsters twice, and clams three times, not counting the fried clam bellies at the Clam Castle.

It was an idyllic American summer, always hard to catch, but when you are in it, it is as if pixie dust has been sprinkled on you:  absolute magic.  No movie director ever captured that slant of the sun or the smell of the water.   Hemlock Lodge was free of bats, bears and other pests. No sunburn.

Harika made the ride home in the hold of the plane without trouble.  In fact, her water didn’t even slosh out of the bowl and there was no evidence of nervous indiscretions.   She’s seen Shakespeare, Canaille and Astor since she’s been back and they sniff her with envy.

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER
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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Sep 12th, 2012 at 9:23am
"Maybe that’s them?"

"... no, they seem too old"

"I know it’s a couple, but I don’t know the name of the other one – could they be two boys?"

"I hope that’s not them in the white clothes. Phew!"

"Hi! are you looking for us?"

Each time we meet painters for our workshop, it’s a little like a blind date.   We have no idea who they are, what they look like – at least they can see a picture of us on our website, and we set up an easel at the designated rendezvous point as a “tip-off”.  

It  can be a very anxious moment for me.  I am always worried they won’t show up, or won’t like us.  Really, we have had the most wonderful people – I am always pleasantly surprised and honored to make their acquaintance.

This week we had a couple from Australia – two new painters who wanted to give it a try. We set up on the banks of the Seine and painted bridges:  a formidable subject, especially  for me, who has zero sense of perspective and/or drawing.  In fact both of them excelled!  Maybe brains are set up differently from “down under”.  

Pont Neuf, September morning   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic on linen   11 x 16   225.00

We found a great spot, without too much activity.   It wasn’t totally without activity, however, as a fashion photo shoot set up nearby:  a girl in a swirly skirt twirled around, showing off the cut of the cloth.   Then they borrowed the bicycle of one of our painters.   Still, all four of us painted two paintings each.

We juggled lessons on Tuesday and Friday with moving into our studio at 14, rue Servandoni, near the Luxembourg Gardens.  Blair and I painted the large wall and door, and Blair touched up the outside of the building.  It looks terrific and people have been trickling in.

Pond in the Luxembourg Gardens/Fall   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic on canvas panel  9 x14 inches 175.00

This morning we walked with Harika to the banks of the Seine.  At  8 o’clock the water is smooth as glass and the underside of the bride is perfectly reflected in the water.  The first barge passed by at 8:30, at an extremely low speed, barely upsetting the mirror like surface:  a small ripple, but no splash, like an Olympic diver.  We wished we had our paints with us.  

By nine, the sun is brutally bright overhead and joggers (the bain of our painting peace) are hauling their smelly selves before us  (I have been run into three times). We walk back on the little streets, admiring shoes and fall clothes in the windows.    I have new ideas for painting.

LaurieBlairPontNeuf.JPG (86 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Sep 17th, 2012 at 12:14pm
On our first date in Seattle, Washington, Blair and I went to the movies to see the 1946 version of Beauty and the Beast.  It was a romantic date, even though I insisted on bringing a friend (it was my feeling, during that era of the Hillside Strangler, and Ted Bundy, a girl couldn’t be too safe).  I guess one could say the film changed my life.

After a week in Paris, the thought of getting outside the city is enticing.  We’ve been spending hours at the new studio, selling paintings and painting more.  We made a foray, perhaps the last of the season, to Giverny on Tuesday.

We jumped at the chance to spend Sunday in the countryside.  One of Harika’s friends from the park (her mistress, actually) invited Harika to come for a play date this weekend.   The two ran about for hours, in and out of the shade, over to the water bowl, rolling in the grass.   It was a "trial" date, so next time we might stay overnight.

We picked up a rental car at Hertz at the carrousel du Louvre this morning.  We brought our paints, I made lamb heart jerky for the dogs (that wasn’t a perfect idea – the two got in a major tussle, nearly spoiling Harika’s future forays on the lawn), and a small gift for our hostess.   Lickety-split, the old Eiffel Tower was in the rear view mirror and we were on our way. Pretty quick out of Paris one is in “the country” and on either side of the road lie fields of sugar beets (this was Picardie), corn, and harvested wheat.   The roads became narrower as we approached our destination.  We got there early.

“My father didn’t think much of Cocteau,” our friend told us.  “And Jean Marais developed eczema from the beast makeup”.   We were at the chateau where Beauty and the Beast was filmed. Our friend grew up at the chateau,  an 18th century affair, adorned with wild boars carved in stone.  Windows lined up from front to back, giving way to rolled lawn as far as the eye could see.   Two arcades frame the entry, with dog statues on top.   In niches are men and women who stepped out of the Renaissance, when the first inklings of the chateau were constructed (towers, still in use).  In the last niche was a man wearing beast’s clothing.

We saw the red doors from which the beast emerged, in a tumble down wall now giving way to a golf driving range.  Our hostess waxed affectionately about the fields of hyacinths that grew there during her childhood.  The chateau is now rented out for events, and the surrounding land is a golf course.  

The Dog across the Street   Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic on wood   6 x 20 inches  160.00

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Sep 24th, 2012 at 7:17am
We had eleven students between the ages of 14 and 18 on Tuesday, and again on Saturday.  They are our favorite painters because they have no expectations of how they should paint. We had everything from Mondrian to  portraiture, trees in the park to stylized horses.  “The ponies never looked so good,” I told the young painter.  “It’s about freedom,” she replied.

This week, we saw a friend we had not seen for several years.  He now has a wife and twin one-year-olds (who were back at home).   We met for breakfast in a posh hotel where they were staying.   The four of us got along like a house afire.  So much so that It seemed like we created a vortex in the room: the waitress dropped a tray of coffee; a four panel screen tipped over; silverware fell from a tray.  “Some places are just like that,” our friend K said, “locations of churches and so on”.   I knew it was our own energy that was setting things a-spin.

I can feel so inspired by the people I see.  K is one – whenever we spend time together I feel everything will always be ok in my life. He’s believed in us as artists forever—“you guys are going to make it big,” he says, “you’re going  to be millionaires”. I believe him.  It encourages me to live strongly, spending  money I have now, because millionaire-dom is right around the corner.  

I  am writing from the studio today.  We are now officially open from 2 until 7 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.   Blair is out painting with three colleagues.   I am exhausted from painting outdoors in this fall weather.   Whatever little ache I have is accentuated.  I am happy  to have the next four days free.

We drove to Trouville with Blair’s sister on Wednesday.  We celebrated this month with an “R” with a giant  seafood platter.  I ate oysters and clams, sea snails and shrimp.   Harika shared Blair’s lamb shank for lunch.  

The water in the English channel is warmer than the air.  I run in the surf, careful not to get my rolled up pants too wet.  Every time I am here I want to stay forever, painting pictures and eating clams.
Purple trees     Blair Pessemier    Oil on linen   25.5. x 32 inches   450.00

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Oct 1st, 2012 at 1:40pm
ARTNOTES: At the Louvre  
“The Louvre is open on Wednesday night”, a friend pointed out.   I suggested we go that very evening to see the new Islamic Art wing.

I went as much for the architecture as for the art.  Mario Bellini and Rudy Ricciotti designed  a thoroughly modern structure.  The undulating mesh roof gives the impression it was just thrown, like a pocket handkerchief (their intention) into the Visconti courtyard, between the wings of the Louvre.  To me, and many others, the structure is a metaphor for a flying carpet, or veil, so much a part of the Islamic collection of art that it houses.

Entering the Louvre through I M Pei’s pyramid is always dramatic.  It is beautiful from the outside and the inside.  It is from here we head toward the Denon wing which leads us the courtyard where the magic carpet landed.

As we enter through a dark slate hallway, the ceiling appears quite low.  In a few feet it billows up as we proceed past the very earliest vestiges of Islamic Art. I find Islamic Art intriguing because it encompasses many countries, each adding its own particular flavor to arts and crafts essential to the Islamic culture.  The early and fabulous glassmaking techniques of Egypt and the desert are among the first artifacts, along with metal work.  Boxes and ivory, iron work and ceramics fill the display cases.  Spain is surprisingly represented in all this:  because Spain, “al-Andalusia” was a Muslim country for longer than it has been a Christian one.  In fact, most of the tilework and decoration one associates with Spain is rooted in this period.  

It’s always been intriguing for me to think of what the world might have been like without Ferdinand and Isabella.  Someone else would have funded Columbus, I am sure.  

Jews and Muslims fled Spain for Istanbul (then Constantinople).  Here Islamic art blossomed in the form of tulips and flowers.   The Ottomans then spread Islam as far as the banks of the Danube.    

The lower floor of the gallery gives way to artifacts created between 1000 and 1800.  Mamluk doors, with their geometry revealed, were something never before seen on display.   Iranian porcelain and ceramics were breathtaking:  animals incised and painted, in colors of turquoise and the deepest blue I’ve ever seen.    Large examples of Turkish tiles and Lebanese mosaics took up whole walls and floors.  The muqarna, a particular Islamic corner treatment loomed overhead a doorway into another display.

I guess I was most surprised by the representation of animals in the art I saw.  Rabbits – fine, large hares were painted on dishes and tiles.  The jackal was there, along with tigers, camels, fish, chickens, deer and horses.  One of my favorite displays was of three camel panels, painted and in bas relief.  There was a pitcher like a chicken, with exterior ceramic grillwork graced with dancing maidens.   I actually discovered the maidens  through an interactive exhibit for the blind – for the first time, the Louvre is attempting “user-friendly” – most of the signage included an English translation, as well.

The exhibits were arranged chronologically, so there was a bit of a history lesson as well as a treat for the eyes. I look forward to going back again in the daytime when I can see through the veil to the big blue sky.

"The early and fabulous glassmaking techniques of Egypt"  
I wonder if any of the Egyptian glass frit scarabs that were sold through-out Europe in the ancient days are there in the Louvre? The were crushed and used as an opaque pigment.
COPPER. Chrysocolla, a native copper silicate, first a pigment in Egypt, then a jewel, glass-frit then became a pigment of the same color.
COPPER. Frit, copper salts fused in potassium silica glass, Egypt 3000 B/C.

Meanwhile India was making transparent cyan.  
ORGANIC-PLANT. Indigo, India. Woad, England. Both transparent cyan dyes, Indigo was the better.
ORGANIC-PLANT. Check out an interesting article in Scientific American's Archeology Magazine August 2000 about Mayan fresco and the cyan pigment they were using. It was Indigo (a plant based dye) bonded to clay (opaque) through a process of baking the indigo and clay at a specific temperature. The indigo was then permanently bonded to the clay and the indigo-clay powder was used as a permanent blue color for fresco. This magazine is currently at Barnes and Noble, if you want to check out the article.

Today we have a transparent cyan (PB15) better and more pure than we have ever had in the history of the world.
This transparent cyan in combination with transparent magenta and transparent yellow make a perfect dark that can be adjusted to make the deepest shadows seen in nature.
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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Oct 8th, 2012 at 9:00am
Artnotes: Change of Season
   I wrote an article about Christmas in Paris this week. I tried listening to carols on the radio/Internet but just couldn’t relate.  In fact, there isn’t much for French carols.  There must have been a subliminal message somehow, because I got onto the track of making Christmas cards.
   It might have been the birds at the “Bio” (organic) market here last Sunday.  One of the features of our apartment is that we live right on the corner of the Boulevard Raspail market which runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  This Sunday I begrudgingly went there because I needed small onions and mushrooms for my coq au vin (non-organic, but how non-organic can a rooster be?).    I avoid the bio market because the identical fish sold on Friday are sold for a dollar more on Sunday – you get the picture.   I paid a fair price for the onions, but got mildly soaked on the mushrooms.
   The redeeming feature was that  the market was expanded to include the sidewalk of the Seine-bound lane of the boulevard, and stands filled the sidewalk . There were pens of chickens and ducks, geese and guinea hens;  tiny lambs (grey) and goats.  It was all so beautiful, I dashed upstairs and got my paints.  I painted a nice guinea hen and a goose (sold before I got a photo) – both of them made me think of Christmas:  seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, blah, blah, gobble?     I got the idea to make cards of the twelve days of Christmas, using the birds.
   Christian, our butcher, has beautiful game birds at the moment: pheasant and grouse, mostly.  I haven’t had any guests of the game bird eating variety:  a recent diner wigged out because I left the head on her fish. We had to go into the kitchen, remove the head and re-present the dish.  Honestly.
   Fall is clearly upon us, and there are likewise fabulous mushrooms in the market.  I bought some cepes and girolles last week, which were heartily received alongside a salad. The potimarrons (a chestnut-tasting pumpkin) has been refashioned as soup.  I painted it, and carrots, as well.
   Painting is using lots of orange these days, a mixture of primary magenta and lemon yellow.  Twelve of us painted on the Pont des Arts and environs last Saturday. I sold two of my paintings to a passer-by.  This has been my best group of high school  students, and we are going to have a show of their work at our studio on 23 October.
   After spending a marvelous Saturday morning with a new student (who received our painting workshop as a gift), we are encouraging fellow painters to join us this coming Saturday.
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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Oct 15th, 2012 at 7:23am
Rain rain rain. And cold. I spend long periods of time on the Internet  looking for rental houses in sunny climes.    The Paris Painting Workshop is winding down: my last two reserved lessons this year are on Monday and Tuesday.    Then  we will paint for ourselves, and for selling.  Studio Pessemier will be open until Christmas, and then we three will make for the sunshine.  

We painted  in actual RAIN with a painting class.last Monday.  It poured all around us as we sat under the poste de surveillants in the Luxembourg Gardens.  I admired the tenacity of our student. She and I rewarded ourselves with an Angelina’s hot chocolate, a stand that opened this month beside the Musee de Senat.

I’ve been to museums a couple of times this week.  I saw a show of work from a private collection in Le Havre, at the Senat museum.   The Marquets inspired me to paint broad sections of white.  In fact, someone came by the  shop yesterday who had just seen the expo, and commented on how much my painting of the plaza at St Sulpice carried that spirit.  I told him I painted it just hours after seeing those very paintings.  This week I painted under the loggia at the  front of the church: visitors with umbrellas.

I went to the Soutine show at the Orangerie yesterday.  Soutine is my favorite painter.  His use  of red made me want to go out and buy a tube of Cadmium Red Medium.   I didn’t, but  feel a spell of red coming on. He was such a wild painter, it seemed odd to have his work so close to Monet’s water lilies, that don’t have any red in them at all.   We watched the Soutine movie and the Monet movie, and the contrast was as shocking as their different paintings.

It’s been a tough week around here.  Harika had a plate removed from her leg.  In 2008, we all were involved in a car accident.  Harika’s shoulder to elbow was rebuilt and recently one of the screws has been making her uncomfortable.  After numerous  x-rays and opinions we decided to have the offending articles taken out.  This was much easier said than done, and she’s laying on the bed, which has been moved to the living room floor, as I speak.   Her bone is like swiss cheese now that the screws have been removed, and she needs to be still for at least 15 days.  Not easy for a five year old dog.   At lease she’s not eager to go out in the rain.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Oct 22nd, 2012 at 8:32am
ARTNOTES:  Passing Through
I spoke to a woman this week at the gallery who’d taken up painting after 30 years of teaching art.   We commensurate on the perceived need to work at “alternate means of support”, rather than to work at what we know  is right.  “I just wish I’d painted ‘in earnest’ earlier on,” I tell her.  She assures me THIS is the right time.  Renaissance chooses its own place and schedule.    

My parents let me study whatever I wanted in school.  The premise that parents never want their children to be artists was not true in my case, nor for my sister, who went to school for music.   We both were able to learn the maximum about what we were most interested in.

“I believe the so-called rise of the middle class is completely true.”  I think I am hearing a 1950s broadcast, but no, this is a new Brazilian musician (Gaby Amaratos)­, talking about her success in Brazil.    As growth wanes in one country, it rises in another.  She talks about being happy without worrying about what other people think – this is the key to trying new ideas, taking chances, and growing.

I am a wellspring of new ideas these days – all the rain has filled my barrel.   A café painting workshop is my most immediate thought:  to take painters into cafes to capture the essence of Paris.  A box which will hold paints,  a water container and small palette, a compendium of short handled brushes, and a café or two which will welcome us are on the agenda for the coming months.

We’re having our first “vernissage” for student painters this week.   This event triggered an associate to suggest we might try selling historic paintings alongside our own, hosting a gala opening.  Besides this, it occurs to me to combine our paintings and other contemporary artists’ in the galley, and perhaps even include video projects in the downstairs studio (cave).

I am thinking of making a book called “the Dogs of rue Servandoni”.   There are ten dogs I know of on our two block street (I am learning their name: Vicki, Faya, Google) and I can include regular visitors like Atlas.  I might even create a story around them.   Harika is keen on the project, something for her to pose for, until she can run around again.

I love the gallery for the people who stop by.  Fresh air blows in as they open the door.  A woman came in this week to ask, “was it you that gave a painting to a little girl in the park?”   Blair asserted that it was his wife(me).   While I was painting in the Luxembourg Gardens the week before, a  small girl from Denmark watched me with such intensity that I gave her the little piece I was working on.   This girl and her mother were staying with the woman who stopped by the gallery.   She did not buy a painting, but bought one of our chairs.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Oct 30th, 2012 at 12:40am
For the past two weeks, we’ve been awakened by hammering nearby.  Strange men have been walking by our windows on metal scaffolding, covered with netting.   For the next six months our building will undergo a cleaning.   We’re all in favor of clean buildings, but this puts a severe crimp in my kitchen herb garden.  Our balcony is a little over 2 feet wide and wraps 90 feet around the apartment,  for a total of 180 square feet of extra space.   We’ve brought in the table and chairs, plants, garbage can and recycling bin, and to say we are packed to the gunnels (of our 60 square foot apartment) would be an understatement.

This work isn’t stopping after six months, either.   After that they are going to replace the roof and refresh the inside of the public areas;  finally, the elevator will be replaced, a prospect those of us on the sixth floor dread.  I am trying to take this in stride.   We have a beautiful apartment with a spectacular view, and to think of moving on account of this would be folly.  It has crossed my mind.

The world opens up to me with the idea of moving.  Unlike the other expats here, moving back to the USA does cross my mind:  give me land, lots of land.   But really, while I dream, I might as well look at stepping further out:  Nice, Normandy, or Bordeaux;  Portugal and Tangiers come to mind.  When I unleash my fantasies, I see sunshine blowing through open windows (ok, maybe Normandy wouldn’t be perfect) and barbecues on the terrace.  I imagine opening the door to the street and not having twelve people rush by, nor Harika trying to bite the ankles of the occasional jogger.  In my dreams, Harika could run free and I could tote my canvasses to a new venue.

Last weekend we went with friends to Milly-la-Foret.  (pronounced MEee, despite two  French friends I went with over the years who said milly just like me).  We went to see Tingeuly’s  “Cyclope”, a mouse-trap-contraption, 75 feet tall, with a single roving eye, in the middle of the forest.  I wanted to see Jean Cocteau’s house while in Milly --  I wasn’t disappointed.  The house was full of portraits drawn, painted or sculpted by his friends, mainly of him, and sketches by him for his films and otherwise.  My favorite work, painted by a friend of his, depicted a sphinx and satyr playing cards.  There  was a mirrored stage in the entry, and  a few over-the-top decorated rooms as he had lived in.   A small, almost booth-like room was lined with stills of a woman talking on the phone, while the monologue of his play  “La Voix Humaine” rang from a speaker.   The garden was full of fruit trees and flowers a la Beauty and the Beast, and canals  reflected the sunlight on the ceiling of the rooms inside.

But the thing that impressed me most was Cocteau’s statement that “when he found the house, he found his “cadre” – his framework for living.   I wonder if that is something that remains constant once one finds it, or if it changes with time.  Meanwhile, forays to the country fill me with new ideas.  I plan to put pots of water, bird-bath style on the balcony someday, and cast impressions on my ceiling.
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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Nov 8th, 2012 at 4:25am
Artnotes: City Life, November 4, 2012
After someone told me how to avoid paying for  articles on the New York Times online, I couldn’t find any I wanted to read.   Now that we have a studio, we have no interest in painting there.   Go figure.  We are still operating the gallery three days a week  (usually more) and it’s been successful.

Maybe it’s just that time of year when one doesn’t feel like doing anything.  After months chock  full of workshops, I’ve got too much time on my hands.   And inspiration is hard to come by.  Ideas, I have many but the motivation and creativity to initiate them is at an all time low.   I sit here at the Internet, looking up useless information.  Blair bought a pair of shoes on the web the other day, and the heels fell off the first time he wore them.  He got his 99cents back.

We went to a wonderful show this week, of work by Jaques Emil Blanche at the Yves Saint Laurent museum.   Blanche painted the very famous portrait of Marcel Proust, by which the writer is known.  We went to the show with a friend who is a Proust expert, and she gave us the lowdown on many of the people Blanche painted.  It was a show almost strictly of portraits:  Stravinsky, Cocteau, Nijinsky and Rodin, just to name a few.   They were painted  in their Belle Epoch style:  top hats and evening gowns, in interior settings as sumptuous as the clothes.  It made me think about painting people who came to our house, so beware.

Afterward, we went to a café for grog, a sort of hot-buttered-rum without the butter.  It put me in the mind of the Christmas season, as it was foggy, damp and cold.  The days are sufficiently short to drive us back indoors at 6 for lack of light.

Besides painting flowers and trying to paint from memory.  I went to a new hairdresser this week who made me think of a satyr:  long, thin torso and shoulders and a powerful  bottom with splayed legs and clodhopper feet.   The salon itself was deep purple and hair curling irons lay in a fiery bin, adding further to  the look of the underworld.  Then she tried to cheat me 20 euros, snagging only an extra 6 in the end.  One must be careful in the big city.

Orchidae   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic on wood  6 x 10 inches  $90.00
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Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Nov 13th, 2012 at 1:23pm
Artnotes:   A Walk to the Seine 11-12-12
This morning was crisp and bright, so after a coffee at Omar’s, we headed towards the Seine.   Omar, the Tunisian who owns the Tourne Bouchon, makes terrific coffee – “it begins with high quality beans” he tells us.  He didn’t have any croissants this morning, so we settled for a tartine (half of a baguette) with jam.   Harika had a couple of her homemade biscuits that I carry in my pocket, and we were off.  

Near the Lutetia, we passed a crowd of boys emerging from a night in the sewer.   You can always tell where they’ve come from, smeared with a sandy mud and pale as a submarine crew.   There are big parties in the Paris sewers  on weekends, although I rarely see girls coming out from below.   Some people wear big rubber boots.  It’s a little fascinating but likewise off-putting – a thing I can certainly live without.  Harika gives them bearth, which makes me think they don’t smell so good, either.

I love the walk to the Seine, by all the windows of art galleries and antiquaires.   Shop windows in this neighborhood, where no one checks the price, are exceptional.   We cross the Pont Royal, and make a brief stop on the grass at the Louvre.   It’s pretty but we haven’t got easels today, and it will be hard to find a roost.   Harika looks around but we all decide to go to the banks of the river.  Down the stairs, and we set up our “tent” on a slightly elevated sandy area.

The area is  inundated with miserable looking joggers, who I kind of feel sorry for – alone and mean.  In years past there were no joggers, which I think was indicative of a happier population.   One man, who’s obviously twisted an ankle on the cobblestones, snarls at Harika, who thought she would sidle up and comfort him.  Later she’s rewarded by a Scandinavian couple who pet her and talk to her.

The weather changes every few minutes these days, sun and clouds, always damp and thus cold.   We did manage to paint outside several times, anyway.  I painted at the Palais Royale, and in the Luxembourg Gardens.   We’re planning a show on 6 December:   Winter Light.  We’ll feature Blair’s new abstract work in the studio downstairs.  Here's one of his traditional fare:
LaurieBlairCarousel11-12-12.JPG (117 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Nov 17th, 2012 at 6:36am
I (DonJ) went back to 2009 and picked a painting of Laurie's. I'm always impressed with her work. This one has a magenta to red background. She incorporated the background and foreground. It's hard to distinguish between the two in places because of the way she brought them together.

Look at the nice darks she got mixing the opposition colors of transparent green and transparent magenta.

I made the Tartrazine acrylic paint (5-15-13) It didn't work, the pigment bled right through the medium. It still works as a water color pigment on paper though.
PY100Lauriegeraniums1greenhouse3-15-9.jpg (409 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Dec 2nd, 2012 at 4:52am
Merry Christmas Laurie, from Don. PS I could include more than one painting if you put more than single images in you're emails to me. 850 dpi is a good width.

Blair Pessemier  Paris roofs in snow (not yet)  Oil on linen  18 x 24 inches  $550.00
ARTNOTES:  the Holidays
We bought a Christmas tree.  I guess that seals the deal:  Christmas in Paris.  The price of a Christmas tree varies greatly here.  We could buy one for 80 euros at Monceau Fleurs, a discount flower house, or for 24 euros at the Franprix grocery store.  We jumped on the tree from the grocery:  their big trees are all snapped up the first week.

Ours is a five-footer, approximately.  The base of the tree is fixed inside a half-sawn log base, which is customary here.  Our house is not very warm, so I think we’ll be ok without it not drying out until the big day.  I have decorated it with all my jewelry, connecting necklace to necklace beads, resulting in a sparkly garland.  Our Rhymo monkey puppet is the angel on top, and all of our interesting stuff, from playing cards to model cars, single earrings and Bakelite figurines adorn the rest.

I decorated my father’s apartment in Connecticut last weekend – I made a quick trip for the Thanksgiving holiday to visit my family there.  I flew Air Canada through Montreal to Hartford, Connecticut.   Connecticut is always a good Thanksgiving place, such a  New-England-first-Thanksgiving feeling.  Cranberries seem just right, as does pumpkin pie.  Wild turkeys abound, but we always have a good store-bought variety.  I bought oysters, this year imported from the West Coast, since the local Atlantic oyster beds were overturned by Storm Sandy.   I was ensconced in family, and I didn’t even rent a car.

We took a walk in the winter woods in Harwinton, where my sister and family live.   We hiked through the landscape, monochromatic save for a few hunting vests on men who seemed to have an Eastern European accent.  “Have you seen the bear?” they inquired.  We chose not to walk that direction.   They had a brace of hunting hounds with them, who crept stealthily through the forest until the shots were fired. Then a chorus of howls and yips ensued, as they brought back their quarry of birds.

A half dozen girls riding American quarterhorses passed us on the uphill path.   The horses blew smoke in the just freezing temperatures, as seen on the thin skin of ice on the pond.  We finished our Thanksgiving foray amidst flakes of snow.

PS.  We are working hard on our new website,, with webmaster Allison Lounes.  We would welcome your input.   Meanwhile, you can still refer to for a familiar face.

Come to our art opening at 14, rue Servandoni  75006 Paris on Thursday 6 December evening.  We'll be featuring a wine tasting by the Paris Wine Company!
LaurieBlairSnowParisRoofs.JPG (205 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Dec 18th, 2012 at 11:32am
You know the pickens’  are slim when you cruise the spam file for interesting email.

We’ve had all weather this week – from below freezing to torrential rain.  Much time has been spent indoors.   The temperature has varied 25 degrees Fahrenheit in 24 hours.   The barometer has swung from very dry to very wet.  Some years ago we bought my father an antique barometer.  I resurrected it from a drawer while I was at his house at Thanksgiving, and brought it back with me.   It’s a fascinating device, swinging back and forth with the pressure.   I can’t tell if it is a mercury barometer or something more primitive.  I love tracking the weather – I follow the satellite predictions on the bbc weather site to determine if clouds will be covering the coast or just Paris.  Right now, the only sun seems to be around Nice.

In the rain, I have been going to a number of art shows, including the Van Gogh and Hiroshige shows  at the Pinacotheque in Paris.  Surprising and interesting:  Van Gogh’s impressions of the Japanese prints were unmistakable!  The curator of the show took no chances that you should miss the influence:  copies/details of the prints were placed directly next to the painting.

I was surprised just HOW similar the prints and paintings were, at least from a compositional point of view.  The exciting part was how Van Gogh took something so incredibly controlled and injected mega-soul into it.  Don’t get me wrong – the Hiroshiges were wonderful pictures, too.    Many people thought the separate Hiroshige show was superior to the Van Gogh portion – it included many more pieces, in any case and was less familiar.

Hiroshige’s work was all line and blocks of color (I think of comics, in fact, and the paper they are printed on promotes the comparison).   His compositions are pure genius and the colors are magnificent.   But there couldn’t have been two more opposite sensibilities:  the over-the-top emotionalism of Van Gogh, and the controlled understatement of Hiroshige.  Van Gogh sought that coolness “with a passion”. He pursued all  things Japanese in hopes of controlling his own tormented soul.

It was an exhibit that demanded more than the couple of hours I gave it.  I would have liked to spend more time in front of Hiroshige’s snow.  But at the end of the day, I relate more to Van Gogh.  Like the barometer my range is from stormy to dry, with wild fluctuations in the middle.

December in the Garden   Laurie Fox PESSEMIER  Acrylic on wood  8 x 15 inches  90.00

(Don): I wouldn't know what to do with cold weather anymore.I'm spoiled to the core. I complain if it's windy. Which reminds me, when it was windy Van Gogh would lay his painting on the ground and paint.

Lately, I haven't had time to paint. It was easy to get everything in order when I was on the road. Now, I work from morning to morning. I was on the computer 18 hours today and it was normal. I completely forgot to mail an RCW order today. I haven't answered any emails for the past four days now. I scroll through them and just pick out the orders. Count your lucky stars, at least you get to see them. Keep painting, I like the magenta to red flow in this one.
LaurieDecGarden12-17-12.JPG (118 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Dec 23rd, 2012 at 3:24am

Hoping Santa fills you're stocking with love, health, peace and happiness

LaurieMerryChristmas2012.jpg (121 KB | )

Title: Re: Paintfox2012 MayDec
Post by Admin on Dec 23rd, 2012 at 3:29am
Merry Christmas 2012, from Sylvia Wise.
SylviaWise3colorChristmasCard.jpg (16 KB | )

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