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Message started by DonJ on Sep 3rd, 2014 at 5:43am

Title: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by DonJ on Sep 3rd, 2014 at 5:43am
Laurie paints very fast using the primary and secondary acrylic pigments

Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by DonJ on Sep 9th, 2014 at 8:07am
Artnotes:   The Week in Paris
Laurie 1, Putti Planter  Luxembourg Gardens  Laurie Fox Pessemier  18 x 15" 46 x 38 cm Acrylic/linen  275.00

This week, we painted along the Seine, in the Tuileries Gardens, in the Luxembourg Gardens, at the Bois de Boulogne, the parc Bagatelle and at Giverny.  Not to mention we hung a new art show of our work at the Petit Lux (one of this week’s paintings graces the poster).   

Workshop painters this week came from New Zealand, Chicago and North Carolina.  All were good painters, fully enjoying their time at the easel.  I am lucky to finally paint for a living, and kind of wish I had made the shift earlier in life.   Go to art school (or not), be an artist!!!  Follow your calling:   it will make your life most happy. 

We took our Giverny car a day early, to go out to the Bois de Boulogne, in comfort.  People are always impressed at the size and extent of the woods.  There were still roses blooming in the Bagatelle, some quite fragrant.  I sat on the grass and painted the house in the distance, after a morning near the boats.

The boat , our Monet Bateau-Atelier, is floating along. We have an American builder interested in it, and have some funding ideas.  We’d make an ideal advertisement for Marine Insurance or Marine paint.

Along the banks of the Seine, people stopped to talk to all of us.  Americans, mostly.  I gave out cards, and encouraged people to pull up an easel.  A  little French girl sat silently, watching one of our painters for nearly a half hour.  People on the street, in the parks, are thrilled to watch the magic of painting.

We have wonderful conversations with our fellow painters.   Rarely do they touch on politics or religion, (things we were told never to talk about, as the gentle woman in the back seat of the car points out) but  relate happy stories from our lives, or the foibles of travel.  Painters relax.

We lunched together somedays:  crepes on rue Servandoni, local food at the Café Assignat near the Seine (steak tartare!), and at the fancy restaurant in the Bois de Boulogne.  One woman talked about how she made swan sausage in New Zealand.   I had seen a recipe for swan in an old English cookbook, I never knew anyone who ate it.  ‘Black swans”, she told us. 

As we drove around the Arc de Triumph, the couple in the back of our car recounted a tale about how a cab dropped them off in the center of the roundabout, at the Arch itself.   They found themselves “stuck” there – cabs refusing to stop, and our friend couldn’t get down the stairs with her walker.  Finally, a policemen on duty blew his whistle, pulled over a cab. The driver stopped with a look of dread on his face.  The policeman then ordered him to ferry our friends home.   Ah, Paris!

Laurie and Blair Pessemier

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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by DonJ on Oct 8th, 2014 at 3:08am
St Remy   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  24 x 32"   61 x 81 cm    600.00
Early Morning Bench  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/wood 6.5 x 9.5"   16 x 24.5 cm  100.00

​I am an addict of beautiful things.  Today Blair bought the most wonderful little vase at the flea market at Vanves.  “For your brushes”, he says, but I think of flowers.  It is so wonderful: white ceramic beneath a tooled copper exterior, and, in relief, a mouse family attacking a bag of grain.

Yesterday we painted along the Seine with an Australian friend and her British companion.  We meet our painters on the Pont des Arts – looking toward Notre Dame in one direction, the Grand Palais in the other.  It joins the Institute of France with the Louvre, hence the name of the bridge that connected art students to the museum.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by Admin on Oct 13th, 2014 at 8:31pm
When we lived at 28, rue d’Assas in Paris, we had a young friend (about 9 at the time) who always wanted to come over and sit in our “cozy sofa”.  It was a loveseat, made by DesignAmerica, of a streamline style from the 30s.   E loved our cozy sofa, and I had a little knitting machine she would sit there with, by the hours.  She was a trifle discombobulated at the time, born in America, lived in Glasgow, then London, now Paris all within the span of her short life.
   We have no comfortable furniture now.  We have two exotic “pasha” chairs upholstered in flying carpets, a large Louis XV bergere in white linen, a fuzzy pink boudoir chair,  and a half dozen dining chairs which fight for discomfort at the table.
   Like Eliza Dolittle, all I want is a room somewhere far away from the cold night air with one enormous chair, or do I?
   My mother took her place in her one enormous chair when she retired and sat there until she died of Alzheimers.  This followed in the steps of my aunt, who did the same thing two years earlier.  Was it the chair?  Did all that comfort make her lose her edge?  Probably not, but I am not sure I am going to get a comfy chair anytime soon.  Comfy chair in moderation.  My father, perhaps thinking the same way as I do, resists sitting in his comfy chair.  He’s 87.
   We’ve been out all the days this week, painting:  the usual spots by the river and in the gardens, but also we made a jaunt to Chantilly where we sketched horses in dressage.  Yesterday we were at Auvers sur Oise, where we (not so successfully) tried to channel Vincent Van Gogh. 
   I feel dog tired (to coin Harika’s term) after some of these outings, but often it is good-tired.  Tons of fresh air make rosy cheeks.  I think about things like the comfy chair (and, no doubt, Eliza Dolittle needed it – I don’t plan on selling violets anytime soon), and its effect.  We visit with people on the street – “why are only foreigners visiting this place (Auvers)”, a middle-aged American tourist asks.  All young French see this on field trips, I think.  But I tell him,  “Because we can get out and  APPRECIATE IT.  We make it possible.”

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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by Admin on Oct 18th, 2014 at 10:56pm
Artnotes: Arrivederci
We are on our way to sunny Italy tomorrow.  A friend generously offered to rent our apartment for two weeks, so the three of us are hopping in the car at 6 AM tomorrow and driving south east.  Our destination is Cervo, on the Italian Riviera – expected temperatures in the 70s for the next two weeks.  Yippee.

This makes it difficult for me to get back into the present, or even last week, to write about something which inspired us.   We will be in a house without internet connection.  We purchased a little tablet to take to a “hotspot” downtown – neither of our cell phone carriers work in Italy. 

Our last weeks of painting have been full.  We were down by the Seine twice this last week, after a full week with two painters from Seattle.  It hasn’t been unusual this fall to be five painters side by side.  In a word, I am exhausted, as is Blair.  It might not seem like much, painting with a diverse group of people, outside, but it is overwhelming.  My Italian "refresher" courses on youtube have fallen by the wayside.

Nonetheless, I have been thinking of winter painting themes – vegetables have been on my mind.  I cooked coq au vin this week, as well as marcassin (young wild boar).  We had fewer guests than expected, but that was ok – Harika loved the boar, and we revisited it with cumin and hot pepper rolled up in a Berber flat bread.   I painted my carrots.  The Algerian man in the Marche knows not to cut off the tops – those lacy green leaves make a beautiful picture.

Harika is having a nervous breakdown with suitcases in the bedroom.  She’s hoping it doesn’t mean another plan ride.  In fact, we have rented a car and are driving the nine and a half hours.  When I write that I think we ought to start out tonight and stay over someplace.   With that in mind, I’ll bring artnotes to a close, that we might be on our way.  Arrivederci!

Don: Cazaine? painted a bunch of asparagus, the buyer gave him a tip and Cazaine? painted a single asparagus and gave it to him. (Something like that) Anyway, I like Lauri's Carrots, orange is a tough color to make.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by DonJ on Nov 7th, 2014 at 11:47pm
Artnotes: The Thrill (of Italy)
As I sit at my computer posting pictures of our paintings from Italy (30+, go to to see them all), I realize the thrill is gone.  Not the thrill for Italy, but the thrill I experienced while I was there.  I just can’t express how differently I felt, how I saw with baby eyes, new forms and colors.   I had a giggly quality as I sipped cappuccino, as I wrote my impressions, and planned the day.   Sunshine might have had something to do with it, and there was a special end of the day light that could just make my heart soar.

In  Cervo, I recline on my bed examining the frescos on our 18 foot tall ceiling.  There were layers of murals on the walls, one marvelous image leading into another.  I would think, why is it nobody wants  frescoes today?    I mean, if you could have anything in your house, why wouldn’t it be a fantastic scene on the ceiling?  Why wouldn’t you have the roof 5 meters above?   The most recent ceiling fresco I am aware of is one Matisse did in his own house.  Blair and I tried to paint one once in Seattle, when we were first married, but it was clear we couldn’t work on the same page. 

But when I think of these experiences, these stories, here in Paris, they fall flat.   We had a deliriously WONDERFUL time that I can’t even give an inkling of.  But take heart, I believe we are going back in January/February.   Really, where better than to sell those Italian images but in the place they were painted?  Our hostess has offered to present our work to the town for a show later in the year.

While there, we went to the local exhibition space.  They were having a holy card show, just tto remind us Italy is a Roman Catholic country.  Blair and I were inspired to make Christmas cards, which will be ever so Italian this year.

If I had to describe Italy in a word, I think it would be drama.  There is drama in everything. My experience at the library (no internet, and little coverage, sadly); driving in the car (our speed increased twofold at the other end of the France/Italy tunnel – and don’t even think of trying to get ahead).   Sitting at the beauty parlor, my hairdresser’s  friend came in and told a story of her own mistaken identity (I am not completely null in Italian, just sort of) with such flourish, such glamour, such waving of hands and body, I might as well have been at the opera.   If you ever want to get a bead on things, go to the hairdresser.

We went to Portofino, Rapallo, Genoa --  all great.  Italy is SO very different from France – not so many “historic” or “artistic” attractions, but a sense that Caesar might have lost a sandal buckle right where you are walking.   Or Hannibal,  Leonardo da Vinci, or Christopher Columbus – or just Blair and Laurie and Harika.
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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by DonJ on Nov 17th, 2014 at 10:31pm
Lots of Lace

As the Tour Montparnasse glows orange, I sit down to write.  I am up these days by six; I often lie in bed until seven, because almost nothing is open that early.   I have big thoughts lying beneath my down comforter.

I am thinking about the restaurant where we had lunch some Sundays ago.  We had just emerged from the Tunnel at Frejus on our way to Cervo (48 euros and change, grazie) and the traffic had stepped up to a harrowing pace.  Sunday drivers?  Think again.  It was more like formula one.  We’d been up since 3AM so it was clearly time for a drink and a solid meal.

We were escorted to a table under the gaze of two other tables of diners. The two waitresses, blonde-haired sisters with a combined age of 150, were dressed in uniform:  lace of course, but completely black.  And as a nod to fashion, they were both wearing boots.  They were extremely nice to us, and I felt at home immediately. 

We were handed menus (no prices, which is always scary).  We were encouraged to choose a first and second course and she would show us the bill before she put the order in.  We did.  I had a risotto with porcini mushrooms, which were in season, followed by a braciola of veal.  Blair chose the spaghetti, and another veal dish.  We ordered wine, which came from that region, perhaps the vineyard of the hotel, which was only 10 euros a bottle.  With the road in mind, we stopped at one.

Harika got a lovely bowl of water, much needed.  I snuck the livers, by this time on the verge of pate, out of the bag, gently feeding her lobes one by one, all under the guise of the lace tablecloth.  My hands, which I wiped on the super-white starched napkin, looked like I’d been digging in mud.  Miraculously, everything was ok.  It was a harbinger of our delightful vacation to come. 

What is better to have:   a chachka from a souvenir store or a memory?  I can’t wait to continue.

Boats at Ventimiglia   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  13 x 21.5"    33 x 55   325.00
Turnips   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/wood   8 x 10"   20 x 25cm  150.00

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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by DonJ on Nov 17th, 2014 at 10:51pm
I get up at 6 Am too, and get things done I won't do during the day, clean up etc.
Combined age 150. I didn't know you had a sense of humor..
No prices, I'd be scared I was in the wrong place. Blair sounds a lot like me as far as eating goes. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) I have no idea what  risotto, porcini or braciola mean. It must taste good or you wouldn't have ordered it. I would let you order for me.

I really laughed at the pate.
I just found a lot of cyan colored fine lace I was saving for something a long time ago. I moved it and saved it again, I hope I use it someday.

I like what you did with the turnips, and Blair's boats are very advanced, perspective is tricky and architecture takes a long time.

Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by DonJ on Nov 23rd, 2014 at 2:18am
“Oh, this car is a convertible,” Blair told me, about 20 minutes into our journey.  “Well, let’s put the top down!!!”

It was about 40 degrees and overcast.  I turned the heat to the maximum and the Peugot deposited its roof into the trunk.  “If you’ve got ‘em, smoke ‘em” as Robert, the longshoreman who lived down the street, used to say.  He was always good for a bag of apples or some other treat that “fell off the ship”.

I could see the trees and tops of buildings, birds flying overhead and feel the cool air, REALLY cool.  Harika was shocked and pleased:  what dog wouldn’t  want a car without a roof?  We laughed and hooted and hollered and we made our way to the beach.

We drove to le Touquet-Paris Plage, after a false start in another direction.  When you are in a convertible, everything is fun.   I hadn’t been to le Touquet in many years.  It is a town of very classic turn of the century homes, a la Victoriana, surrounded by pines.  It is near the mouth of the river Somme, where so much of WWI took place.  It is the most birdy section of the English channel, at least this side.  We saw great avian varieties in the tidal pools formed on the enormously long beach.

The sand there is the best in France, I believe.  It is soft and silky,  small granules, almost white.  Harika dug a hole twice her own size.  We ran and played, ate lunch in a brasserie which made its own fresh fish in butter.  Then we took a short nap on the sand while Harika stood guard.

We had originally planned to go to Matisse’s house first, in le Cateau-Cambresis, but once I knew we had a convertible, the beach was the destination.  I originally thought the museum was on the way (I am terrible with maps and directions), but in fact it was two hours from le Touquet.   We went anyway.

Matisse grew up in a gritty, fabric-producing town, in the Cambrai region.  His grandparents were weavers, and Henri Matisse worked in the industry in his formative years.  It was so obvious when I saw the pattern cards he had made as a young man, and his large cutouts of later years.  Matisse kept a great collection of fabrics all his life, as seen as his paintings from Morocco, and France.  There was a great awakening when he went to Tahiti in the 1930s, in the footsteps of Gaugin.  It was here he learned to see “through water”.

There were tapestries he had designed and made, as well a those designed by  Dufy and others. 

We hopped back in the car at 5:45, by this time needing to put the roof up.  We drove home to Paris, like we’d been on a week long excursion.
Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER

Don: I like Laurie's simple paintings. Cezanne painted one asparagus stalk. It doesn't matter what you paint it's how you paint it.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by Admin on Dec 3rd, 2014 at 10:20pm
Artnotes:  Winter in Italy

I’m scouring the vacation rental sites for a winter home in Venice.  I know, it will rain, it could be cold, but I love the idea of painting Venice in the fog.   I am just back from seeing my Dad in Winsted, Connecticut, with 11 inches of snow and freezing temperatures.  Venice might be ok.  But then there's Siracusa, Sicily....  sunshine, the sea, history. 

We had originally hoped to return to Cervo, where we spent the last two weeks in October.  No  response – a lot of people in Italy take a Christmas holiday and our frescoed apartment is likely rented.

I loved the snow in Connecticut and painted a picture from inside my father’s apartment looking out.  It was an extraordinary snow – everyone there said so too.  It was a wet snow which coated the branches of the trees all the way around, and it stuck.  There were  no dingy gray  limbs showing, and the white on white makes the most lovely shadows.   The sky was darker than the earth.

The snow kept me from my shopping rounds on Wednesday – only in America can I buy size 10 shoes and stockings which are long enough.   Paris has this crazy idea that one size fits all and no decent woman would have feet larger than an eight and a half.   They also think I should be skinny, but I guess I don’t have that French woman “je-ne-sais-qua”.  I like to think I have that American love-of-life look.

I had lunch with one of  my marketing gurus, Steve Feldman, at the Venetian Restaurant in Torrington, Connecticut.  We  talked about more ways to sell paintings on line.   I am thinking about letting people take the paintings, off-stretchers, on approval, and return those they don’t want.  There will be a shipping label for returns:  to  and from Paris.   Nothing ventured, nothing gained -- and he’s always steered us right.  We’re alive and prospering.

We had the standard Thanksgiving family get together – my brother-in-law had a fresh turkey from friends who raise them.  It was head and shoulders above our usual grocery store fare.  I made a butternut squash and coconut casserole, creamed peas and onions and bought a couple of dozen oysters to put us in the mood.

I LOVE the US, when I am there.  I speak English and can really connect with friends who share my same vocabulary, not only of words, but of cultural concepts.   But then there's Siracusa.

Don (and Maui, we can put Sicily's weather to shame, 360 days a year. But I love Paris too, and Venice.)

Laurie and Blair Pessemier

Snow in Connecticut  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/panel   11 x 14  28 x 35 cm  150.00
Christmas Rue de Rivoli  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/ 15 x 21.5"  38 x 55 cm  275.00

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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by Admin on Dec 14th, 2014 at 6:40am
Artnotes:  The wheels are turning

“There’s something about travel,” our new found neighbor mused, “whenever I go away I have the best ideas”. 

The minute I boarded the train my brain kicked  into gear.  With Harika sandwiched between us (not the most comfortable situation for the bread), we faced Mutt and Jeff in seats 77-78.  Luckily Mutt was across from me;  Blair was sharing legroom with a 6-foot-4 Jeff.   The potential Ebola patient, sneezing, hacking sighing “pas posible” (impossible) sat across the aisle.  I pulled my turtleneck over my nose, but my gracious husband helped her alight with her luggage, negating any preventive measure I might have taken.  She was in fact born in Senegal, but has been living in Mantes-la-Jolie, northwest of Paris, for years.  She had the misfortune to break out with the flu on the train.   Five hours later we were in Nice, where we rented a car to take us the last hour across the border.
We are back in our frescoed rental apartment with the eighteen foot high ceilings  in Cervo, Italy.  We are going to have an art show right here, with the help of our landlady, on 28 December.  It is the day the town puts on its living Nativity, and events are encouraged. 

I remember the living Nativity at the Garibaldi Hall, in Winsted, Connecticut.  My sister participated --being non-Italian yet Catholic, she was a shepherd or an apostle (could there have been apostles?).  The title of Virgin Mary seemed to always go the most Magdelene-ish girl in town, who happened to be beautiful and look, well, fertile.  A blue veil, and Joseph in brown. The baby Jesus inevitably came from one of those Catholic families with ten kids.   I am looking forward to the experience here, but of course, we won’t know the details.   We’ll serve prosecco and nuts, and have about 30 paintings to sell, hopefully.

We are here until the 10 January, if you want to come by for dinner or for Christmas.  We have one little slot, a folding bed chair in the kitchen, which is always the best place to sleep.  It smells like ras-al-hanout, the “top shelf” spice in the kitchen now – delicious.   We’re at the beach every morning, often painting.  Harika barks at every man and dog that passes, and then smiles at me.  No leash.

I am thinking what a good idea this is to rent a place to show our work – what if I took a chic Paris apartment, ground floor, for three days?  See, the wheels are already turning. 

Dawn on the hill town of Cervo   Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas  14 x 20"   35 x 50cm​   325.00
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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Dec
Post by Admin on Dec 22nd, 2014 at 9:28pm

“Cash only for stamps,” the clerk announced.  (after Blair spent a half hour in line)

Blair waited for the stamps.  50 euros, yikes.

“I WILL put them on,” she continued, “LATER”. 

So we’ll be interested to hear if anyone receives our Christmas card from Italy. (it bears my painting of Bologna at Christmas, and an Italian stamp)

As Blair’s uncle Hy used to say “you don’t make a fuss over change when there’s fifty people behind you in line.”  He used to have a concession at Dodger Stadium in the 1960s.   

This wasn’t our first postal experience here.  The day before, after spending 45 and 30 minutes in line at two different post offices, we learned that not all post offices mail packages to the USA.  “You’ll have to go to San Bartolomeo,” the clerk announced.  Of course, it was closed.

I remarked that no one else in the line had a package.  Mostly the queue-ers were waiting for bank transactions.  In most European countries, there is a bank tied to the postal service.  You wait in line for your weekly 50 euros, or to deposit your check.  No machines here.

It is always interesting to spend time in another country – more than the two week vacation, but to really LIVE in a town, using services, making acquaintances at the café, struggling through an explanation.  Yesterday we found a place to print three posters – just on regular paper, but nonetheless well printed.  We all beamed at the result.

Earlier, we hunted down a portable modem at the WIND store (the Italian telecom).  I even got an English speaking clerk (my Italian learning is S L O W) who told me I could use this device “in the middle of the ocean”.

The town we are staying in has a water-for-five-cents fountain – it hearkens to the day when people used to go to the well.   Christmas carolers sang beneath our window two nights ago.  The church bell ringer practices “Oh come all ye faithful” on the carillon every day at 12:30.

And the package?  Luckily, we are only 45 minutes from France, and we drove to the post office at Menton to mail.  We got a tracing number and a receipt.  No line.   While we were there we picked up a live Christmas tree, almost impossible to find here on the “Riviere dei Fiori” (flower coast).   We made our own  ornaments, and PRESTO:  Merry Christmas.
The tree is 6 feet tall (almost 2 meters) on a table (30"), and still only halfway to the ceiling!

Don: Merry Christmas Laurie & Blair. The weather is beautiful here on Maui.

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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by Admin on Dec 30th, 2014 at 7:51pm
Artnotes: With lemons, you make limoncello.
Today we did a “dry run” of our art show.  We set up the easel near the street (we live in a pedestrian town, on a 45 degree pitch, so people walk slowly by our house, the Palazzo Calvo.  Blair taped the poster to the building and I hung paintings on the stairwell.  It occurred to me the steps hadn’t been swept in some time, so I got out the broom. 

As I made it clear to the ground floor, I heard a door open.  It was the first floor neighbor.  Buon Giorno, I said,  with my best Italian accent.  I pointed out our sign.  Just then, Blair arrived.  He tried to explain the show, too.

“Let me show you ‘la cappella’”, the neighbor insisted.   We’d heard there was a chapel in the building, but had never seen it.  He fiddled with a bunch of keys till he found the right one.  Sure enough, there was a little chapel tucked into the side of the building.  There was an altar, and upholstered chairs.  To the side, was grillwork – “behind there is where the lesser people sat”, he explained.  We checked it out. 

The Chapel and a little bit of our neighbor. When I try to look up history of Cervo, I don’t find much on the Internet.  There is general information about Liguria, and even specifically the Imperia region, but I would like to know who built this building, and why.  It has a chapel, but not a liturgical seal over the door like so many here in Cervo.  Maybe the seal was just eradicated.   We know the building is from the 17th century, and the town is actually medieval.  It was its own little city state. The winding stone streets, incorporate the natural stones of the hillside. 

Our neighbor came up to the third floor to see our show, although he seemed more impressed by our frescoed ceilings.  On the way, he pointed out the window, “that’s my lemon tree”.  I had been lusting for those lemons for some time, and not missing a beat, told him how exceptional they looked. Come on, bring a sack, I will give you some lemons.

His apartment was modest, but very nice.  He took the 17th century tiles from the floor and put them on the kitchen walls.  One room still had the original floor.  His backdoor opened to the neat little courtyard.  The tree was supported by a jack and some pipes – too many lemons, he told us.  I took about 15.  I told him I would make marmalade.  How about limoncello? he laughed.

Don: I would like to see a closeup of one of the Angels in the Cervo Chapel (above).
Laura, it seems you and Blair are taking more time on your painting!

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Title: Re: Paintfox2014Sept
Post by Admin on Dec 30th, 2014 at 8:03pm
The Chapel wouldn't post in the post below.
I would still like to see a closeup of the angles.

Today artist's are not required to know the human form. Ever since that guy Piccaso claimed he did not like art but followed the new opaque flat colors anyway. I don't like the guy, did you see the painting attributed to him called Piccaso's Mother? That's just goes to show how bad it's getting. Not even the sig matched much less the style.
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