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Laurie - Paint Fox 2011 Jan-May (Read 1339 times)
Reply #19 - May 29th, 2011 at 12:57am

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Magenta.  I would like a poem about Magenta*.  The ‘Poet Publique’, sitting at his typewriter on a lesser square of Montmartre, asked me to tell him more.  “It’s red, but with more blue tones,” I told him. “Still red, but cooler, not as angry.  It is my favorite painting color [along with turquoise].”

His long fingers tapped the keys of his old fashioned, mechanical typewriter,  a brand I didn’t recognize.  Across the way a man played a guitar and a woman sang.  It was a surprisingly unpeopled scene, especially for Montmartre.

I needed an artist’s statement for an art show** here in France.  I have ten pieces on display at a gallery in Feucherolles, outside of Versailles.  Magenta is part of my painting, and I thought the poem might describe my philosophy.  Plus, it would already be in French.  And who could ignore a “public poet”?

We sat beside the poet  as he typed.  He gave us other poems, in French and in English, which he had written.  He wore glasses, a white shirt and a ‘hip’ jacket – a bit of an Oscar Wilde look.   We’d been walking around Montmartre, trying to develop a slow and interesting tour to offer our painters.  I am not sure it is possible.  Montmartre is steeped in history, of art, and other things, but it is brutally “touristique”.  Montmartre is “unimproved” Paris, much as it was several centuries ago -- untouched by the Haussman plan of the late 1800s.

We drove out to the show at Feucherolles on Friday night, with two charming friends, who were instrumental in our inclusion in the event.  Pauline, the proprietrice, arranged the works of 18 artists at her country-farm.  There were a half dozen out buildings of substance, in addition to the house and shop.  One enters the gate and is transported to an expansive “secret garden”.  Pauline’s husband, Harold, is a landscape gardener, who transformed the grounds into a magic place of hidden fountains and rare trees. 

My work  was in a little building with a stone terrace, shared with someone who worked in mixed media depicting giraffes and donkeys, and a video artist.  In an adjoining open space was a collage artist and in the barn, a photographer.  There were sculptures and prints, drawings and other paintings – all housed in idyllic follies around the grounds.   Much stone.    At the furthest reaches of the property was an area for children, defined by trimmed boxwood, with lush foliage all around.   One could get lost in the details of flora and artfully tumble-down ruins – a veritable fantasy.

“How do you like la belle France?” someone asked me.  I replied effusively in the affirmative:  this was truly what France is most proud of.   It was like being on George Sand’s, or Collette’s estate outside the city, but this is the present, and it was an honor to be part of it.   To top it all off, I sold two paintings on opening night!

Laurie (text) and Blair (painting) PESSEMIER   www.paintfox.com ; (many new paintings)
 
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Reply #18 - May 15th, 2011 at 8:57am

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The line was relatively short at the Hotel de Ville, to see “Paris in the time of the Impressionists.”   This little publicized show has taken Impressionist work from the Musee d’Orsay (under renovation) and arranged it on the walls of Paris City Hall.  Also, it’s free!

We’ve been juggling preparations for our painting tour, a catered dinner at our house for 7, a visit with a couple we met while working at the Petit Lux many years ago, and dinner with friends from the US.  On top of all this Blair’s Mom passed away this week at the tender age of 89, just on the heels of my own mother, who left us end of April.  It was the best of weeks, the worst of weeks…  I am astonished how life keeps barreling along despite what seems, at the time, cataclysmic events. 

The show at the Hotel de Ville  commences with a bit of the history of Paris between 1840 and 1910 or so…  this was the greatest period of change in the city, from the construction of the “Haussman” plan and the  “metro”, to the “commune” conflict in the 1870s.   This was the time of Impressionism, with the advent of the camera and paint in tubes.

Much of the work on display is done “en plein air” :  Monet’s impression of the Tuileries, Viullard’s view of the Metro, and Van Gogh’s “Guignette” on Montmartre.    These are ideal inspiration for my plein air painting class which starts on Sunday (4 students! Yippee).  I intend to take them to the show.   There is still time to sign up for June, by the way – and don’t be put off by the week-long part – three of my students are just spending 3-4 days.

It’s been sunny and warm in Paris, but luckily the “line” side of the Hotel de Ville is in shade in the afternoon.  Blair and I have been about verifying sunlit times of day/sides of streets and planning in the event of rain, where we will paint.

We walked from the Hotel de Ville, through Chatelet and over to the Palais Royal.  This, to me, is a convoluted walk, but luckily Blair has a sense of direction.  In the sunshine, Chatelet was bursting with coffee drinkers and window shoppers.  We found a plethora of painting sites for ourselves, not always so easy or obvious, however.  I like to be “out of the road” when I paint; Blair is just seeking that great view.   Honestly, I think I could paint six hours every day.

Even when you live in a place, it’s hard to keep track of everything going on.  Parts of the Palais Royal, one possible rain venue, are now wrapped in plastic for renovation.   So we crossed over to the galerie Vivienne.  If you’ve not been there, it is one of the prettiest passages I have ever visited:  this week it was chock full of people, interesting merchandise, and cafes.  The mosaics on the floor were brightly polished and all the lights in the chandeliers working.

We had dinner with American friends who rented an apartment in Paris this week:  they entertained us in their home, which was a rare treat.  Harika was able to go, too.  Over roasted chicken and celeriac remoulade,   we talked about our life in Paris.   Sometimes it doesn’t seem so different from life anywhere.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
 
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Reply #17 - May 9th, 2011 at 8:26am

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When we were in Germany on Thursday, Harika played with another dog, Joey, at the office we were visiting.  Joey is a border collie, a slightly larger dog than Harika, and nobody’s fool.  He got me to throw the stick for him for a good thirty minutes.  Harika is not a  “retriever” in any sense of the word.  She wanted the stick, but was unwilling to go after it.  So, she let Joey get the stick and as soon as he brought it back and dropped it at my feet, she stole it and ran away with it. It was a different approach – and with dogs there are no rules.

I need to be doing more than one thing at a time.  I think of myself as a multi-tasker.  When people tell me to “follow my dream”, I always want to ask “which one?”    And often the allure of the dream is just that:  it is a dream, not a reality.  Dreaming of being thin is always better than not eating.   

I dream of having a paying job where we can travel: not huge distances, but go to a place, meet with clients, and tour around.   This week we went to Germany to discuss such a job.  The ‘big’ job with this firm didn’t turn out as expected, but we will work on a smaller scale.  For me it is just perfect:  I can work for someone, get paid (sticking point: commission only for the moment), and spend the rest of my time on my other dream:  painting and doing art workshops.  Ideal.

We drove through Belgium on our way.   We stopped for French fries with mayonnaise and  I had a meatball brochette.   Belgium may have delicious chocolate, but the food, especially roadside food, leaves room for improvement. 

When we got to Cologne, we stopped at a large city park for a walk with Harika.  Driving in Germany, especially around cities, is stressful.  It doesn’t help that my only words are good morning, please, thank you and god bless you:  gesundheit!  We walked Harika around a pond and through the grass.  The trees in Germany are much larger than those in France, and German trees are allowed to realize their greatest potential:  tall, stout, leafy, green.    I can breathe.

Once we got our wits about us, we re-embarked for a trip downtown to see the Cathedral, the “Dom”.   After crossing  the bridge across the Rhine three times, we arrived.   It was easy to see, because it is huge:   the tallest structure in the world from 1880 until 1884, when it was eclipsed by the Washington Monument.   As far as church spires go, these are the second tallest in the world.   It is at this cathedral the relics of the Magi, the Three Wise Men, are housed.  The church commenced construction in the 13th century to house these very artifacts.

I had hoped to hear the bells, but had to be satisfied with the steel drum player, an American, outside on the Plaza.  The plaza was a vital place, even on Wednesday afternoon.

We pressed on, got lost, bought a map, and finally arrived at our destination, a hotel in Bertzdorf.  It was one of those charming German “hofs” and we had a lovely room on the second floor looking out to the courtyard.   The lilacs were in bloom, viewable from the winter-garden.  We ate our dinner in the “bierstubbe”, seated on well-worn wooden benches while a nearby table hosted a card game.  The fish was perfectly prepared; Harika enjoyed the pork mignon wrapped in bacon, too.   We drank a local German red wine, which was good.

If Joey didn’t give me the stick so Harika could steal it, she had another technique.  She growled fiercely, showing her sadly undeveloped teeth and her “taureau” eye (as Christine in the park calls it); through fear, amusement, or both, Joey let her have the stick until I took it back and threw it for him again.  Good dog.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
 

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Reply #16 - May 1st, 2011 at 8:40am

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We were invited to an art opening this week.   It brought us to a neighborhood we were unfamiliar with:  Belleville.  We’ve heard of it as the up and coming place to show art.  And the art was beautifully presented in a small, but very effective space.  It was the work of the Wells College Art students abroad.   We had a glass of wine, shook hands, and enjoyed some unusual photographic methods; a collection of “copied” paintings from the Louvre; etchings; and original work in a variety of mediums.

The neighborhood was the most surprising:  it seemed more Chinese than Chinatown!  A collection of apartment buildings, mostly new, a smattering of old, with windows open and laundry drying.  There were a multitude of Chinese restaurants and stores:  the aroma of green onions and soy sauce, mothballs and ginger wafted from doorways.  There were women on the street, in footless stockings and mary-jane shoes.  I could not tell their disposition, some more painted than others, but not entirely provocative.  Were they just visiting?

Edith Piaf was said to be born under a streetlamp in Belleville.  Historically, immigrants to Paris were drawn to Belleville.  And the plethora of Chinese and North Africans suggest it is still so.  This rich fabric of colors, smells, and experiences made me think for   a minute or two, I wasn’t in Paris.

I am not ashamed to admit I spent part of yesterday morning watching the royal wedding.  It struck me not so different than any wedding, just more so:  more hats, more uniforms, a bigger church, a better means of transportation.  It was such a HAPPY thing.  We humans try to act so cool, but really, life is all about finding the perfect mate (and staying together).

We all want to go to a wedding.  What was the best one you went to?  I was invited to a wedding in Hawaii; I didn’t make it, too far away – and I think it could have been the BEST wedding.  My sister Nancy’s wedding was pretty good – singing “amore” while eating ziti; dancing for hours.  I went to a very modern wedding earlier this year:  a PACS celebration – a civil union here in France.   We ate sausage and drank wine; the couple were very romantic and joyeuse; they are even so now, months later.  There is something inside all of us that is happy when people come together.  Only a curmudgeon doesn’t like a wedding.    I’ve catered two weddings, and both times, it was a great experience.

Paris is a city for weddings:  about once a month we see a couple, often Asian, having wedding pictures snapped in the Luxembourg Gardens.  The Pont Alexandre III is another popular venue for immortalizing  the bride and groom on film.   Cars decorated with paper mache, honk their horns to announce the bridal couple; we saw one today on the Champs Elysees and we waved.

William and Catherine’s wedding kiss inspired me to paint a couple of kisses.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
 
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Reply #15 - Apr 29th, 2011 at 2:44am

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“It’s our job to go on living,” a dear friend of mine told me not so long ago.  Her sagesse came from years of sadness about the early demise of her parents, when she was barely a teenager.  She used to spend hours at my house, around my own mom and dad, perhaps living vicariously with my family.  It was with this wisdom in mind I just left my own mother, dying, in Connecticut.

When I left Paris on 22 March, there was just a hint of spring with daffodils and tree buds; on Thursday, 14 April, a canopy of green covered the park.  To Harika’s delight I insisted on sitting on a bench in the park when we alighted the train at Luxembourg Gardens.  (she came to the airport to meet me!)  The chestnuts are in blossom.  My azalea tree on the balcony is past full bloom and my jasmine has flowers.  I’ve red and yellow roses.

The gypsies are in the market, bearing lilacs.  Aromatic in tones of purple and violet a large floral bouquet sits in the center of my living room.  I am so happy to be home.

I spent three weeks in the US, apart from my dog, and mostly apart from my husband, who was visiting his own mother and then returned to Paris.   I spent a week at High Point Market, leaving early, to get back to my mother’s bedside in the nutmeg state.   We had three major crises while I was there, to the edge of the grave and back.  I was crazy with worry and living out of my suitcase.   I made the decision to return to Paris.

Now, I am struck with an urgency to live.  Three paintings on Friday, cookies, artnotes to my beloved readers:  I have missed these parts of my own life.  My mother, 25 years my senior, lay dying, a victim of the world’s cruelest disease, alzheimer’s, which robs both the victim and the family of joy.  I want to make every day count and I force myself out of bed early, despite jet lag to paint and write.

My painting workshop begins in a month.  I have a really wonderful job possibility which we interview for on 27 April.  I am eager to paint again with my girlfriend Y, hopefully on Monday.

The usual folks and dogs are at the park.  Some of us are sneezing, and pollen dusts the benches in the early morning.  Blair and I have been bringing dog cookies to Harika’s friends.  Atlas has had to take a pill because this is the time of “heat” for many female dogs and he can’t eat or sleep (despite the fact he is castrated).  His counterparts are equally anguished, and some girl dogs just don’t come to the park in that condition.  Neutering is not a popular option here, despite its benefits for longevity or the unlikely event of breeding one’s dog (personally, I think people are too cheap or lazy to schedule the operation).

The windows are open in our apartment and birds fly by.  I am hoping for a new, great idea to enter on the wind and I await a beautiful summer.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIE
 
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Reply #14 - Apr 26th, 2011 at 10:19am

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Amazing color Laurie, I'm very proud having you here. You do location painting a real service. Happy Easter.
 
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Reply #13 - Apr 26th, 2011 at 10:14am

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I know I am not a natural writer because if I go more than a few days without writing I just can't get it back together.  I've made several forays toward artnotes that just end up in the cyber wastebasket.

On the other hand, I can pick up my paintbrush any day and feel completely happy and at ease.  I feel I am riding my bicycle through the happy regions, air blowing, hardly any uphills.   I feel the same with cooking, too.  I can do it any time.

Today we have and assortment of guests coming by for brunch.  I've made shrimp, eggplants, sweet roasted peppers, deviled eggs (a friend from Germany brought me green sauce), asparagus, lamb and potatoes.  Blair is making cantaloupe, pear and prosciutto salad.  We've regular bread and an Italian Easter cake.

Two of our guest we met on the streets of Paris.  It was a serendipitous moment:  we were passing by the frame shop to see Harika's fox terrier friend, Arty, and two people were inquiring if they knew anyone who gave art lessons.  Can you believe that?

Our German friend, J, came to Paris from Frankfurt this weekend.  She's heading back just as our party begins, but we've had some very fun times Friday and Saturday.  We ate a whole fish here on Friday night before going downstairs to the Jazz Club to hear some music.  Harika came with us, sitting quietly on the banquette, while the chanteuse sang Mr. Sandmanť and played the clarinet.  Harika had early training listening to my nephews play the saxophone and violin.   

On Saturday, we tried to see the Manet show at the d'Orsay but were daunted by the lines.  So we walked over to the Tuileries and went to the Orangerie instead.  I never cease to be overjoyed with Monet's water lilies there.  I think it is a 'must see'ť for my painting workshop participants, who arrive in just a couple of weeks.

We took the bus up to place Dauphine for lunch, and sat alongside newly planted pink chestnuts.  It was heavenly.

I've been selling my paintings from the park, painted with Harika alongside.  It feels like summer here with temperatures in the 80s.  Blair and I found planters someone was throwing away and now geraniums are growing on our balcony.

Happy Easter.
 
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Reply #12 - Apr 16th, 2011 at 8:31pm

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our job to go on living,” a dear friend of mine told me not so long ago.  Her sagesse came from years of sadness about the early demise of her parents, when she was barely a teenager.  She used to spend hours at my house, around my own mom and dad, perhaps living vicariously with my family.  It was with this wisdom in mind I just left my own mother, dying, in Connecticut.

When I left Paris on 22 March, there was just a hint of spring with daffodils and tree buds; on Thursday, 14 April, a canopy of green covered the park.  To Harika’s delight I insisted on sitting on a bench in the park when we alighted the train at Luxembourg Gardens.  (she came to the airport to meet me!)  The chestnuts are in blossom.  My azalea tree on the balcony is past full bloom and my jasmine has flowers.  I’ve red and yellow roses.

The gypsies are in the market, bearing lilacs.  Aromatic in tones of purple and violet a large floral bouquet sits in the center of my living room.  I am so happy to be home.

I spent three weeks in the US, apart from my dog, and mostly apart from my husband, who was visiting his own mother and then returned to Paris.   I spent a week at High Point Market, leaving early, to get back to my mother’s bedside in the nutmeg state.   We had three major crises while I was there, to the edge of the grave and back.  I was crazy with worry and living out of my suitcase.   I made the decision to return to Paris.

Now, I am struck with an urgency to live.  Three paintings on Friday, cookies, artnotes to my beloved readers:  I have missed these parts of my own life.  My mother, 25 years my senior, lay dying, a victim of the world’s cruelest disease, alzheimer’s, which robs both the victim and the family of joy.  I want to make every day count and I force myself out of bed early, despite jet lag to paint and write.

My painting workshop begins in a month.  I have a really wonderful job possibility which we interview for on 27 April.  I am eager to paint again with my girlfriend Y, hopefully on Monday.

The usual folks and dogs are at the park.  Some of us are sneezing, and pollen dusts the benches in the early morning.  Blair and I have been bringing dog cookies to Harika’s friends.  Atlas has had to take a pill because this is the time of “heat” for many female dogs and he can’t eat or sleep (despite the fact he is castrated).  His counterparts are equally anguished, and some girl dogs just don’t come to the park in that condition.  Neutering is not a popular option here, despite its benefits for longevity or the unlikely event of breeding one’s dog (personally, I think people are too cheap or lazy to schedule the operation).

The windows are open in our apartment and birds fly by.  I am hoping for a new, great idea to enter on the wind and I await a beautiful summer.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
 
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Reply #11 - Apr 5th, 2011 at 9:15pm

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4-5-11
“We need to be ready two days early; everyone is in church on Sunday morning; did you hear that so-and-so isn’t showing this market; will the daiquiri cart be set up on Hamilton?”  So goes the chatter at High Point Market.   It is a ritual – we all sit together and say the same things every year.  Some years good, some years bad, and the current year rarely eclipses markets of distant past (there’s a Bentley dealer in this little town!).

Thanks to a friend, we are in a new showroom, in the elegant 200 Steele Building.   I painted today’s painting on the deck behind the showroom, during a party hosted by the building.

I have been admiring the small upholstered chairs/table at  Dorya Interiors,  across the corridor from us.  It has the look of tea tables in an Eastern country:  and lo and behold Dorya is from Turkey.  It is a contemporary look that is Istanbul and beyond.  There are some great light fixtures, and a fainting couch reminiscent of a 60s Chevrolet.   Somehow, I see Orhan Pamuk’s house furnished in Dorya.  I hope I make a million dollars and can buy something for my Paris apartment.

Another “drawing card” in this building is Selva.  It is a furnishings company from Spain, with very cool contemporary furniture.  Nobody just makes furniture anymore – it is lighting, fabrics, and a way of life.   It is the wave of the future:  these design houses are from around the world, offering something more than the US furniture company (now manufacturing in China) has to offer.   Harden, in this very building, is an exception, with manufacturing in the USA.

Legacy, the company we are showing with, quintessentially American, has its product made in neighboring Mexico.  I love turning that tradition of Mexican metalwork into outdoor tables and chairs in a transitional and modern look.  Fluffy cushions in chic fabrics come as part of the chairs (seems obvious, but not all outdoor furniture is sold with).

We got here a couple of days early to hang our artwork.  It is a challenge to get our 100 pictures onto a 39 plus 12 foot wall…  I have a large collection in the neighboring storage space, to complement our repertoire.   It has turned out to be our most productive area:  what we chose to hang is not necessarily what sells.

I introduced myself to the girls in building reception.   (they call themselves girls, one about 25 and the other at least 60).  My cards are on the big round table there – urging customers to come see our paintings.

Blair and I have been coming here since 1980, and it is a tradition like summer vacation or dinner at Grandmas.   In fact, I sit at a table with a man from Florida talking about that.  He admires our baseball paintings, and surprisingly, knows about Torrington, CT where we painted them.  He, too, spent summers on a lake there, and talks of it being the perfect summer.  The lake has changed and times have changed, but those warm sunny days and mosquito nights created the perfect memory.

So it is with the market.   I see some of my dearest friends when I come here.  Over meals of  hot venison sausage and ramps,  a bowl of chicken soup, a side of fried okra, Huguenot pie,  we catch up on our lives.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
High Point Soiree   Laurie Fox PESSEMIER  Acrylic on canvas   12 x 24 inches  175.00
ps.  back in Paris after the 10 April
 
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Reply #10 - Mar 20th, 2011 at 6:43am

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The crowd who shows up at Patricia’s is as interesting as the entertainment – this week we met J, a dancer from Australia – her husband is dancing at the Moulin Rouge, and the two perform an acrobatic “bands” dance, circus style.  She was beautiful and fit, and it made me think about painting the two in their act.  She had that fresh “Aussie” attitude  -- American without the Puritan.  I visited with a Croatian tour operator who spoke all the European languages and perfect English.   There were several Americans there – a student from Oklahoma, a computer programmer from the DC area, who still used a standard camera and developed his own pictures whenever he could; a couple of French; and three Canadian women – one who taught art to children, both “Canadian” and aboriginal.  We had a hearty discussion about art and culture.

Patricia offers a 20 euro dinner with wine and entertainment every Sunday night -- everyone is welcome.   Entertainment varies – it’s the thing that draws me.  This last week it was an R+B Gospel singer.  The deep tones of  “the Upper Room” came from a place out of this world.   It turned out Connie Fredericks-Malone grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts  – not far from Winsted, Connecticut where I am from.   She is married to an ex-Jesuit and the two were out and about promoting the teaching of French by singing – a legacy to Connie’s sister, Carol Fredericks, who lived her life singing in France.

The whole affair is as close to Cabaret as I can imagine without getting “corny”.  There was a couple who danced to recorded music after the singing was over:  the woman had a body not unlike a weasel  -- no waist, but a long muscled torso.  She wore fabulous, dramatic makeup and her partner, less of a dancer,  seemed like Karen Carpenter’s brother.    She was going to belly dance here on Easter.

B, the American guy who is always there, dozed in a chair.  It’s the kind of place one can get away with that.  Patricia seems to have no expectations for us.    Blair meets a woman who refers him to an opthamolagist.  “Is that the dip?” she inquires.

It’s amazing the thing ever gets off the ground – the atmosphere is beyond casual.   We arrived, a little early,  at 7:15, as instructed in the directions.  W, the computer operator was there, but there was no sign a soiree is about to happen.  The setting is an one-room apartment, with an open kitchen and toilet down the hall.  Mirrors surround the big room, making it feel festive and full, regardless of how many people show up.  I think there were about 20 this time.

Wine is opened, but dinner is yet to be prepared.  Patricia greets everyone, and about 8 PM, gets the singer going while she cooks.  The vegetarian dishes are always good; I smelled the beef starting to burn while Connie sang.    An assistant serves up the dishes of food – as much as we want, always enough.  Wine is poured, and there is water, bubbly and flat.   We eat and visit and before we know it the evening is over – we wish our hostess goodnight.  Patricia wears a poker face – someone who has introduces snake charmers and dancers,  sex therapists and artists.  Come to the cabaret.

 
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Reply #9 - Mar 14th, 2011 at 11:04pm

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I can feel the sun on my face and hands as I eat my sea bass on the terrace of the Galatee restaurant.  It is my third fish meal in three days;  A is on her third dish of mussels.   We’d intended to picnic but the wind is a little too strong.  Harika’s foot is bothering her  and Blair carries the 25 pound charge  the rest of the way up the beach.  She miraculously recovers when we hit the boardwalk.

We spent two days in Trouville, by the grace of two friends with a car.  It was glorious weather, almost all the time.  We booked into a cheap dive, with a view of the ocean – Blair and I both painted from the window.

I lounged in a hole someone dug in the sand, and painted more.  If one can escape the wind, the sun and fresh sea air are terrific.  Many families are playing on the beach, flying kites, building sand castles.  The tide is remarkably low and one can walk clear past the red light of the channel, maybe a quarter mile out on the seabed. 

It’s hard to imagine this is the Normandy coast of World War II notoriety:  we are actually a bit east of the big action, but not too far.  Everything seems calm and bucolic, apple trees being clipped in anticipation of this year’s crop and the distillation of Calvados.  We get a free glass at the end of our meal at “Les Vapeurs”.

I am thankful for this trip.  I can forget almost entirely about the “realities” of life, if that is what they are.  Sometimes I think I make up the worries and if I can just keep enjoying, and acting, life will be fine.   Needs are filled when they arise; easy enough to say – harder to believe.   Here, by the sea, I can relax and hear the tidings of the universe – many “revelations” have come to me while at the beach.  I receive advice from the angels who reside in the interface of water, land and air – they speak in a voice carried to my ear by the wind.

Our friends buy seafood and groceries to bring home.  I hate  the thought of going into a store when the sun is shining; we’ll wait and pay inflated Paris prices.   Harika gets in a tiff with another dog who chases her into the ocean.  Like an overbearing mother I yell and scream at the dog’s owner in a mixture of French and English.  It is probably hilarious.

We get home and find our hotel key among our souvenirs.  Blair puts it in an envelope and sends it back in anticipation of another stay.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair (painting) Pessemier
 
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Reply #8 - Mar 10th, 2011 at 11:18am

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(DonJ, Admin)I wanted to add a similar artist working in oil as opposed to Paint Fox's acrylics. I like both for their visual impression.

Maurice de Vlaminck’s work, during that time of important questioning and aesthetic transformations, ought to be considered both through its relation with the post-impressionistic generation that had preceded him (Van Gogh, Gauguin, the Nabis, Cézanne, Signac) and for his tremendous audacity which allowed for all sorts of excess in expressive gesture, color paroxysm and selective deformation: “I heightened all the tones, I transposed all the feelings I could perceive into my orchestration of pure colors. I was a tender, wild at heart barbarian” (Dangerous Corner, 1929).
Musée du Luxembourg exhibits " Maurice de Vlaminck a Fauvist Instinct "


 
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Reply #7 - Mar 5th, 2011 at 10:33pm

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As I prepare to go back to the US in a couple of weeks, I think about how much things have changed in the past six months.  This has been perhaps my longest sojourn ever; I’ve not been back to see my family since early September 2010.   The longer time I spend abroad the more developed my international point of view becomes.   It is as though I am a piece of cloth in a dye vat:  the longer you leave me here, the stronger my color becomes.

Last night we had a Tunisian man to dinner at our house – someone we had met in 2008 in Tunis.  His family had been very kind to us, had us to dine with them, and shared aspects of their life.  He moved to Paris two years ago and I was thrilled to be able to receive him in our home.     He wishes to marry a woman like his mother,  because “women in Paris are so complicated”.

In Paris, I can meet and see people from every corner of the world.  Because I am outside my own society, and those non-officially-French people are also on the outside, we form a loose cloud around, but separate from, the nucleus of what goes on here.  I am relieved not to be part of any society.  I find “inclusion” restricting, so that after a while I can’t see clearly, but only through a societal veil.   

On the bus, a mother and grown daughter of a Portuguese heritage enter and walk down the aisle.  The mother takes a seat across from me, and the daughter hugs her, puts her head against mother.  I can see the two of them really enjoy this sensation of closeness, not in the way of my observing it, but as a constant comfort over many years.  I can imagine them knowing the other’s smell, not consciously, but there.  It is how my mother was with her own mother.  It is so different from what I know, and what I see of current relationships in America, or even in most of France.   

I have been contacting  universities with “semesters abroad”, hoping to entice further subscribers to my art workshops.  A particularly eloquent professor expresses how once one has lived abroad, one never sees things quite the same again.   It’s a jarring experience, to be free of all conventions, but the freedom gives one the chance to really learn.

We dine with a German friend, and we talk about everything  from John Galliano to hearing aids (I thought it a good idea to make and sell hearing aids like glasses in the pharmacy 1x, 2x and 3x.  Upon further research, hearing aids can only be sold by “specialists” in the US, protected by government regs).  Over her table we roar with laughter and disagree about how to enjoy food.

It is not as if I want to be Tunisian or Portuguese, German or even French, but I love to see another way of being.   I don’t want to be any nationality, so I can pick the values and ideals that seem right for the circumstances.   Wasn't that what America was all about? 

Laurie (text) and Blair (painting) PESSEMIER
Moonrise over the Louvre   M. Blair PESSEMIER  Oil on canvas  25.5 x 32 inches 575.00
 
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Reply #6 - Feb 28th, 2011 at 4:06am

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Don - Admin,
I got a new computer and basically, it's been down for a month, I have a lot of catching up to do. Here's Blair's painting of the Seine.
 
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Reply #5 - Feb 28th, 2011 at 4:03am

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Blair and I painted on the banks of the Seine this week.  Despite very grey weather, we sat on the stones and painted the willow.  When the two of us paint together, it is quite amusing:  we never see things the same.     I think something must happen when the subject enters the “interpretive” part of our brain.   I translate three dimensions into two with bright colors.   Blair has a sense of perspective.

The dilemma of the “plein air” painter is to put a three-dimensional object onto a two dimensional surface.  This dynamic, when the dynamo is working, transmits the spark, the individual interpretation, a little bit of the painter’s muse onto the canvas.    It is this interpretation which makes a painting unique.  A photo is already two dimensional, so when painting from photo, one copies what one sees.  En plein air, one is forced to transfer the actual volume of the scene onto a flat surface.   The roughness of the stones, the gloom under the bridge, the willow branches skimming the water can all be suggested by the artist.

While we were painting, two men were taking pictures of one another beneath the tree.  Later, they asked if they could photograph Harika;  one of them WITH Harika;  one with me and my painting (Harika crashed that scene).  I just love that one day our photos will appear in some far away photo album, and years hence a daughter will say, “this was my Dad when he went to Paris back in 2011”.

A little girl was selling daffodils on the sidewalk this week, a sure sign of spring.  She had a large red bucketful of flowers, and was holding them out to passersby.  I could see her from my window, and quickly committed the scene onto a wood panel.

The crocuses are in bloom in the garden, and I can never tell if it is someone’s perfume or the scent of flowers wafting through the air when we are out walking the dog.

My  goal is always to finish my painting in one swoop.  It’s never the same if I have to “go back”:  the light is different, my brain is different.    I paint “loosely” when I paint outside.  In doing so, I leave lots of room for the viewer to finish the scene in his own head.

Although one thinks mainly of figurative painting when painting “en plein air”, it is not strictly limited to painting what one exactly sees.  Paul Klee and John Marin painted outdoors.  Turner, who painted brilliantly “atmospheric” canvases, was a dedicated “plein air-ist”.  He is alleged to have tied himelf to the mast of a ship to realize the impact of a storm at sea.  I don’t think we’ll go that far.

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER

Two impressions of the Weeping Willow at the Pont Royal
 
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Reply #4 - Jan 29th, 2011 at 10:31pm

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When I think of Toulouse, France I always think of “burning at the stake” or “auto-de-fe” (which actually means act of faith, but to English speakers has come to represent a fiery martyrdom).  Toulouse is where the Cathars are from, and where they were burned at the end of their run;  the same fate befell the Templars.  Toulouse was pretty much headquarters of the “medieval inquisition”, and big burnings took place downtown clear up until the 1500s.  Burning at the stake, for me, is right up there with stoning or being dragged to death by an elephant.  It was with these thoughts in mind,  I flew  to Toulouse to fill in at a business appointment Blair was unable to attend.

I arrived well in advance of the meeting, and I drank coffee with Blair’s boss, R, at the Radisson.  The caffeine ratcheted up my fears about my performance, but somehow a shot of whiskey seemed inappropriate in the morning, especially with the boss.   We met our customers at noon, walked across the street for lunch and enjoyed a lively exchange with them over hotel food.

“Can we go someplace for a drink now?” I asked, after our clients had left.  It kind of broke the ice, and we spent an afternoon walking (not drinking) around the city.

Toulouse is home to the aviation industry in France, and much of Europe.  Airbus is located in Blagnac, a suburb of Toulouse, surrounded by engineering firms supporting the aerospace industry.  It made me think a little of Seattle with Boeing, and Microsoft.  I love the businesses that spring up all around – some of my fondest memories are of start ups in Seattle, successful and otherwise, that so many of my friends worked for.

We took a cab downtown to R’s hotel.  I sat in the lobby with my email while he checked in.  I chatted with the girl at the desk, got a map and some pointers for what to see in Toulouse.  We started our walking tour, first stopping at the famous Basilica of St. Sernin, which happened to be open.   Constructed in the late 1000s - early 1100s, the Romanesque basilica is part of a pilgrimage route.   St. Sernin was an early Christian martyr, dragged to death by a mad bull through the streets of Toulouse in 257 CE.

It wasn’t only the burnings that set me off the city of Toulouse, but Blair spent significant time in the hospital there in 2003.  Whisked off in an ambulance from a painting vacation on the canal de Midi, he spent weeks in an un-airconditioned room with pigeons perched on the (open) windowsill.    I spent daily vigils there, with our house rental supplies and four cases of wine in his hospital closet.  He took a medical flight back to the American Hospital in Paris, and I drove our rental van, which I filled with unleaded instead of diesel fuel.

We pressed on, another church, a sidewalk café, the remarkable Capitol square, and eventually to the banks of the Garonne.  Several bridges span the Garonne;  one, the Pont Neuf Toulouse, is now my favorite bridge in France.  Its arches are not symmetrical.   Between the arches are large oval openings intended to resemble the mane of a lion:  these permit the rising waters of the river to pass through the bridge without knocking it down.    The sun was shining and the light was outstanding.   Our march continued by an old “mill” on the river, once the largest in France, and we walked by sensitively-renovated buildings.    As the sun set, I boarded my bus for the airport hotel.

Blair arrived late that night, and the next morning we retraced my steps of the previous day, adding a few new highlights.  I felt completely different about the city of Toulouse, and was happy my act of faith was a positive one.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER



Pont Neuf, Toulouse   Laurie Fox PESSEMIER   Acrylic on canvas  22 x 13 inches   200.00

ps.  Painting workshop is filling up -- sign up today for your place!

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER         
Impressionist Art Painting Workshops and Tours
110, rue de Rennes   75006 Paris   +33(0)1.71.73.57.78
www.paintfox.com ;  paintfox@aol.com
 
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Reply #3 - Jan 22nd, 2011 at 10:49pm

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There have been “sales” this week, in Paris, on our street.  There are only “sales” twice a year, legislated by the government, of all things.  The street was packed with bargain-seekers, and a hobo.  This  man of the street, in his dingy, dirty clothes, was spraying all the finely dressed shoppers on the rue de Rennes with PERFUME!!!  He obviously found some perfume, perhaps from the tester at the “south of France” store, and was squeezing that bulb at the end of the flexible tube, and spraying passers-by.   He was delighted with this activity, smiling and laughing, and most people, focused on their next purchase, didn’t seem to notice him or the change in their personal fragrance.

He was laughing, the whole episode was positively hilarious, so we laughed too, and he didn’t spray us, or our dog.   This had some small sense of normalcy, a giant, silly relief from the maniacal actions of most consumers on the sidewalk.

I love being out on the street.  It was a perfect day in January:  maybe 60F degrees, and sunny.  The park was full of people – we left a luncheon so we could meet someone there at 3.  He never showed up, but it really didn’t matter because it was so nice out, we were still happy to be there.  I gave dog biscuits to my favorite dogs.  One woman complained of the crowd, but I pointed out how nice it was to look at everyone, so happy.  Sunshine brings out the best in people and dogs.

At le Fumoir, where Y and I were painting on Friday, a handsome man and his pretty girlfriend took the table next to us, on the sidewalk.  They photographed each other, and when Blair arrived, he offered to take their picture together.   I painted a building on the rue de Louvre, and a couple of guys drinking coffee.  As I started brushing in  the redheaded lady a couple tables away, the handsome man at the table next to me said, “hey, that’s a nice picture, do you think you could paint me and my girlfriend from this photo?”

I told him I could, and we met the next day with my computer to download the picture off his digital camera.  The day was cooler, we met inside, and he asked if he could have two pictures, one for him, to take back to Australia, and one for his girlfriend, who was returning to Croatia.  Blair negotiated a fee.

We delivered two pictures (one by Blair, one by me) on Tuesday.  We neglected to photograph them.  The couple were positively delighted by the two small works and we wished one another best luck and to meet again.

On the way home, crossing the Pont des Arts, my eye caught a particular lock .  Couples attach locks to the grillwork on the bridge, and throw the key in the Seine, to commemorate their enduring love.  This purple metal lock read “Ben and Sonja 2011”, the subjects of our paintings.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
Redhead at le Fumoir    Laurie Fox PESSEMIER   Acrylic on wood 12 x 7 inches  $100.00

You, too can be painting in the street cafes of Paris!  Don't forget the artworkshop:  more info is available at www.paintfox.com ; (click on workshop).  Reserve now!

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER         
Impressionist Art Painting Workshops and Tours
110, rue de Rennes   75006 Paris   +33(0)1.71.73.57.78
www.paintfox.com ;  paintfox@aol.com

 
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Reply #2 - Jan 17th, 2011 at 6:13am

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made my first dog biscuit sales this week, to two ladies in the park.  The dogs are mad for the biscuits, jumping feet in the air at the sight of me.  Harika, of course, is not keen on sharing her mistress nor her biscuits, but we’re working on it.   I get the news from the ladies there – whether it’s who Mr. A is running around with or what the park hours will change to next week.    Harika loves Voltaire, the Tunisian dog who comes to the park, and she jumps around and over him, bumping noses, as we speak to his owner.  Mrs. V's not sure about this Tunisian revolution, and I realize as a mature home owner there, she doesn’t want to rock the boat.

I’ve been on computer all week, making dog biscuit labels (it turns out there is a sort of moon pie sold in Turkey, called, like mine, Harika Biscuit).  I’ve been answering questions about the painting tour we’re offering later in the year.  I’ve made brochures, and a couple of web pages along the lines of the tour.

This, and monitoring Facebook.    I have really felt a part of the Tunisian revolution through Facebook.  I was ecstatic to be receiving current news, straight from the cellphone video.  I think it really helped that people there, the revolutionaries, could get their story out, despite state censorship.   And the positive vibrations, hope and encouragement sent back was appreciated.

One of my most vivid memories of Tunisia was on a first trip, in early 2007:  a friend asked we not speak about the government in her car, at the café, or anyplace we could be seen or heard.  I recall thinking, at the time, that she was paranoid,  We walked through the souk that day, and later, out in the Kasbah, amidst “white noise”, we spoke.  Simply, there was no freedom.

When we moved to Tunisia later that year, it was clear there were many limitations.  I had a terrible time getting my Internet hooked up, and when I did, it only worked sporadically.  I used to go to the US embassy to send out Artnotes, until they confiscated my flash drive.   While working in the library, I met a man who worked in Internet security for the Tunisian government.  “So it’s you who read my emails,” I quipped.  “Yes,” he replied, with a completely serious face.   Everything I ever wrote was news at the listening post.

LaPresse was the Tunisian newspaper, heavily censored (probably owned) by the Ben Ali regime.  All was good news, but whether it was true? uncertain.  When there were floods in the streets of Tunis, no reporting.   So the people network was what counted there: men in coffee shops, women over the back fence, at the hairdresser or hammam.   Facebook increased that people network.

With Facebook, I was able to keep up with news and conditions there even better than on Aljazeera.  I read a variety of online papers to get the news:  NYTimes, Drudgereport, leParisien and LeFigaro or LeMonde, and Aljazeera.   If I’m really stuck I’ll try BBC or Independent.  It was Aljazeera who made the first press announcement that Ben Ali was gone, followed 20 minutes later by the NYTimes.   I heard it about five minutes before both of those.   And yes, I’ve gone to Wi k ileaks, to learn more about what led up to events, and certain hypotheses I had were in fact, correct.   Wikile aks bore out the fact Ben Ali was clearly responsible for autrocities and flagrant corruption in a country where the average monthly salary is less than $500.00.

The opportunity to share information worldwide is perhaps the best invention of my lifetime so far (Blair’s grandmother used to say,for her, it was the radio).  I hope it stays as free and open as it is now.

Harika, who has been barking for the last four weeks, has mysteriously stopped.  She’s been sleeping heavily since the news that her native country, Tunisia, is in on its way to Independence.

Laurie (text) and Blair (painting from archive) PESSEMIER
 
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Reply #1 - Jan 8th, 2011 at 9:03pm

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After a visit to the American Library, I stand on Avenue Joseph Bouvard and wait for the 69 bus.  My heart leaps as the lights illume the Eiffel Tower just in front of me.  I am still in love with Paris.

That thrill continues as we slip down rue St. Dominique (it’s often a tight squeeze here) toward  Invalides and Napoleon’s Tomb.  We pass Place Bourgogne before I press the button to get off at St. Germain and change for a 68 or 94 or 83 which will get me home.  Had I continued, I’d pass through the Louvre and by Chatelet, around the column at Bastille, out to the Pere LaChaise cemetery and Gambetta.

My favorite line is the 63, which runs from Gare de Lyon out to Port de la Muette, where the Bois de Boulogne is.  We take this line, with Harika, to go for an off-leash run.  On  the bus she must remain in her sack.  She kind of likes that, sitting in the seat with me.  Blair is taking pictures out the window.

My newest project has been to create a guide to monuments and attractions on the city bus lines of Paris.  The 63 passes some beauties, including Trocadero and the Tour Eiffel, the Musee Guimet, and the Statue of Liberty Flame.  On the other end, the Garden of Plants and Flowers,  the Arab Institute with its camera lens windows and  St. Sulpice await. 

But today we’re headed to Porte de la Muette, the very end, in front of the Musee Marmottan, full of wonderful Monet paintings.  A statue of Fontaine, the fable-writer, graces the park, but not really visible from the bus.  Day in and day out, the fox compliments the crow with the camembert in his beak.

We cross the road and  Harika chases phantom rabbits as we walk across the plain to the woods.  Patches of ice dot the lake we walk around; terns and gulls, coots and moor hens flit from the ice to the water.   Just past the island, Harika spots a cottontail, dead, beside a crow, on the ice.  Our dog  jumps from the path, slipping and sliding as she hits the ice.  I stop myself before going after her:  this ice will never support me.  Blair and I hold our breath, willing her not to fall in the frigid water; I shout, “get back here, right NOW!”  She comes to her senses and arrives at our feet, dry.

We finish our walk before we head back to Avenue Henri Martin (historian and mayor) and rue Octave Feuillet (writer) to catch the 63 home.  We hop out by the Deux Magots and take the 95 to our house.

My next trajet will be the route 95, which runs from Montparnasse to Montmartre, crossing the Seine and passing the Moulin Rouge.  I assemble pictures and stories and will bring them to the Paris Office of Tourism.

The Impressionists were in love with Paris, too, and Van Gogh, Monet, Whistler and Grant Wood painted images of the city.  In May, June, September and October, I will be leading a group of painters through Paris in a painting workshop:  visiting historic views, painting them (or not) and enjoying Paris “a la impressionism” .  Please join me, and suggest my tour to your friends.  Even if you are not a painter, we’ll look at paintings and drink wine in cafes, which is a lot of fun.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair Pessemier
Trees at the Bois de Boulogne     LFP    Acrylic on canvas   8 x 20 inches    $185.00
 
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Jan 2nd, 2011 at 7:52pm

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I could never understand why my father would get up at 4 AM, to take a walk, to have a cup of coffee, to sit in the kitchen apparently doing not much of anything.   I now realize that the hours he shared with us, the family, were not necessarily what he wanted to do, what he needed to do.  He needed that extra time by himself, in the early hours, to express himself, to be his essential self.

I am up at 5:30 AM on Wednesday.  We have guests.  I am typing here in the kitchen.  It isn’t that I am unhappy to have guests (I love company!), but I can’t write or paint, or even sit in my chair and think.  I am not plucking my ukulele for Blair and Harika in the evenings… these are all my essential elements.

I can’t paint at 5:30 AM – I am physically and mentally able, but there is no light and I am in a 600 square foot apartment with three other people and a dog.  So, I am writing.  I have been dying to write for the last 48 hours.  Life and adventure continues, and must be recorded:

“Do you think that tire needs air?” I asked my friend.  It was clear the bottom inch of the tire was hugging the ground.  “We have a flat tire!” Blair exclaims when he sees it.  I suggest air.  

We were at the rest stop on the A13 just before Rouen.  I had a sandwich and a cup of coffee at “Paul” to fortify myself until we arrived at the beach in Trouville for a celebratory birthday lunch.  The weather was looking poorly, my arms windmilling wildly to keep my balance on the ice outside the car.

We  thlunked over to the air machine with our errant wheel.  I pushed the green button as Blair attempted to fill the tire.  “Is that enough?” I asked, my glasses glazed over in the freezing rain.   We really had a flat tire.

We  telephoned Hertz -- they instructed us to call the assistance number.  Assistance told us to change the tire.  “But there is no spare.”   One half hour later a wrecker, suitable for a tractor-trailer tow, arrived.   “Nope, they don’t even give you a spare tire anymore,” the driver acknowledged as he pulled the car onto the flatbed.   A small man, he had a hydraulic seat that raised and lowered to receive him.

E climbed the two tall steps into the passenger area, as I lifted Harika over my head and into the cab of the truck.  I hoisted myself up and awaited the trip to the garage, a good 30 minutes hence.   It was becoming clear the best laid plans for the seafood platter at the restaurant on the beach were for naught.   Two hours later, after the tire was plugged, and we said our goodbyes to the garagist, we decided to eat lunch in Gaillon, our current locale.

The city of Gaillon was founded at the end of the 9th century.  Rollo was the first Viking chief here, holding back the French forces.  Gaillon was the scene of a major battle between Richard the Lion Heart and King Philip II Augustus of France 200 years later.

The chateau at Gaillon, as we know it now, was built in the 16th century.  After our lunch, we decided to explore the property, and we walked and threw snowballs at the giant stone structure.  Harika ran around wildly, and I slid down the hill on the back of my jacket.   Blair and M couldn't resist and did it, too.

Even though my mother (in memory care) and my sisters and I are no longer living in the same house with my father, he continues to rise before 5 AM.  He exercises, has his coffee, looks at the news before his day really begins.    

Blair and I and our guests  go out to see the holiday windows at the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps on New Years Eve, before setting in at Concorde with people from every corner of the globe.  It is a mild midnight, with the Eiffel Tower sparkling.  The Russians open their champagne a minute before the event, just to be sure they are the first.  On the way home a group of people from “all over” hand us poppers and sparklers and we light our way home.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair Pessemier
 
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