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Paintfox Laurie Sept-Dec 2013 (Read 9903 times)
Reply #13 - Dec 30th, 2013 at 12:39am

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This is the last post for 2013, Happy New Year Laurie and Blair.

Artnotes: More Sunshine PLEASE.
It's raining her on Maui too.


Clouds are NOT something one usually associates with the French Riviera.  Turquoise, pink, palm trees:  no clouds.  But at 7 AM  I see the outlines of clouds as the sun emerges  from Italy.   This is not at all what we planned, but it is what we got.  We adjust.

Maybe it is better that we have some rain.  I stay indoors, read, think, work on the Artnotes book/portfolio.    I paint still life.  I write to you.

I am thinking about my life quite differently than I was in Paris.  I am seeking MORE INVOLVEMENT, not less.  It is clear to me that I need to interact with people, and not just on the Internet.   With less to do, I dwell on things past --never good.

Many people think you learn from the past, but I feel just the opposite (thank you, Artemis).  I want to reach into the future.   I need face-to-face conversation with people to thrive.

I feel resolutions coming on.  One will be NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT A RAINCOAT.    How about: TALK  face-to-face with someone new and/or conflicting  at least three times a week (come to my house to argue?) .

I tried on a raincoat at the market in Italy yesterday – the arms terminated below my fingers and I have very long arms;  and the rest of the coat was too short, too narrow.  What kind of person could wear that?  Ichabod Crane?    It was a terrific material – a mesh covered with clear plastic, in a trench coat style.  The vendor asked me, “why not the black one?” I told him it wasn’t happy.  He had to concede.

Harika is hunkered down as only a dog can do in the rain.  Playing possum is the concept.  We drag her to coffee in the morning, often her only foray if rain ensues.  Today there were five dogs at the café:  a vicious large black model, relegated to the out-of-doors; a long haired dachshund; a dirty Westie who has obviously spent many a Sunday with his junk-dealer family;  a naturally congenial Havanese;  and Harika. Normally a boxer is there, but maybe we were too early.

I have been reading John Ruskin.  He was a 19th century art historian who taught working men to draw, just so they would learn to SEE.  He had ideas about society and mostly about art and how it affected people.   He said:  The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.

More sunshine please!


 
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Reply #12 - Dec 22nd, 2013 at 9:33pm

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ARTNOTES:   Magical Magi

On the beach on Tuesday day,  a smallish man wearing a stingy brim hat and wraparound sunglasses appeared.  Harika was attracted to him at once, which helped me overlook the fact he was the owner of the oversized baggage near the steps to the beach.

Our discoveries have been both good and bad on this trip to the South.  We have had three days of rain, which interferes with our good nature.  It has allowed us to convert some of the grapefruit and the ten pounds of oranges (sweet and mandarin) which our neighbors gave us, into marmalade.  Now what to do with it?  It is too heavy to ship.   EAT.

Picking Oranges    Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas   32 x 42 inches  $1250.00



The fellow at the beach recognized us as English speakers at once.  “Nice [the city]  is NICE,”  he says, “this place is paradise.  We don’t even need to die to find it.”  He got down on the sand with Harika.  She jumped on him and licked his nose. “Dog is GOD,” he philosophizes.   English is clearly not his first language, but he is good.

Our house here, an old artist atelier is beautiful, despite the fact there are no stairs between floors, only a ladder. We moved the bed, formerly on the lower floor, up to the main floor.  Our full sized bedroom below had a toilet in it, only hidden by a curtain:  convenient, in some ways, but off-putting at times. There are no numbers on the stove to indicate temperature; the freezer door fell off; the candlestick broke when we tried to put a candle in it.

We went to the grand market at Ventimiglia, Italy on Friday.  I have never seen so many leather goods and cashmere sweaters .  Of course, there were Italian vendors selling Parmesan cheese (only 10 euros a kilo), preserved meats, gorgonzola – we bought  all those foods, including a reasonably priced salt cod.    But selling everything else are people from all corners of the world.



The man on the beach noticed our paintings.   “This is wonderful how it comes from you,” he continues, “looking at the land, then through here (pointing to his head). “  He asks how much.  We make a price, and he tells us to  wait here, as he runs up the stairs.

An Indian sort of man tries to sell me a hand sewing machine at the market in Italy.  We settle on a needle threader, green and pink plastic for 1.70; I imagine at one time it was made of wood, soft to the touch – today it is made in China.  A Sri Lankan comes by with rings and bangles; Senegalese have watches;  Chinese ladies sell gloves.

When l listen to one of my favorite Christmas stories, Amahl and the Night Visitors, I think of all these men from all over the world, bringing us gifts.   ‘Goat cheese and walnuts, figs and cucumbers…  ‘  And I didn’t even have to leave Paradise.

Moonrise over Cap-Ferrat   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Oil/canvas  11 x 18  275.00

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!!
Laurie and Blair Pessemier

YES, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!, Don (great Moonrise painting Laurie)
 
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Reply #11 - Dec 16th, 2013 at 2:08am

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Artnotes:  En Route

“Victor’s cabs wants 45 Euros to take us to the train station,”  I tell Blair.  I find G7 cabs would take us for 10 – 13 Euros but I have to buy twenty euros of credit to get the cab to pick us up.  We opt for just standing on the corner at 7:15, and end up with a charming fellow who charges 13, suitcases and Harika included, and leaves us with his card.   

I am wrting artnotes today from seat 116 on the TGV to Nice (Ville).   I’ve commandeered an extra seat, with an electrical outlet.  I am still pitifully behind in the technology race, working off an old Dell laptop garnered from a job with German engineers a few years ago.

We’re headed to our winter painting venue:  Villefranche-sur-Mer, just seven minutes from Nice.  I have big aspirations:  to paint some large paintings, laid out on the ground in the yard and to try to paint in oil once again.  I have been most impressed with oil since I have been going  to the  Atelier Grande Chaumiere to paint the live model.   Most people there use oil, and it is impressive.   

We had breakfast at a little café in the station.  It was clearly where the all night owls go:  I saw a man in a golden domino (that’s a mask which just goes to the nose) exiting from a wee-hours snack.  When we got out to the gate, there was one of the famous Paris pianos ( fine instruments set around town on red carpet), and 7:45 found us standing in awe of a brilliant pianist.  “I am really a singer,” he tells Blair after multiple bravos. 

I have other big ideas for this trip as well:  to figure out how to build Monet’s Bateau-Atelier and introduce it as a painting venue for our Paris paintingworkshops.  http://www.studiopessemier.com/tours-workshops ; Blair and I will put our years in business school to use,  building a business plan.   We’re thinking about renting a boat while in Villefranche just to get an idea about painting while on the water.  It is a still sea in the bay, and there are lots of possible subjects from other boats to fabulous villas on the water.

I am also going to work on organizing Artnotes into a book.  I would like to see how it looks on an Ipad as I go along, so any volunteer viewers with such equipment, or an Ipad to sell at a modest price, don’t hesitate to say so.

Of course, all these ideas may not come to fruition, but it’s good to have some goals.  There is something about getting away from the everyday that lets the mind soar to new heights.  There are less interruptions, as well.

Our train is at the gate, and a Welsh man and his wife help us with our bags.   They are headed further on, to Italy.   

+  we painted two pictures on Sunday, in our house at Villefranche-sur-Mer!




 
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Reply #10 - Nov 23rd, 2013 at 7:50pm

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Before posting Laurie's post I want to talk about Blair's painting. Because he uses the same palette as Laurie but can also paint in a very realistic style, I take his work very seriously. I often say that nature sticks to the rules, "it's darkest next to the light and lightest next to the dark". That's a giv'in. Now look at Blair's latest,  Eglise at Criqueboeuf   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/wood  6.5 x 9.5  125.00. First the sky, He shows where the unseen sun in the sky is with color. He  (and she) paint very quickly, catching the colors of one hour of the day.) As he adds progressive color to his undercoat color drawing he often combines the colors of a pattern. Scarlet, his first color down representing the darkest color and it's opposite color turquoise mix together making the darkest dark's in the painting. The scarlet isn't covered completely with the new dark as I would do, the mind completes the work. Now the colors turquoise (mostly cyan) and scarlet (mostly red) plus dark (the combination of the two) are in place and we see the completed hedge in the foreground. Don

Artnotes: Have a Laugh
A generous friend loaned us her apartment in Trouville this week.  We drove up on Sunday and stayed through Wednesday.  I had to take allergy medicine while I was there, but frolicking on the beach is always worth it.

We painted from the car – gnarly apple trees in shades of gold; big old trees robed in oranges.  The warmth of the leaf color against the grey sky was beautiful.  We painted a little on the beach, but freezing temperatures and precipitation (was that snow?) held us back some.  Harika knew she was growing that big heavy coat for something, and she could lay on the sand like it was July – when she wasn’t jumping in the air for joy.

We cooked sole and oysters while we were there, eating by candlelight in our fourth floor perch  with the clattering shutters overlooking the sea. 
We returned to a dinner invitation at a friend’s house in Paris.  They  shared with us (and another three people) their experiences in Africa.  She loved to see how happy the children were when she gave them crayons “they rarely have pencils, let alone COLOR”.  Their group ASKED the people what they wanted for projects.  It wasn’t hospitals or schools, but a way to stop flooding every year; and a way to keep the rope from the well clean and off the ground -- sound ideas on the way to bigger projects.

There was big talk about birth control and population growth, especially from one woman who herself came from a family of 13 kids.  It’s like being the last family allowed to propagate, or the final immigrant to a country – it just doesn’t work like that.  There was more talk about how warm and loving the people were there – they smile and laugh. 

I currently live in a country with little laughter, and the prospect sounded divine.  I can laugh like a banshee, which I haven’t been doing a lot lately, but know it’s still in there.  I hope to cut loose during our Thanksgiving holiday in Connecticut.  Maybe I will even laugh on the plane, probably over the size and placement of our bargain seats.

Once in awhile I have to laugh at how serious I can take things, and Blair and I giggle like school kids.  It exposes our soul.

Happy Thanksgiving Laurie and Blair, enjoy Connecticut. My brother lives there in Bridgeport. Don Jusko

 
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Reply #9 - Nov 19th, 2013 at 3:55am

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Artnotes:  Something for Everyone and his Dog
   “Look at those grapes -- they are out of a Flemish painting!”
“Did you read the tulipmania book?  Those (cut)tulips on the balcony are fantastic.”
    Our most “sympathetic” guest shared a dinner of butternut squash soup and venison steaks with foie gras  at our table this week.  But more than sharing dinner, she shared our love of the vignettes we create around our house.  Not everyone sees thing the way we do. 
    The first half of this week was spent painting and entertaining.  The latter part of the week we minded  Atlas, the wonderful Jack Russell terrier from the park.   Harika spends the night playing “whack-a-mole” as Atlas burrows beneath the covers and she stays on top.  Subtle beauty?  heck, downright beauty is lost on them as they egg one another on, barking.
    We saw several  art shows this week.  The first was Valloton, which started out great – his sense of composition and woodcut prints is fabulous.  But then, after World War I (that war that changed the world), he flies off into mythology and religion, leaving a poor taste at the end of the show.   It isn’t that they aren’t competent, just that they are odd.
    On Friday we went to see the Jordaens show at the Petit Palais.  Really, I should say we went to the Petit Palais and saw their permanent collection and a most unusual exhibit about art in schools during the 1930s.  It rang of America’s WPA program, but with incredibly beautiful paintings on the walls of schoolrooms depicted classic “professions”, sports and “women’s work”.  They were extraordinary, but unfortunately most of the schools were renovated, and only these half-size models remain.   
     I visited the Jordaens’ show which was beautifully presented and near overwhelming simply for the size of the works:  monumental paintings.   I preferred his smaller pieces:  looser sketches and drawings.  He rivaled Rubens in his depiction of healthy female nudes, and it made me feel OK about being slightly over-sized myself.
    We wound up the week selling (3!!!) paintings at the Christmas fair at the American Church.  We are the only purveyors of paintings, but also featured Christmas cards and little books (nestled throughout this email).   We were surrounded by children’s book illustrators, gingerbread house makers, advent calendars (including one with dog bones) and Sierra Leone crafts and jewelry:  something for all tastes.
 
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Reply #8 - Nov 3rd, 2013 at 7:14am

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Hi Laurie,
Artnotes: Now or Never
“Do you think she’s going to the Frida Khalo show?” I asked my fellow painter.  A woman in a red embroidered skirt and gold-studded boots walked by, a bit heavy on the makeup.  In the next hour, I saw more and more women looking like this; some had wigs.    Did I spend too much time in the paint?  No, it was Halloween in the Tuilieries Garden. 

The line for the Khalo show must have been two hours long – a shame, I thought for those who just wanted to see Monet’s Waterlilies, normally a twenty-minute wait at the Orangerie.  I had considered a visit to the Waterlilies on this blustery day – I needed to warm up.  But the line was daunting.

My talented first time painter and I set up first along the Seine – near the foot of the Pont des Arts.  She painted her first ever work, and I made two.  We moved to the Tuileries after a hot chocolate (I had a wine), where she painted another, better one, and I painted two more.  Finally, we perched on the banks of the river near the Pont Alexandre III.  We each painted a canvas.  I was dog tired by the time I got home and climbed our six flights of stairs (our elevator is being updated).  Then I had to take the charming Harika dog out.  Two hundred stairs in an hour.  Sheesh.

Blair, meanwhile, was selling artwork at the Contemporary Art Fair at Bastille.  And sell he did:  three the first day, one on Friday, and interest by certain others/galleries.  It’s the best response we’ve had in a long time, which goes to show:  TRAFFIC MATTERS.   We have been getting as many people passing by our stand in an hour as we did on rue Servandoni (where our old gallery was), in a day.  And these are people looking for art.

I stop by at least once a day to encourage Blair and visit with whoever might be at our stand (#615).  The atmosphere is quite remarkable: Parisian artists abound, from tricky sculptors to glittery graphists.  The women across from us are a 40-ish French contemporary abstract painter and a 20- year-old Chinese girl painting “villages” in France.   Beside us are two maniacs with hundreds of piercings (you think I am kidding), red plaid pants with buckles all over, offering weird bad-dream images of women with pointy breasts and no hands. Our own stand-mate works in India Ink.  Jewelry and chairs to the right.

The clientele is almost as good, dressed up in ultra-cool gallery garb.  Dramatic makeup and striking jewelry can be seen as people pass by, looking chic, pretending not to really see what’s on the wall.   I got a telephone call at home Friday from someone who walked by and snatched a card:  “I was there at two yesterday, can I come by your studio next week?”

I can’t believe we never did this before.  I suppose there’s a time and place for everything.  Maybe we wouldn’t have been ready, or as good, or as confident.  It’s now or never.

Blair and Laurie Pessemier
 
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Reply #7 - Oct 28th, 2013 at 12:15am

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Artnotes:  The First Wife,
"Sometimes the first wife was the best one", a Tunisien friend tells us, when we ask her how things are going there.  We are eating boeuf bourguignon at our table.  She laughs.

As I walked through the halls of the Palace of Fontainebleau this week, I couldn’t help but think along those lines:  different leaders, philosophies, governments, tastes shaped this building over 600 years.  From Francois I to Napoleon III, I can see each mark, and I laugh.

We had guests this week who wanted to take trips outside the city.  They’d never been out to Fontainebleau and frankly, I hadn’t been for years and wanted to see it again.  It is overwhelming, staggering, to walk through so many pages of history at once.  Louis VII started coming here in the mid 12th century,  Louis XIV hunted on these grounds, Napoleon said goodbye to his troops here; the Louisiana purchase was sold by Spain to France before it was sold to the US,  right here:   all inside these walls which could house the entire town I born in.  Western civilization was formed here.

I can feel  how sad Napoleon must have been leaving here:  he so loved his country (not to mention the throne room in this palace).  I can’t relate to how Louis must have felt at the time of the revolution – he was somebody out of touch with his constituency  – save your skin, these guys are mad.  Imagine bringing Pope Pius VII here on his way to crown Napoleon in Paris!   One could spend years here, each day understanding what went on in THIS room.

It was the most beautiful time to at Fontainebleau:  hunting season, amidst trees in fall splendor.  We went to Barbizon for lunch, where our food was grilled at a fireplace in front of us (as Harika looked on).

We also visited the Chateau Malmaison:  Josephine’s house, just 15 kilometers from Paris.   It is a house one could live in:  large, but wonderfully furnished in a neat, clean, Empire style.   Couches upholstered in red, with black satin trim set against a deep green wall;  yellow chairs with a running dog piping in a blue/grey sitting room make for a “home”.  Not a tenth the size of Fontainebleau, it, too, shaped history.

We ended our week at the Rodin museum, in Paris, where Rodin and his artistic friends squatted in the early 1900s.  It is a juxtaposition to the other two, but equally important in the formation of art.  Rodin, Rilke, Renoir, Monet , Matisse, all passed through this edifice.   I felt lucky to get there before it is totally renovated, and breathe their dust.

The first wife might have been the best one, but life goes on.
 
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Reply #6 - Oct 28th, 2013 at 12:08am

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Artnotes: Tumbling Along,
A friend passed along an invitation this week for a show of the work of the late artist Albert Marquet.  Marquet is one of our favorite artists, so we hopped a train to Pontoise to the Musée Tavet-Delacour.   It took about an hour and a half for us to get to Pontoise by train – passing over the Seine, by Asnieres, Colombe, Argentueil, Eragny, and numerous other bergs.  It was interesting to see this route from St. Lazare station.

Our return destination was Gare de Nord, this route chosen on the basis of a cleaner, newer train, with giant windows.  It took a bit longer, but  the car was less crowded and we saw a more picturesque set of suburbs in the direction of Enghien-les-Bains and the racetrack there.

A friend passed along an invitation this week for a show of the work of the late artist Albert Marquet.  Marquet is one of our favorite artists, so we hopped a train to Pontoise to the Musée Tavet-Delacour.   It took about an hour and a half for us to get to Pontoise by train – passing over the Seine, by Asnieres, Colombe, Argentueil, Eragny, and numerous other bergs.  It was interesting to see this route from St. Lazare station.

Our return destination was Gare de Nord, this route chosen on the basis of a cleaner, newer train, with giant windows.  It took a bit longer, but  the car was less crowded and we saw a more picturesque set of suburbs in the direction of Enghien-les-Bains and the racetrack there. 

There were about 25 paintings by Marquet on view,  painted along the Seine between Paris and Normandy.   They were scenes we knew, although we hadn’t seen at least half of the Marquet paintings, many from private collections.   He was a master of painting in grey weather, adding just a bright spot here or there to spark the picture.   There was a terrific night scene of Samaritaine and the Pont Neuf.  His images of le Havre were surprising and great – le Havre took a real beating in World War II, so it’s difficult to think of it so beautiful.  One of the paintings he did was of the bassin at le Havre – a beautiful deep blue water scene.   So many of the pictures of water makes me want to go right out and paint.

Blair has been so inspired by the shows we’ve seen:   Water at Rouen, Braque, and now this Marquet show; we’re now  signed  up to be in the Contemporary Art Fair at Bastille, here in Paris.  We’ll be there in stand 615 from the 31 October until 4 November.

We’ve been hanging about the Seine ourselves, eating lunch and walking in the new area, formerly inhabited by cars, between the Musee d’Orsay and Eiffel Tower.    I am thinking new, larger, work as we seek a painting venue for the months of December, January and February.

This all has gotten me more enthused  about having a painting boat.  I am anticipating a 20 foot craft with a small motor(s)  and a cover in case of rain.  We’ll stay close to the banks of the Seine, and maybe the Oise.    We’ll use it for painting workshops, and keep it just outside the city.  I am thinking of creating an Indiegogo campaign to fund its purchase and subsequent rehabilitation.  I am seeking  advice from those with knowledge about boats in a river, boating in France,  and other related crazy ideas, so let me know what you think.




 
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Reply #5 - Oct 15th, 2013 at 2:24am

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Blue Butterfly   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/carton  7x 8 inches   $125.00
This week we went to Giverny in the morning.  No painting, just three women (think  Cakes and Ale) who wanted to sketch at Monet’s gardens and have lunch.   I hadn’t been there for some time at that hour, and the guards told us NO PAINTING.  We insisted we were not painting, but making sketches, no easels.  It worked out fine.  Our clients made lovely small watercolors by the lily pond.   This was our last scheduled trip to Giverny before it closes on 31 October.

(Why is it closing, Don)

It was a wildly foggy morning and the garden was chock full of spider webs bearing large beads of water.  They resembled Christmas decorations:  strings of glistening pearls all along the flowers and trees.  Thus inspired, Blair and I sketched greeting cards (minus the webs – too Halloween) to sell at the Christmas fair at the American Church on the 16 November. 

On Friday, we went to the opening of “Mundo Lingua”:  the museum of Language.  Our former gallery landlord, Mark, created this museum on his own.  You might recall Blair was painting the globe this summer:  by language, instead of by country.   It looked great mounted in a stand, with all the corresponding color/languages adjacent.

Blair and I have often toyed with the idea of having a museum – we’ve considered art, the tabletop, and sundry ideas.  We never did it.  Mark, on the other hand, took the bull by the horns and created this terrific tribute to the spoken and written word.

He has a reproduction of the Rosetta Stone displayed under glass in the main room.   There are interactive displays from sign language to aboriginal languages.    Downstairs, there is a language “tree”, showing  thousands of languages, branching one from another, green leaves carrying the name of the tongue.    I briefly watched “The Gods Must be Crazy” in his language theatre, next to a poster of [what else but] My Fair Lady.   

I imagine months, maybe years, of reflecting on this idea and then putting it into motion.   I was gobsmacked by Mark’s drive and ability, as much as I am by the museum.   It’s located at the corner of rue Servandoni and rue Canivet, near St. Sulpice, in the 6th arrondissement, and is open from 10 to 6 every day.

This morning we went on a walk (Harika would call it a “forced march”) to the banks of the Seine.  What should we find there but a submarine sitting on top of a peniche?  The barge, called the Colporteur, carried a Jules-Verne-ish contraption, named the Axolotl,  of metal and portholes, featuring art inside as well as out.   We looked as much as we could, it being closed at 9 this morning.   We crossed back over the Pont Alexandre III where Harika stretched her legs out on the grass at Invalides.

 
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Reply #4 - Oct 8th, 2013 at 9:07am

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Artnotes:  Discovery
The  scale of man-made objects in Brittany is different than the rest of France.  Huge stone walls and granite houses guard against the powerful sea.  It is hard to image that centuries ago these fortresses were constructed by the hands of men.  We were in St Malo this weekend, where pirates and corsairs commissioned by the king set sail  centuries ago to fight the other super-powers of the sea, the Dutch and English.  Frigates have given way to sailing schools, but the effect of blue and white still predominates.

The sky is bigger in Brittany and clouds fly by as fast as the sea birds.   Fluffy white clouds resemble horses and dogs and babies in the sky.  The blue is a clear, clean blue which imparts its deep color on the ocean.

We painted a few small works while we were there.  It was a big painting week for us.

We had a workshop on Thursday, and for the first time, painted along the “new quai” in Paris.  This summer the city closed the banks of the Seine where the cars used to pass, to create a pedestrian walkway.   We settled in beside the Pont Alexandre III for a painting session.  Conveniently located railroad ties made neat seats as we sat and painted.  There were tables to play chess and parchesi, backgammon and Chinese checkers.  The fragrances from the food stands were alluring.  We ran into people we knew there, who seemed as delighted as we were about the urban improvements. 

We managed a picture or two at the Luxembourg Gardens on Monday, with a novice painter who turned out to be pretty good.  He fell into a near zen state as painting took over his being.   People are always surprised how compelling the act of painting can be – for us, it’s a great feeling when someone else discovers art.

PS.  There are many more images from this week at:  www.paintfox.com
 
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Reply #3 - Oct 4th, 2013 at 6:46pm

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On Friday, we took a day for ourselves and drove, with an American friend, to Rouen.   Our goal was an art show at the Museum of Fine Arts there:  Eblouissants Reflets – Dazzling Reflections.   It was a very large show (100 pieces!) of Impressionist artwork depicting reflections on water.   It was a BLOCKBUSTER!

I love that in France, the humblest, most improbable place would have a show of such magnitude.   Rouen isn’t exactly Paris, but rather a working town situated around an active port, dealing mainly in cereals and fuel.   Rouen is where the locks are for the big boats on the Seine.  I’ve always liked its certain grittiness.  Rouen is home to a very good metalwork museum and a ceramics museum, in addition to the fine arts institution.

This isn’t the first time we’ve happened upon a super show off the beaten track.   We’ve seen stellar presentations in Roubaix and Lille, as well.

The work bore such famous signatures as Monet and Renoir, Cezanne and Sisley.   There were many works I had never seen before, and I was shocked by how wonderful they were.   There were many depictions of Amsterdam by Monet that were completely new to me – a pale green house on a canal; windmills at the Zaan.   There were even more pictures of Argenteuil,  a suburb of Paris, we pass every time we go to Auver-sur-Oise.    I was able to see how Monet treated water when it wasn’t sunny out, a condition we seem to experience more and more.

Paintings from the “boat studio” took up a single room.  It made me think how neat it would be to have a boat studio, set up for a couple of painters, with an anchor and life vests.   The expression “may day” unfortunately comes to mind – a French expression, in fact, from the words “venez m’aider”  m’aider, or may day -- meaning  ‘help me’.   Well, maybe under the right conditions it could work.

There were two Berthe Morisot’s, of water and boats – she handled the boats more like I would, I hesitate to say “like a girl”.  There were two charming Fourian pictures by the river, which included dogs.  An artist I was unfamiliar with, Delattre, painted sailboats and their reflections that Blair liked, and a foggy day that I liked.   We saw Venice and Giverny, the Seine and the Thames.   There were even marvelous depictions of flood waters.

So as not to spoil the effect, we went to lunch at the Maison Blanche in La Bouille, overlooking the Seine.  Blair and our friend had oysters.  Harika and I stuck mostly to the turf.   We jumped back into the car and drove the 45 minutes to Trouville, where we basked in the sunshine by the sea until late afternoon.   We waded in the surf -- Harika even got wet.

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER
 
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Reply #2 - Sep 16th, 2013 at 9:39am

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Blair painted two portraits this week, this one of Sharon.

I am sitting in the sunshine, FINALLY, and able to write artnotes.   It rained every day last week, and more is on the way.  I can’t write a happy story when the sky is grey, which could prove to be a problem in the coming months.


I am writing from bed with a fever, after having painted at Giverny in the rain Thursday evening – I was soaked to the skin.  I am hoping malady this will pass without a trip to the doctor.   I think that maybe I just need a few days to warm up and to THINK.

My nephew, Henry, gets a cold once in a while and he lies on the couch surrounded by crumpled-up kleenex.  “He just needs time to think, “ I tell my sister.  My nephews lead a busy life with school and sports, music lessons and recreation.

Kids always seem to know what’s right for them (within limits, of course).  I was much more self-assured fifty years ago.   I always knew what I wanted to do (paint, and write stories!) before I got all confused about “making a living”.

I few years ago I asked Joel, the wine merchant in our old neighborhood, what he would do if he won the lotto.  “I’d keep right on doing what I am doing now,” he replied.  I was flabbergasted.  For the first time realized work didn’t have to be “work”.

My niece just left her job at McDonald's for a position with Verizon.  She loved McDonalds and the older customers, especially, loved her bubbly personality.  It remains to be seen if she will stay at the new post or return to where she was happier.


Blair and I really enjoy running the painting workshops.  Our painters this week were all good painters, with wildly divergent styles.   We painted near Notre Dame, out at Auvers-sur-Oise and at Giverny with them.  “You are part of my bucket list,” one told me.

It made me feel I was making a difference, which maybe ought to be what life is about, rather than making a living.  Joel loved selling wine to the neighborhood, choosing flavors he thinks will match our palate, and being at the shop. 

My only objection to painting as a profession was that it was solitary.  Now we paint with others.

Laurie and Blair Pessemier
 
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Reply #1 - Sep 7th, 2013 at 9:13pm

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Look at the color in Harika, remember, this is painted without black pigment. All these years of painting show that Laurie can see color in a black dog, tire, etc.

Great composition too.

 
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Sep 7th, 2013 at 9:05pm

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Artnotes: Flying from Here to There

When I try to sum up our trip to the USA, I am stymied:  it is always wonderful, a little sad, fabulously successful and hard to leave behind.   Although it takes me a week or so to get used to being “home”, it takes that much time to adjust to being back (home, too, I guess—which is which?).    When Blair wanted to look at places to live in the US six months a year, I told him “I can’t live in two places.”

I loved the long conversations in which I understood not only the language, but the cultural vocabulary that provoked them.   I discovered that I missed some current lingo:  I shouldn’t be using the word exceptional, except to describe disabled children; special hasn’t been a legitimate description for some time.   I hung on every word, regardless of philosophical or political opinion.  I love that I can do that – coming from afar I lay no claim to any political party, and can like everyone.  I think it is sad that people line up on a side (I can see you cringing as you read this).   I see things as an outsider now, readily uncovering the economic motivations for most political decisions.

We drove our Prius (gas economy is all I can say) over 3,600 miles while we were there.  It was impossible to walk anyplace on account of lack of sidewalks and other cars.   I swam a lot.  I loved jumping into the very cool water and being weightless (helping me to forget the pounds I put on while I was there).    We ate lobsters and corn, hot dogs and nachos.

We were in the country with bears and bobcats, skunks and bats.  In the lake there were fish, which would come right up and check me out if I stood still long enough.  I watched the birds pick bugs out of automobile grills, like a barbecue.  Harika rolled in the grass in Connecticut and Virginia; she ate meatballs and cold cuts.


We have a new gallery, “J Gallery” in North Carolina, and left more paintings with the Riverfront Gallery in Westport, Connecticut.   Our show at the String and Splinter in High Point was a big success.

Our first few days back in Paris were hot and sultry, followed by intermittent rainstorms on Friday’s  painting workshop.  Our painter (just one) braved the elements with us, and we produced a few canvases.  It felt very good to be back at painting again. 


I made dinner last night for American friends, one who lives here, and another who used to.  We played Quiddler using our new battery-powered card shuffler from the US.    My tomatoes are ripening on the vine, well-tended by friends J and M in our absence.  My first one is almost ready to pick.  No deer on the sixth floor balcony.


Harika   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12     $195.00
 
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