Sunday, August 20, 2017

Artnotes: Years Ago

Me, Years Ago    Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  16 x 20"  40 x 50cm   275.00

​Years ago, I told our “god”daughter, “When you get married or have a baby, we’ll be there!”  Well, on 12 August, 2017, it was her wedding day.  We flew from Washington, DC, where we left Harika with her favorite pack, Keith and Larry, and attended the wedding of Kat and Chris (Milo) on Saturday.

We’d been present for most of Kat’s life.  She started life in our rental house in Georgetown, in Seattle.  She met her Dad for the first time there.  She would bark at our dog, Mutton, before learning to talk.   She’d wave to us from the window.  We left her upon our move to Paris, but she and her Dad came to visit more than once.  She learned French, and we visited with her French penpal in Provence.   A couple of years ago, she babysat Harika on rue de Rennes while we were away.

Gladiolas Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  8 x 10  20 x 25cm  90.00

This was a big trip within our trip this year – I’ve resisted a return to Seattle for ever so long.  I hate looking back in my life.  It’s a combination of a lust for the future, and a fear I made a mistake in leaving.  Had we stayed, we’d have been financially richer than we are now, but in fact we are so much richer in the experiences we would have missed if we had stayed.   We have friends, and art, in all corners of the globe.

Night Time at the Lake   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas   12 x 12"  30 x30cm   125.00

Seattle has changed almost beyond recognition since we were last there, in 2008.  As we stood on the bow of the ferry, it was hard to pick out distinguishing landmarks.   From our seats at the new baseball stadium, we located the Smith Tower, at one time the highest building west of the Mississippi.  A friend gave us “Terrace” tickets, and I had goosebumps as we watched the Mariners lose to the Angels (it wasn’t the game – in fact, I never really care who wins or loses, I just like to watch)…   Seattle was my home for fifteen years.

We went to a friend’s house by bus that night, skirting the terrible alt-right protest (for what? Life is beautiful in Seattle).  There was fighting at the bus stop between people who seemed to have just missed last call at the Star-Wars bar. A half-dozen friends were at dinner, and we took up our common thread where we last left off.  Amazing how a life can be taken up once again, after so many years of separation.   Our host called us an Uber home.

The wedding was wild, without totally departing from the traditional marriage ceremony.  Kat wore the MOST lovely wedding dress.   The tuxedoed ushers sported burning torches which were later extinguished by waterpistols hidden in bridesmaids’ turquoise bustiers.   The bride and groom breathed fire after the ceremony, and we drank prosecco and ate brie and artichokes.


Seattle was, like the wedding, the same but different.  Extremes are the measure of the day.


​Summer Sky Connecticut    Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12  30 x 30cm   90.00

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER

Monday, July 31, 2017

Artnotes: Slow and easy

 Trees on the Lake   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen 12 x 24   30 x 60cm
 Dog on the beach   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  11 x 14"    28 x 36 cm
 Docking the boat   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  11 x 14"    28 x 36 cm

 Beach Volleball   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  8 x 14"    20 x 36 cm 

Getting in the water   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  12 x 12"    30 x 30 cm 


Butterfly on the Beach   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  11 x 14"  28 x 36 cm

I am busier on my “vacation” than I am in everyday life.  We’ve come to the USA to visit my Dad and celebrate his 90th birthday; sell paintings and see friends.

I am slightly overwhelmed on this trip – I am talking all the time, in English.  In Italy, Blair and I go days without much conversation, so this American chitchat about the weather and driverless cars has rendered me speechless.   I have enjoyed it a lot.   Even more, I like the conversation of America:  men across the street working and listening to old Jimi Hendrix on the radio.  They talk about their cars, and what they did this weekend.   It’s like a movie sound-track, slow and easy.

We visited and laughed with friends in North Carolina this last week.  Sometimes I feel North Carolina is a microcosm of the whole United States.  It is white and black and brown, with universities and theatres, barbecues and fine dining; do I dare say Republican and Democrat?   Homes are really beautiful, and the hospitality is unbeatable.  

Our baseball show is on display in High Point, NC – we saw it ourselves for the first time on Thursday.   A man was looking at the show while we were there.  He was smiling, so we introduced ourselves.   He was actually from Danbury, Connecticut, and the Danbury Westerners figured prominently in many paintings.  It was magical.

Harika experienced that magic with two friends in the DC area, who accustomed her to the finest food, delivered thrice daily.  We are glad.   While she was eating steak, we chose hotdogs with cole slaw and chili, which we never get in Italy; and hamburgers.  We had fabulous southern fare:  fried chicken; spiced green beans, crowder peas and peach cobbler, which was maybe the best dessert of ever.  Yum.

When we come to the USA it is as if we are visiting an exotic place.  I bought shoes, big enough to fit.  I read the New York Times.  I sit on my porch, and go swimming,  and I think about Italy.



Monday, July 17, 2017

Artnotes: For Better or For Worse

 ​Paddleboard  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  14 x 11  35 x 27cm  190.00

 ​Two in Tubes  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12  30 x 30cm  190.00

 Skier  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/panel  
Playing in the Tubes  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12  30 x 30cm  190.00

Daisies at Hemlock ​Lodge  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12  30 x 30cm  190.00

Our trip to Connecticut began on Monday, with a crowded train ride to Milan.  I am not sure I want to repeat that performance.  Luckily, we stayed at a very fun hotel at the airport in Milan, awaiting our Tuesday flight.  The Moxy Hotel was chock full of cheery folks, and Harika made friends, while hotel staff made us two complimentary Cosmopolitans.  The lobby had games and books, a bar and dining area.  There were guitars to play, and a slate to draw on.  And the guestroom was pretty nice, too, with ever-so-subtle lighting beneath the bed that illuminated our steps in the night.   Harika and I laid out for hours on the bouncy bed in air conditioned comfort.  In Europe, air conditioning is not a "given".

From JFK, we were whooshed out to the hills of my Connecticut by my sister.  We are ensconced at Hemlock Lodge as I type.  We come here every year.  Same house, same porch, same supplies, a slightly different us:  the same fabric, as we weave another row. The water in the lake is delicious, and I've swum two days.   Friends arrived at once and we had cocktails and sold paintings.   We are recycling work from the archives – we haven’t painted much ourselves.



My Dad, who will be 90 in a month (god willing) is better than he was a month ago.  We went to the Chinese Buffet, his reason for living, on Thursday.  He was so exhausted he fell asleep in the easy chair upon return and didn't wake up until the next day.

My father ages, my sisters become more involved in their families' lives, and my niece and nephews forge new directions.  We are on the periphery, like so many of our friends, who are single, or childless, or just more involved in their own legacies than the biological one.  We have our art which will outlive us, and the chance to make everyone's day brighter with positive attitude, generosity and kindness.  I am back to my "Art of Slow Travel" book.  Whenever I hop on a plane, a whole new chapter of my life begins.


The porch show is taking shape -- available for the next week; Friday and Saturday we will be in Madison, Connecticut, and then are off to North Carolina for a show there on the 26 July.  So call us at: 860.387.3524 if you'd like to stop by in the coming week or sometime during August.  Or want to have a coffee together, or just chat on the phone (eastern daylight time until 9 PM).

It's amazing to be in America:  everyone speaks English.  Groceries are incredibly expensive.  Cars are still large and people follow the rules.  All this makes me realize what a different life we lead, for better or for worse. 

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Artnotes: Monsters

 Fairies in the Garden   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  10 x 15"  25 x 38cm
 View of Orte  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  11 x 16"  27 x 41 cm
 The Medieval City of Orte  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  12 x 24"  30 x 60"
The Monster and Me

 “You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” ― Mark Twain

It’s been a wonderful and difficult week – amazing how that can happen.    Wonderful in the sense we went to Stimigliano again and hung out by the pool, amongst the flowers.  We further explored the area, visiting the miracle shrine with holy water full of large tadpoles (I can’t recall the saint, or holy man, but can picture giant frogs).  The highlight of our explorations was Bomarzo, the garden of monsters carved in and from local stone.

This isn’t our first monster visit (we went to Villa Palagonia in Sicily), and monsters seem to be popular in Italy.  I think it might have to do with the drama of monsters, and what they can do with people.  At Bomarzo there is a monster ripping a man in two; Hannibal’s elephant is killing a Roman soldier; a fantastic fish is about to swallow a turtle with a tree on his back.  There is a “crooked house” carved in stone that makes one feel completely topsy-turvy when you walk inside.   I liked the whole experience, wrenching me out of my usual mindset.  It is Mannerism at its best, thumbing its nose at Renaissance convention.

Although I can appreciate and in fact adore certain early Renaissance artwork (the Laurentian library; Brunelleschi’s dome; Piero della Francesca), I am not a fan of that period.  It is too orderly for me.  The gardens are great.  I am not anti-Italian art:  I like Greco-Roman art and architecture; medieval sculpture and objects; Byzantine gold mosaics; and the Italian Futurist movement.   There is still plenty to enjoy.

My own art has waned, as it has been 100 degrees (38 celsius) in our yard this week.  My red paint tube dried up in the back of the car.   It was the same temperature when we outside of Rome, but drier there than in Rocca Malatina.  Our house has been warm, and Harika got a new haircut.  None of us is sleeping well.

We are preparing for our trip to America this week.  I am a nervous wreck, as usual, anticipating every horrible outcome.  I’ve been back and forth a million (nearly a hundred anyway) times, but it still shakes me up.  I can be my own monster.

I look for more information on monsters in Italy, and find that along with the monsters, are fairies.  Italy was the first place to incorporate fairies in literature.  I think they are living in the tall grass of my yard.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Artnotes: input



Periwinkle Wild Flowers  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  16 x 20"  40 x 50cm  



 ​Butterflies in Outer Space   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  13 x 18"  33 x 46cm  

Red Roses Blue Sky  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  14 x 20"  35 x 50cm



Terra Cotta Plant Rest  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  12 X 10"  30 x 25cm 

I am reading old Jimmy Breslin and much older Montaigne; listening to Elon Musk on Youtube, along with The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins (“it is amazing you were ever born”).  Rai3 Italian radio discusses mosquitoes.  I read all my favorite blogs, deleting the weak ones.   Because it is poor painting weather (too hot and muggy), I am playing inside.  Harika refuses to walk after 7:30 AM or before 7:30 PM.  Blair closes windows, and I open them.

I listened to the late Chris Connell sing Prince’s “Nothing Compares to You”.   I watched the SpaceX launch and re-entry of the reusable rockets.  I am thinking about outer space.  Someone told me Mars used to be like Earth before they had global warming, brought on by volcanoes.  I am unable to verify that bit of information, however.  Fake news abounds, even outside the planet.

With any luck, all the super-rich will fire off into space and leave the planet for those of us who really like it, love it.  Honestly, it seems plausible to me.  If you like to stay in five-star hotels and fly first class, that would be easy to recreate in a space station.  Leave me with the butterflies.

I was thinking this week, after a sober conversation on Sunday about young people and immigrants having no hope, how,  in 1975, I knocked on the door of every business on Cape Cod, looking for a job, starting as soon as we crossed the Sagamore Bridge.  I didn’t get a job until I reached Wellfleet, some 50 miles later.   The person I went with didn’t find a job until Provincetown, yet another 15 miles.  We camped and ate canned food.  Nobody would do that anymore.   But it was proof positive that if you want something, and you keep trying, you will eventually get it.   I inspire myself with that memory.

We’re going away for few days starting tomorrow.  We’re always seeking that illuminated pathway to joy.

Figuring out what it is you want is a mystery.  I think you have to have a specific idea, believe it is true, and it will be, sooner or later.  I want to sell my paintings, and I believe I will.  I may even be a famous and rich artist sometime soon.





Saturday, June 24, 2017

Artnotes: Go, Aunt Franny

 ​Sue's Butterfly Bush   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  13 x 18"   33 x 46cm   250.00

 ​Geraniums Red Gold Green   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  11 x 16"  27 x 41cm  225.00

 ​Jude the Obscure Rose   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  16 x 11"  41 x 27cm 225.00

Bicycle in Modena  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen 11 x 18  27 x 46cm  275.00​

​Really Wild Flowers   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen   11 x 16"  27 x 41cm  225,00



Our friend Kone(co-nay) went back to Mali.  After four years of trying to get to Europe and then two years trying to fit in, he’s gone back to Mali to his wife and child.  He was among the refugees that came through Libya, where they are often imprisoned, or at least held up for a year or two.  Kone just couldn’t hang on here in Italy another day, so he went back to Mali, where young people are regularly kidnapped (both boys and girls) by groups such as Boko Haram. 

I know that the refugees aren’t perfect.  They can seem less than ambitious, and not truthful in the Anglo-Saxon sense.   Customs in French Africa are completely different from English Africa, and the modern United States.  But to spend years striving to make a new life in Italy and then turning back must be very difficult, or a great relief.   Unlike my grandmother's generation, where people found work, and the next generation thrived, I am not sure that is the case, at least here.

It is very hot today.  Yesterday it was more than 100 degrees when we went to the Citroen dealer in Modena to get a second key for our car.  We are leaving our car in our driveway while we are away in America this summer.  With an extra key, someone can start the car from time to time, or move it if a tree falls or the lawn catches on fire.  Already I notice a neighbor’s car with newspapers wrapped around the windshield wipers to protect them from the scorching sun.   With any luck, we’ll come back at the end of August, the weather will be cooler and we can drive into the sunset.

Our house is bearable during the day, but who wants to sit in the house all the time?  Even Harika makes little forays into the yard, gets overheated and retires to the cool dark dining room.  I make a quick trip to pick flowers, then paint them in our shady cabana in the side yard.

We had wonderful guests this week, two teen-aged girls and their Dad.  They were just here for a day, but we fitted in a barbecue, a walk to the Sassi and an Italian lunch.  We talked about everything from expressing our personalities through fashion, to life in San Francisco, to the benefits of Italy.  We played badminton.  As an immigrant, I enjoy these visits and updates from the old country.  They went on to Venice, then to Siena.  Both of those places are slightly hotter than Rocca Malatina.

Kone took my Aunt Franny’s suitcase back to Mali with him.  He needed a carry-on bag, and her red rolling suitcase was perfect.  She always wanted to travel (she wanted to join the WACs), but ended up staying home, being single and taking care of my grandmother (who traveled from Poland to the USA) all her life.  I thought it was fitting her suitcase, which has already traveled to Paris and Italy, should continue on to Istanbul and Bamako, Mali.  Go, suitcase; go Aunt Franny.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Artnotes: It Must Be Italy


Cherries with Turquoise Dish  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  13 x 18"  33 x 46cm


Two Views of the Garden


​View East from Stimigliano  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  16 x 20"  40 x 50cm

 View to the Tiber  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  10 x 20"  25 x 50cm

​Butterflies in the Lavender  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  11 x 16"  27 x 41cm

The Hills with Olive Trees  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  10 x 20"  25 x 50cm

and, the real thing, in photo :

We were disappointed a friend couldn’t make it to visit this week (he may come later) so we took a motor trip ourselves.  A painting friend lent us his villa in the hills outside of Rome.

We stopped halfway at Arezzo (2 hours), where Piero della Francesco’s fantastic frescoes adorn San Antonio’s basilica.  It was the feast of St. Anthony of Padua (the patron saint of my elementary school, in Winsted, Connecticut), so the church was open to all and women were selling rolls at a big table.  For a euro, I got a holy card and a roll.  It was quite lucky, because were we to pay the fee to see the murals with the lights on, it was 11 euros each, and we’d seem them already, just in natural light, which is how they would have been seen when the artist painted them.  Piero della Francesca’s flat footed, carefully drawn figures made me think of Degas.  I hope to pursue that comparison on my own, from pictures, later on.  Afterward, we ate pici with calcio and pepe (big square spaghetti with generous grindings of pecorino romano cheese and fresh, roughly ground pepper), at a nice little restaurant.

It was quite hot on our trip, 100F/38C at times; it is almost as hot where we live.   The pool was still filling, but I managed to dip several times, just to cool off.  Harika loved these gardens, like Monet’s at Giverny, with unobstructed views and no intruders.  We could buy a 600 square foot house (no garden) in Stimigliano for 29,000 euros, only one hour away from Rome by local train.

We went to the MAXXI museum in Rome, designed by Zaha Hadid.  I mostly wanted to see her building, but there was a very good contemporary Architecture show going on, from the museum’s permanent collection.   There was a series of contemporary drawings on antique paper, black and white, which made me think of what I do with my ledgers and ships’ logs.  Also, the installations and the Sol Lewitt work made me realize I am better off thinking myself, without explanations.  After I read the Sol Lewitt description, I couldn’t see the picture anymore.

The next day, we drove a half hour to the palazzo Farnese in Caprarola, but it was so hot we couldn’t feature climbing the steps.  We continued on through groves of hazelnuts (Nutella on the hoof) and went to a nearby lake to swim:  always bring a bathing suit.


Traveling with a dog makes you take the sensible route – on the way home, the three of us ate at the Autostrade restaurant:  arancini, spinach lasagna and red wine.   I’d packed last night’s pork chop for Harika.   We saw a priest in summer white robes near the side of the road with a broken down car: it must be Italy.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Artnotes: TV

 Daylilies   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  24  12"    60 x 30cm
 Red Flowers in Planter  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  non stretched  7 x 13  18 x 33cm

 Geranium  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  non stretched  7 x 12"  18 x 30cm

 Begonia on an Indian Background  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  12 x 12  30 x 30cm

Roses in a Terra Cotta Pot  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  13 x 18"   33 x 46 cm

Blair and I actually watched our Internet TV this week, for the first time since last summer.   We saw and heard Comey testify in front of the Senate committee.  I loved hearing his eloquence:  whole sentences delivered in a calm, deliberate way. 

I have watched other “speeches”, mostly on YouTube, that give me a feeling of belonging, and inspiration.   The Mayor of New Orleans, for one: Emmanuel Macron, president of France (my French language has improved since learning Italian) and Pope Francis (who speaks, slow, easy Italian).  My favorite speech of all time, in person, was given by Jane Goodall.

I have a weekly morning “meeting” on Skype, with a good friend in Paris.  She listens to experts in a number of fields, and often turns me on to them.  This week she was listening to Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba.com.    So, I thought I’d give Jack Ma a whirl.  I had looked on his site, Alibaba, both as a seller (of my paintings) and as a buyer, first of canvases, and, when I was in Paris, I looked for a builder for Monet’s Painting Boat.  I knew nothing of Alibaba's founder.

Jack Ma was rejected from Harvard 10 times.  He ended up attending a humble school in China.  But he had a dream, and never let go of it.  “Never give up” is his mantra.   He’s the 14th richest man in the world, but always felt money was not the only object, but to do something good.  His current desire is to work with young people.  All of this in the context of Alibaba.  “People come to me with new ideas, but I must stay focused.”

Now he says maybe he’ll go to Harvard and lecture.  One of the things he though most important on the road to success was INSPIRATION.  I was [inspired], by him, and I will continue to seek inspiration.

We ate dinner this week at the Faro restaurant, to celebrate our anniversary and a friend’s birthday.  The view from the Faro makes any occasion seem outstanding:  it is among the top four view restaurants I have ever been to.  The food is not bad, either.  I had tortellini in brodo (in broth), because I’d just been to the dentist:  no hard food for 24 hours.  The dentist was able to fashion a filling for my old tooth (80.00), rather than a crown (600.00).  I could have splurged on the savings, had I been able to chew.

Everyone in Rocca Malatina goes out – you can always afford a coffee and visit with the locals.  My summer preference is the shakerato – a coffee with ice and one sugar, made in a martini shaker; I get cold milk on the side, to add.  It’s only a euro. 

I mention this concept of “everyone going out” to our dinner companion.  “It’s because the TV in Italy is so bad,” and she goes on:  “In the UK (where she’s from), and the US, we had good TV shows to watch”.  It made me feel so glad I live in Italy.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Roses in Glass   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  12 x 12  30 x 30cm  


​Freshly Mown and Rolled  Balir Pessemier  Acrylic/linen   13 x 25"   33 x 64cm   



​Roses in the Dark  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/flat canvas  16 x 11"   41 x 27cm    (not stretched -to frame under glass)




​Oranges, Tropea Onions, Garlic   Laurie Fox Pesemier  Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12  30 x 30cm  



​Modern Roses  Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/linen 16 x 11"   41 x 27cm  (to be framed under glass)

​The birds perch at the edges of the lawn, cocking their heads side-to-side; butterflies can’t light – their world, which existed for the past two months, has been destroyed in one fell swoop: The Mower.  Two or three times a summer, the giant mowing tractor, with its sweeping blades, tears across our yard.

Blair and I have mixed feelings about this event.  Pretty much, we like it... it must be done – waist high grass is a fire hazard, and the yard is so much more open when the lawn is shorn.   For several weeks we’ve been eating our lunch (and lately, our dinner) watching the aerial displays of our fellow flying beings.  “Look at that yellow one”; “the bird just dove into the grass” – it’s been a riot of activity out there.  We knew it would come to an end.  Harika’s 2-acre jungle has been leveled.   It all depends on your point of view, I guess.  The yellow feral cat is furious.

We keep our own little lawn mown, with our push mower.  Yesterday we bought electric clippers to neaten up around the flower beds.   A friend brought by two curry bushes, some lavender and carnations.   The “fowl” force, which lives alongside us, is afoot to destroy our planting work.  I fight them with the garden hose.  A local contadina suggested we position thorny rose cane around our plants to fend off chicken – they hate being pricked.  Harika puts the chickens on the run, if she happens to catch them scratching at the expensive roses, or the butterfly bushes.   A white hen came in the bathroom window this morning.  If it wasn’t my house it would be funny. 

Situations are temporary at best – in the life of a butterfly, two months is like two score for us, maybe longer.  It is remarkable how long we humans can stay in a place.  I know people who have lived in a single house all of their lives.  I know others who live on the streets, mostly gypsies.  One of my best New Year’s resolutions was to feel that I was always at “home” regardless of where I was.  It stuck, and like a turtle, I can pull in and make myself cozy, mentally, at least.   Right now, we are planning our foray to the USA for the summer.

My Dad is out of six weeks hospital and rehab; he’s puttering around his apartment once more, with the help of my sisters.  He never wants to leave home.  I offer him a room at Villa Loris, or at least to go on winter vacation together, but he sticks to his patch.  Me, I can’t go more than a few months without a trip.  Venice beckons, and the Biennale.  I am looking forward to jumping in the lake in Connecticut in July.  We have many “side trips” planned.

In a matter of hours, the chickens have discovered the empty yard, so has a big fat jay.  He perches momentarily on one of our yard stakes, and bends it to the ground.  The starlings are having a literal “field” day.  The butterflies are even checking it out.  Blair leaves one little grassy strip long, so they can have a refuge.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Artnotes: Jungle Telegraph

 Single Rose  Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas  16 x 11"  41 x 27cm

 Roses in a Wooden Vase  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  12 x 12"  30 x 30cm   250.00

 Doorway Modena   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  20 x 10"  50 x 25cm

 Cafe Remondini Modena   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  11 x 18"  27 x 46cm   

 Painting near the Conservatory  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  18 x 13"  46 x 33cm 

In Front of the Accademia, Modena   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  13 x 18"  33 x 46cm  

Artnotes:  Jungle Telegraph

We are already at that time of year here when one must stay inside part of the day.  It is so hot and sunny after lunch, we come inside and hole up until after 5.
That isn’t such a bad thing, really.  I read, I finish my indoor chores, I paint a still life.   I am adapting to the Mediterranean lifestyle, even though I am two hours from the sea. 
We moved our outdoor dining table off of the grass onto solid ground in our back yard, to allow more room for badminton.  Or, I should say, we hired the refugees to move the 200 plus pound table top for us.  It was a comedy of errors, but in the end it was done, and we all enjoyed a cool drink afterward and swatted the birdie (shuttlecock) around, now that the table was out of the way.
It is amazing how just slight variations in language can throw us all off:  between English, French and Italian, the project was delayed a day…   A Malian friend tried to explain how that telephone game worked “one person tells, another, tells another, pretty soon the message is lost”.  I try to tell him this is the “jungle telegraph”, but then think better of it.   I appreciate the Africans for their ability to adapt to modifications:  time isn’t important.   Sometimes I think they are closer to the American ideal of life:  they are optimistic and happy.  Laughter comes easily.
When we lived there, I always felt that Tunisians were like Americans, more than they were like the French, who colonized them.  And Americans, despite the roots of Western civilization, are miles away from their European counterparts in personality.   Maybe the difference is the newness of a society.  African countries are relatively young, as is America. 
At school the sub-Saharans tell us how different their women are from North African women.  The Moroccans aren’t there tonight to chime in, but I admit, on a whole, there seems to be a difference, at least in the men.  There is a big discussion in how, in Mali, there are 8 women to every man.  “Look at this room,”   I tell the Senegalese beside me, “all the men are here”.   “Hey, you are right!”  They go on to say it is difficult for women to make this trip.  Some have taken two years to get to Italy.

Blair and I go to the Faro Ristorante for dinner afterward.  The Faro (lighthouse) looks out over the Apennines, Monte Cimone, and out to the (eventual) lights of Modena.  We sit on the deck and the setting rays of the sun turn everything a coral color.  Harika snitches bits of Blair’s stuffed veal, and I feel like we are living in a movie