Saturday, February 18, 2017

Artnotes: Pippistrello

The days are much longer here in Rocca Malatina than they were before we left. 

The house was positively frigid upon our return – the furnace had some sort of problem and shut off.  Despite being here for three days, the interior temperature has still not reached 68 (20C).  I move around with a little electric heater and my fur coat.

It’s good to be back.  Almost all the neighbors are happy to see us, and we’re “in” at the cafĂ©.  We’re planning our summer garden, to accommodate badminton and croquet:  a few shade trees, and flowers a la Monet.  Ah, Spring…

I bought the most beautiful lettuces today:  red, cream colored, green, red stripe.  The greengrocer, originally from Naples, has started selling me on the paint-ability of his product.  “This would be beautiful in a “natura morta””.  Mini-artichokes, interesting peppers – the fruits of the south are coming into ripe.

Which brings me to the harbinger of said season:  a Pippistrello.  You may not think of the lowly BAT as a sign of spring, but he’s out of hibernation!  Early this morning there was a bang in the library.  Harika was afoot, barking like a banshee.  We got up, I followed her into the red bedroom, and whoosh.  A bat.

Isn’t pippistrello just the most wonderful word?  Blair opened a window and he escaped.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Artnotes: Leaving Monday

View from Rinascenti   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas   12 x 12   30 x 30cm  
View from above San Domenico  Laurie Fox Pessemier  11.5 x 8"  30 x 20 cm 

Salt at Nubia   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  11.5 x 19.5"  30 x 50cm

Salt Pyramids     Acrylic/canvas  11.5 x 19.5"  30 x 50cm

Mending the nets at Aspra   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  23.5 x 31.5   60 x 80cm

At Piazza Magione   Acrylic/canvas  11.5 x 19.5"  30 x 50cm

 House at Piazza Magione   Acrylic/canvas  11.5 x 19.5"  30 x 50cm

Palm along the waterfront   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12"  30 x 30cm

I am feeling nostalgic for Palermo even before I leave.  Not this apartment, certainly, not even the neighborhood, but rather for the atmosphere of Sicily.

We painted today in the Piazza Magione.  It is a large area that includes more than just the “piazza” – it is an extended grassy park, once a World War II “carpet bombing” site (General Patton liberated Palermo from the Germans and from Mussolini, in its most recent war).  The basilica of the Magione was restored, and the church of St Francis; but the rest of the half-standing buildings did not benefit from the Marshal Plan Funds, which were confiscated by the Mafia for “development” (of their own homes).  Many Italians just abandoned the area, even owners of once fine palazzos.   The people who stayed chined bits and pieces together, and now the neighborhood has a very specific charm.  The result is not just the half standing bombed out church, but a house that has been built onto the back of the ruin. 

At 9:30 this Saturday morning men were out drinking coffee at stands, others walking their dogs.   Two stray dogs came my way – I thought it odd how close they walked together, but one was blind.  He seemed to stare at my picture with his white eyes, to the point when one of my many onlookers commented on his interest. 

Blair and I have started to attract interest in our work:  yesterday one of the contactors on a building near where we park our car asked Blair if he would be interested in restoring an ancient frieze in the building.  “We’re leaving Monday” Blair told him.