Saturday, August 08, 2020

Artnotes: Onward!


At Vescovio Last Spring    Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 10 x 14 25 x 35cm   450.00
Our first Sunday Salon complete!  I was touched to the heart by those who participated, offering their expression for all 15 of us to see.  It was great, minus the few zoom glitches which will hopefully be corrected this week (I am late to the game).   We had visual artists, poets, writers and a cook.  Some will return this week along with a few new, and we hope you will join them.
Back of Church at Vescovia  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 12 x 16" 30 x 40cm  450.00
This week, we drove from our house in Roccamalatina, in the cool breezy Apennines, down to our apartment in Stimigliano, near Rome.   You could see the outside temperature rising on the car thermometer.   When we entered our house, it was a hot-box.  I opened the windows (it was evening), turned on the fans, and we went out for dinner.  Harika came, too, and sat on the ground beside us at the Oasis de Vescovio. 
Campanile Vescovia  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  20 x 10"  50 x 25cm  425.00
This restaurant is part of the complex of buildings at Vescovio:  a former bishopry, with an 11th century church and bell tower, a convent and priest’s house, and kind of cloister, which is now outdoor dining for the restaurant.  There is also a coffee shop and gelateria.  Families visit on benches on the lovely grounds beyond, and kids play, dogs walk.  Stations of the cross wind up the hillside where a ruin sits.  Somehow it manages not to feel completely religious, but if you come to Italy, you have to be prepared for a dose of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Waiter   Blair Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas   14 x 10"   35 x 25cm    450.00
The Oasis of Vescovio is one of my favorite restaurants in the world, in the summer.   It’s up there with a porchside affair (Red Fish) in Port Vendres, France; and a Bar serving Oyster Burgers on Willapa Bay  in Washington State.   These are not “star” restaurants, but they have something a Michelin restaurant doesn’t have:  imperfection.  The Oasis of Vescovio is imperfect in the cats who wander about, the children who play near the fountain, the personalities of the owner and the staff… the things that matter because they are unpredictable and honest and natural.  The clam spaghetti is great, along with the lamb chops cooked on the open fire (just ask Harika).     You can’t have those elements when you are too busy turning out a perfect scallop.   Not that I object to a perfect scallop, and eat one whenever I have the chance.
The Red Fish Restaurant  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/panel  10 x 12"  25 x 30 cm  400.00
We went to Stimi because we sold a painting which was in our studio there.  The next morning we drove to Rome to ship it.  Rome was out of this world, simply because we could see so many sites from the air conditioned comfort of our car.  We drove past areas we’d passed before, but never saw on account of the crowds.  It made me look forward to September, when we’ll go back for a while, and drop our coin into the coffers of the Vatican Museums, which is staggering under the dearth of tourists.   Onward!
The Customer   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/wood  10 x 6"  25 x 15cm  175.00

Topic: Pessemier's Sunday Salon
Time: Aug 9, 2020 08:00 PM Rome (2 PM New York, 11 AM Los Angeles)

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Sunday, August 02, 2020

Artnotes: Under the Sprinkler

Flowers on the Porch  Blair Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 14 x 18"  36 x 45cm   425.00
Hell comes to mind as I describe this last week in Roccamalatina, in the Apennines.  It has been in the 90s (33+ in C) for days, except for one powerful electrical storm which knocked out our power and left things feeling like a sauna.  We’ve moved to the ground floor bedroom, which has somewhat improved our sleeping, but it is just too darn hot!  Harika is panting like a banshee.  We are seldom taking walks, only after sunset, at 8:45.   She lies in the shade on the grass.  The bees are crazy for water, sipping from my plants, which inhibits my pruning efforts.
Balcony Arrangement   Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas  15 x 18 " 38 x 46 cm   450.00
I water my flowers in the very early morning.  The oleander seems to be doing best (I’ve seen it growing on the side of the A1 highway outside of Rome, so it’s a trooper). Kale is good, as are the cherry tomatoes.  The peppers might produce.   The geraniums are not forthcoming with buds, and despite frenzied bee activity, my cucumbers only blossom, no fruit.  I had a rash of radishes, which were delicious, but new seedlings are struggling.  Too hot.  Too sunny.  Too much dirty air, even up here.  I’ll talk to them.
By the Sea Tunisia  Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas  9.5 x 13"  24 x 33cm  450.00
What I really want to do is to go swimming.  We went to the Lago della Ninfa (waterlily lake) to lunch outdoors with friends this week.  I wore my swimsuit.  In fact, the “lake” was smaller than a football  (American) field, and was stocked with lazy fish so men could angle around the perimeter.  I was perfectly shocked by the whole thing, but lunch was terrific fun, and I got to say “I can’t believe it” over and over again on the way home.
The Haystack in the Yard   Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas   18 x 15"  46 x 38 cm  475.00
My Zoom painting workshop this week was great despite paint drying on the palette (I am reminded to get a wooden box I can keep wet).  There are things about these Zoom sessions I like as better than in real life – mostly, we’re not limited to the usual plein air acrylic painting.  Today, we can more easily use oils, or pastels, or whatever we like.   We can paint still life, or portraits; we’re drawing, and painting on paper, or using collage.  No sunburn.  The choices are vast.   This week, my fellow painter took photos of her possible subjects, and I matched as closely as I could on my end.   You can see Blair’s and my results.  On Tuesday mornings, I paint while my friend Yukie draws, in France, via skype.
Fishing   Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/wood   12 x 12"  30x 30cm  475.00
I know I will be longing for these warm days in January, but then is then and now is now.  I might sit beneath the lawn sprinkler.

Join us for Pessemier’s Sunday Salon on Sunday 2 August. 
It’s at 8 PM Europe time, 2 PM New York time, and 11 AM in California.    
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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Artnotes: Coming Soon

My First Radish (seeds from Macy)  Laurie Fox  Pessemier Acrylic/antique ledger paper  13.5 x 9.5"  34 x 24cm   250.00
We are creating a new project that is all about EXPRESSION.  You’ve seen so much of our work, it’s time we see some of your creations.  We are providing a venue to share YOUR expression, your ART with the world.

Art is the gift you give to humanity: for us, its the meaning of life.   Seeing or hearing a human creation raises spirits, makes one reflect – it directly affects the life of another.     We once went to the museum of Grock, Europe’s most famous clown, in Imperia, Italy.  On the whole, it was an odd experience, but it affected both of us.  As Grock would say, the clown makes people feel:  not always amusement or laughter, but embarrassment, giddiness, discomfort, gratitude, fear, sadness, happiness.   The clown inevitably elicits some reaction, just by being there.  So it is for art, poetry, music.  And if you are the person destined to carry that into the world, you must.   Here’s your chance.
Bottle Crates  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  11 x 14" 28 x 35 cm   450.00
We are beginning a Sunday Salon.  Online, of course.  People worldwide can participate via Zoom. You need to contact me on email, that I might reserve your space and send you an invite.   The only requirement for entry is to bring your expression.  Art, Poetry, Music, Science, Performance, Comedy, whatever you would like.  You’ll have up to 5 minutes to show and tell – then we’ll have about 5 minutes of chat about it.    At least in the beginning we’ll have an "observer" section, for those who want to join us but aren’t yet ready to put their heart on the line.  
Gladiolas (first time I've seen them bloom!)  Laurie Fox  Pessemier Acrylic/paper 24.5 x 17"  61 x 43 cm   295.00
When we lived in Paris, we had a Salon from time to time.  Our apartment was very small, so there were limitations to what could be shown. This is better:  here, you can feature anything you can capture on your screen, and anyone in the world can apply.  My inspiration for our Salon is the Salon of Louise Bourgeois (late), which took place in NYC for 30 years.  She had two requirements: “You can’t have a cold, and you have to bring your work.” 
Geranium in a Fish Vase    Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas   10.5 x 16"   27 x 41cm    450.00
Please contact me if you want to get involved this project, or if you’re an artist (paint, draw, photography, video – no limits), poet, performer (music, dance, anything) who can participate somehow.  Initially, we’ll have spots for observers, too.   This project is dependent on participation.  This is NOT a sales venue, but an artistic exchange.
Nasturtium   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  11 x 14"  28 x 35 cm  400.00
Our first go will be Sunday 2, August at 8 PM Paris time; 2 PM New York time; 11AM Seattle time.  One might have paintings, or a sculpture; a prize turnip or a trick; a scarecrow or a poem or a dance for rain…  you can tell us about the crucial role of bees, or how you saved a vacant lot.  Give it a try:  we’re growing together.

Please let me know what you think about the Salon?    Artnotes will continue as is.
Oleander in a Wine Basket    Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  20 x 12"  51 x 30cm     450.00

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Sunday, July 19, 2020

Artnotes: Vacation

The Italian Dinner Party  Laurie Fox  Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 16 x 23.5"  41 x 59cm   SOLD
In Stimigliano on Sunday, the heat was remarkable.  The piazza was abandoned when we arrived at about 2; the temperature was in the mid-30s (Celsius), 90s (Fahrenheit).  We hustled down to our apartment where it was slightly cooler, the shutters and windows all closed.  It didn’t take long being there to change that – the sun glaring against the outside wall, and me cooking lunch.   We sat in the dark, moving as little as possible until evening started to fall and we went out to dinner.
Rushes in Lake Vico  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  15.5 x 19.5" 40 x 50 cm   575.00
We went to Stimi to pick up a painting I sold.  We decided to make a few days of it, and made a reservation at a rental house on Lake Vico nearby.  The swimming was divine.  We were the only people in the water, in fact the only people on our little beach.   Although there were other cottages on the property most of those people were only sunning in lounge chairs.  Harika met a new dog there, Ghengis, a wire haired daschund, and the two also waded into the water.  Both thirteen years old, Ghengis made Harika look elegantly long-legged; she could run faster.
Lake Vico from the Porch  Laurie Fox  Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 10.5 x 16"  27 x 41cm   450.00
It was a funky house, beautifully “boned”, with a lovely bath and kitchen. No Ikea.  If we go back there, I am bringing my own lightbulbs (to replace the Airbnb white bulbs):  low energy, but incandescent (like) light.  The house had a broad stone porch where we took our meals, looking out to the water.  It was not too warm, being significantly higher up, and on the water.   There was a professional gas stove, which nobody in charge knew how to use – fortunately, I was able to get it working.   The house was really great, but sadly Airbnb-d (i.e: disposable dishes and “glasses”; glass cabinets all locked off).  They were shocked we ran the dishwasher.  It is not unusual for Blair and I to pack in our own dishes, silverware and accessories (napkins, candles). They did have good knives.
Hazelnut Trees  Blair Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas   7 x 9"  16 x 20cm  355.00
The heat is a genuine force, the further south one goes in Italy.  In Stimigliano, everyone comes out at night and sits in the square.  They are like so many birds perched artistically around the perimeter.  It is part of what attracted us to buy our house there.  In fact, Stimigliano gets significant breezes; were our house not part of the walls of the hilltop borgo, the heat might be tolerable.  It’s perfect in the winter, and maybe someday we will get used to sleeping all day and coming out for the nighttime.
Mixing Cocktails  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  20 x 12"  50 x 30cm  450.00
The house on Lake Vico backed up to hazelnut groves.  We walked among the trees, dappled with bright sun on red ground.  It felt like a vacation.
Hazelnut Grove   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  8 x 19.5"  20 x 50cm 450.00

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Artnotes: Stop for a Swim

Old Fashioned Rose (smells divine!)  Blair Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 12 x 12"  30 x 30cm  450.00
It was truly a summer week.  Lots of planting (I know, it’s late) and watering, Harika seeking shade, me thinking about swimming… 
Wild(ish) Rose   Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas  16 x 10.5" 41  x 27 cm   475.00
Italians really don’t swim, which I find shocking in a country three quarters of which is surrounded by water.  In fact, they call swimming in lakes or streams “wild swimming” and I was advised by locals not to attempt it.  Sure, there are a few mavericks, swimming mostly in pools; but I have always felt if fish can’t survive in that water, neither can I.
I can’t recall a summer where I didn’t swim (wildly!) at least two or three times, even in Seattle, where it’s really too cold. 
Red Geranium on Blue Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas  20 x 8"  50 x 20 cm  490.00
I have been painting via Zoom this week, with my friend Yukie (Instagram: illustratorinparis).  She and I set up our phones on tripods/selfie sticks, and paint similar subjects.   I have been painting roses from my yard.  We chat as we paint and sketch.  It’s fabulous. 
Yukie's Drawing, me on Zoom
That said, I have had to curtail my evening internet time.  For some months I have had difficulty sleeping.  It isn’t the usual world-coming-to-an-end anxiety that has been keeping me awake.  It is as though I have a buzzing in my head which won’t stop.   When a friend mentioned she was feeling better after a weekend offline, it occurred to me maybe it was what was wrong with me.  In fact, shutting the computer at 6PM, I’ve had two sleepful nights.
Three Sketches while Nina Simone sings 'My Sweet Lord"   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/old sheet music   13.5 x 10"  34 x 25cm    The set 250.00
We have found, near our Rome apartment, a house rental (for just 3 days) on Lake Vico.  It’s a small, deep volcanic lake: a miniature Crater Lake (Oregon).  Coincidentally, we must go pick up a painting I sold (The Black Madonna) which is in Stimigliano.  Seeing we’re driving that far, why not stop for a swim?
Ready for a Swim   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acryic/canvas  14 x 11"  35 x 27.5cm     400.00

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Artnotes: the Message

Daterino Tomatoes in a White Dish   Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas10 x 18"  25 x 45cm   525.00
It’s very hot summer here in Italy, punctuated with electrical storms.  I like thunder and lightning, and find it more exciting than fireworks.   It’s like a celebration (or hissy-fit) of the gods, and it’s always good for getting my attention. 
The celestial light display began around one last night, and continued for what seemed like a couple of hours. Through the screen in the window, I can see to brilliant blue-white flashes outside.  The storm was never closer than a mile or so away last night, but rumbles shook the window panes in their frames.
Life is a Bowl of Cherries  Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas   8x 12 " 20  x 30 cm   425.00
Tunisia, home to Harika, our pup, and where we lived in 2007-8 had the most impressive storms I ever saw.  We lived on the beach, and would watch the mounting waves and hear the thunder for a good 6-8 hours at a time.   The rain was ferocious, and would flood streets and gutters and it wasn’t unusual for people to be washed away.    A storm was how we “rescued” Harika – she was sitting in water under an overturned boat in the sand.  We covered ourselves with plastic, and ran onto the beach to check on her.     She was seriously unamused to be brought to our house (she’d never been inside a building before) and would have preferred to sit in the driving rain, thunder and lightning.   The next morning, she took off like a shot for the beach and the boat.
The Bee Bar (bees drink water from the hole in the base) Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas  18 x 10  "  45 x 25 cm  550.00
The best single storm we ever experienced was at Hemlock Lodge, on Highland Lake, in Connecticut.  We went there every summer for eighteen years, to visit my late parents and my sisters.   High on the hill, the lake and the surrounding wood were targets for lighting.  One night, when we were on our porch with Sal and Kat, lighting struck the lake and filled the air with a brilliant blue glow.  It was like a communication from the universe.
Lighting in the Night  Laurie Fox Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas   8 x 13"  20  x 32cm  375.00
Just above where we live now in Rocca Malatina, the storms are more impressive.  Our lightning rod on this house has only be hit once, knocking out power, which was easily restored.  The air was much cooler this morning, and my flowers are all nicely watered.  Harika no longer prefers to stay out during the storms.   I still wait for a message from the universe.

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