Sunday, November 22, 2020

Artnotes: A New Barbecue

 

Turtle Speed  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/paper  17 x 25"  41 x 63cm  325.00
Cooking.  I have been cooking a lot, for Blair and me and Harika.  I miss having guests, not that I was entertaining very much: three people at most this summer/fall.  Now, with Emilia Romagna in the orange zone,  zero.
Partridge in a Pear Tree  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/paper  17 x 25"  41 x 63cm  325.00
 
The upstairs of the house is closed off (to save on heat), and has since become the root cellar.  The stairs are the shelves resplendent with squashes and lemons; onions and cabbages.  For lunch today we had Mongolian beef (really, there’s nothing Mongolian about it).  It made me think of my father and the China Buffet restaurant he loved to go to.  The waitresses there were always so kind to him.  I can’t imagine it can still operate.
Grapefruit   Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/paper  17 x 25"  4` x 63cm  325.00  
We’ve made oodles of fruit jams, marmalades and chutneys.  My favorite is the pink grapefruit with a hint of cinnamon and cardamom.  We used apples and pears from the yard, and already ate all the peach jam.
Three French Hens  Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  13 x 16"  33 x 41cm  450.00
This food collecttion makes me think of Thanksgiving – the vegetables grown all summer are ready, insistent on being eaten.  We are alone for Thanksgiving this year, thankful for just being alive and hoping to stay that way.  We’d planned to go to the restaurant Zanzara, in the Po Delta and eat seafood, but it won’t be this year.

 
Four Calling Birds    Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/paper 17 x 25"  41 x 63cm  325.00
I am surprised Thanksgiving is still celebrated, in the land where they topple Christopher Columbus statues.  In any case, breaking bread seems like a wonderful idea.  I would love to dine with each and every one of you.
Picnic   Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 18 x 24"  41 x 63cm  550.00
Looking toward the future, we are planning a European artists gathering here, with a German friend who summers in Zocca.  I’m polishing up the easels, and looking for July recipes.  Maybe I’ll buy a new barbecue.

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Sunday, November 15, 2020

Artnotes: Celebrating NOW

 



Leaves and Berries  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/paper 17 x 25"  41 x 63cm  325.00
The fog has rolled into Roccamalatina: one can barely see across the street.    It’s a yearly occurrence starting in November, and adds a spot of intrigue.  Lights glow softly from houses, bars, and passing cars.  I decided to hang the Christmas lights on the front porch.
Fall View   Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  18 x 15"46 x 38cm  450.00
It wasn’t just the fog that got me going.  Across our side street, a man was getting his fir trees topped and trimmed.  “Wow,” I said to Blair, “that would make a great Christmas tree.”  After walking Harika, Blair stopped by the tree trimming site.  He came home with lots of branches, and the tree trimmer himself carried over the tree.
The tree-trimmer fears there will be “no Christmas” this year – “that’s why I am celebrating now,” I told him.  Chance encounters with the tree trimmer, the dog walkers, the curious passers-by are a part of life I really like:  talking to people different than me. 
Chance Encounter Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  13 x 17"  33 x 41 cm  450.00
We decided to stand the tree outside.  It’s at least nine feet tall.  We have a gazillion apples and pears lying about the yard.  I push a wire through the core of the fruit to create a new “hanging” stem.  I found a nice bunch of hop vines to make a garland. Fading fall roses add color.   It’s an ongoing project.  I love that kind of adventure, finding doodads at the side of the road that I can bring home and hang on the tree. 
Fall Decoration  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 32 x 24"  81 x 61cm  625.00
I talk to people every day, via skype or zoom, or some device.  My absolute favorite interaction is Sunday night with the Salon – so many fellow non-linear-thinkers (aka artists) kibitz on zoom.    But there is nothing like bumping into a new body in person.  My favorite encounters include talking to a piano player (we shared a favorite song, “Just a Gigolo”) in Virginia Beach, Virginia; our late friend, Bill, asking a girl on the Paris subway, “what do you like best about your neighborhood?”;  picking up a black woman standing under a bridge on a rainy highway and driving her 200 miles to Greensboro, NC.   These things just aren’t happening right now.
Emilia Romagna has gone “orange” for Covid alert.  All restaurants and bars will be closed except for takeout.  The pizza house owner, across the street, having sold us a pizza just two weeks ago, is dead from Covid.  We can’t leave our community.   Walking is discouraged, although luckily we have Harika.  Who knows, maybe I’ll find a new decoration?
 


Don't forget our Sunday Art Salon, every Sunday, Forever.  Bring your  expression, whatever that may be, and share it with the group.   Some art we've enjoyed:  visual arts (painting, sculpture, film), poetry, prose, philosophy, cooking, crafts (knitting, crocheting, sewing, gardening).   We would love to see/hear more and would love to include:  music, dance.   We screen share or perform live.   BRING ART FRIENDS.

You will have a few (5-ish) minutes to show your work, and we'll ohh and ahh for another few.... 

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Sunday, November 08, 2020

Artnotes: So Much in Common

 

Dinner in the Restaurant  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas    30 x 54"  76 x 137cm  stretched (ready to hang) 925.00   unstretched 725.00
Champagne, the real stuff:  A Piper Heidsieck (from the limited choice (2) at the Conad Supermarket) is waiting in the refrigerator for guests to arrive at 1 and celebrate.   I am thrilled the be celebrating the softly spoken word “Patience”; about once again embracing Science, and  not thinking about red states and blue states, but the United States, with liberty and justice for all.  Hip hip hooray.  (with due caution).
 
Nasturtiums in the Dark    Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas   11 x 14"  28 x 35cm  450.00
Of course, I didn’t reach this zen state right off the bat.  I was up at 2:30 AM on Wednesday, unable to rest.  I even canceled a meeting that day I was so agitated.  I wasn’t upset so much about the result of a democratic election, but the fact that I was so out of pace with how so many people thought and felt.  Virtually half of my fellow US citizens feel so differently than I do.
Kone in the Top Hat  Blair Pessemier Acryiic/canvas    13 x 10"  33 x  25cm   425.00
It doesn’t help that we’re mildly locked down here in Italy once again.  I have no one to “shoot the breeze” with – no one to comfort my doubts.   Restaurants are mostly closed, all after 6PM.   Nobody can be out from 9PM until 5AM without good reason.   When we take Harika for her last walk of the day, we are the only people on the sidewalk.     Things are pretty depressing, in fact.   
Pomegranates from our Tree  Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas   11 x 14"  28 x 35cm   425.00
We considered a trip to the sea, but thought better of it.  Instead, we drove 20 minutes to the river, and were gobsmacked at the beauty of the fall color.  We took photographs and walked along the banks of the Panaro.  Harika and I unfortunately got tangled up in burrs, which covered her feet and eventually her face when she tried to pick them off; I had them all over my skirt and stockings.  I don’t know how Blair managed to avoid them.  After that episode and subsequent burr removal, Harika was safely ensconced in the car, as Blair and I walked further in the bright sunshine.
I got a new book this week, that I’d been waiting for for a while (Covid delays -- yeah, sure): five decades of short stories by Irwin Shaw.  I specifically wanted to read the “80 Yard Run”, cited as one of the best bits of writing in the last century.  It is a fine piece of writing, but that story and so many others in the book are very “masculine”.  Blair and I both read 80 Yard Run, and to hear us talk, you would think it was a different book.  I am so surprised how differently we could see things.  And it made me think, how different we ALL see things.   In discussing that difference, there is huge learning and progress in our lives.  On the other hand, by focusing on how much we both like to read and appreciate literature, we have so much in common.
Napoleone:  Leaders Series  Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas  16 x 8" 40 x 20cm  425.00

Pessemier's Sunday Salon
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Sunday, November 01, 2020

Artnotes: To See Other People

 

The Spice of Life  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  14 x 10.5"  35 x 27cm  425.00
We press on with our indoor endeavors.  It isn’t so bad, really, being inside here in Roccamalatina, MO, Italy.  The house is large, and we can spend time in the yard.  We eat lunch outdoors almost every day, on the sunny side of the house.   Harika keeps an eye out for peddlers, who come at least once or twice a week.
In the Front Yard  Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  21.5 x 15"  55 x 38cm  470.00
I enjoy them, actually, even though I grouse at their intrusion.  This week, from Mustafa (whose real name is Abdullah, he told us over wine and part of our lunch one day.  “We’re not eating pork, are we?”), we bought one of those polar fleece neck scarves/hat with drawstring; a speaker for our telephone/music system; and three pair of socks one hopes make it through the wash. Three main peddlers serve us:  Mustafa, who is Moroccan; another Moroccan, Ali, who gets me scarves and things to order; and Innocent, the Nigerian who deals heavily in little cotton throw rugs.   There’s another Moroccan with a car – I just sent him on a search for antique ledgers and ships logs.  He can go to places I can’t – he’s young, healthy, wears a mask.  Another looks Peruvian, but I suspect he is indigenous  North African– he never speaks but writes down numbers and often has sleeveless black t-shirts I like.  I have asked them to sell my artwork, but they all worry someone will think they stole it. 
I look at the peddlers like flies during meditation:  they bring us to a different awareness
Top Hat on an Antique Ledger Page   Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic wood block/antique paper 9 x 12"  20 x 30cm  150.00
Innocent, the Nigerian, is my favorite because he is cheerful and has the best merchandise.  He never whines, although once in a while he’ll say “I need 20 today, can you help me?” and we take 5 pairs of scissors.  He sold us red gardening gloves and shrub trimmers and at least 4 rugs by now.  I look at these purchases, often out of line for price, as a way of contributing to people without simply giving them money.
Almost Frozen Cherry Tomatoes  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  7.5 x 10"  19 x 25cm  250.00 (not stretched)
I got a mailer in the mailbox this week for getting food delivered from a nearby restaurant.  It has certain appeal, but really I want the delivery person to stay and eat with us.  It’s WHY I go to most restaurants:  to see other people.
Thanksgiving with the Immigrants   Blair Pessemier   Private Collection
Several Thanksgivings ago, we invited all the immigrants in the area for dinner.  We numbered more than 20.  The sub-Saharan Africans were all dressed in the inimitable way people from that part of the world can: tight fitting jackets, ties, short-ish pants, a top hat.  A Moroccan woman brought a huge couscous with vegetables, which we ate in addition to our stuffed turkey.   The women and children sat in the kitchen and the men sat in the dining room.  EVERYTHING was eaten, and we went en troupe for walk afterward.
 

INVITING All Artists to present their Work: 


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Laurie Pessemier is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Join Zoom Meeting

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Artnotes: A Bright Smile

 

Last Zinnias 2020  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  10.5 x 14"  27 x 35cm  425.00
I am making a Dijon and Mustard Beef Stew today.  It’s a dish I used to make many years ago, and on a cold and foggy morning, it seemed just right.   We’ll have a butternut squash soup starter, and gnocchi alongside.  Blair is making an apple and pear crumble for dessert from fruit in our yard.   We’re having three guests, all of whom wear masks and social distance.  Lea, the dog is coming, and although there are times both she and Harika, our dog, should wear muzzles, they’ll go naked today.  I’ll leave the back door to the dining room open to the outside.
Yellow Tree  Laurie Fox Pessemier  canvas panel  12 x 12"  30 x 30cm  450.00
We both got haircuts and teeth cleaning this week in anticipation of lockdowns.  Harika gets her teeth cleaned soon.  There’s a new, easier anesthesia for dogs, so I am not too worried.   We can all smile at one another… waiting to be able to get out to play.
Apricot Tree   Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  14 x 10.5"  35 x 27cm  450.00
We made a foray to the cheese shop in Rosola this week.  It’s only about 20 minutes away and it’s purported to be the best Parmesan in the world (Parma’s just a little more than an hour from us).  Rosola is a beautiful setting outside of Zocca, and the caseificio is surrounded by grand Modenese cows.  These enormous white cows give a special fatty milk ideal for making cheese in the Parmigiana style.  Harika and I milled around outside, admiring the bovine contingent, because only one person at a time can go into the little store.
Yellow Tree  Laurie Fox Pessemier  canvas panel  12 x 12"  30 x 30cm  450.00
I’ve been in there many times.  Whenever we went to the USA we’d bring vacuum wrapped wedges of the cheese.  There are several types to chose from:  aged 12, 24 or 36 months.   The cheese has an almost nutty flavor, and crumbles delightfully.   The chef at Francescana mixes it with beef to give his hamburger the umami quality.   The older cheeses are perfect for eating by themselves, or with a drop or two of well aged basalmic vinegar on top.  I can hardly control myself as I write this!
 
Red and Yellow    Laurie Fox Pessemier  canvas panel  12 x 12"  30 x 30cm  450.00
Although I don’t really like fall as a season, I am happy to be able to use my stove again.  Buon Appetito!

INVITING All Artists to present their Work: 


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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Artnotes: Fly Away

 

First Snow 2020  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  20 x 27.5"  50 x 70 cm  625.00
On our walk this morning in Rocca Malatina, we saw the snow covered peak of Monte Cimone, and its white foothills.  Harika enjoyed a bite of grass gelato, frosty tufts growing in the shade near the edge of our yard.  This was a mighty brief autumn season; time to leave the North.
Last Flowers in the Yard   Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  12 x 16"  30 x 40 cm  450.00
Although our two houses are less than four hours apart, it’s amazing how different the regions are.   Up here in the mountains we have a few close friends; in the outskirts of Rome, we have lots of people who say, “welcome back”, and are crazily happy to see us.  It’s not so cold near Rome, although we’ve had some rainstorms.  People around Rome seem to hate rain, and will rarely venture out in it.  Having lived in Seattle and Paris, I love to feel that soft wetness on my face.

When I was a product demonstrator at Frederick & Nelson’s department store in Seattle, I used to have a large following of older ladies, who would visit, and watch me cook, and chow down the results.  One woman, Mirielle, was a beautiful French septuagenarian who wore tightly cinched full skirts and kept her shiny black hair in a chignon.  She would tell me about Paris, and how her first memory was of rain on her face when she was in her baby stroller.  My favorite story was how it was her job to take out the family’s trash after dinner each evening; on the backstairs an older man in the building taught her how to kiss.
Time for a Hat   Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  11 x 14"  28 x 36cm  450.00
We visited with our Dutch/French friends in Stimigliano  for a few days.  They all came by the studio and looked at our work; we sold a painting.  It encouraged me to open the studio on Sunday, when a couple from Civita Castellano came by and invited us to participate in an art show there this coming year. Stimigliano, although not on a particular tourist route, gets lots of visitors from the region on the weekend.  I have met so many new people that way, although this virus has put the kibosh on developing serious friendship.
Blair and I started (and even finished) a number of house projects.  We’ve relocated our dining room to what used to be a second bedroom (honestly, will we ever have guests again?) with the view and balcony.  We painted it a fresh green color, and it’s perfectly delightful with our olive wood dining table. 
Painting on a large scale is as satisfying to me as painting on a canvas.  It is amazing how much a coat of beautifully colored paint can make a difference.  Obliterating those white walls makes me feel great.  I repainted my studio doors in a sky/turquoise blue and a dozen brilliantly colored butterflies. I feel I could fly away with them.
 

INVITING All Artists to present their Work: 


Pessemier's Sunday Salon
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Weekly on Sunday  No Reservation Necessary


Laurie Pessemier is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85625088767?pwd=WldKRk9VbUVITWtRS0FFK2JwdGEwQT09 Meeting ID: 856 2508 8767 Passcode: 887182

If you would like to remote paint with us, sign up on www.pessemierworkshops.com