Sunday, August 21, 2016

Community

 ​Procession   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic on canvas   27 x 39"     69 x 100cm

 ​Fig Tree    Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic on canvas  12 x 20"   30 x 50cm
​Cosmos  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  20 x 8"   50 x 20cm 

“ …the essential element for the human condition of joy is community”  Viktor Car, a friend, wrote me in an email this week.  

He’s convinced, like me, that Italy is all about community and communication.   As Harika and I sat on the bench waiting for Blair at the grocery store (one of the few places she’s not welcome), a man came and asked if he could share my bench.  He started in about who used to live in our house.  Before we knew it, a lady came to sit on the other side.  

That kind of casualness doesn’t always come naturally;   I am from the land of “fences make the best neighbors”.   But when I cast New England aside, I can be quite happy sitting on a sunny bench, and later, getting up.

I called G in Modena this week when I was feeling rather blue.   He is someone I can talk to without receiving unsolicited advice, comment, et cetera.  Of course, the conversation began with the blues, but as I talked and talked I realized just how fantastic and positive my life is. 

We show our artwork (did I tell you we had a lawn show last weekend?).  We meet amazing people.  I actually talk to them and understand them speaking to me in Italian.   Artists find us, and say, you are Van Gogh!  It is too wonderful.  M makes me a new coffee drink.  C, such a deep character, likes me.   I feel loved in Rocca Malatina.  

But feeling loved is realizing you are separate, and that love lasts only as long as you connect, maybe just a brief laugh, a hug.   One must get out there and participate.   It  isn’t always perfect, either.  E, our neighbor’s 80-something-year-old aunt, says, “when are you going to start speaking Italian?”  I am crestfallen.  But the next day she plucks at my skirt, asking, “are you going dancing tonight?  Tango?”  She tango-ed several numbers at the Ferragosto festivities, dancing with a contemporary to polkas, waltzes and mazurkas.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not keen on communal living   I need to feel separate once in a while, especially to do my artwork.  The painting workshops are ok, because I am with other artists for a short time; but a clear road, free of social obligation, is essential for creativity.   That’s what winter is for.

Here is another thing I’ve been working on:  www.pessemierworkshops.com

Monday, August 15, 2016

Benissimo

Oleander on the patio   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  12 x 16"  30 x 40cm

 Plums Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  12 x 16"  30 x 40cm
 
Keeping cool in the shade  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  12 x 20"  30 x 25cm

 It’s been a rocky landy here in Italy.   We had to drive ourselves from Milan to Rocca Malatina (3.5 hours after our overnight flight (9 hours)) in our un-airconditioned car on Tuesday, and the house, while intact, was not the way we left it.   I actually had to use the anger-management app on the Internet to settle myself down.  A healthy dose of scotch whiskey didn’t hurt, either.

It’s the weekend of Ferragosto, a big Italian holiday – last year we met new friends on this day, and are forever thankful.  This year, we’ve dragged all of our paintings onto the front lawn (how many people do you know with 16 easels?) and have hung our ArT flag.  We have met artists from Naples and Rome, a sculptress from just 5 miles away, and a few other curious souls.   I love doing this – do you remember Hitchcock’s “The Trouble with Harry” (Shirley McClaine’s first role)   We’re about to be discovered.

Last evening we went to a picnic at our Italian teacher’s house, with all our fellow students.  We’re the boring ones – they come from places like Mali and Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Morocco… they played drums and danced, and I felt like I was far, far away.

There will be fireworks tonight.  I wonder if they will be the new silent kind, meant to not disturb animals?  My animal doesn’t care for them, but is not as traumatized as some.  Our Jack Russell, 30 years ago, required sedatives.  

We had a new dog over here yesterday, Blanca.  She’s a white German shepherd, a “Swiss” shepherd from Serbia.  I think she weighs about 30 pounds.  Our friend dropped her into my arms, and she had that soft puppy feel and smell. I am happy to be part of her early life – we’ll always be friends now.

Harika remembers everyone from her early pack.  On our trip to the USA this year, we visited K and L, who were the first people Harika met in America.  She’s crazy about them, and we are too.  We were only in the DC area  for a day, but saw:  the new Immanuel Chapel in Alexandria, Virginia (fabulous! No expense spared, down to the candle holders); the National Cathedral in Washington, DC; and the Phillips collection, where, incidentally, the directors wore pinstripe suits.  

Each of those experiences deserves a full paragraph, at least.   At the Phillips Collection, we sat before Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party”, feeling like we were there.   There is a Milton Avery room at this lovely little museum, an absolute delight.   Marjorie Phillips’ evening baseball scene (the Washington Senators) hangs in the stairwell.   A woman interviewed us, wondering if we would like to have a special “app” to better understand the museum:  NO NO NO we told her – nothing could improve the spark that Renoir left for us.

We have one foot in the USA and the other here in Italy, but we’re leaning into this side.   Benissimo!

Friday, August 05, 2016

Thinking of Modena

Modena   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  25 x 27"  

North American Vacation



Clouds over Highland Lake   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  11 x 14"

 Across the Lake   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  12 x 24"
 ​"Buffalo" on the Detroit River  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  11 x 14"
 Bulk Loader   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/wood  4.5 x 14"
Photo of Dalhousie Lighthouse(s) Lake Ontario

“Uh, oh…the GPS doesn’t work in Canada”.  So Blair and I began our bumbling vacation through the North American wilderness.   We were on our way to Detroit (Blair’s family reunion), and decided to make the break in the journey at Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls is one of my favorite places on earth (I guess I could skip “on earth”, because I haven’t made the moon trip yet).  We stayed at a hotel terribly far from the falls – no scale on the “bookings” map.   So that afternoon, instead of visiting the falls we went to the lighthouses on Lake Ontario.
I was surprised at the sandy beach with trees nearly up to the water’s edge.  The lake was shallow and Harika and I had a gander in our street wear.  Two wooden lighthouses illuminated the edge of the peninsula, just before you took your boat through the locks.  

The next morning, at 7 AM, we headed to Niagara – FABULOUS.  Nobody is there at 7:30 in the morning, save a very few Asian tourists.   We were able to feel the vapors:  for me, the energy of the moving water, the air, gravity infuse me with great motivation.  I feel, like Tesla, I could electrify the world.   We ate breakfast on a terrace overlooking the falls.

When I say we went to Detroit, it was really the greater Detroit area.  Hardly anyone lives in Detroit, and we were able to make an “unguided” tour of parts of the city.  Blair and I always thought it would be interesting to invest our time in a dilapidated house, which Detroit is famous for.   Instead, our trip “off the tourist route” was sobering – it was way beyond any project we could undertake.  

Architecturally, there were some beauties, sadly ruined from years of disuse and vandalism.
The reunion itself took place on the banks of the Detroit river.   Huge bulk-loaders passed by, allowing a quick brush at most.   We loved that.
Our route home took us to see dear friends in Toronto.   It was an easy jaunt from Detroit.  Our friends are art buyers of many styles, ages – a few Pessemiers hang on their walls.   He is now produces a terrific blog/newsletter about the Toronto Blue Jay’s games, in a sports writing style  (  http://longballstories.com/­ ).  We ate lunch, and planned a new route back.

We drove by the Thousand Lakes, and plan to spend a little longer there next year.   We passed over the metal bridge in the long golden rays of the late afternoon.   Our trip is in it’s final days, and we look forward to next year.   

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Paintings from the Porch SALE

All the paintings, shown below, are on sale now for $125.00 each, freight included USA (europeans, I'll carry them back for you; australia/asia subject to a small freight addition).  Some are framed, and frames are included.  Refer to number on painting when ordering, or copy image to your email.  The size is also listed.  

There are many more paintings on our porch. on Highland Lake in Winsted, CT.   We will be there most of the time from Thursday through Sunday -- if we happen to be out, climb up the hill across the street from the lake onto the porch on the house on the left  (there's a cigar box if you buy something. or you can mail us a check or pay with paypal).

I also have a bunch of paintings on wood which I'll be sending to you in the next day or two.

THANK YOU!!!!


































Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Madison Art Show

We will be at the Madison Art Show and Sale on July 22nd and 23rd from 10- 5 p.m. The show, in a tent on Wall Street, adjacent to the Scranton Memorial Library will be held rain or shine. 

See you at the show!



Laurie and Blair 860.733.9483

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Hat

The Top Hat  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Block Print   75.00  8.5 x 14”

“I just love these events,” the man from Warren announced.  “I have rarely left Massachusetts, but I enjoy hearing everyone’s story.”   

We rented a stand (for two days) at the world famous Brimfield Market this week, and sold 16 paintings.   It’s a far cry from the 200+ remaining in our storage locker, but we still have three weeks to go.
Posies on a Dark Background  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  11 x 14 

The Brimfield Antique Market is a study in humanity.  Our stand was situated between a man from New Jersey selling Victorian reproduction armor, and a fellow who chewed (and spat!) tobacco, selling everything from license plates to top hats, old lawn furniture and cheap framed engravings.   The fellow across from us featured fur coats (a hard sell in 95+ degree, humid weather) and antique wheel chairs. 
The lake felt especially good after these excruciatingly hot days.   The water has been warming up.  I don’t experience that quick intake of breath any more as I slide in. 

Lifeguard takes a break  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  16 x 20” 

Long time friends stopped by Hemlock Lodge this weekend – we ate salads and fish, champagne and red wine – anything to not run the stove too long.   We sat on the porch in rocking chairs awaiting the occasional cool breeze.   We all jumped in the lake – swimming next to Bob, I said “I feel like we are sixteen again”.   In water, one doesn’t notice a slightly larger midriff and an achy knee.   I am swimming twice a day as Harika looks on from shore.
My cousin and a friend visited our stand at Brimfield just as we were getting ready to leave.  He and his girlfriend paint, and looked lovingly at each and every picture.  They bought one.  We are planning to paint together up by the lake.   Another friend, a sculptor, hopes to show with us next summer.  They have a house near Brimfield, and we’ll all stay together.   Meanwhile, Alma may take my paintings to market in May and September.
Cubana  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Blockprint  12 x 8.5” 

I loved seeing people, hearing everyone’s story from my side of the tent .   While there is the urge to earn money, just talking to people about what they do, what they are planning, their dream trip to Italy, is quite satisfying.  One veteran tells me,  “Before I boarded my Navy ship later that day, I gave my last waiter, who treated me like an Italian native, all of my Italian money.” 



PS.  Meanwhile, we’re having our famous “porch show” at 423 West Wakefield Boulevard, on Highland Lake, Winsted, CT    

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Point of Reference

  
View from Giselle (the boat)  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  16 x 20"  

This past week we picked up friends from their boat in Rhode Island and drove them back to their home on Long Island.  I think it was one of the most beautiful routes we have ever driven.  We took the ferry from New London to Orient Point, on Long Island.  Blair, Harika and I sat outside, on the deck of the boat, in the fresh air.  We passed the former light house that looks like a miniature Victorian building --   really it is as big as a normal house, but there is no point of reference out in the ocean.

We drove by farm stands and fish stores, stocking up on steamers for dinner.   The sun took on that deep golden hue one sees by the sea.   Thick air, very warm.  

Our friends have a delightful home, handmade of bits of wood.   Harika chased the goose.  We talked about what we are doing,  politics (of course, impossible to avoid) and getting older.  Thinking about getting older is against my better judgement:  the most successful old people I know NEVER think about being old.   We know people as old as 102, and they never stopped doing the things they always did:  playing bridge, going to art openings, having fun.  And I can’t tell if they had a shaky bit in their 60s and 70s.   I don’t think so.

Ship   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Linocut/ship log paper   12 x 16"   

On Wednesday, we painted from our friend’s boat.  A big supporter of our Monet painting boat idea, we made a “shake down” cruise on his sailboat.  The sun was a little too hot, but the basic idea was wonderful.    It will take some getting used to, but I am going to find a new route to realize the idea.

We are searching for that perfect new art show.  Later in the month we’ll have our “porch show” on Highland Lake in Winsted.  Meanwhile, we will be at the Madison Connecticut Scranton Library show on 22-23 July from 1-5 PM.   We went to the Elephant’s Trunk flea market to see if it is a good venue—it wasn’t, but we bought an old ship’s log that I am printing on.  Call us if you want us to bring our paintings to your house.  

Lobster   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Linocut/ship log paper    12 x 15"
The weather has been up and down – I’ve only gone swimming four times since we arrived on 26 June.  But we’re here another month.  Plenty of time to figure it all out.


​Ship (impressionist version/wet)   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Linocut/ship log paper    12 x 15"  


Sunday, July 03, 2016

Bulky Baggage

 Blair Pessemier  By the Park Winsted   Acrylic/canvas  16 x 20"
 Laurie Fox Pessemier   Victorian on the Park, Winsted  Acrylic/canvas 16 x 20"  
 Sunset at Hemlock Lodge   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas 16 x 18"
Wildflowers in Winsted  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/panel  15 x 18"


Harika sat in the corner of the “Bulky Baggage” room at Milano Malpensa Airport on Sunday.   She performed a tragedy worthy of an Italian diva.  “Povero cane” a woman in the room wailed.  Harika ate it up.  I always say if I could describe Italy in a word, it would be ‘drama’:  the good, the bad, the ugly.  Harika, about to be condemned to prison over the Atlantic;  looking over her shoulder at me as she was urged into her air kennel, she shot a dagger.

On the other end, she managed to bounce out of her cage (so large we had to rent a special car) yipping and jumping, all forgiven, celebrating by drinking gallons of water.  We are back in the Northeastern USA for our summer at Hemlock Lodge.

One of the 29 grandchildren of our hosts is celebrating their graduation today on the beach, with a couple dozen friends.  It’s started to rain, but hasn’t dampened their spirits, one single bit.  They are singing along to popular music, with clear differences in taste between the boys and the girls.  They are swimming and playing volleyball, charged with that energy one has at 18.  A thump on the wooden dock and a splash into the lake.   Not a care in the world, and why should they have one?  Why should any of us?

After a mere 18 hours on the ground, and we took my Dad to his favorite Chinese buffet.  We are the only family members really keen on it.  And Chinese food is rare in Italy:  I want hot chilies and salt.  My Dad is moving quite slowly these days, and one of the Chinese waitresses helps him with his dish.  You can see in her eyes that Chinese reverence for the aged.  Another waitress flashes him a sincere, loving smile.  One world.

Arriving at Hemlock Lodge is really coming home.  I notice the hot water seems to be working better this year; no leaks yet, despite the rain.  A violent electric strike just feet from the house raises the hairs on my arm.   Books I didn’t finish last year are still here, covers not warped.   Trees are taller.  A squirrel runs across the yard.  New bird sound.   My bathing suit arrived by mail and actually fits.  Seven new reading books.

I look at people’s smiling faces and wonder whether to address them in Italian, French, or no, beautiful, glorious English.  The words that come the easiest.  I smile.    


“You’re the one I need, you’re the one I love”, the graduates croon.