|On th Street: Deux Magots Laurie Fox PESSEMIER Acrylic on canvas 21 x 17 inches|
A tremendous amount of our time is spent “on the street”. One reason is for Harika’s needs, but the other is my need to have someplace to paint. Although I am seeking a studio to use, almost all of my work is completed “en plein air”, wherever that happens to be.
On the way to the Luxembourg Gardens on Friday, I found a two foot tall human skeleton, complete with organs, in a clear plastic snap-shut case. I am a big fan of bones, and carried it to the gardens and then home (I took out all the innards, and the white skeleton poses in a corner). We are always finding things, as we dawdle along with our pet, who sniffs each nook and cranny along the two mile morning circuit.
Friday was a particularly nice day, and I packed up my paints and took to the sidewalk. Headed for the Seine, I only made it as far as the Deux Magots café. Normally I resist such a “popular” theme, but today the orange/coral/pink tree against the white and thalo green umbrellas was too much to resist. I pitched my easel.
Although this is one of the busiest corners in town, it was calm on Friday. There were surprisingly few tourists, almost no Indian newspaper guys; and nary a shopper on St. Germaine – I didn’t see a single gypsy. My only interruptions were a French woman seeking directions and an Italian looking for the Metro (I was almost standing at the entry). As I turned, the metro newspaper headline “USA pastor threatens to burn Koran” set me on edge, and I tried to look French.
I wrapped up this rather large canvas in a short time. Something comes over me when I paint. All the way back up rue de Rennes the sidewalk still looks purple, the trees shades of pink. I am one degree removed from life, in a trance-like state the gentleness of Paris allows. It’s why I can paint here better than many other places.
On Saturday we take Harika on the number 63 bus (in her sac) to the Bois de Boulogne. It’s our first foray there with her since we’ve been back in January. She chases a couple of rabbits. I pursue a painting but the distractions of the Saturday crowd are just too great. All is not lost: we walk along the lake and enjoy the ambiance of fall.