Artnotes Italy Daily

Saturday, June 04, 2011


 Trees and Chair  Laurie Fox PESSEMIER  Acyrlic on wood  6 x 9.5 inches


 Notre Dame early morning   M. Blair PESSEMIER  Oil on canvas  22 x 18 inches  SOLD

Artnotes:  Royal Birthday Party

When friends asked if we’d like to go to Versailles for a picnic, we jumped at the chance.  It was Harika’s fourth birthday on Friday, and she needed a trip outside the city.  We packed our tiffin with  tomatoes and mozzarella, stuffed endive, and devilled eggs.  Our friends brought roast pork and tabouli, red wine and water.  There was cake for dessert, and we sang “Happy Birthday Harika”.  Her best friend, Urti, the fox terrier, helped her celebrate.


It is possible to enter the grounds of Versailles from the back side.  It used to be free to park there, but now Indians have the franchise to maintain the lots: 5 Euros.  The three cars in front of us (all carrying descendents of the king, no doubt)  fought the guy in the booth, but eventually paid.  We passed Marie Antoinette’s hamlet, and parked near the Petit Trianon.  Harika ran ahead to the big pond (sufficiently sized to land a 747, thanks to Louis XIV), where we pitched our blanket.


It’s been a long and sunny week in Paris.  The tilleuls (little leaf Lindens) are in bloom, and my eyes and nose are running to beat the band.  Our geraniums revel in the sunshine, blooming  like never before.  We water them daily, but otherwise it has been the driest spring since 1976, an outstanding champagne year.  It makes me want to go out there to inspect the vines.


I alternate between loving the city and longing for the country.  Our seven big windows let in a lot of light – despite lined drapery in the bedroom, the light begins around 5:30 AM and lingers until past 10 PM.  We’re sleeping less and midday at the dining table can be pretty warm.  Running the oven for dinner is not advised (it’s 10:30 in the morning and Blair is cooking a chicken).


We have lots of friends and things to do here in Paris, but the grass at Versailles felt good beneath my feet.  Harika ran around in circles and rolled in what we hoped was just the scent of tilleul blossoms.  A boy was flying a kite with his father, and his sister was robed like Marie Antoinette, plus a baseball cap.  Other dogs, mostly small, milled around the end of the pond.  One could rent a boat.  We switched sides of the pond to accommodate shade, between lunch and dessert.  

I had packed painting supplies for the group, and encouraged  everyone to paint.  Neither of our friends had ever painted outside before, nor used acrylic paint, particularly my five colors (I make all of my paintings with five colors only:  turquoise, magenta, lemon yellow, dioxyzine purple and white).  Three of us painted the same view of the Grand Trianon, and I made a portrait of Urti afterward.   It is always delightful to see such different outcomes:  one royal, one like the Dordogne (it must have been the red wine) and mine, in my regular style.  Blair didn’t paint because he painted Notre Dame at 5:45 Friday morning.

 Blair's Geraniums  M. Blair PESSEMIER   Oil on canvas  15 x 18 inches   SOLD
 Vase on Balcony  Laurie Fox PESSEMIER  Acrylic on canvas  24 x 12 inches  SOLD
 Midnight North Africa   M. Blair PESSEMIER  Oil on canvas  16 x 13 inches
Decorative Maples  Laurie Fox PESSEMIER  Acrylic on wood  6 x 9.5 inches

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