Monday, December 12, 2011

 Collioure:  Sunny Monday   Blair PESSEMIER  Oil on linen  10.5 x 16 inches   SOLD
 Collioure:  Market   Blair PESSEMIER  Oil on linen  10.5 x 16 inches 
 Collioure: Donkeys  Laurie Fox PESSEMIER  Oil on linen  10.5 x 16 inches 

ARTNOTES:  Donkey News
It took almost nine hours, in our rental car (a Peugot 508SW that had just 5 kilometers on the odometer) to arrive at our holiday destination. Blair and I and Harika are spending Christmas and New Years in Collioure, a small (former) fishing village on the Mediterranean, very close to the coast of Spain.
This trip is, of course, a painting vacation – it is fifteen degrees warmer here, and we’ve actually seen the sun for some of the hours we’ve been here. This morning we went to the market, where Blair painted a terrific scene.
Our house is large enough we can have a studio room, as well as our bedroom, large kitchen with table, and living/dining room. The only drawback is its terrazzo floors, so we brought carpets from Paris to keep our tootsies (and Harika’s) warm.
For more than 50 years I spent every Christmas in my birthplace of Winsted, Connecticut with my family. The last 30 Christmases Blair spent there, too, with a visit to Virginia to visit his Mom, too. Now that my mother has passed away, my father doesn’t feel like celebrating and my sisters both have their own families (Blair’s mother died this year, too) . So it is up to Blair and I and Harika to forge a new tradition.
As soon as we got here I saw the advertisement for a Christmas fair. We settled into our house, got Harika situated, and walked downtown to check out the festivities.
We should have been hip to the magnitude of the production: we saw donkeys, in hats, carrying children around the town. We climbed the old Catalan/Moorish fort on the bay, and behold: there were camels, donkeys, sheep and geese (the latter two under the supervision of a farm dog). Hark, there were angels “on high”, or at least on stilts, casting snowflakes and golden glitter on the crowd. Wise and strong men lifted children onto the backs of the camels, bedecked in jewels, for spin around the interior courtyard of the 13th century stone structure. The scene was, in fact, how it might have taken place seven or eight hundred years ago. Tears of joy and wonder filled my eyes as I sipped hot wine.
Christmas music played, and patterned light fell against the stones. We walked along the ramparts and watched the moon rise on the water. Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything finer or a better way to hail in the holiday season.
Our landlady set up a little electric (fiber optic) Christmas tree for us, and Blair is sending out cards. I brought my collection of Motown Christmas music. Maybe we’ll get a wreath for the rental car.
I have no wifi here, and there isn’t a starbucks or mcdo’s for miles around, so my electronic communication may be spotty. I have hopes for the library.
Collioure’s population is only 2,763 people. Maybe 10% of them were present on Saturday night; plus people from neighboring towns. I thought, why don’t more places do this? If I were king, or just a city mayor, I certainly would.
  Collioure: Footbridge  Laurie Fox PESSEMIER  Oil on linen  10.5 x 16 inches SOLD
Collioure: Boat  Laurie Fox PESSEMIER  Oil on linen  5 x 10 inches

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