Exercise in the Park Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic on wood 10.5 x 7.5 inches
Painting exercise in the Studio Blair Pessemier Acrylc on canvas panel 12 x 12 inches
Color exercise Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas panel 9.5 x 14 inches
Trees in the Garden Blair Pessemier Acrylic on linen 11 x 14 inches
Dancer in the Garden Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic on linen 13.5 x 5.5 inches
Painting students Blair Pessemier Acrylic/linen 11 x 16 inches
Three Plein Air Painters Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/linen 12 x 12 inches
ARTNOTES: Exercise in the Park
On Thursday Harika went haywire upon seeing Tom, the German shepherd, who frequents her very own park, the Luxembourg Gardens. I was ensconced in my lounge chair, catching up on the gossip with a couple of dog owners and a park guard, when Harika lunged backwards, nearly tipping me out of the chair, and I had to reel her in, like a fighting swordfish, on her retractable leash. I threw my spine out of kilter, and the next thing I knew I was lying on Dr. Douvier’s acupuncture table. I explained how I tried to “chiropractor-ize” myself by snapping my knee firmly to my chest. “That only works if your vertebrae is misplaced toward the back (or was it front?)” In any case, I made it worse.
Now I walk around stiffly and dramatically like a girl in a ninetheenth century painting. No lifting, no bending and no dog-leash holding for a couple of days. I am feeling better, although I might avoid the dancing along the banks of the Seine someone suggested tonight (oh, we can go and paint, Blair says).
I had a brief reprieve from my discomfort, as we painted under the poste de surveillance in the Luxembourg Gardens on Friday morning. When I get involved in my painting, I don’t feel pain or discomfort of any kind. The problem was only masked, however, and when I got home I was moving around like the mechanical man.
I am focused totally in the present, when I am painting. When a friend describes his meditation , I think I experience much the same thing while painting. I don’t really get in touch with my “chakras”, however, or maybe I am just throwing all my chakra onto the canvas. Hmmm.
Last week, we had 8 young painters in the class. They all took their canvases and found a place in the garden which inspired them. From a bench beneath the trees to the “bassin” with the Eiffel Tower in the background, each person produced a pretty remarkable piece of art. They were the best class I ever had, in terms of both talent and dedication. Two painters worked from just before three until five-thirty: “I can’t believe it’s that late!” one girl said. She showed a passer-by her painting.
Another woman, painting with us in the garden told us, “this is more relaxing than a massage.” As I fret over whether or not people are comfortable, or getting the guidance they need, someone will often say, “I am having so much fun!”
It is our busiest season right now. I have a beginner painter, who started out in our studio, mixing and dabbing paint, and doing 3 minute sketches. On Friday, she painted her first outdoor painting, alongside Blair and I. It was pretty good – her husband suggested they frame it at once.
I am looking forward to our next foray on the Pont des Arts. Vacation will be a couple of day s shorter this year as I get back for painting dates.
Dr. Douvier watched as I struggled to lift myself from the table. “You should really take some time to get out of Paris,” he said. We told him we were heading to America to visit family for the month of August. “Why, you two are more French than the French!”