Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Coffee for You

 Squid Boat   Blair Pessemier   Oil on linen   11 x 16 inches

 Ranunculas in Paris   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on linen  11 x 16 inches
 Blonde with a Beer   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on linen  13 x 5 inches
Coffee at the Bar   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on linen 10 x 6 inches

ARNOTES:  A Coffee for You

The ride home on the TGV was a preview of things to come.  After turning North at Marseille, the sky clouded up and shortly after we were powering through driving snow.  The weather remained wet from that day forward.  There have been sun breaks but our temperatures are just above freezing.   I long for a sit on the beach, but things aren’t looking hopeful.

My mind wanders back to the weekend at Eze, a village on top of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean.  It was the third time we tried to get there, which seems to have been the charm.  It was a friend’s birthday, so we made a reservation at a fine restaurant with a view.

We took one bus up the hill, and waited another twenty minutes for the next one.  The natives were restless, but I knew we’d make it this time.  It was a maniacal ride, with bat turns and no place to sit down, but I managed not to get carsick.

We walked the last few yards up the hill.  A stony outcropping at the top of a hill is home to a 12th century village.  Stone pathways give way to two Relais/Chateau hotels (one was closed for the season) and lots of little shops catering to summer tourists.   At the very top of the hill is a cactus garden (the French call it a jardin exotique) intertwined among the ruins of an ancient castle.  The views are beyond fantastic.

After an aperitif on the terrace, we took our lunch inside.  The food was impeccable, the best we had on our month in Villefranche.  It was a lengthy sit, and our friend insisted on taking a taxi back down the hill (it is also possible to walk down a path).  In the end, the taxi ride cost as much as one of the dinners.  So goes the life of a tourist.

We had such a wonderful time painting in Villefranche we are planning a similar foray next year, for a longer period.  I rarely go back to the same place twice, but left so many stones unturned I have to go back and see what lurks in Antibes and Nice.  

And next year, I hope to have more painters with me – the sunshine and turquoise water are just too good to pass up.

In Paris this week, I painted at a café by myself.  The waiter must have thought I was waiting for someone, because he never took my order.  After two small paintings, I left.  Blair bought flowers, which I have painted in the house.

We’re planning to take our gallery back, this time with a different twist.  An artist friend has offered to occupy the studio downstairs, which makes our rent more affordable.  On the main floor, we are going to include artistic objects in the mix a things – you might not want to buy a painting, but what about a chair?  We’ve some very odd items which might stimulate conversation. I am buying a coffee machine (you know, those Nespresso things?  You put a little tablet in the machine, add water?  No mess) so I can treat myself to cappuccino  and offer you one.

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