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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Picnic, Comrades?

 Orangerie in the Luxembourg Gardens  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic on linen   13x 18 inches (gallery)
 Woman with Umbrella   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on canvas panel  12 x 12 inches

After moving back to Paris in 1998, people would ask “why are you here?’.  We would respond, “for the light”.  It was the light that fueled the impressionists, a sort of misty, thick colored light (from yellow to blue to pink) that made those paintings wonderful.   About 18 months ago my friend Y said she felt the light had changed here “it’s never pink!”  I thought we just weren’t outside early enough.   Now, this spring/summer 2013, I notice the change, too. 

I had my most talented workshop participant ever, I believe, this week – a young woman, about 18, who was born to paint.   She was home-schooled, and just started taking some art classes.   She had such a way of building up her painting from paint, not from drawing – and the result was practically pure impressionism.  It was thrilling -- beside her, I felt humbled.   I learn from each and every painter we paint with.

The British call it “white cloud” in their weather reports.  It is the refrigerator  type of light that Seattle had.   And it is the light in Paris the very moment of this writing.  It is somewhere between overcast and brightly foggy, but it takes the light, shadow and warm coloration out of the picture.  A photographer I met here a few weeks ago commented on it, and a painter I just painted with had a hard time defining the light here.  I am not sure what is happening, but it has pushed Blair and I to seek new sunsets.

We are looking at new locations for painting this winter:  of course, Tunisia comes to mind, but there were security issues I wouldn’t want to repeat.  We’ve been looking at the Southern United States, where we can paint and sell paintings (or I could open a game and wild herb/vegetable restaurant:  Afield (or is that just my thinking?)).  Morocco is also possible, or the south of France, like last year. 

It’s not that the light was always perfect in Paris:  just sometimes.  And those times are breathtaking.   Indoor light has changed as well, with the introduction of energy-saving/mercury laden light bulbs.  Warm incandescence, casting a golden glow on your partner’s cheeks has given way to a fluorescent-green-y glow (think lime-light?).

Atlas and Astor  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on canvas panel 12 x 12 

I am painting dogs in the park now – we are going to have a “dog show” at 14, rue Servandoni, before we close on 30 July.   They go for walks in clouds or sun, Harika, in her black coat, officially preferring the shade.  You never hear them complain.

Dog on the grass   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on wood  about 6 x 13 inches  

We’ve still not had a single summer-y day here.  I feel the earth has tilted on its axis and we are headed for a new ice  age.  I am reminded of the documentaries on the public TV of my youth: “there was no summer and crops failed”.   I feel hair growing in my ears and nose and Harika’s canines seem to be getting longer.  The ice age, right around the corner, darn it!    I joke we are having summer in Siberia, but in fact, the temperatures there have been warmer and the sky sunnier than here.    Picnic, comrades?

 Young Dog


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