Artnotes Italy Daily

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Rogue Wave

 Foggy Day  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  16 x 18 inches
 View from Nice  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  13 x 16 inches
 Sailboat School Nice   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12 inches
 Daisies from the balcony   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/wood 13 x 5 inches
White Hyacinth   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/wood 13 x 5 inches


Blair and I have always wanted to go to Stes. Maries de la Mer, so last Sunday, we hopped in the rental car and drove there from Villefranche.   We were likewise attracted to the fact it was not raining there, actually SUNNY.  So away we three went.

We stopped in Arles, Vincent Van Gogh’s town, first.  Upon reaching the town, we saw his landlady-model.   We wound through the pedestrian streets.   People still resemble the portraits he painted there.  Jet-black hair, swarthy complected, small, wiry people abound.  We found a café to have lunch.
Harika, Blair and I shared the giant steak (450 gr).  It was one of two dishes available that day.  The tables were packed with locals, always a good sign.  It was cooked to perfection, served on a plank of wood with piles of salt, herbs and fresh thyme alongside.  We drank local wine, and wrapped up early to get the Stes Maries.

Stes Maries de la Mer is really a city dedicated to Sainte Sarah, even though her name isn’t mentioned.  It was she, who teamed up with Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene who were leaving Palestine after the death of Christ.   Sarah was originally from Egypt, which might account for her patron saint status with the Gypsies.  There is a special statue depicting Sarah, the black saint, housed in the cathedral, along with her bones.  The statue is carried to the sea by a procession of Gypsies (30,000) each year on 24 May.  We make a mental note to go, if not this year, next.

Along the route we see the wild horses of the Camargue, and the black bulls that the area is famous for.  I look for flamingoes, but only find storks, which to me are pretty wonderful.   I might have seen flamingoes flying.  There are wonderful white stucco cottages of the Camargue cowboys.  They are two room sorts of places, with a circular hearth at the end; the house is roofed in black twigs, making for a dramatic black and white effect.  I regret not having the time to paint on this one-day trip.

Which brings me to the point:  we drove three hours to get there and three hours to get back, just to see the sun.  What’s wrong with this picture?  Go home, Laurie and Blair.  The weather in Paris is better.   The next day, just so nature could make her point, I was doused by a rogue wave:  from head to toe, while painting along the corniche in Nice.  

On Wednesday, a nine days before our scheduled departure, we got on the train to head back to Paris.  It was the first time I really smiled in weeks. 


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