Artnotes Italy Daily

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Artnotes: False Start

 Cafe Bullier  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic on linen  12 x 12"  30 x 30 cm
 Cafe near Montparnasse  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  9 x 13"  22 x 33 cm
 Pont Neuf  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  14 x 20"  35 x 50 cm
 Ile de la Cite with Pont Neuf  Laurie Fox Pessmeier   Acrylic/wood7.25 x 10.25"  18 x 26 cm
Arch of Pont Neuf  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  11 x 14"  27 x 35 cm


On the banks of the Seine, I set to drawing Henry IV on his horse.  Not only are horses difficult for me, but this horse seems to have a funny hoof.  No matter, it looks like I am drawing two men in a horse suit, with a too long gumby leg up front.  Henry seems to have a hunchback.  I move on to another subject.  

It’s been a week of false starts – we needed a car to go to Auvers-sur-Oise with a painter on Wednesday, so I rented a compact for a week (1 day 42 euros; 1 week 91).   

It rained all morning in Auvers-sur-Oise.  Harika, who LOVES the country, chose the car after the “Vincent walked here” dousing along the path between fields and church.   Too wet to paint, Blair and our colleague visited Vincent’s room in the Hotel Ravoux.  I dried my wet pants and socks in the car.  Still too rainy to paint, we took our fellow artist to lunch.  Our hostess, bedecked in rat fur capelet tied with black grosgrain ribbon, welcomed us.  A sort of Edith Piaf gone to seed, she has been operating the restaurant for fifty-five years.  She has an assistant, another vintage woman, in the kitchen.  The place is lined in peeling imitation-van-gogh murals executed by one of her contemporaries in an early year.  They are now covered with newer paintings, on canvas, but still with a Vincent theme.  I ask about the bringing in Harika:  “I’ll beat her if she doesn’t behave,” she tells me, poker faced, and winks.   We have a big assorted appetizer plate, one quail, two rabbit legs, and a giant mound of au gratin potatoes, an aperitif, wine, apple tart and coffee:    48 for the three of us, and we’re on our way.  
 Eventually, the rain lets up and we paint Van Gogh’s city hall.

Next day, we intended to go to Nimes, by car.  I searched the internet for just the right place to stay, to no avail.  We went anyway.   Two hours out of town, we changed our mind.  We stopped to visit the town of Auxerre, to walk Harika and stretch our own legs, before turning back.

Auxerre was a place I never thought of visiting.  It has a strong waterfront presence on the river Yonne.  A gallo-roman city, again it thrived again in medieval times.  We visited the church with a beautiful Joan of Arc window, and the ancient abbey.  Joan of Arc freed Auxerre from English rule in 1429.  Auxerre is in the region of Burgundy, and is famous for chablis (a much nicer wine than what we think of as chablis in the USA). 

On Friday, we visited an exhibit at the Beaux-Arts museum in Rouen.  The theme was gothic cathedrals:  gothic seems to have a revival every so many years, so we saw works ranging from original bits of the churches, to “cathedral” themed decoration from the 1800s, to the pictures Monet painted of the cathedral in Rouen at different times of the day.  Marquet painted images of Notre Dame in Paris in the 1910s; Lyonel Feninger in the 20s.    Saturday was the fete of Joan of Arc, who was burned in Rouen in 1431.   Posters and announcements were everywhere.  

We drove on, to the country, in hopes of seeing flax (linen) in bloom.  It has a delicate blue flower.  We were two weeks too early.  

Painting by the Seine on Saturday was a mix of cool and damp, with a little sun.  The rain held off until noon, allowing us time to paint a picture of the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris.

 City Hall Auvers  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  14 x 14"  35 x 35 cm

 Normandy Fields   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/wood  7.5 x 13.5"  20 x 34 cm
Woods at Fontainbleau   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/wood 19 x 42"  48 x 106 cm

 Forest at Fontainbleau  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  14 x 20"  35x 50 cm

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