Saturday, May 10, 2014

Artnotes: Paris Charm

 Shadows in May   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  13 x 16"  33 x 41 cm 
 Child and Nurse  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  10.5 x 14 inches  27 x 35 cm
 Eiffel Tower in Sun   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen    10.5 x  16 inches 27 x 41 cm
 Eiffel Tower in Clouds   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  113 x 16  33 x 41 cm
Sunny Pot of Flowers   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  14 x 20  35 x 50 cm

Artnotes:  Paris Charm

“I had to go to the police station to report my car was hit and run,” a friend reports,” it took me an hour and a half.”
“How could that be?” I asked, knowing our police station is never busy.
“They made the report with a typewriter.  And carbon paper.”
I was shocked.  I didn’t think you could even buy typewriter ribbon anymore.  If you thought France was approaching the 21st century, think again.

We got our carte de sejour this week – good for one year, and it was the same thing.  We started the process one year ago this month, and finally our card (good now for another six months) was renewed.  Blair and I each have a file two inches thick, which is less than some other people:  one Polish couple, 60-ish, had one as thick as the Oxford English dictionary (condensed form).   Every time we go there, we EACH have to have six months’ copies of our electric bill, our banking information… and they keep it (who knows where?) for eternity.  The city doesn’t mail out our carte de sejour any more, so we brave multiple lines and metal detectors at the big city police station once again.  I look for inspector Maigret in the hallways.

The family of one of my younger students is here for a month.  I visit with them while their daughter gets ready to paint.   The parents are charmed by France and its antiquated customs.  They are from Los Angeles.  “I just don’t understand how this many bakeries could stay in business,” she tells me.  “All so small and individual.  And chocolate shops.  All delicious. ”

J and I go to the garden to paint with a French woman, with Blair, already started.   I watch children and their nannies, like Degas painted.   J isn’t as happy today – we are painting the trees – next time she wants to paint portraits of one another.

It was a week of happy surprises.  We had a French painter with us on Tuesday, Blair’s birthday, and she turned out to be just great.  It was our first French workshop participant– we usually have anglo-saxons, on vacation from the US, Australia, or England.  Friends made Blair a birthday cake!  On Wednesday we painted with a delightful young woman from Seattle – studying political science here.  It brings to mind Hollande and his foibles, DSK, and Sarkozy, but I must remember there was Charlemagne, the Louis’, Napoleon.  And, of course, there was deGaulle.

Thursday was Victory in Europe day, a holiday in France.  It’s hard to imagine that was 69 years ago.  They’re using the same typewriter at the police station.

No comments: