Artnotes Italy Daily

Monday, June 20, 2016

Weekend in the City

Trees in Guiglia   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas 14 x 18"  35 x 45cm  
Chapel at Guiglia  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  15.5 x 11.5"  39 x 29cm
Lilies on a Purple Background   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  18 x 14"  45 x 35cm
Lilies on a Yellow Background   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  19.75 x12  50 x 30cm
Street in Modena  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas panel  15 x 18"  38 x 46cm 
Duomo Modena  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas panel  15.5 x 11.5"  39 x 29cm
​Pink Modena   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acryic/canvas  15.5 x 11.5"  39 x 29cm

Artnotes: Weekend in the City

On Saturday morning we drove from Rocca Malatina to Modena, only 30 km, but about 50 minutes by car.   We arranged to spend to the weekend with friends in the city.

We parked the car outside the walls, leaving the art supplies in the trunk.  Modena is a city without cars, more or less – you can’t drive your car in the city unless you are a resident.  We brought our bags to the apartment where we were staying, and then re-emerged, to gather our paints and make a picture before lunch.

Modena is a small city, more pinky in its feel than the deep mustard gold of neighboring Bologna.  You can walk through the loggias of the city, but unlike Bologna, it’s hard to imagine riding your horse through them.   You wouldn’t need to ride your horse here in the city of Ferrari and Max Mara – it’s gentle.    I visited with a few people as I painted, with Harika at my feet.   She sniffed everyone, lying down on the dirty (well, not as dirty as some) sidewalk.

Modena has just laid claim to having the best restaurant in the world:  Osteria Francescana.  It is just around the corner from our friend’s apartment, and she sees Massimo and his American wife on the street outside nearly every day.  This chance meeting is the essence of Modena:  outstanding people, design, products thriving in a small, friendly town.   We did not go to that restaurant, although I did buy a lottery ticket in hopes of taking all of us there – with wine, one should plan on at least 300 /as much as 500 euros a person.    I would certainly LIKE to go, but it’s ok, there is life and moments which are better.

While dining over Pasta Fagioli at our hostess’s house, a friend said, “I want to travel, but not like the way travel writers do, fantastic this, stellar that, but to have all kinds of experiences”.

Our weekend unrolled in an unplanned, wonderful way with great conversation, sometimes surprising, happy, sad, brilliant, mundane.    We ate near the fabulous Market Albinelli oozing gorgonzola and brilliant beans, bright red tomatoes and fresh fish.  Harika chummed up with people at the next table.  Our friend G bought goodies at the market for the dinner we would eat Saturday night.  We drank coffees at another café, on a square with the few trees inside Modena (outside, it is surrounded by parks). 

We went to a concert at the Chiesa San Bartolomeo – as my friend says, “if you get bored, you can always look at the tromp l’oeil.  My eye can be really tromped”.  He was right – baroque impressions turned a regular church into a soaring fantasy of columns, clouds and putti. 

We awakened to rain on Sunday, Harika nestling into my scarf and dirty shirt on the bed.  We decided to make a trek to see the home of another great Modena legend: Pavarotti.   He had a simple house on a farm-y street outside the city.  I can barely go to art museums anymore – for me, I don’t feel as much inspired, but more likely to assume the other artists’ style, creating a confusing effect.  I look for inspiration in other sorts of collections:  furniture, science, music.   Pavarotti was a perfect choice for the day – he was an outstanding person with a miraculous voice, “Voice,” he said, “is the only God-given instrument”.  It was bright, happy – joyous, in fact.   I came away from it and the weekend feeling good about EVERYTHING.

PS.  The most surprising development was that Harika, my dog, who we moved to Rocca Malatina for, to give her a BIG YARD, is clearly a CITY dog.  She got back into the car begrudgingly and is sitting in the macchina right now, ready to go back.


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