Procession Blair Pessemier Acrylic on canvas 27 x 39" 69 x 100cm
Fig Tree Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic on canvas 12 x 20" 30 x 50cm
Cosmos Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 20 x 8" 50 x 20cm
“ …the essential element for the human condition of joy is community” Viktor Car, a friend, wrote me in an email this week.
He’s convinced, like me, that Italy is all about community and communication. As Harika and I sat on the bench waiting for Blair at the grocery store (one of the few places she’s not welcome), a man came and asked if he could share my bench. He started in about who used to live in our house. Before we knew it, a lady came to sit on the other side.
That kind of casualness doesn’t always come naturally; I am from the land of “fences make the best neighbors”. But when I cast New England aside, I can be quite happy sitting on a sunny bench, and later, getting up.
I called G in Modena this week when I was feeling rather blue. He is someone I can talk to without receiving unsolicited advice, comment, et cetera. Of course, the conversation began with the blues, but as I talked and talked I realized just how fantastic and positive my life is.
We show our artwork (did I tell you we had a lawn show last weekend?). We meet amazing people. I actually talk to them and understand them speaking to me in Italian. Artists find us, and say, you are Van Gogh! It is too wonderful. M makes me a new coffee drink. C, such a deep character, likes me. I feel loved in Rocca Malatina.
But feeling loved is realizing you are separate, and that love lasts only as long as you connect, maybe just a brief laugh, a hug. One must get out there and participate. It isn’t always perfect, either. E, our neighbor’s 80-something-year-old aunt, says, “when are you going to start speaking Italian?” I am crestfallen. But the next day she plucks at my skirt, asking, “are you going dancing tonight? Tango?” She tango-ed several numbers at the Ferragosto festivities, dancing with a contemporary to polkas, waltzes and mazurkas.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not keen on communal living I need to feel separate once in a while, especially to do my artwork. The painting workshops are ok, because I am with other artists for a short time; but a clear road, free of social obligation, is essential for creativity. That’s what winter is for.
Here is another thing I’ve been working on: www.pessemierworkshops.com