Artnotes Italy Daily

Sunday, August 21, 2016


 ​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:

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