Sunday, October 01, 2023

Artnotes: On the Ukelele


 Plato in the Niche  Laurie Fox  Pessemier  Acrylic/oil pastel/paper   17 x 24.5"  43 x 62m   390.00
 I saw a blue winged grasshopper this week - maybe that seems a lackluster high point, but in fact, I think it’s as good a high point as any.   I couldn’t catch it, and didn’t really want to, although it would have been nice to identify it more specifically.  We usually see the pink variety around here and the blue, the “Sardegna grasshopper”, was a nice surprise.  It was voted the Swiss animal of the year 2023: they are likewise native to that country.   This grasshopper can jump over a yard in one swoop.   The official name is  Oedipoda caerulescens (like cerulean blue).
Grasshopper    Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/Oil Pastel/Paper 11 x8.5"  27 x 21cm  90.00
This summer we often walked with Berlino along a long field to the Plato statue (It is terra cotta and very high up in a niche in the barn building - that’s the orange nook, by the way, in one of this week’s paintings).  As we walked, there would be thousands (yes!) of grasshoppers who would jump all around us.  It was both funny and icky at the same time.  We rarely stepped on one.   I’m not sure I will ever get used to walking in the countryside.  I try to tell myself that seeing the grasshopper, or (in Blair’s case) children with goats, or a praying mantis, is like seeing shoes in a store window, but meh? I don’t think so.  Lately, up here in Roccamalatina there have been days I’ve not seen anyone but Blair and Berlino, and it bugs me.  Sometimes, I hear people talking but it’s really just a buzz saw or noisy truck.  Cabin fever, in September.
Praying Mantis  Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas   9.5  x 5.5"  24 x 13cm   150.00
We’re headed on vacation soon, with friends, which should satisfy my need for company and change of venue.  We’re going to Switzerland, and have marvelous adventures planned from boat rides to cog railways to museums (including the St Bernard dog foundation). 
Mothers and Chld with Goats  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  12 x 16'  30 x 40cm    475.00
When we lived in France I was often asked if I were an ant or a grasshopper – from a Fontaine (and Aesop) fable about the two insects.  As you likely recall, the ant worked hard and saved up for the winter, while the grasshopper made music in the sun; when the winter came, the ant was warm and cozy and turned the grasshopper away from his door.  Well, I always said I was the grasshopper.   I love to make pictures, and tell stories and entertain – who wants to be cooped up in a house in winter anyway???  And what about that ant being more generous?  He probably enjoyed that grasshopper’s music in summer.
Family at the Restaurant   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/paper    17 x 24.5"  43 x 62cm     390.00
I miss entertaining at the “big house” (Villa Loris), or at Hemlock Lodge, where we would typically have a dozen or more around the table.  Blair just bought me a new, fabulous, ceramic fish dish, and I am thinking about Cod and Potatoes (Brandade de Morue), or Spicy Red Fish Stew, or  Seafood Risotto.  And who knows, I might even break out the Ukelele and sing, “What do you do with a Drunken Sailor?”
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