Saturday, February 03, 2024

Artnotes: Dig It


Theatre Pompeii  Blair Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas    13 x 18"  33 x 46cm  450.00
 I am having the most wonderful time in Pompeii. Despite a nasty respiratory virus (almost as bad as Covid), we have managed to paint in the excavation every day but one.  We also go to outlying beaches so Berlino can dig legally.  His take isn’t nearly so fruitful as the treasures of Pompeii, but he digs holes in which he can conceal his whole giant body.  From the shore, we admire Vesuvius, Capri, and Ischia which surround us.
Bas Relief, Temple of Isis, Pompeii  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/oil pastel/paper   17.5 x 24"  45 x 61 cm  250.00
I have stepped into some sort of Pompeii trance. We go to the excavation every day, and I know just where Octavius’ house is, and the Vetti’s, the temple of Isis, and the Ampitheater.  I feel like I am walking the street with Arianna, and the painters, the restauranteurs and other people from 79AD. It has a sense of “every-man-ness” – although it is clearly Greco-Roman in style, it has a universal quality of where people lived their lives.  It is as if time stopped to give me some time to catch up with what’s going on – this is what I have always wished for.     
Fountain at House of Octavius  Blair Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas   16 x 13"  33 x 41 cm  600.00
I have had epiphany moments about art, life, painting, while I've been here, although it could be the cough syrup.  You haven’t lived until you’ve had the pleasure (not) of visiting a Neapolitan doctor’s office.  

The people who work at Pompeii have made things easy and comfortable for us.  We have been taken in as part of the work force.  “Would you like to be in that room?”  the guard inquires. “Go ahead.”  I pass the barrier.   “How about a stool?”  My favorite Pompeian is the fellow who screamed and yelled at us on arrival (you can’t bring those easels in!).  Now he inspects our artwork each day as we leave; blows us two finger kisses as we depart.   Everyone wants to see what we painted.
Fallen 2 Pompeii    Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/oilpastels/paper 9.5 x 13 "  24 x 33cm  250.00
I think they must have the best job in town – it is clean, orderly in the excavation, everything that greater Naples is not.  There are no cars, honking and spewing fumes.  The tourists are respectful, happy, manageable.   It is such a natural place, no kid-friendly-drive-a-chariot video games, nor coin-pressing machines – it isn’t necessary as kids can run in the street, picture taking encouraged. 
Villa Marco Lucrezio sulla via Stabiana   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canas   16 x 13 "  41 x 33cm  450.00
While I was painting in the larger of two theatres, groups came and went.  The guide would clap, strongly – my, I thought, he’s rather impolite to his charges.  Then another came and did the same.  They were clapping to illustrate the deadness of the sound – there was no echo in this stone enclosure.   A group of Koreans entered with their guide.    Finally, when the whole group was seated in the bleachers around me, the man burst into a beautiful operatic song in Korean.  I was touched to the heart.
Grand Theatre, Pompeii  Laurie Pessemier   Acrylic/oil pastel/canvas   12 x 19.5 "  30 x 50cm  450.00
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