Sunday, October 10, 2021

Artnotes: Fa la la la la

 

Mums for Harika   Laurie Fox  Pessemier  acrylic/newpaper 25 x 17"  63 x 42cm  250.00
Looking for things to do this week (we no longer have to walk our dog), we drove into Rome from our Stimigliano apartment.  A friend is staying at the apartment, and frankly, 3 people are just not possible there.  Two and a dog, ok.   I can only spend so much time in the adjacent studio.
Another Dog?  too big for us     Laurie Fox  Pessemier  acrylic/newpaper 25 x 17"  63 x 42cm  290.00
So, we drove to the Eternal city and visited an ancient Alchemy site that Blair wanted to see (which was actually cordoned off, and he had to roll under a fence to get in) at the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.  My goal was to see Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa d’Avila – but it turned out  that the church, Santa Maria della Vittoria, was closed for renovation until the 13 October.   We weren’t discouraged – being in Rome is a treat in itself.  Plus we have an excuse to go again.
Sappho    Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas commission
We set our sights on a Chinese restaurant (we eat Italian ALL the time).  We sat at a sidewalk table, and watched the world pass by:  well-dressed business people, tourists (still, not many), workers, petition bearers, mothers with baby carriages, all nationalities.  An old gypsy woman tried to pick Blair’s pocket, easily foiled, and he bopped her with his umbrella, Ruth Buzzi style.  We listened to a raucous argument between a Chinese diner and his girlfriend on the speaker cellphone -- maybe it wasn’t fighting, only exhuberant Chinese.  A car wrongly parked at a construction site across the street was gingerly towed (using straps around the belly) to a parking place – only in Rome.  We laughed and drank white wine.  
Four Early Oranges  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/paper  17 x 25"  41 x 63 cam  290.00
We eventually retrieved our car and drove the 45 minutes back to Stimigliano.  There we heard  the shepherd bagpiper announcing the return of his sheep to our Sabina pastures for winter.  It made me think of Christmas “while shepherds watched their flocks”.  A chill wind blew.
Three Red Onions  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/paper  17 x 25"  41 x 63 cam  290.00
Today, we bought a new Christmas tablecloth from the North African itinerant salesman who comes to our house.  He threw in two sponges as a gift.  What are you doing for Christmas?  We decorate, a tree adorned with candles; we make wreaths; cook a turkey; we visit the living nativity; if you join us you may even have to sing carols.  Fa la la la la.
Roses in a pitcher  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/paper 17 x 17"  41 x 41cm  200.00

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Artnotes: Harika

 


At the Beach in Italy
I started out this week writing about “the worst week of my life”, but thought wiser of that.  In my life, it’s tempting fate:  you think that was bad?  Our darling Harika has gone on to doggie heaven:  yes, she is no longer suffering, and for that I am grateful.  But my heart is truly broken.
From the Book  "Harika Rules"
I can actually feel an ache in my chest, and what seems like an abyss below that.  Serious  reflection is taking place this week, and more than a few tears.  But face it, Harika and Blair and I have had a near-idyllic 14 years, with very few days apart from each other.   She, and we, lived on 3 continents during that time, swam in three seas and many rivers, ate at great restaurants, visited wonderful places and people.   She grounded us and we swept her away.  It was an ideal relationship.  She slowed me down enough to see the illuminated pathway.  All my prayers were answered.
Lounging
In that pool beneath my broken heart is a wellspring of new ideas.  When I get through my weeping phase, I will set the world afire with new art.  Right now, I am making a sculpture/memorial/urn for Harika’s ashes.  It is a serious terra cotta piece, which will be fired, like her.
Painting a Black Dog
I hate being at home, here in Rocca Malatina, Harika’s retirement home.  We have been trying to keep busy, to keep our mind off of our loss (it’s hard to cry while driving and navigating).  We have been walking down by the Panaro River, and we actually go for the same silly walks aound the neighborhood we did with H.  I went swimming at our swimming hole Thursday, where we are contemplating ash placement if the monument I am building in terra cotta doesn’t work out.
Comfy in the Luxembourg Gardens
Friday we drove to Bolzano, near the Austrian border, to see the Ice Man, Otzi.  He’s over 5,000 years old and was found in the Alps at the Italian/Austrian border in 1991.  People thought they had just stumbled on a deceased hiker, but really he fell down eons ago.  He is amazingly well preserved, frozen and damp.  He resides in a glass enclosure which is kept to temperature and misted from time to time.  The most exciting thing about the exhibit (it’s a whole museum all for Otzi!) is all the things he was carrying 5000 years ago,  still intact.  His fur hat (wolf); his leggings (again, skin); his fur jacket and reeded raincoat; his bow and arrows, quiver and tips; his hunting knife.  He had a birch basket lined with maple leaves in which he carried a smoldering ember to light a fire (no, it went out).  He had tree fungi with him, used to treat maladies – he may have been a shaman.  They could even tell what his last meal was (ibex)!  We ate tripe parmigiana and fried seafood for lunch, ourselves.
Another dog?  Who knows (we’ll name him or her Otzi)?  We would like to travel, but it’s hardly the time for that.  I guess we’ll just keep our eyes and ears open for what is in store.  She was really good at that.


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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Artnotes: Upside Downside

 

The Roof Across the Street  Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 8 x 19.5"  20 x 50 cm  450.00
We entertained lunch guests in our garden twice this week, among the last vestiges of asters and butterflies.  Our guest list is growing once again, with visitors from Seattle (never met before!) and England.  These folks are all vaccinated, and tested. 
Rocks on the Hill   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 10 x 14"  25 x 35cm  450.00 
Things do not seem “like before”, but better, as I am more relaxed as I assemble salads and cook baby turnips and veal tournedos.   Blair’s made pie from peaches (with wild blueberries from Monte Cimone) and another from apples.  We serve regular and decaf coffee now.   I refuse to be “stressed” over things:  life is short and precious and fun.  It gives me great joy to see happy people around my table once more.
Sassi di Roccamalatina   Laurie Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 9 x 16"  25 x 40 cm  450.00
The days are shorter, for sure, and this week we saw lots of the moon during our waking hours.  I like that it gets dark earlier – I am in search of trees in the crepuscule.  I have been inspired by the woodcuts of Hasui Kawase.  I got a nice image of the moon at 4:30AM Thursday Morning.  I made a video of me painting it (via photograph, although I used the image stored in my own head, too).  Hopefully, I’ll get it online at this printing.
The Moth   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper 17 x 25"  41 x 63cm  250.00 
to watch this being painted: click on photo or https://youtu.be/vLeaVCMKCXY
I am not an advocate of painting from photos, although it has a long history of use by artists.  Some artists would turn their entire studio into a camera, letting light in only from a pinpoint: camera obscura.  Vermeer (think Girl with Pearl Earring) most successfully used this technique, along with mirrors to turn the image right side up.  The camera idea was toyed with as early as the 5th century BC in China.  Plato played with this idea, but it wasn’t until the 11th century, Muslin Arab mathematician Alhazen (Ibn al-Haytham)  wrote the Book of Optics and, among other things, he invented camera obscura and pinhole camera. 
Painted Posy   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper 17 x 25"  41 x 63cm  250.00 
to watch this being painted click on photo or:  https://youtu.be/exGLyFD-kUo
One summer we made our own camera obscura at Hemlock Lodge, in Winsted, Connecticut where we spent many a July.  We could watch boats plying the waters of Highland Lake, upside down.  
We are glad life seems to be right side up again, and hope to see you at our table soon.
 


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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Let's Paint Together



Click on this link to watch a painting in action.  I'd love to paint with you, via zoom....www.pessemierworkshops.com

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Artnotes: Like a Gardener

 

Peacock at Magnani-Rocca   Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas19.5 x 16"  50 x 40 cm  650.00
We went to the Miro show near Parma this week.  It’s an hour and a half drive from our house, through the “pianura” – flat farmland at the edge of the Po valley, before it gives way to the Appenines.   We drive by Maranello, where Ferraris are made (the hotel is painted Ferrari red), and by the track for learning to drive them.  We slip through Sassuolo, the area given to manufacturing beautiful Italian ceramic tiles.   We pass infinite fields chock full of black-red and pale-green grapes, the leaves leaning toward yellow and red.
Grape Vines  near Castello Serravalle  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper 10 x 16"  25 x 40cm  450.00 
I love to go to the Magnani-Rocca Foundation.  It is an historic house set in a beautiful garden, with peacocks and sculptures.  I like the permanent collection almost as much as the shows, and each time I find something which touches me.  This time, I spent time with the early Renaissance Marys. 
Tunisian Peacock Laurie Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 14 x 8.5"  35 x 21 cm  290.00
The Miro show was great.  Joan Miro was a prolific painter, Spanish, spending much time in France.  He produced a huge number of “poetic” works, from paintings to book illustrations, to lithographs.  For those who don’t know him, he painted kind of primary color-filled “balloons” – birds and people, often outlined in black.  There are asterisks and circles, too.  Happy stuff.
A Miro from the Show at Magnani Rocca
I was surprised to learn he went to school for accounting.  I, too, went to school for my MBA, as did Blair.  Miro had a nervous breakdown from this alien experience.  I didn’t have a nervous breakdown, but it did inspire me to get as far away from Connecticut and that school as fast as I could. 
Gaga Flowers  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 22.5 x 15"  57 x 38 cm  550.00
Things I learned from that school experience were perhaps my most valuable lessons in life:  that there are things you are meant to do, and not meant to do.  If you do the right thing you can be happier, and make others around you happy.  The second lesson I learned was that not everyone thought like me.
Castello di Serravalle Landscape Laurie Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  9.5 x 14"  24 x 35cm  290.00
I was given an assignment at the school to describe my life at age 65.  I reported I would be living in a large house, giving art shows, with my husband (there were actually elements I detailed closely)-- honestly, it is like what I am doing now.
Peppers from Giuseppe's Garden Laurie Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper  17 x 25"  41 x 63cm  290.00
Miro said, “I work like a gardener… Things come slowly… Things follow their natural course. They grow, they ripen. I must graft. I must water… Ripening goes on in my mind. So I’m always working at a great many things at the same time.”     So goes my life, too.


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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Artnotes: Thrilled with the Water

 

Umbrella at Lake Vico  Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 9 x 14"  24 x 35 cm  450.00
Stoic as I try to be, I can’t control my unmitigated joy at certain things.  The over-the-top thrill of swimming in Lake Vico is one of those events.  The water is perfectly clear, without motorboats or houses along the edge.  Lake Vico is a volcanic lake, and the water is “slippery” in a rock and sulphur-y sort of way.   I feel at the brink of ecstatic tears when I am in there.
Cow, thinking Minotaur   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper 25 x 17"  63 x 41cm  250.00 
I can imagine satyrs and fauns, nymphs and fairies in the dense wood all around, creatures born of the fiery nature of the lake.  Minotaurs abound.
There’s a little restaurant nearby, where one can sit and observe the scene (I really haven’t seen a satyrs yet, but I found a “late” falcon chick, with fuzzy feathers, and soft, not-yet-taloned feet) .  A dozen flower shaped umbrellas in yellow and blue provide shade for the bathers and fisher-boys in that area.  We swim further down the beach, where we are very much alone.  One can swim nearly a half kilometer out before the water plunges over our heads and deep into the caldera.   Harika goes in, chest deep.
Cherry Tomatoes    Laurie Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper 17 x 25"  41 x 63 cm  290.00
We were down in Stimigliano, near Rome, this week.  It was really hot every day, and I found it nearly impossible to sleep.  I learned that bags under the eyes are called calamari in Italy, and I had them after six nights of tossing and turning.  We drove back North and will try again at the end of the month.
Chili Peppers in a Pot  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/paper  17 x 25"  41 x 63cm  290.00
I revitalized clay that was in my studio…I might have overdone it with too much water.  I fashioned a satyr’s head, which could take a month to harden.  I painted a bunch of works on paper, while Blair painted a picture of a dog and his family.
Walking by Lake Vico  Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 19.5 x 16"  50 x 35 cm  550.00
The dog only had three legs, which seemed like a recent development, as the golden retriever really struggled on the sand.  There were lots of dogs at the lake, who seemed to get along with one another.  I guess they were thrilled with the water, like me.


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